Monday, September 01, 2008

The Journey Begins With One Small Tush

Cloth diapering seemed fairly normal. I had the privilege of being the daughter of a mother who cloth diapered my youngest brother towards his potty-training years, and so I remember the eighties version- pins, prefolds, and plastic pants.

Trying to decide what I would use was a bit more daunting. Every cloth diapering mama, it seems, has come up with her own design and tricks and is marketing it to ecologically and economically friendly mothers everywhere. All have cutie-pie names that sometimes start to blur together: Bum Genius, Bummis, Fuzzi Bunz, Motherease, and Kissaluvs are just a handful of the more popular ones. On most mothering boards where cloth diaper use is prevalent, the alphabet soup of acronyms is just flying, as discussions of "BG's vs FB's" and "ME's with or without covers" go on and on and on.

I knew I would use pre-folds, whatever else I landed on. Prefolds are the typical cotton rectangle that most people think of when visualizing cloth diapers. Plastic pants are a crinkly, scratchy thing of the past, with the advent of wool covers (stay tuned for a mid-fall intro to my Etsy line of "Shorties;" a flashback to the good old days when Pa knew a new bun was in the oven when Ma started click-clacking away on the knitting needles, chugging out tiny wool shorts. That, or the massive morning sickness over the daily mucking of the cow stalls. Ahhh, the good old days...) or PUL covers (PUL stands for polyurethane laminate, a waterproof but soft fabric). Pins are even a thing of the past, as many (but not all) prefold users now snag the diaper into place with Snappis.

Aside from the "PFs," I was on the prowl. What marvelous, washable, soft and cozy item would catch my baby's excretions? The posh, but way too expensive Blueberry Minkies? Perhaps someday, when I find the buried treasure I've been searching for since third grade. As cute as they are, $42 is just too much for one single diaper.

Motherease was next on my list. Organic cotton, lovingly hand-picked by pixies by the light of the full moon*, woven into a comfy, yet moderately priced diaper that works from newborn on up to toddlerhood, thanks to a series of snaps that changes the size completely. Their Air Flow covers were also my main cover choice, as I wanted a breathable, "bubble cover" that would fit a range of thigh to waist ratios.

Bum Genius 2.0's were out when Gianna was born, and they upgraded to 3.0 by the time she was 6 months old. These also were "one size," and worked without a cover, as they were an "all in one" diaper. The only downside is that the fabric that contacts the baby's skin is synthetic, and for the summer, I've noticed that Gianna just does not tolerate the microsuede on hot and humid days.

After a full year of trying out different diapers, and stepping into the Wacky, Wild and Wonderful World of Wool, I've decided that, as in many things, simplicity is perfection. My typical set-up is a prefold, Snappi'ed shut, with a wool cover or a Motherease Air Flow. She's happy, comfortable, and rash-free, and I am only washing diapers every other day (or sometimes every third day, unless it's humid). The Motherease One Size with an insert snapped in, is what gets her through the night.

Any of my readers doing cloth? Any thoughts to share?

*Okay, I exaggerated a bit. I think the pixies machine-pick the cotton, and it's probably during the day. Every day.


melissa said...

snappis are craaaaaazy. when i watched gus-gus last summer his diapers closed with snappis. at first i just stared in wonder and thought how in the hell am i going to get this contraption back onto this squirming baby's diaper? by the end of the summer i could practically snap it together one handed. i'm trying to remember what kind of diapers they used along with it. whatever they were they worked pretty well. i love the motherease diapers though. i will remain a fan. although i think it is smart to wait and see what works instead of going out and buying a lifetime supply of one kind and then deciding they aren't that effective. ha, i don't comment on anything else but talk about diapers and i'm all over it.

Shaye said...

I am SO simple on diapers, but you've caught my curiosity. When I started my research I was overwhelmed. Then one of my friends told me to chill and ot remember that I'm basically finding something to be a pee catcher. Plain and simple. Right now I just do the unbleached cloth diapers with snappis. No covers, no inserts, and not even a diaper pail. I bought two dozen diapers and 8 snappies and that's all I've used this summer. I wash only in vinegar/water and dry hanging on the clothes line (breastmilk poop comes right out with some sun). So tell me about these covers you use. I've never covered Brighton's diapers, so I get wet often. But he also gets changed immediately. And with 24 diapers I either wash a small load each day or a medium load every other day. I'm thinking about getting another dozen. How many do you have? Also, looking for a natural way to get poop stains out during the winter because we'll have tons of snow here in the next month or two and won't be hanging anything on the line.

Shaye said... more thing. If anyone is in the market for cheaper-than-normal snappis, check out as they, at least a few months ago, had the best price I could find. I also got my CDs there for just a little over $1 each because I used their "factory seconds" which work just fine (even if the hem is crooked on this one or the fabric is pulled to the right on that one).

clara said...

Shaye, what do you use at night? I am loving cover-less prefolds during the day this summer, especially since I've gotten the premium sized ones. Right now I have 18 premium PFs, but I also have 11 ME One-Size.

The Motherease Air Flow covers are pretty neat- they work for quite a while, as they have snaps on the legs and the waist that "size" the baby appropriately, even if you have a chunkier-than-the-average-cub baby thigh, or round little toddler tummy, or whatever. Here's a link:

Holy cow! Their prices have shot up! I did the package deal, and it worked out really well. I like the snap covers the best, but tried out a few "Rikki Wraps," which have Velcro. I wasn't in love with them, but they worked!

Let's see, stains in the winter... I didn't really do a whole lot until spring. For really bad ones, I sometimes put them on the dashboard of the car, still damp (but not dripping wet) and sunned them through the glass on sunny days. That really bleached the heck out of them! I was going to experiment with hanging them on the line this winter, just to bleach them out on bright days, and then thawing them and tumbling them a bit. That would take too long for you if you're washing them daily, though!

Melissa- did he have contours or fitteds, maybe? The fun of a first is the experimentation! I want to do a post soon of my "Top Ten Must Haves" for babies. You can bet your Birkenstocks that a Moby Wrap and cotton prefolds are already on my mental list! (Also, at least one "Neglectomatic." Showers were what saved my mental status on many days!)

Shaye said...

I don't use anything other than the two-dozen Indian unbleached pre-folds. They're premium-sized, too. We've done a little bit of ECing with Brighton so I take him potty around midnight each night and then re-diaper him with the same one. I've never used any diaper covers, not even plastic pants. But I was looking at bummies for using from midnight to 6am since they were only like $9 each. So far I don't think we've spent over $60 for our diapering supplies. YAY!

That's a great idea on the car dashboard. I had never thought about that. I might try the line on sunny days, rare as they are. It's usually very overcast and the last two winters have sent us tons of snow and negative 20 in temps. My nostrils freeze when I step outside. Sorry for that image. Heehee! But back to diapers--part of me wants to just say, "Why do I even worry about stains?!" You know? Like who really cares. I won't be re-selling them. And people already think I'm weird for co-sleeping, homebirthing, non-punitive disciplining, non-vaxing, etc. Why not throw yellow stained diapering in the mix? LOL

This little boy rarely does huge spaced-out pees like my other two did. He does a TON of small, frequent potties all day, so I easily go through 12 diapers per day and we sometimes use the pre-folds as burp cloths, too (which is why I like to do a very small vinegar wash each day). We'll be taking a huge 3-week trip from Nebraska to Texas in December, so it might be nice to have another dozen at least. And I may bring a pack of disposables with us for traveling in the winter and staying in several relatives' homes.

I'll be interested to see your "must haves" now vs. after having a couple more. The dynamics in my house have changed significantly over the last 5 years (especially with three pre-schoolers).