Monday, August 23, 2010

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How I Made Cloth Work for Me


Cloth diapers can be a tough adjustment for anyone, whether you started with your first child immediately or changed to cloth after using disposables. Our world is set up for quick, easy and disposable. Everything has been manufactured with convenience and ease of use nowadays, making the reduce, recycle, reuse concept difficult for the majority of society. However, like so many of the other changes I’ve made in my life to become a greener, more earth-friendly person, I’ve adapted quite easily to cloth. I’ll admit that in the beginning I was overwhelmed by information, methods and options, but very quickly cloth diapers became just a part of my daily routine, something I don’t have to think about, plan around or figure out. I have made cloth diapers work for me.

In the beginning I took an “all or nothing” approach. This quickly became very frustrating. I realized if I wanted to make this work I was going to have to embrace the parts that I loved and do away with certain aspects that made my daily routine more difficult. Cloth wipes made things difficult. For a lot of people they’re an easy no-brainer; for me they were a struggle. I loved the idea of them, but ran into several problems with my daughter and the diapers. My daughter has very sensitive skin so she reacted to every wipe solution I tried. I also found that the solutions left a bit of residue on her skin which, once it got on her diapers, caused some repelling issues. I didn’t like the idea of only using water. And I was still using disposable wipes for her messy poop diaper changes. In the end, I ditched the cloth wipes and my life (and cloth diapering) became a lot easier and worrisome. At first I considered it a defeat, but soon realized that whatever makes cloth diapers work for me is a victory.

Then, I was struggling to find “the perfect” diaper and frustrated when I would like the fit of one, but the look or absorbency or ease of use of another. Sounds silly, but if you’ve read my previous posts you know I’m all about simplicity and streamlining, and sorting those different inserts was just too much for me. For all of these reasons I determined that the plain ole microterry were the inserts for me. They are trim, absorbent and so easy to care for. I have now shelved my triple-fold Blueberry inserts and even my trusty, thin hemp for all microterry inserts. I can bleach them occasionally, I don’t have an extra step of sorting when stuffing and they make all of my diapers pretty trim under my daughter’s clothes. This simple insert change has made my routine work so well for me.

My diaper change and laundry routine now is such a snap, I’d argue that it’s easier than disposables. After a diaper change the diaper either gets thrown immediately into an open-top basket in my daughter’s room (just wet diapers) or I dump the contents into the toilet and throw the diaper into an identical basket in the bathroom. The open baskets mean no fumbling with a cover, no awful smell when I have to reach in on laundry day and no wet bags. Laundry day (every other, or even every third day) is incredibly simple with a streamlined, tried and tested routine.

When I began cloth diapering I thought I would like it and feel better about doing it both for my daughter and the environment, but I assumed and accepted that it was going to be harder and more work than disposables. However the day-to-day usage quickly became old hat. The diaper changes are easier because there’s no garbage bag to haul out and no stinky diapers to bring immediately outside to the garbage. Sure the laundry routine adds work, but I’ll take that over the constant back and forth of running out of diapers and schlepping big jumbo packs from the store on a weekly basis. I can honestly say that, much to my delight, I find cloth easier than disposables now that I’ve made them work for me.

By Jennifer

17 comments:

Sarala said...

Good idea on having a basket/container in the bathroom! My bathroom is quit small, but I think I can put a can under the sink or a wetbag on the back of the door, because I HATE traveling back to the bedroom with an icky dripping diaper!

Resplendentquetzal said...

I agree. I thought cloth diapering our twins was going to be so much more work and such a hassle, but chose to do so anyway in the interest of saving money. I'm amazed at how easy it is, how much better I feel about it (not toting out all those dirties!), and how it's really not that much more work on the laundry side either. I think it's important to remember that you don't have to buy all the accessories to cloth diaper, like special pails and liners. It's definitely a do what works for you system!

.tif said...

We'll be starting solids soon (in a month or so ... how did the time pass so quickly?!), and I've been trying to figure out what to do for poo dipes. Having a second pail in the bathroom is such a great idea!

I have a feeling that we'll be trying out flushable liners, though. Especially for outings, if not at home.

Thanks for the inspiration! So glad you've found your system!

Amber Joy said...

I use disposable wipes too, and I flush them.
I wonder how old your daughter is, though, because my curious toddler would be all IN that basket with no lid!

