Thursday, January 26, 2012

What do I need to get started...besides diapers?

Besides the obvious answer of "diapers," what do you need to get started cloth diapering? Really, just the diapers and a way to wash them is all that's necessary. Oh, and a baby to put them on! Otherwise we get into creepy adult diaper fetish territory, and no one wants that. I hope.

There are, however, many things that will make your life easier. (This is accessories only: diapers, inserts, and covers are not included here.)

Small wetbags:
1-2 small wetbags for the diaper bag/going out. Two is nice so you have one available while one is in the wash but not necessary.

Diaper pail:
A place to store dirty diapers. You can get a special diaper pail, but really all you need is a trash can with a lid. The more air circulation, the less smell, so a swing-top lid is a good bet.
Pail liner:
1-2 pail liners. Two is nice so you have one available while one is in the wash, but not necessary. You put the pail liner in the trash can or diaper pail. It allows you to transfer the dirty diapers to the washer without having to touch any dirty diapers (just turn it inside out into the drum of the washer), and can help contain smells.
 Large Wetbags:
1-2 large wetbags. In lieu of a diaper pail and pail liner, some people use large (usually hanging) wetbags.  Either option is fine and is totally personal preference.

It's always nice to have a handful of doublers to add extra absorbency in a pinch, but they may not be needed. OPTIONAL

Disposable liners can make solid poop a breeze to flush; however, some older septic systems will clog with disposable liners, so be careful. Fleece liners will add a stay-dry feeling to any diaper that doesn't already have one, and can be used to protect diapers if you have to use a non-cloth diaper safe diaper cream (wash separately with clothes after use).  How many? It depends on how often you are going to use them! Disposable liners usually come in large packs that you'll replace as you use them. Fleece liners can be used every diaper change (for instance, if you use prefolds and always want a stay-dry feeling) or rarely, just when you need to use a special diaper cream. So how many you need depends on your anticipated use.  OPTIONAL

Cloth wipes:
24-36+ wipes. You're already doing cloth diapers, might as well do wipes too!  (But for real: they get so much more off than disposable wipes, and you are far less likely to get poop on you wiping with cloth!) Also: wipe solution.  Technically these are optional but I highly recommend making the switch!  There are a lot of ways to use these - some people fill a peri bottle with solution, some people have a small spray bottle, some people have container of solution that they keep pre-moistened wipes in.  Some people spray the wipes; some people spray the baby's bottom.  While on the go, some people will take a baggie of wet wipes and some people will take dry wipes and the spray bottle. Whatever works for you is the right way!

2-3 Snappies. Only needed if using flats, prefolds, or snapless fitteds to secure the diapers. Not needed otherwise. (You could also use old-fashioned diaper pins.) OPTIONAL

Cloth-diaper safe rash cream:
This can be used as a preventative, to make cleaning poop off easier (hint: it doesn't stick as much to the baby!), and to clear up rashes. CJ's BUTTer is a popular option, as is plain coconut oil.

Diaper sprayer:
Used to spray off solid poop into the toilet, where it can be flushed. However, you don't need this until your child has started solids at about six months of age. Some people opt to skip the sprayer and instead "swish" or "swirl" their diapers in the toilet (hold the diaper in the water and flush the toilet) or to scrape their diapers (using a designated spatula to scrape the poop into the toilet). Some kids grace their parents with poop that immediately can just be "plopped" into the toilet and no spraying, swishing, or scraping is necessary! OPTIONAL

Cloth-diaper safe detergent:
Don't ruin your diapers! Use a detergent that is safe for cloth diapers.

Line dryer:
Somewhere to dry your diapers outside, preferably in the sun. Get out stains and lengthen the life of your diapers! Also: clothespins.  OPTIONAL

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Guest Post : Kristen from "A Tale of Two Babies."

Kristen is the mother of two absolutely BEAUTIFUL baby girls, and she cloth diapers them! Some people say they can't imagine cloth diapering twins, but Kristen always says she can't imagine NOT cloth diapering twins!  Check out Kristen's life (and her amazing nursery) at A Tale of Two Babies.


Cloth Diapering 101 for Twins

I have wanted to sit down and write out this post for a while! There is just so much I want to put in this, so please bear with me as it will most likely turn into a novel! There are lots of resources for cloth diapering on the web, but as far as I know, there aren't many that are specifically dedicated to cloth diapering multiples. When I was pregnant, I had a lot of CD (cloth diaper) related questions that were twins related. Such as) how many do you need for twins? What brand works best? Since I'll need double, what are some brands that are less expensive? What is the washing/care routine?

Twins are obviously more work than having one baby. So you might think that adding in cloth diapers is an unnecessary burden. However, I find it to be just as easy, if not easier, than using disposables. Once you get a good routine down, CDing is easy, fun and a GREAT way to save money!

How many cloth diapers do I need, and what is this going to cost me? 

