Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Cloth Diaper Odyssey

Swaddlebees Organic Fitted Diapers

I have been cloth diapering little bottoms since 1993 when my first daughter was born. Back then you didn't have all of the nifty options that cloth diapering Moms enjoy today, you had flat diapers and prefolds. I bought several packs of Dr. Denton prefolds from Family Dollar along with the required plastic pants and off I went on my cloth diapering journey. Back in the day it was S.O.P to use a wet pail, I would soak the diapers in the toilet (and occasionally forget about them and Mr. G would flush them down) and then transfer the sopping wet, slightly less poopy article to the bucket where it would marinate until wash day. Gross, gross, gross. But it was cheaper than 'sposies and that was the main thing for me then; I didn't give a rip about the environment or how it was "better for babies" or attach any social activism to it at all. I followed the same path with the twins, that of prefolds and plastic pants but I also used 'sposies for nighttime and when I didn't have any cloth ones clean.
Kawaii, Thirsties, Tweedlebugs

BumWear, Oh Katy

I may have used cloth sporadically on the next two girls, I don't really remember (which is a pitfall of having a big family and not writing stuff down) but my cloth diapering day really dawned when I was expecting Elisabethe. Suddenly there was an explosion of cloth cuteness, diapers designed better than ever before. I bought exclusively natural fiber fitted diapers: Swaddlebees organic, Little Beetle Lites and regular, Cricketts, Tinkletraps, Firefly regular and overnights, Under the Nile organic. I had a major addiction with these little bundles of fluff. I used wool soakers as the outer layer that keeps clothes from getting wet. I have used: Disana soakers, Lana soakers, Aristocrats soakers, Organic Caboose soakers and various WAHM soakers. I *loved* wool, I loved that it was all natural, breathable and cool for little heineys. I loved the way it smelled, looked and felt. I'd get this Zen thing going when I handwashed them and lanolized them. :-) I was not interested in any AIOs (all in one diapers) or any synthetic anything touching my babies. We didn't wear synthetic clothes and I was not going to diaper a baby in petroleum by-products!

close up of a Tweedlebugs and the Oh Katy

So, fast forward a few babies: I no longer own a clothes dryer and I have newly acquired an AUTOMATIC WASHER!!!! after having spent 9 months hand washing clothes for a family of 11. I had sold most of my fitted diapers because you really can't get them clean without a machine and they're almost impossible to dry without a clothes dryer in the Winter. I'm ready to be the Prodigal Cloth Diapering Daughter, but how? Enter the pocket diaper. A synthetic beauty consisting of a PUL outer (water resistant layer) and a microfleece inner. Into the pocket you stuff a microfiber insert that absorbs the moisture. I bought: Tweedlebugs (an OK diaper, not my favorite, but low price), BumWear (another OK diaper, cute prints and good price), Kawaii (the snap version is *great*, the aplix isn't so great), Oh Katy (my favorite daytime pocket, stuffs from the front which I really like) and 2 Thirsties Pocket AIOs (I love these for nighttime, you can use them as an AIO or add inserts to up the absorbency for nighttime. They are being discontinued so snap them up if you can find them). I never thought I would be crazy about synthetic diapers but I am! I love the microfleece against Asa's bottom, he never feels wet like my other babies would with cotton against their skin. The microfleece wicks the moisture away leaving him feeling dry. The pocket diapers are easy to hand wash and even the inserts dry fairly quickly, another plus for me! He never smells like pee either, I can't really figure this one out but it's true. Pocket diapers also don't add a ton of bulk, they're trimmer than the fitteds I had and that's nice under little jeans.

Thirsties Pocket Aios

I am happy to be back to using cloth. Today, I do care about the amount of disposable diapers going into landfills and I know that if I were a baby cloth is what I'd want to wear, not a scratchy paper diaper laden with toxic chemicals. The diapers I have will still be useable for any other babies we have, making the investment even more profitable.


  1. Great post, especially for those first-time CD moms out there. I fell in love with pocket diapers too. I use BumGenius. I need to get more, because I really don't have enough to get me through to wash day.

  2. Amy, I had a BG when they first came out, back then they only came in white so I drew butterflies and flowers on it and dyed the whole thing lavender! ;-) I liked them, but I prefer microfleece over suedecloth these days. BG are cute though, and they really innovated the pocket diaper concept. A new company I want to try is gogreen pocket diapers, I like their philosophy of "cloth diapers for the rest of us", excellent prices and cute prints.

  3. Thanks so much for this article! We're going to be cloth diapering but due to my husband being out of work for 3 months we're on a tight budget. I still needed pretties though...so I've made my own prefolds, and covers. I'm nervous about them working though!

  4. Thanks for this, Paris! you've got quite the collection going. I'm starting with just prefolds and Thirsties PUL covers because my budget is nonexistant -- the same reason I'm doing cloth instead of sposies. I want to knit myself up some wool, but I'm intimidated. Did you ever make your own wool covers, or just purchase them?

  5. To the Jennys,
    Good for both of you! Lots of people don't even attempt to CD a newborn, they'll wait a few months before they start. So even if it gets overwhelming at first you can always transition to all cloth in a month or so. I took my plain diapers and dyed them or even tie-dyed some, I needed the color! Tiny Bird Organics has a wool soaker/longies pattern free on their site, a gal I knew knit for her baby when she had only modest knitting skills so I think it should be fairly easy. I always bought my soakers because I couldn't knit at the time. Good luck to both of you, I hope we'll get to see pictures of your babies in cloth!!! :-)

  6. And today, this article about frugal fluff. :D

  7. I plan on taking many pictures :) You just have to wait a few more weeks. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! We might start with disposables at night, for ease sake, and just do cloth during the day for a couple weeks. At least, that's my current thought, which may change dramatically once Baby Girl actually shows up!

  8. Great post! Just found your site. I am long past this stage, but your witty words bring back memories, and I enjoyed it so much!

  9. Jenny, I think that sounds like a sensible plan, give yourself enough leeway to change course or plans as the need arises! I the very beginning 'sposies can be a really nice thing to have. I *wish* I still had my newborn fitted stash, I could loan it to you and the other Jenny. I gave most of them away to a missionary couple and sold the rest. :-( Can't wait for pictures! Do you have a doula, BTW?

    Mary, thank you for the kind words! I'm glad that you like it here. :-) I will be looking at your blog later today, I'm always happy to meet a new blogger than has similar interests!


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