Caty said...

This post puts me so much more at ease! Of course, I'm not the only one, but sometimes I feel like I'm the only person on this Earth that's struggling with my cloth diapers and my routine with them. I'm BRAND NEW to cloth diapering and I was looking for ways to make it more simplistic! THANK YOU! haha!

I'm a working, stay at home Mom who has some time to spare, so you said it best, the extra laundry really isn't a burden! Especially when you see all the thousands of dollars you're saving by doing it!

HAPPY CLOTH DIAPERING! :-)

Lauren said...

I have floundered back and forth between cloth and disposable ones. I so want to use cloth wipes exclusively, but I get stuck when we have to use rash cream with a liner--and switching back and forth between 2 wipes boxes is driving me crazy. Many solids irritate my son's sensitive skin, so we have to use a barrier cream to heal things up at least a few times a week.
All that to say, what do you do with your used (pooped) disposable wipes? Do you have a separate "diaper-genie-ish" thing for them? They stink up our regular garbage can. Any and all advice would be much appreciated. =)
laurenkelley82 at yahoo dot com.

JenniferG said...

.tif: Everyone dreads the solids phase, but I thought it got easier rather than harder. In the beginning a diaper sprayer helps so much, but once their poops get a bit more solid they just shake right out of the diaper, no need to even spray. It's so easy!

Amber Joy: My daughter is 18 months now. We have had the occasional interest in the diaper basket, but I have just told her yucky and distracted her. I guess I'm lucky. Although she much prefers the basket of clean, folded diapers and loves tearing that apart!

Caty: It was only a year ago that I was a newbie. Check out some of my other posts labeled "By Jennifer" and you'll find some of the things that I've done to keep it simple and doable. You'll probably also chuckle at the newbie struggles that we've all shared.

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Lauren said...

Would you let me know what you do with your disposable wipes after you've used them?
laurenkelley82 at yahoo dot com
Thanks! =)

JenniferG said...

Hi Lauren: I hear your dilemma. I'm not sure how old your baby is, but I have found that most of my daughter's poops are very clean and the wipe isn't too dirty so I just put it in her trash and empty it every other day. If it's a messy one, I have these small disposable bags that I use to clean up after my dog outside that are biodegradable. I keep a roll in her room just in case. You can probably find them on-line or at a pet store.

Stephanie said...

I try to be a perfectionist too - and making the switch did make me have to do a lot of research. Then I figured out like you did that perfect isn't necessary- do what you can and then slowly adjust as needed. And now I am addicted and have one less child in diapers full time...

Melody said...

I second that! I love just dumping the diapers in the laundry instead of running out to the store and literally throwing the money away.
And I also agree with the open container for dirty dipes (especially as they get older). The closed container can practically make you cry after a couple days.

PhotogMom said...

It took me awhile to figure out my 'routine' with cd. (Son is 5 months old) I finally got it down pat within the past month that Thursday is 'diaper day.' If I'm feeling frisky, I'll start Wednesday night after lil man has gone to bed. I must admit...sheepishly...we use sposies at night. We haven't bitten the bullet to try doubling up with cloth at night yet. Since we use sposies we have a trash can and toss the wipes in...so I use sposie wipes too. Eventually I wonder if I can tackle the task of cloth wipes. For now I like my system. :)

Sabrina said...

Doing laundry is a snap comparted to all the other stuff that goes with dispossibles. Plus they are so cute!

Mel Hagberg said...

I was doing cloth part-time and disp diapers at daycare...after reading this I asked my daycare to consider doing cloth. They are checking with the licensing to see if they can! Thanks for the motivation to do all or nothing,

Robin Dawson said...

I am a "fan" of Diaper Shops on facebook.
ID: Robin Dawson
:)

Laura said...

I like the idea of having a basket/pail in the bathroom. I just bring the pail in with me to the bathroom when I need to deal with a poopy diaper - the bathroom is next to my DD bedroom so it works for us in our current house. I also thought it would be so much more work.. it really isn't that bad. I like having a pail liner though & just ordered a 2nd one so I can wash the liner & not be without a liner.

M and M said...

I was the same way at first. I agree you have to make a commitment and go with it! I just recently decided, with baby #2, to try cloth wipes, after I made a bunch I then decided I like disposable wipes however when we are home, I think I will use the cloth for the sake of saving money!