Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cloth diapers... and wipes?

So there's really no reason not to tell you.  We spent this past weekend in Memphis, TN touring the local optometry school there (it's nice!) and eating yummy food and hanging out with my generous cousin and her family.  They were kind enough to let us stay with them and feed us and taxi us around all over.  (Thank you!)

While we were there, I noticed something about my cousin's littlest boy.  He was wearing cloth diapers.  I spent the weekend peppering my cousin with cloth-diaper questions and by the time I had brought it up again the morning before we left, she finally just brought out two different brands they had (G Diapers and Bum Genius) to show me the differences and tell me what she likes/dislikes about each of them.  She also showed me how they store the soiled diapers and explained how to care for them.  And then she told me how much money they were spending on disposable diapers opposed to the one-time purchase of cloth diapers.  Wow.  I was totally sold.

I've been interested in cloth diapers since before Olivia was born.  (Oh, and let's get this straight.  I'm not talking about the cloth diapers that our moms and grandmas used.  I'm talking about the kind of cloth diapers that act like disposable diapers and have fancy-shmancy veclro closures, but happen to include the nastiness of cleaning out poo, and also happen to be re-usable.)  So anyway, I've been interested in cloth diapers for quite a while.  But I was afraid about the gross factor.  And--let's face it--it doesn't get any easier than disposable diapers.  Also, we don't have a washer and dryer in our apartment, so in order to use cloth diapers we'd have to wash them in the laundry mat here at our complex.  So I used that as my main excuse.  But after talking to my cousin about how often they do laundry and after Bryan and I figured things out cost wise, I really don't think it's a big deal anymore.

So, we have big plans to buy some Bum Genius diapers this weekend.  I'm not so excited for the gross factor, but I'm pretty stoked about the idea of buying diapers ONCE and being done.  Maybe later I'll get into the math of it all, but basically we've calculated that the Bum Genius diapers will pay for themselves (as opposed to using disposable diapers) in about four months.  Awesome.

Unrelated to all this (well, related, but not connected) one of my good friends taught me how to make homemade wipes (using paper towels) yesterday.  Super simple recipe.  And even with the initial cost of the tupperware (to store the wipes in) and the baby shampoo and baby oil that goes into making the wipes, these wipes end up costing about the same as the Costco brand wipes we've been buying.  Awesome.  But even more awesome is that after you've bought your start-up supplies, these wipes end up costing about half as much as the Costco brand wipes we've been buying.  Super awesome.  Now I know some people have preferences about diaper brands or wipe brands and to you I say--cool.  I will not be trying to convince you that you're evil and destroying the planet.  Because you're not.  I just don't happen to really have any preferences thus far (and neither does Olivia, so far as I can tell), so I figure, why not do what's cheap?

Yesterday when we were out on a walk I was explaining the whole thing about making your own wipes to another friend and I wasn't explaining it very well because she stopped me part-way through my explanation to ask what the point was of making your own wipes.  "Are they better for the baby?  Are they reusable?" she asked.  "No, they're the same.  They're just cheaper," I said.

But then later when I was thinking about cloth diapering and making my own wipes, I got to thinking about something a little gross.  What about making my own reusable cloth wipes?  After all, would there be much difference in washing the wipe if it has the same thing that's on the diaper?  I mean, it all goes through two or three wash cycles--both cold and hot and both with soap--anyway, so why not give it a try?

I called my friend who taught me how to make the homemade wipes this morning and ask her if she thought it would work, if the solution would soak into fabric the same way as it does in the paper towels.  She told me that she didn't know and confessed she thought it all sounded a little gross.  I definitely agree with her.  But she said she wanted to know how it worked if I gave it a try.  And now that I've been thinking about it I'm really curious too.  I mean, that is what people used to do before disposable wipes, right?  Yeah, I know, they did a lot of gross things back then and people got sick a lot more too.  I know, I know.  But wouldn't it be great to be done buying diapers and wipes?  We spend around $80 every two months on diapers and wipes.  Stuff we just throw away.  I can think of quite a few things I'd rather spend the money on.

Anyway, we have plans to buy some Bum Genius diapers this weekend.  And I have an old flannel blanket that's thin and soft that I picked up for free (someone was giving it away) that I think I'm going to cut up and edge finish to use for my trial run of reusable wipes.  Although when I mentioned this to my wipes-making friend this morning she said that flannel might not be good because it doesn't absorb water very well.  And she may be right.

Any input?  Thoughts?  Suggestions?  On any of this?  I'd really like to hear what you think.