This was a question I asked over and over when I was pregnant. To be honest, I only started with a few, then added to my stash as time went on and I figured out what worked for me the best. In addition, Miss Catherine and Miss Emily were born on the small side (5 lbs and 5 lbs 3 oz) so they couldn't fit into most one-size diapers when they were still tiny newborns. During the first month we used preemie sized prefolds and covers along with disposables (we got a fewLinkpacks of disposables as gifts from my showers). But anyways, here is the breakdown of how many diapers I have currently.

2 - Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter (snaps)
4 - Kawaii One Size Fun Prints (snaps)
2 - Blueberry Minky's (velcro)
6 - Sunbaby's (snaps)
2 - Fuzzibuns (snaps)
26 - Kawaii Pure & Natural (velcro)

So that is a total of 42 diapers that I use daily. And, thanks to the internet, I know exactly how much I've spent: $372.57. However, my mother in law graciously bought me 10 diapers for Christmas so if you subtract $73 for those, it equals $299.57.

(I also have some preemie and normal sized prefolds and covers, but my mom bought me those so I didn't count them in my total. Plus I pretty much only use them if all my diapers are in the wash, which is rare, or for burp cloths and rags!)

So let's do the math here, shall we? My girls are 29 weeks old. Let's figure that I use 10 diapers per day, per baby. So a total of 20 diapers a day, 140 diapers per week. That is 4,060 diapers that I would have used since they have been born (and we all know that as newborns, and once you start solids, you use more than 10 diapers per day!). So let's say I was using super cheap disposables - parent's choice from walmart. Online, it states that a pack of 200 diapers is $23.88. That means I would have spent $484.76 by now! So that is a savings of $185.19 AND my girls are only 6 months old! And if I used a more expensive brand, like Pampers for example, I would have spent a total of $922.42 by now!!! That is a savings of $622.85!!! These diapers will get them well into potty training so now every month I use cloth over disposables, I'm saving money. Yes cloth is an initial investment, but over time you easily make back what you would have spent on disposables. Plus, you NEVER have to run out to the store because you're "out of diapers". With cloth, all you have to do is run a load of laundry!

In addition, all of these diapers are "pockets." That means there's a "shell," if you will, that 1 or 2 inserts fit into. The insert absorbs the liquid, and the part of the shell that touches baby's skin stays pretty dry. The outer part of the shell stays dry.

Snaps vs. Velcro

This is really personal preference. I have found from my experience that velcro is wonderful to use during the day. Dadddy's and Grandma's especially like the ease of use that velcro brings. The only downside that I have found, is that the velcro tends to wear over time with washing and drying. Little hairs, loose threads, etc. become stuck in the velcro and you have to pull it out. Diapers with snaps tend to hold up a little better through all the wash cycles, but are a little bit more of a pain to put on the baby. Especially when you are diapering one baby and the other is screaming! So I tend to use velcro during the day, and snaps at night.

Care and Maintenance
I'm going to be honest, I don't do a great job caring for my cloth diapers! Some people use special CD detergent, line dry, do rinse cycles, etc. Here's what I do. I use All Free & Clear detergent, which you can find at any grocery store. I put all the diapers in a rinse cycle first. Then I add the rest of my baby laundry to the washing machine, add the detergent, and do a normal wash cycle on hot. Then EVERYTHING goes in the dryer. To be honest, with twins, I just do not have the time to mess with line drying, etc. In the summer I liked sunning my diapers on the deck because it took all the little stains out and made them bright and new looking, but obviously I can't do that in the winter. So then I take all my laundry out, sort it, stuff my diapers and put them away. I do laundry every other day. I actually do the wash at night, and put them in the dryer right before I go to bed. Then when I wake up in the morning, I have time to sort and fold. Would my diapers, especially the velcro, look a little better if I line dried? Definitely. But we're 6 months in and my diapers are holding up JUST fine!

It's really easy to store cloth diapers! I have a changing table that is more like a dresser, and all my diapers in the top drawer.
As for dirty diapers, my mom got me a great hamper. I think she got it from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It came with two mesh bags that velcro in. In one of the bags, I used diaper pins to pin in a wet bag. That's where all the dirty diapers go. The other bag I just leave open for the rest of the baby laundry; bibs, clothes, jammies, etc.

Diaper Rash No More
As I said earlier, we used disposables part time when the girls were newborns. Right after we got home, they both got a terrible diaper rash. I tried every cream on the market, let them air out ALL the time, etc. and nothing worked. There were just huge blisters on my poor babies tushes and I felt so bad I couldn't do anything about it. Finally at about 3-4 weeks old, I discovered that the girls finally fit into my pocket diapers! I was so excited, and we switched instantly. Honestly, one day later, their rashes were GONE. Not a trace of it left. 6 months later, they have never had another diaper rash. 
Well, I think that's about it! I think I covered everything - but if you have any questions leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer! Happy Diapering!