Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cloth Diapers

Last week I began using my stash of gdiapers on Joshua! We bought a selection of gdiapers for Lydia because because they were a hybrid and advertised that you could flush or even compost the soiled part and then wash the cute cloth cover.

Somewhere in my research, I discovered that the flushable liners to the gdiapers would reek havoc on our septic tank (they should be fine for non septic tank set ups). Fortunately, I also learned that I could purchase cloth liners to use in place of the flushable inserts. I opted for the gdiapers because I liked the idea if being able to use cloth most of the time and still have the option for flushable if I was out and about (and did not want to carry poo soaked liners with me all day).

I was still a little overwhelmed about exactly where to begin and what to do with the cloth diapers in terms of storing, soaking, and washing them. A new friend was very kind and invited me into her home to check out her cloth diapering set up and that made a HUGE difference in my decision that I could try it.

In an attempt to do something similar, here is a look at my diapering set up. I don't do cloth all the time, so I am set up for both cloth and disposable. Due to space issues, our changing table is in a bathroom that is right next to the nursery. It works great for cloth because I do have access to running water if needed, but I mostly operate without needing to soak anything (more on that later).

On my changing table, I have one bin full of disposable diapers and one that is full of cloth.

My cloth set up consists of about 5 gdiaper covers and 20 or so washable liners. I will usually have 2 covers that I alternate between on a given day. I will pre-load a liner in a cover so that it is ready for me when a change is needed, making it closer to the disposable experience. Then AFTER the diaper change, I pull the soiled liner out of the recently used cover, send the liner off to the wash pile, and re-load the cover with a new liner. It's a few extra steps that I do NOT want to tackle while hoping that baby doesn't pee on me!

Here is a quick look at the gdiaper construction. They consist of a fabric cover (left) with Velcro closures and a snap in waterproof liner (right). The other thing that you can see here is the difference between the "old" gdiaper's sizing and the "new" style. I don't know how long ago they made the style change from old to new. I bought my gdiapers four years ago and I bought used ones (from a website called diaperswapper). At the time EBay had rules against selling used cloth diapers. The idea never bothered me (they get sanitized in the wash) and I saved a ton of money! Anyway, the old style is pretty old by now, but if you run across them, they are about a half size smaller than the new style gdiapers. The other issue is that the snaps for the waterproof liners changed so I can't mix those between styles.

Other than that, the old and the new work the same way. They Velcro closed so that part is very similar to using disposables. They do Velcro in the BACK so that takes a little getting used to, but means that baby can't unfasten his own diaper as easy.

OK, back to the set up. When I change a gdiaper, I toss the soiled liner into a large trash can that is lined with a special "wet bag". I do NOT have water or anything in this bag and I don't normally soak the cloth diapers. (when baby gets bigger and poo becomes more solid I may shake it off into the toilet but thats it) The wet bag is lined to make it water proof, so diaper moisture (and smells) are contained. It will get stinky if left too long, but with my set up I need to wash every 2-3 days to not run out of covers or liners and that is about the time limit on my bag getting stinky. (I also have a smaller regular trash can near the changing table for baby wipes and disposable diapers to be thrown away) When it is time to wash, I take the wet bag out of the trash can and turn it inside out into the washing machine. I then wash the cloth diapers AND the wet bag on a normal cycle (usually hot water). I haven't had any problems with detergent build up and I even sometimes wash diapers with clothing and everything comes out fine. I also dry my diapers without any problems, but I try to remove the waterproof gdiaper part before drying just to help them last longer.

I try to use cloth diapers as much as possible when we are at home. When we go out I sometimes use disposables. If we aren't going to be out for long and I want to use the cloth, I have a travel sized wet bag. This works the same as the big bag near my changing table. It just means that when I change a gdiaper while out, the dirty liner goes in this wet bag and stays there until I get home. The clean covers and several clean liners must be stored in my diaper bag and the whole system takes up a bit more space than disposable, making it easier to commit to for short outings.

Finally, when I started this four years ago, using cloth liners in gdiapers was relatively novel. I only found a few places selling cloth liners that fit my gdiapers. Today, even gdiapers sell a cloth liner. Even more exciting, you can find DIY tutorials for making your own cloth liners! The tutorial on See Kate Sew is particularly nice if you are interested.

In closing, here is one of the few pictures that I have of Lydia in a gdiaper. Sadly, it is also a picture of her annoying herniated umbilical chord! The gdiapers had nothing to do with the hernia and (thankfully) it was healed relatively quickly!

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