Even if you just think it's all gross.  :)


Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

I've done cloth diapers with Katie. She was such a pee machine she would soak through 3 layers of diaper in about 2 hours after a while and changing her that often with that thick a diaper was just too much. It would have worked better with Seth and Becca, but we didn't have our own washer with them and I didn't want to wash the stinky diapers in a community laundry room. I don't have a problem with the gross factor...but I wouldn't go there with wipes. They're really not that expensive. Diapers I get because for us its about $30 a month at Costco per kid for diapers...but for us a box of Costco wipes lasts months, even with using them to wipe off faces and other things when we're out and about. So yeah, go for it with the diapers, but I wouldn't go there with wipes.

Angel said...

BumGenius are ok--they are great at controlling leaks and all, but I found after trying that I LOVE fuzzi bunz (snaps so you won't eventually have the aplix issues). There is a website that will sell FB seconds for 10 bucks a piece and 10 of a size works great for us for washing and still having a few left over.

I would suggest that you look into Jillian's Drawers and some other CD stores like Kelly's closet for the cloth trial program--they send you all kinds/brands, you try them and send back all or some--whatever you don't like... you pay a deposit and get it back when they are returned minus the 10 dollar fee. I would totally do cloth wipes also--just make squares from flannel (even old receiving blankets) 8 x8 ish and put in a plastic huggies tub--you can get dissolvable soaps from CD websites to miz with water for the wipe solution, but just a squirt of baby wash in warm water works well.

Running out of time since I have to pick up my oldest from school but I'd be happy to answer any questions! We still use disposables when we travel but look at a pack here and there instead of the constant stream of garbage.

Also! They have flushable liners that you can lay in the diaper--if it is dirty, take it out and put in the toilet and flush! Easy Peasy!

Mego said...

The 100 Hour board answered an awesome question about cloth diapers here
Maybe before you try the cloth baby wipe thing, you could ask them what they think, they'll probably even try it out for you ;) And it'll probably be funny. do it! if you don't i might just to see what they say

AngelaBeth said...

I'm not a mom but I've babysat for people who do cloth diapers and many of my friends are starting to use cloth diapers and I am STILL disgusted by them.

Not only do you have to wash them soooo many times with something really strong but you also have to wash the washing machine (especially with a public facility... poop is still poop and it still has bateria and can get people sick). It's all going to call for extra loads... which if you're using a public laundry mat could cost you more money. Does your complex charge for washing? They also take longer to dry than normal clothes.

You have to change them more frequently because they don't hold as much as disposable diapers. They leak really easily.

You actually have to deal with the mess and smell because you can't just toss them. You have to clean them out in the toilet, wash your hands thoroughly, and store them - dirty.

They also travel really poorly. Not only do you have to change them more frequently but then you have to find a toilet to wash them in and store a dirty diaper with you the rest of your trip... even if it's just a grocery store outing.

I know a lot of people who do it and are content with it so it's all a matter of preference. Of course it's going to be better for the environment and such but you just have to factor if it's going to be better in your life. Now, when you only have one child, though, is the best time to try it out.

Also... might I suggest looking to see if there is a company in the area that will wash them for you. I have a friend who used a company who mailed her diapers and when she was a portion through came and picked up her dirty diapers and gave her new clean ones. It's a flat rate every month but may be cheaper and easier for you. Again, you have to store dirty diapers and do part of the cleaning but at least you know they are more sanitary.

Good luck trying them out and with your decision!

The Sabeys said...

This is something Allen and I have been planning on for a while. We think we will get disposable diapers and wipes for our diaper bag, but at home use cloth diapers and the homemade wipes. I have a friend who used disposable diapers and then switched to cloth. She said that her baby stopped having diaper rash. So great... healthy... cheaper... and good for the environment

AngelaBeth said...

Re: Cameo

The reason cloth diapers work better to eliminate diaper rash is because you have to change them so frequently. Disposable diapers can hold up to a quart of liquid and moms and dads think they can get away with it until the diaper is about to burst. If people would change the diapers quicker rather than letting their poor baby sit in the diaper, they wouldn't have the diaper rash to begin with! lol

Annemarie said...

Katie, I don't normally comment on your blog but I had to when I read your post. I'm an avid cloth diaper mama . . . been using them for 5 years.

With Maya, my oldest, I just used cloth pre-folds and wraps. Now with Sam, age 2, I use the pre-fold and wraps plus a few other"systems" like the bum genius. I think they are wonderful, plus it does my heart good to know that I'm not leaving a huge environmental footprint for my children before they are old enough to walk and talk. I'd suggest buying/trying several different kinds, because depending on the size of your kid, different types fit better or worse.

I use cloth wipes for my kids--flannel, soft wipes that I just wet with warm water before changing them. They go into the diaper pail with the poopy diapers and wraps and get washed and come out clean and fresh. I've read several places that soap and solutions can actually be harmful for a baby's bottom (like the wipes you buy at the store) and warm water does the trick perfectly, especially if you give your kid a bath every few days or so. Not to be gross, but after we use the bathroom, we don't use soapy toilet paper to wipe. Our babies don't need a solution on their wipes either.

