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So you Want to Cloth Diaper?

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I’ve shared some of my cloth diapering thoughts with friends over the past two years and finally decided I should write an official blog post about it. Here’s everything I know about cloth diapering, based on how we’ve done it the last two years. There WILL be poop talk in this post, be warned! 🙂 I’ll apologize now – this is a LONG blog!

We use Rumparooz – they are a One-Size, pocket diaper. Each diaper comes with two soaker inserts. They have various snaps that allow them to fit a tiny baby all the way to potty training with the same diapers. They have SNAPS across the waist and they also have APLIX, which is velcro. The majority of our stash is the SNAP version because we were told the snaps hold up longer. The snaps actually get a lot more difficult to unsnap over time for some reason, so we recently bought some of the APLIX ones for grandmas to use on the days they watch Ellie – it’s much easier for them. The APLIX makes these diapers even more like disposables because the velcro allows you to fit the diaper perfectly to the kiddo’s body. These cloth diapers are nothing like the old-school cloth diaper prefolds and plastic covers!

We were told that the Rumparooz one-size diapers didn’t really fit a newborn too well, so we decided to get the Lil’ Joey diapers for the first few months. The Lil’ Joeys are just a smaller version of the Rumparooz, but they do not have a sizing option and it’s All-In-One (no inserts to stuff). They have a little snap in the front to keep the diaper off the belly button while the umbilical cord is still there, genius! The Lil’ Joeys take extra time to dry in the dryer because it’s All-In-One, but it’s nice that you don’t have to stuff them to use them. Ellie wore these until she was about 3 months old. I had 12 of the Lil’ Joeys – so I ended up doing a load of diapers every single day. Knowing that I have more laundry to do and will have my hands full with two kiddos, I decided I wanted more Lil’ Joeys for baby #2. A friend of mine was selling her stash, so I actually bought 18 more from her. This should allow me to do laundry every couple of days for baby #2.

Here are some photos of the diapers…

Lil’ Joeys:

Lil-Joey-Cloth-Diapers--2-packs_p_15.html

SNAP One-Size Diapers:

Rumparooz-Cloth-Diapers--Peacock_p_467.html

APLIX One-Size Diapers:

Rumparooz-Cloth-Diapers--Solid-Colors-APLIX_p_155.html

Their prints are REALLY cute and fun!!

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Once Ellie was about 2 months old, she was still waking every 3 or 4 hours at night, but she was SOAKING through the Lil’ Joeys, so we started using the One-Size Rumparooz with one insert for her “night-time” diaper. Eventually, we moved completely to the One-Size Rumparooz during the day and once Ellie started having soaked diapers again at night, we started using two soaker inserts for “night-time” diapers. The last change we made was using both soaker inserts for day-time and night-time diapers. The various options make is really customizable for each situation. Every One-Size diaper comes with the soaker inserts shown here:

6r-Soaker-Inserts-Bamboo-Hemp-Microfiber_p_95.html

The packaging comes with instructions on how to snap the inserts together for the different sizes of the diaper and even a different boy/girl placement.

I guess we did have one more change – once Ellie started sleeping through the night, we moved to using disposables all night long. Rumparooz would not hold up all night long and we hadn’t found a cloth diaper substitute good enough to last all night long. We also put Ellie in disposables for church – that way the nursery doesn’t have to deal with cloth diapers.

I started off with 24 of the One-Size Rumparooz diapers and was doing laundry every couple of days. Over the two years that we’ve used Rumparooz, we’ve purchased some here and there (sometimes Rumparooz has deals at their store – they are located on the north side of Denver, or they have deals on-line like 50% off during special holidays) because when you find a deal, it’s worth adding to your stash! We now have about 40 Rumparooz One-Size diapers. I do laundry twice a week. We could probably go 5 or 6 days at this point without washing diapers, but the longer they sit, they get pretty stinky. I stick to washing twice a week because it works perfectly to do it the same days every week in between other loads and my work schedule.

We have not tried other cloth diaper brands, but I believe that Rumparooz is the only brand with double gussets. Basically you have the outer gusset that every diaper has – tightly fitted around the baby’s legs. Our diapers have a second gusset that basically keeps the poop on the inner area and it never gets near the outer gusset. Any time Ellie wears a disposable diaper and she poops, I can see the poop right there on her leg or start to come out of the gusset and it’s gross! With the Rumparooz, I’ve never been grossed out with the possibility of poop coming out the leg holes!

