Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cloth Diapering Part 2

For those of you who choose to use prefolds, contours, or fitted diapers you’re going to need to invest in some covers. There are a few different styles of covers: Plastic/PUL, Wool, and Fleece.

Plastic & PUL Covers: Dappi makes an inexpensive, basic cover that will get the job done. From my experience these covers work well during the day, but I would recommend using something a bit more heavy duty for nighttime use. I have used Bumkins covers and they work well and tend to hold up over time. I like that they have a vent in the back, although you want to make sure the vent stays covered or else you’ll get moisture on the back of the baby’s clothing (I know this from experience). However, my favorite non-wool covers are the Bummis Super Brite and the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap. They are fantastic at keeping everything contained and their velcro closures help create a perfect fit.

Fleece Covers: I have only tried one fleece cover and I was surprised at how well it worked. The fleece naturally wicks away moisture and can be washed with your diapers (as opposed to wool covers). You could get them in different styles (longies, shorties, skirties, or soakers) and wear them alone or with clothing over them.

Wool Covers: I have to admit that I am partial to wool covers. I love them, absolutely LOVE them! With Cadence I tried wool and just could not get it to work right, so I gave up. I decided that with Rosalyn I wanted to use as much natural fiber as possible, so I bought mostly wool for her. I do use the Bummis or Bumkins covers as well, but much prefer the wool (nothing against the Bummis or Bumkins covers – they are excellent, it’s more of a personal preference for wool). You do need to lanolize your wool covers, which I typically do once a month when I wash them (I will touch on this on a later post). Wool covers come in the same styles as the fleece covers: longies, shorties, skirties, and soakers. My favorite wool covers are Disana because they work and fit wonderfully! I have hand knit some wool longies using this pattern and they have turned out well, however, I usually use them over another wool cover. I have been drooling over Llamajama longies for quite some time, but have yet to bite the bullet and buy a pair. They are super cute!

Diaper & Cover Sizing: Diapers can be purchased in a one size (OS) option or various sizes depending on the size of your baby. The OS options are great because it is one diaper that adjusts to fit from around 8 to 35 pounds (each brand is a bit different on their size range). I have tried the Blueberry and BumGenius OS Pocket Diapers and they both seemed to have a great fit. This would be a less expensive option and works well with most babies. However, many prefer the different sizing options because they can get a more precise fit. Kissaluvs fitted diapers and Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers both offer the option of different sizes.

Inserts and Doublers: Inserts and doublers are typically made of cotton or hemp and are either inserted into pocket diapers or placed into other diapers (fitteds, all-in-ones, etc.) to add absorbency. Cotton Babies makes a fantastic one size insert that is adjusted to fit into different size pocket diapers. Kissaluvs also makes great doublers that work well in fitted diapers. I have made some of my own inserts and doublers by using DSQ prefolds.

To Be Continued.....

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cloth Diapering Part 1

I have been asked countless times to pass along information about cloth diapering and I’ve decided I need to make some blog posts with everything I know so that when people ask I can just send them a link. Hopefully this way it’s easier for me and I don’t have to worry about leaving anything out. So here it goes…..

I’ve been cloth diapering for 4 years and have really enjoyed it. I have tried just about every style of diaper there is and various brands as well. I will warn you that it does get addicting, so watch out!

Types of cloth diapers:
I think this is where most people get confused. There are SO many types of cloth diapers out there how do you pick! Here is a brief synopsis as well as my personal opinion on each style:

Prefold Diapers: These are the traditional style of cloth diapers. It is basically one big rectangle that you fold in order to put on the baby. If you go this route you will want to purchase Diaper Service Quality (DSQ) prefolds as they are much more absorbent and not much more expensive. DSQ prefolds come in Chinese and Indian styles; there are pros and cons to each of these, but in my opinion they both work just fine. In general, prefolds are not really that hard to use and especially work great for the newborn stage when they grow so quickly. You could spend a lot of money on newborn diapers that your baby may only wear for a short period of time – these would be an inexpensive way to fill in the gap. Traditionally, these diapers were secured with a safety pin. I’m sure most of you have heard horror stories about how someone poked a baby with those darn pins. When I’ve used prefolds I’ve never used pins, instead I’ve used Snappis. A Snappi is a neat invention that allows you to secure the diaper without the risk of poking your baby! Genius, eh? I think so! One thing to consider with prefolds is that you need to use a cover (we’ll cover this a bit later). You can Google different options for folding them and find what works best for you. When you’re pinching pennies purchasing some DSQ prefolds, a couple Snappis, and a few covers will definitely get the job done! Also, I haven’t tried it, but Cotton Babies has come out with a new Econobum package worth checking into if you’re going to go with prefolds. It is definitely cost effective!

Contour Diapers: These are one step up from prefolds. They do require pins or Snappis to secure them, but they do not require folding. They are very simple and fairly affordable. I have tried a couple Kissaluvs style contour diapers and they worked great. Like the prefold diapers, these also require a cover.

Fitted Diapers: These are diapers that look like disposable diapers as far as fit goes, but they are made with fibers like cotton or bamboo. They have snap or velcro enclosures along with elastic around the legs. This style of diaper has come to be my favorite for day time use. They are typically more affordable than All-in-One diapers or pocket diapers and are easy to use. They do require a cover, but a lot of times when we’re at home I let my babies/toddlers go cover-free. I have been using Kissaluvs and like them, especially when using a doubler (we’ll talk about this later). I also really like the Wallypop fitted diapers as well. They hold up real well and have a great fit. I have had many friends rave about how much they love Motherease Sandy's fitted diapers, so wanted to make sure I mentioned those as well.

Pocket Diapers: These diapers are fitted, do not require a cover, and are typically just a “shell” that you stuff with inserts. You can put one or more inserts in them depending on how much absorbency you need. These diapers are definitely user friendly, especially if you have a caregiver who is not enthusiastic about using cloth diapers when caring for your child. The only downfall I have found with these is that you need to watch out for detergent and hard water build-up, which can cause them to leak. I will give directions for “stripping” your diapers in a later post. I have tried various brands of pocket diapers. Fuzzi Bunz work well, but my all time favorite pocket diaper are BumGenius brand. They are well made and the company seems to back their product. I also really like the Blueberry pocket diapers as well and they have some wonderful minky options.

All In One (AIO) Diapers: All in one diapers are just that, all in one! No need to stuff them or use a cover because it’s all included. These are the simplest diaper, but typically the most expensive. The only downfalls to this style are that it can take them longer to dry and the build-up issue I described above. I have never had the opportunity to try an AIO diaper, so my recommendations are limited.

Crossover Diapers: There are diapers that are covers with inserts that are either disposable or reusable. These are a good option for trips, busy moms, and those a bit leery about cloth diapering. There are a few of these systems available, most recently Cotton Babies came out with their Flip product. I have no experience with these, but definitely think it is a great option.

That is about it for types of diapers. I’ll continue with types and styles of covers in my next post!