I've made my own wipes (small flannel squares finished with the surger) and also bought them. Here is an example:

They also pay for themselves.

Good luck. I'm thrilled that you're considering this--did you know that most disposable-diapered American kids contribute up to one-ton of waste in our landfills before they are 2 years old? Yikes. I'd say that statistic makes it easy to put up with a little poop once in a while!

Annemarie Russell

Beth said...

Woo Hoo! Cloth diapers are SO awesome!! But if you're really into saving money, make your own. I made my little guy some (his even have cute fabric on the outside, so he doesn't really have to wear shorts) anyway, I found I can make them for about $3.50 a piece, and when I worked that out (using the cheap target diapers we use) they pay for themselves in a month (or less!)
And with wipes, you can make them out of flannel, you don't even have to use the solution (just put them in some water and only keep them in water for few days) We had to do that with Little Man for a while, he had a horrible diaper rash and everything hurt his bum. Oh, I have learned so much while on this cloth diaper trip, if you need any help, or want to learn how to make them (the first one takes a little bit of time, but once you put a few together they are so simple you'll be whipping them out in no time) And yes, at first the thought of cloth diapers and or wipes seems gross, but it's really not that bad at all.
Oh, and don't forget to make or get a wet bag, perfect for on the go!
I wasn't excited about using cloth diapers at first, but seriously, every month when we go through the budget and there is extra money (because cloth diapers are already paid for!) I love it, and I love them even more every time I go to the grocery store and even see diapers on sale I think of how lucky we are to have the cloth diapers. They really save SO much money!
And I can tell you how to make some quick and easy inserts for cloth diapers, makes changing poopy diapers SO much easier!
If you want any info just shoot me an email: bfcourage @ yahoo dot com

ezeldabeth said...

in the hospitals where my youngest was born, they just used small white wash cloths with warm water to wipe the babies, they felt they were better...

i dont know much about CD'ing...i have always wondered about the germ factor...hospitals have industrial sanitizers...i don't think i have seen it ever mentioned...does one use bleach and super hot water?...especially when there is an illness or say yeast infection - how do you make sure they are sanitized?

my kids go through so many diapers, im afraid all i would ever be doing is washing many diapers do you plan on buying...i am really curious to see what you decide about the whole thing...thanks for sharing

Beth said...

Oh, and I forgot, I make mine as AI2 (All in 2) they have a waterproof liner, they also have "inserts" (the part that absorbs) and they have Touch tape (like velcro, but a lot better for use in diapers) on the outside, and some of them have snaps Mine are fitted too, because then they are less bulky.
And cloth diapers aren't disgusting, they seem like a weird idea at first, but my husband's in med school and had to learn all about Micro Biology and it's a lot more sanitary then others on here are trying to lead you to believe.

Dusty said...

I have been cloth diapering for almost 6 years. I wouldn't change a thing. I've done cloth wipes the whole time, too. Honestly? It's not that gross. It's not like you're wiping poop with your bare hands or anything (plus you're guaranteed that your finger isn't going to poke through like it does sometimes with disposable wipes). I just use some cheap terry wash cloths but flannel works pretty well, too and it's pretty nice on the bum (velour is even better, but more expensive - it's soft and will grab the poo). I don't soak my wipes, I have a spray bottle that I spray the wipes with. I don't even use a solution - baby shampoo is kinda drying when you use it as often and you do with wipes - just plain ol' tap water with a drop of tea tree oil (to keep the water from getting nasty) and sometimes I just use warm water straight from the tap.

I noticed a question about yeast and such - if we ever have a yeasty diaper rash (um, I think I've had *maybe* one between the two kids in the whole 5 1/2 years) - wash them as normal and then lay them out in the sun to dry.

Emily said...

Not that I have any kids but I've kind of been interested in the whole cloth diaper craze that has been going around. I mean, it does make sense. The saving money part. :)

I'll have to see how it works for you and check back when we get our kids.

Anonymous said...

I have used cloth diapers and wipes after my son was 8 pounds (out of the newborn black-poo stage). We use Flip diapers from cotton babies for several reasons. 1. I can't remember to fasten velcro on other cloth diapers to keep them nice. Flip has snaps. 2. They are adjustable up until baby is potty trained. 3. Very inexpensive over babies diaper days. 4. Flip makes travel inserts to make traveling a breeze. 5. Super cute and bright colors!
My son has NEVER had diaper rash (now 8 months old). Has only leaked through a handful of times and it was at night and it wasn't a big deal. Probably less than a disposable diaper baby regardless. My husband even said the ore day that he was really glad that we decided to use the flip system because it is not that different from disposables and much better. The only thing I would say is that if you are going cloth, you need a washer/dryer in your home. If you have questions just ask me! I love Flip diapers :-). (Made by cotton babies)

alee said...