Double Gussets (for the Lil’ Joeys), the One-Size double gussets are very similar:

Lil-Joey-Cloth-Diapers--Preppy-2-pack-_p_474.html

A note about laundry – if I was working full-time, I would not be happy with the added loads of laundry that comes with cloth diapering. Being out of the house only two days a week makes it doable for me. Zach and I have a great routine where he helps with putting the diapers back together! You have to pull the inserts out of the diapers and unsnap them for washing. So it takes some work to use them again. When the laundry is done, Zach snaps all the diapers and inserts and then I stuff them. It’s a great routine for us!

We bought a new front-loading washer/dryer set right before we had Ellie. Apparently front-loading washers aren’t the best for cloth diapers because they use less water… so we do an extra wash cycle. Based on the company’s instructions, I first do a cold wash, no spin cycle without soap. Next I do a hot wash cycle with an extra rinse (on our washer it’s “Kids Wear” and “Extra Rinse”). For soap I use regular High Efficiency Tide (1/4 of the amount of soap you would normally use). Every few washes I add some water softener (Calgon – I buy it at Wal-Mart). We have hard water in Colorado and that causes lots of extra build-up on the diapers, so the Calgon helps. We still have a little issue with stinky diapers – I’m not sure what it is… but I’ve purchased a product called Bac-Out and use it to soak the inserts and then spray the inside of the cloth diapers to have them sit overnight. I only have to do this every couple of months, I feel like it’s helping. I do an hour dry cycle on the lowest heat setting. The company says not to stuff hot diapers. For us, they are already cooled off by the time Zach is done snapping and it’s time for me to stuff.

Rumparooz didn’t have their washing instructions as detailed when we first started using these diapers. In attempt to get some stains and stink out of the diapers, I used a different brand of detergent. Once I realized it wasn’t the detergent that they recommended, I stopped using it. BUT a few months ago, the elastic in the gussets disintegrated! In EVERY single one of my diapers! I called Rumparooz and they will replace the elastic for free if the diapers are less than a year old… but mine were almost two years old. They will charge you $3 per elastic to replace them. That would be $9 per diaper (there’s actually 5 different elastics in one diaper, but I only cared about 3 of them). I wasn’t willing to pay $9 per diaper, so I fixed the elastic myself. It was quite the task, but TOTALLY worth it! I really believe that the other detergent I used was the reason the elastic messed up. My hope is that my fixed elastic will last us through potty training with baby #2! The company is really good about fixing snaps. In the first year we had maybe 10 snaps come off the diapers. You can either send the diapers back or drop them off at their store and they will replace the snap for free.

Another thing about washing…Breastmilk poop is water soluble, so all you have to do is just throw the diapers in the wash and they get clean! While Ellie was solely on Breastmilk, we used cloth wipes. Once Ellie started eating solids and had solid poop, we had to make some changes. We stopped using the cloth wipes and started using disposable wipes. We also had to get some flushable paper liners to put in the diapers. Basically the poop sticks to the paper, then you can just flush it. The only hassle with this is that we have to throw away the wipes, flush the paper/poop and then throw the diaper in the diaper pail. If you used disposables, you could just wrap it all up together and throw it away – but it’s not too big of a deal. With the paper liners, I’ve only had to “scrub” a few diapers to get them ready for the washer (that’s why we got a sink for the laundry room!) I’ve heard some people buy diaper sprayers that attach to the toilet, but we never really saw a need for that. Also, I run a “clean washer” cycle with bleach every month or two – just to make sure our washer isn’t collecting any nasty things inside!

I don’t care about staining, but I’ve read that you can lay inserts out in the sun to bleach them. The instructions say not to use bleach on the diapers or inserts, ever. Cloth diapers have a great resale market (better when they’re not stained). Lil’ Joeys aren’t used for very long, so buying those used from a friend wasn’t a big deal to me. Also, lots of people will try the cloth diaper thing and then decide it’s not for them – so they’ll try to sell their whole batch (barely used) for a great deal! I’ve had several friends who have bought used cloth diapers and have been very happy with their purchases.

