Monday, September 12, 2011

Cloth Diapering a Newborn 101- What We Do.

I've had a bunch of people contact me and ask how cloth diapering is going. The short answer: Great! We love it. Better yet we love how much money we are saving with it. Especially when we go through 3 diapers in 3 minutes. We are convinced Hannah will only go to the bathroom in a clean diaper. I can't blame her though...

So, this post is dedicated to those who want to know what a day in the life of cloth diapering a newborn is actually like.

First we need a baby:

Hi Hannah B!

When I first wrote about cloth and the diapers we had purchased, I didn't realize that the One Size Diapers and covers would be a tad too big for a 7-pound babe. Since I was counting on a small baby, I thankfully did a little more research and we prepared ourselves before baby.

Here is what we bought:

  • 24 Preemie-size Bummis Organic Prefold Diapers (available on Amazon in packs of 6). Note: Join Amazon Mom for free and get free super saver 2 day shipping!
  • Set of 6 Real Nappies Newborn (6-13lbs) diaper covers (Also at amazon). They work out to $6 each which is super reasonable for covers.
  • 1 NB Size Super Whisper Wrap Diaper Cover (basically one more cover that is patterned and not necessary but super fun to have and adorable!) 
  • Set of 3 snappis (also bought on amazon) to hold pre fold diaper on baby nice and snug.
  • 1 Bottle LuSa Organics Baby Wipe Juice (makes 2 gallons of wipe solution!) I make small batches of the wipe solution for small spray bottles that we have at the changing station.
  • Charlies Laundry Soap (Cloth diaper safe)

Here is what we made:
Large Size Wet Bag with waterproof liner and snap loop- available at Cottage On the Coast.etsy soon!

  • 4-5 medium and large size Wet Bags (Basically a sack with waterproof liner that you throw in laundry along with the diapers - more on that)
  • 30 Reusable Flannel Wipes (I'm going to make more of these though - they are invaluable!
Good News! My Etsy Shop will soon be carrying wet bags and flannel wipes....stay tuned!)

So let's start with a clean baby. Time to put a diaper on. Take a pre fold diaper and do a jelly-roll fold and use a snappi to close diaper. I know, I know. I lost you. I would have been lost a month ago too. I did my research and found this was one of the best folds for newborn "liquids" (we'll leave it at that). Here is a video on youtube I found explaining how to do the jelly roll using a Snappi (Note: this video is slightly misleading in that your newborn will NEVER be as still and compliant as the doll!). I will admit that the jelly roll takes some finesse. Don't lose heart. Within a week and 50 diapers later you will be able to do it in your sleep. Or you could be like Jim on the office and diaper everything you can before baby is born:

Then you put one of the waterproof covers on. Make sure the pre fold isn't peeking out from under the cover, or you'll find that wetness will wick on to your baby's clothing (not that it's happened to us or anything). Done! 

Uh oh. Dirty Diaper. Time to take the cover off and see the damage. Is the cover dirty? Probably not, but it happens from time to time. Take the snappi off and unfold the pre fold. Give a quick wipe with the pre fold to take care of the worst of it.  Give a few sprays to your reusable wipes and clean baby. Note: Baby's feet come standard with poop radar...they will find it faster than you think and have no qualms putting their feet joyfully in it.

What do you do with the dirty diaper (and sometimes cover)? Throw it into the wet bag along with the wipe and zip it up. (Yet Another Note: As long as you are breastfeeding, there is no need to rinse the diapers before putting them in the wet bag.) TMI time: Breast milk is water soluble and will rinse out in the first rinse cycle you do--no need to "swish" in toilet if you don't want to. Who wants to stick their hand in the toilet anyways?

Essentially, you are taking the dirty diaper and throwing it "away" in the wet bag (instead of a disposable in the trash). Same idea!

So here's the wash routine (these are directions for a top loading washing machine. The energy efficient front loaders require a little tweaking to get the correct amount of water for rinse cycle. I've heard people add extra water through one of the drawers or adding a soaking wet towel to the load):
      1.) Take the wet bag to your washing machine. Unzip the wet bag and dump everything into the washer. Shake the bag out until the lining comes out and throw the bag in the wash with everything else. 

       2.) Make sure you do a rinse cycle with cold water only, no soap.

       3.) Then add a scoop of Charlie's soap, switch to hot water wash, and do complete wash cycle.

       4.) Transfer everything to dryer or line dry in the sun (has bleaching potential for stains).
       5.) Done! 

So this routine has worked really well for us. We have had to do laundry every day though.  If you don't want to have to do the wash every day I would suggest buying more covers and prefolds. It is a relatively short time period that you use so many (first 3-4 weeks) and then it becomes more manageable. We felt it was worth it to do more laundry.

Then you have a Happy Baby!

So there you have it! How we have cloth diapered our newborn.  It's absolutely manageable and saves you so much money when you don't go overboard on cute covers:) Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have further questions!

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