Yikes- I will admit I have thought about cloth diapers, but that is about it. You will have to let me know what you think of them :)

Aleatha Shannon said...

There's a reason why so many people love cloth diapers! They're awesome! I use Motherease and also plain old prefolds. You should read Tori James' blog -she makes her own and they are super cute. I made my own wipes out of some old t-shirts -just cut them into squares, no need to finish the edges! Just throw them in the diaper pail with the dirty diaper. I actually find it more convenient than throwing the diaper in the diaper pail and the (disposable) wipe in the trash can. Is Janie Sandberg still in the ward? I believe she was planning to use cloth diapers, so you might talk to her.

smartmommato5 said...

I have 6 kiddos going on 7 (the end of October...maybe a Halloween baby!) We cloth diaper and can honestly say that we love doing so. It's super easy if you have the right set up. Being that we have so many kiddos...we've tried just about every single cloth diaper on the market...including gDiapers. We ended up deciding on Mother-ease one size cloth diaper for a number of never really liked the AIO diapers...they do tend to get smelly after a while. Two...they truely are a one size diaper so if you have more that one child you don't have to re invest in diapers as they grow...and three...they're just super simple to use (they have snaps...not velcro). Anyhow...all that rambling on to say...good for you and your family. You've make a wonderful choice for your baby and everyone else. Good luck...and don't be afraid to try out different diapers to find the one that truly works for your family.

Heidi :).

Kendra Last-Bookartist said...

I did not read all the other comments, so maybe someone already said this. If you are going to do this with Diapers, or wipes or both, I would still keep some disposable ones for when you are away from home. If you are out and about for 4 hours do you really want to carry around a poopy diaper and wipes that whole time in your diaper bag? I think having regular wipes especially in the diaper bag seems more user friendly. There are some conveniences I think I will always be willing to pay for. Real wipes in my diaper bag are one of them.

Kathy Haynie said...

Sarah Maughan (Josiah's wife) has a good blog post about using and making cloth diapers.

Makes a lot of sense to me! Wish I'd had these snazzy cloth options when you and your sibs were babies. I used to love love love the luxury of diaper service, when we could afford it.

Kathy Haynie said...

Oh, and I meant to add that we used to just use baby wash cloths instead of wipes. Wet them in the faucet.

Sonia said...

I couldn't use wipes on my oldest because her lil bum was so sensitive. I used baby washcloths wet no soap.

OH, and Memphis. Please don't judge all of Tn on it. Just sayin' ;)

Stephanie and Todd said...

We've been using FuzziBunz since Lexi was 3 weeks old, and we love it! I've even talked many friend into using them- including your brother and sister! Holly also uses cloth wipes. My friend made this really great cost chart for cloth diapers... I'll post the link to her blog in a minute. The main thing I've gathered- it's a lot easier if you stick to ONE system, don't combine the different types of cloth diapers. I choose FuzziBunz because they grow with the kid, so they can wear them from newborn to toddler.

Stephanie and Todd said...

Seriously, go check this out!

Jennifer said...

I admit I haven't read through all the other responses, but I have cloth diapered on and off in the past. I do enjoy it and it isn't as gross as I expected it to be. We don't have our 2 1/2-year-old in the cloth now because he learned to take them off about a year ago and I didn't have the money to invest in the ones that snap instead of velcro. But I plan to put my almost-6-week-old in them as soon as she is big enough to fit into the smallest ones I have. 2 cents about the cloth wipes is this. It's not that bad. It actually made more sense to me because I would be changing a cloth diaper and then have this disposable wipe I still had to deal with. It was easier to just wrap it all up and throw it all in the wash together.

My husband also installed a diaper sprayer onto our toilet, which made cloth diapering about 1000 times better and easier! You can buy a kit, but he just bought the parts and put it together himself (he's handy like that). Research that too. You can do it to a toilet in an apartment. You're not altering anything. If you need a visual, let me know and I'll post something for you. It's basically a kitchen sprayer hooked up to your toilet that allows you to spray poo off into the toilet. I love it.

Good luck! I love BumGenius! I have also made my own.

Stephanie said...

I have thought about cloth diapers for a while. I think it would be cool to try them out, but I am a little nervous to do so. I agree with Kendra and the traveling/disposable diaper/wipes thing. But...I am seriously thinking about trying it out. You will have to let me know what you end up doing. Oh, also I don't think cloth wipes are horrible.

Aleatha Shannon said...

Gotta second the pro-Motherease comment. Their diapers are ONE SIZE, meaning they adjust to fit babies from about 8lbs to toddlers! Saves you a ton of money. They are really good at controlling leaks, too, in my experience. Also, they have snaps, so you don't have to worry about velcro wearing out.