Now that we’re a year into parenthood and adventures in cloth diapering, I have been asked several times if we like them/use them/would do it again/hate touching poopy diapers and so on. And so, my Mom mentioned writing a post for curious minds. I still think Silas has the cutest buns, diaper or no.
Do you only do cloth? No. I have found that there are two general approaches to cloth diapering: crunchy granola, refuse to use disposables sort of people and the rest of us who do it to save money and take care of the planet, but don’t get caught up in the reputation over doing what works for the family. We’re solidly in the second category. A year later, what works for us is using Target disposables at night and using cloth during the day. We use disposables when we travel for the most part, although we have lugged the cloth back and forth a few times if it was just overnight.
What diapers did you get? We got the GroVia all-in-two hybrid system with snap in inserts and wicked cute shells that go from 8-35 pounds. They automatically come with organic cotton inserts, which I liked and used with my former nanny babe. You also have the option (at no extra cost) of stay-dry liners that are hemp fleece and they didn’t have many reviews when I was ordering, so I only got 4 of those and 24 of the organic cotton. Mistake! The stay-dry liners wick moisture away SO much better than the organic cotton. I will only get the stay-dry liners when I boost my stash for kid round two, and the shells are in fantastic shape still. I line dry them and wash them separately from the diapers, which is more careful than the instructions which say to toss them in with dipes, but I found with nanny baby’s they were in pretty beat up shape by 18 months from going through with inserts every time, especially the hook and loops. If Silas is wet with the cotton inserts, he is fussy to this day, which is nice because I know the culprit most times since he is such a happy baby. If he’s wet in the stay-dry, he doesn’t mind nearly as much. Is this a big deal? Not really, UNLESS you get a really, really bad sleeper like we did. Our kid hasn’t slept from the get go, and I swear it’s because when I was pregnant I was all “Snap, I can get any kid on a schedule. Blah blah blah”. You know what they say about karma. Just don’t go there.
So you don’t use cloth diapers at night? Nope. And I don’t feel bad about it. Silas was up every 2-3 hours until 7 months old with no naps longer than 45 minutes. Ever. At 7 months, he slept 3-4 hour stretches at night for the most part and took two 2-hour naps with a third cat nap. At eleven months, he takes two long naps and sleeps 4-8 hour stretches at night (hallelujah). I am giving you the sleep low-down so you know that anything that made our already hideous night situation worse was simply not in our best interest, and that happened to be cloth diapers. Cloth diapering at night (we tried six combos of Kushies, Bumkins, 2 kinds of GroVia, BumGenius, and one more I am forgetting) causes him to wake up chattering away and laughing and then have trouble going back to sleep. As much as he wakes up at night since birth, he goes right back down like a champion 97% of the time in a disposable. He never slept longer than 3 hours in a cloth diaper at night. Not worth it to us! He usually wears the same Target disposable for 12-13 hours (which is how long he sleeps at night) with no leaks, no extra wakes, and no fussiness or chattering for a solid hour. Score one for the sleepy parents.
Hook and Loop or Snaps? We ordered half snap, half hook and loop (velcro tabs). Many people said “get snaps! Hook and loop wears faster and babies take them off!” I regret listening. We use the hook and loop way more heavily than the snaps because A. they are way easier on a squirming, 20 pound monster who wants diaper time to be over, B. they have a free conversion to snaps if the hook and loop no longer work like they should over time and C. they are WAY less bulky and more flattering under clothes, and I’m vain about my kid looking cute. Skip the snaps, and then send them in to be converted once you hit a year and your kid is attempting to take off his diaper. Does Si do this? Yes, he’s a Garner kid and they love to be naked. He also wears onesies, and good luck getting that thing off to get to the diaper tabs.
Are they high maintenance? Gross? Hard to get clean? We don’t think so. We have a diaper sprayer that isn’t hooked up in this house, and I still don’t find poopy diapers stressful, although the sprayer would make things considerably easier. Especially the stay-dry liners are easy to–ahem–plop without any yucky residue like the cotton ones have. The inserts go through a wash cycle on cold, no soap. Then the liners go in and they all go through a warm cycle with Charlie’s soap. We used Rockin’ Green at first and liked it, but I love Charlie’s soap more. Lafayette has funky hard water, so we may switch back to Hard Rock Rockin’ Green after this round of Charlie’s, but not sure since the diapers seem SO clean with this machine versus our last one. We have a super capacity, commercial grade washer and dryer that came with this house and it makes an enormous difference. It isn’t HE, and sometimes HE machines can cause issues since the key to getting dipes clean is getting enough water through them, which is the opposite of the point of high efficiency/using less water per load.
Did you ever get the ammonia smell? Yes! Right before we moved (early August) I noticed whenever Si was wet, he started to smell like ammonia from build up in the diapers. After lots of research, the culprit was A. the diapers aren’t getting clean, B. they aren’t getting enough water through them, or C. they need to be stripped. In the end, I soaked them (clean) in our bathtub full of HOT water with a whole package of Rockin’ Green Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer overnight. Tim wrung them out, I washed them twice, and boom. Zero ammonia smell. Nothing! And I mean like brand new, beautiful diapers. Only creepy cloth diapering moms shove their face into a clean diaper and sniff as deeply as they can only to be elated at no funky chemical smells. I can admit it.
Will you use cloth with your next kid? Yup. Maybe my next kid won’t have such sensitive buns and will use cloth all night, too! Nanny babe was always fine in cloth at night, so it really is a kid to kid issue. We will probably get a bunch of the stay-dry liners and use the shells we already have, although I have considered getting a handful of Thirsties All-in-ones to bolster the stash instead since they are so affordable. I bought 6 AIO’s of various brands off of craigslist before I was ever pregnant, and I find myself grabbing them pretty often just because they are easy and less bulky. They will be worn out after Silas, though, so another AIO alternative is definitely something I would consider adding to the GroVia stash we already have instead of buying more GroVias. GroVia makes an AIO diaper, but they are expensive and the set up is weird as far as closure goes, in my opinion. Thirsties are like a cloth disposable–super easy for dads/daycares/noncloth friendlies, but I don’t know anyone who has used them. Anybody?
Feel free to throw out any other questions if you have them.