We have not noticed an issue with Ellie and diaper rash in either her cloth diapers or her disposables – we heard cloth was better than disposables for that, but in general, Ellie doesn’t have diaper rash too often. You can’t use diaper rash cream with cloth diapers – it will make them repel water – so if your baby has really sensitive skin, you’ll have to take some precautions before applying diaper rash cream! If Ellie does get diaper rash and it is really bad, we’ll put her in disposables and slather on the cream. If it’s not too bad, I have some little cloth liners that I put in the cloth diaper with the cream. It’s still soft on her bottom and I don’t care if the little cloth liners start to repel water – I can just buy more. Buying more little cloth liners is much cheaper than getting diaper cream on her cloth diapers and ruining them.

Some other “gear” that we have are two diaper pail liners. These liners are waterproof and washable. We use a large step-trash can as her “diaper pail” and the liners fit great. When washing the diapers, you just throw the diaper pail liner in with the load of laundry. That’s why I have two pail liners – so that I can quickly put another liner in the trash can, ready for more dirty diapers! We have four medium wet bags and two large wet bags. Wet bags are made out of the same waterproof material as the diaper pail liners, but then they have a cute fabric outside. I put these in the diaper bag, to put dirty diapers in while we’re out and about. A medium wet bag will hold about 3 Rumparooz with both soaker inserts and the large wet bag will hold 5 to 6. Anytime we come home with a dirty diaper, I throw the wet bag in the diaper pail and grab a new one to pack in the diaper bag. This way, I’m never without a wet bag. Wet bags can be thrown in the washer with the diapers also.

I said we used cloth wipes – they are made of flannel. We bought quite a bit (5-6 packs of 10) so that we could have some upstairs and some downstairs. We make the spray that is used to make the wipes wet – using a gel we bought and then dissolving it in hot water. We spray each wipe as it’s needed. I once tried spraying a bunch of wipes and stacking them in a tupperware, but they got kind of mildew smelly.

The last thing that is a slight annoyance is the way clothes fit with cloth diapers. The diapers are definitely more bulky than disposables and I’ve never been able to put Ellie in jeans with a cloth diaper on. With girl clothes, I just make sure we buy stretchy type pants. I try to stay away from the legging style, unless she’s wearing a dress or long shirt. The leggings are stretchy and fit just fine over the cloth diapers, but her large-sized bottom just kind of looks funny with the tight leggings. Basically I think it just takes figuring out what fits best and sticking with the same style. Even the Lil’ Joeys made onesies and sleepers fit a little different – as if the baby is longer that she really is because the crotch of the diaper is bulky. For baby #2, I made sure to stick with sweat-pant type things and not jean/khaki pants. If I need to put the kids in jeans, I can just use a disposable. We put Ellie in adorable jeans for her one-year photo shoot, and she just wore a disposable, which was fine.

In the end, we aren’t being completely green – we aren’t afraid to use disposables when needed – but we maybe buy a box of disposables from Sams like every 3 or 4 months!

So let’s talk about savings… Here’s the run-down of prices for the Rumparooz diapers:

  • One Size Solids – $23.50 (SNAP & APLIX)
  • One Size Print – $25.50 (SNAP & APLIX)
  • Lil’ Joey 2 pack – $29.95

I started with 24 One-Size (~$565) and 12 Lil’ Joeys (~$180). Over the past two years we’ve bought about 16 more One-Size diapers (let’s say $375, but I did get a lot of these cheaper with Rumparooz deals). Then I bought 18 used Lil’ Joeys from my friend at $10 each ($180). Total – that’s about $1320. I did a rough estimate before Ellie was born and the expense I came up with for disposable diapers for two years was $2000. So for just one kid, there is still a decent savings. Of course, this doesn’t account for the other “gear” – wet bags, diaper pail liners and wipes, but that’s close to $100 total, probably. Nor does it account for the few boxes of diapers we have bought and the disposable wipes we buy when needed. BUT – for baby #2, we’re SET!! Some of our diapers are pink and purple, but he can wear them at night or around the house and no one will know!

That’s everything I can think of when it comes to how we’ve done the cloth diapering thing. In the end, I’m really glad we’ve done it. I feel like we’re being semi-green and the added laundry isn’t a big deal to me. If you hate doing laundry in general, cloth diapering is probably not a good idea for you. It’s nice not having to budget diapers into my monthly purchases. Are there some annoyances with cloth diapering? Absolutely. But I’m really happy with our choice!