Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cloth Diapers--Building Your Stash (Part 7)

Choosing what you put in your diaper stash can be intimidating.
But don't let that stop you from taking the first step! As your baby grows, your routine may change--so don't get stuck on finding the "perfect system". You might constantly be tweeking what of your stash you use at various stages. You may start out using more pocket diapers and later on feel more comfortable with Prefolds. Don't be afraid to play around with things.

Starting Simple
I suggest first deciding how willing you are to try prefolds. They are extremely economical and very comfortable for babies. There is some initial trial and error--figuring out how best to fasten a prefold on your baby, but once you get the hang of it you can practically do it in your sleep (which you may very well do)! The reason I recommend prefolds so highly, is because it motivates us to change our babies more quickly, as opposed to waiting until they have peed several times in the same diaper. With frequent changes, babies learn to not like the feeling of wet and therefore can potty train much faster. I also apply the idea that if I wouldn't want to sit in my own waste, why should I subject my baby to that?
The difference between Chinese and Indian prefolds are that Chinese are very durable and slightly less soft. Indian are quite soft, yet more fragile. Since I am planning on using my stash for future children, I bought the Chinese, looking for longevity. I think they are still pretty soft (softer than disposables!), but some mothers swear by the softness they find in Indian prefolds. It is really a matter of preference.

When you know how much or how little you want to use prefolds, you can fill in your stash with what I call "Super Convenience Cloths-" known as pocket and fitted diapers. Ask yourself how often you have others watching your little one. Sometimes the social transition to cloth is easier if your family/babysitter has a few SCC to use and feel comfortable with.Pocket diapers are a bit more absorbent, so they are nice to use at night as you can adjust how much you stuff into them. They are also super easy to use. Fitteds are great for day and mostly for convenience--not as much absorption.

How many Diapers do I need?:
If you are willing to try EC(which I will talk about Monday), these numbers will be a little high for you. EC can cut down considerably how many diapers you use each day.
For newborns you'll need about 12-18 diaper changes per 24 hr period - so multiply that by how ever many days you want to go before laundering again. At this stage, their BM are water soluable and can basically be thrown in the machine without much pretreatment--easy peasy. I didn't mind doing a load every day. It’s nice to have 3-4 diaper covers for going out--but at home I rarely put a cover on. I wanted to know quickly when he was wet. The amount of diapers depends on how often you want to wash. For older babies (about 6 months plus or when their BM slow down) 9-12 diaper changes per 24 hrs period is usually a good amount. At this age most babies don't need to be changed very much at night, which cuts down the amount of diapers. For toddlers I usually don't recommend more than 6 or 9 diapers per day.

You may find yourself in an adjustment period at first- especially if making a transition from disposables to cloth. Some families find that when making this switch, mixing up a reusable system with disposables (ex. overnight, or for outings) may make the transition easier - do whatever works best for you! I told myself several times those first couple of weeks to do whatever was going to help me cross over into cloth with the least stress because less stress=longevity. I didn't want to give up before I had begun! It meant that at first I only cloth diapered Morris at home--then I added outings--and then night time. This can also ease the stress of buying your whole stash at once. Once I felt good about my diaper maintenance and routine, I couldn't believe I was ever afraid of it or thought it was hard.

What someone suggested to me (and worked very well for us) was to purchase a few (3-6) of the convenience (pocket, or fitted) diapers--and 12 prefolds in Morris' first size. I chose to get 6 One Size Pocket diapers by BumGenius and 12 unbleached Chinese Prefolds (infant size). Babies do grow out of the infant size quickly, but the close fit you can get with the proper size can eliminate BM leaking. I will admit that with prefolds, I had 2 times the breastfed (BF) poo escaped the cover. But I know this happens with disposables and it wasn't a big deal.

If you are willing to invest a bit more money for a great fitted diaper, that allows you to see quickly when wet (like prefolds), Motherease Onesize Diapers have great consumer reports at the Diaper Pin website. I have heard these contain the BF poo extremely well and are practically bullet proof. I plan to get a set of these for my next baby because they look so comfortable and easy to use: ) Again, these diapers adjust to fit your baby anywhere from 8-35 lbs.
12 pack is $179.95
24 pack is $334.95
32 pack is $495.95
Quite the savings from $2800 disposables!

Cloth Diaper series

Purchase Diapers HERE

Part 1 HERE-Exposing the Myths (sanitation)
Part 2 HERE- Exposing the Myths (ease of use)
Part 3 HERE- Exposing the Myths (cost)
Part 4 HERE- Cloth Diaper Benefits (health, environment)
Part 5 HERE- More Benefits (potty training, and more)
Part 6 HERE -Basic info and terminology
Part 7 HERE- Building your cloth diaper stash
Part 8 HERE- Diaper Needs Questionnaire


Kiersten said...

All of your info has given me the courage to try cloth diapers. Thanks! Just one questions, what is the difference between Chinese and Indian pre-folds?

Emily Ruth said...

GREAT question Kiersten! I should have addressed that.
Chinese prefolds are extremely durable and pretty soft. Indian prefolds however are a bit more soft yet also a little more fragile--some people say they don't last quite as long as the Chinese. I have chinese prefolds and they are softer than disposables so I went with them since I will be using them for future babies and prefer the durability. Again, thanks for asking!