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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Part-Time Cloth Diapering at 9 Months Old

So why all of a sudden start cloth diapering a 9 month old?

It all started when I thought it was a good idea to introduce Calvin to the potty around 8.5 months old. We had one day of nakey baby butt all day except nap time so I could start to recognize his patterns. I ordered some training pants after that day. It was just easier to pull down underpants rather than lay him down to undo a diaper for those days we were really focusing on trying to use the potty consistently. Then I was talking to my best friend and she mentioned that she and her husband were thinking about cloth diapering. I made the excuse that we weren't doing it because Calvin stays with the Grandmas four days per week and I didn't want to burden them with cloth. Then it just occurred to me like magic: what's wrong with part-time cloth diapering? And so I started to do some research. And a lot of people made the case that a cloth diapered baby can better recognize when they're wet and can potty train faster, which was the point of our conversation to begin with.

I had watched cloth diapering mommies on YouTube while I was pregnant and thought it was interesting, and nice for them, but I never seriously considered doing it in our own family. And honestly, it wasn't the idea of poop and extra laundry that freaked me out, it was the seemingly endless options for different cloth diapers, brands, styles, accessories, etc. I didn't even know where to start or what would be easy, yet cost effective. So here I am with a 9 month old and we are giving it a go! I'm trying my best to use only cloth while I'm with Calvin. At the Grandmas he can continue using disposables. And my husband likes to use overnight disposables for nighttime, and that's our compromise. So on average, we're saving six diapers per day, three days per week.

Here are my top three reasons why.
1. Environment
I would not call myself a super hippie dippie momma, but even still when we take out the bag of disposables every few days it stuns me to see how much waste is involved with diapering a baby.
2. Affordability
Diapers are expensive. They might not seem like it because you spend a little at a time, but it sure adds up! And God willing, we want a big family, cloth will pay for itself in no time with multiple babies.
3. Cuteness
I totally understand all the cloth diaper addicted mommas out there! I want all the cute prints! But buying all the cute prints totally goes against reason #2. Haha.

Calvin (9 months, 22 pounds) modeling a Thirsties Duo Wrap size 2 in Woodland

This is our collection so far:
5 Thirsties Duo Wrap w/ snaps $66.25
1 Thirsties Duo Wrap w/ velcro $11.10
1 Ecoable cover w/ velcro $11
1 Happy Heiny's medium pocket diaper w/ velcro*
12 large Dandelion prefolds $27.33
6 large GMD prefolds $20
12 small GMD prefolds $30
6 small Gerber gauze flats*~
1 small Dandelion prefold*
cloth wipes and wash cloths*
3 Snappis $10.00
Total so far: $176

*= shower gifts or hand-me-downs
~= These are pretty thin. I double these up and then fold down the front to fit inside a cover. So technically from these six, I only have three inserts.

That should cover us until potty training.

I have some newborn stuff now, but will need more, so let's double up some of these items to prepare for the newborn days...
12 small GMD prefolds $30
5 Thirsties Duo Wrap w/ snaps $66.25
1 Thirsties Duo Wrap w/ velcro $11.10
1 Ecoable cover w/ velcro $11
Estimated $119

Estimated future total for cloth diapering birth to potty: $295

That's approximately 6 months of disposables based on what I've been spending for Calvin so far. And Justin and I want multiple children. Covers may need to be replaced, but I believe prefolds will last through many babies, from what I've read.
As of right now, Calvin wears disposables at the Grandmas' (4 days per week, 10 hours per day while I work) and at nighttime because we stocked up on nighttime diapers before we decided to embark on this adventure, so we're going to be using those up before we decide if we are ready to try cloth overnight. Also cloth diapering overnight sounds very intimidating. Also my husband thinks it's best to just stick to the overnight diapers, so I let that be our compromise for now. :)

So this is all an experiment really. I'd like to do all cloth from the start with the next babies, so we will see if I can convince the Grandmas :). At first my mom thought I was crazy, but when she realized I wasn't trying to force it on her, she became much more happy with my decision, maybe with time we'll convince her! I'm not sure how my mother-in-law feels about it, we haven't really discussed it with her.

I'm not adding in the cost of wet bags because we use a Munchkin diaper pail, so we buy bags for that anyway and they aren't cheap man. I'm sure we can rig up a way to put a cloth liner in there. I told Justin when we run out of those bags, we're just going to buy a cloth liner instead. Even if we are putting disposables in it, at least we can reuse that bag instead of just throwing it out each time. For the cloth for now we just use a little laundry basket to transport from the nursery to the toilet to the wash room, etc.
Dandelion Diapers size 5 organic cotton/bamboo prefold inside a Thirsties Duo Wrap size 2 

Why prefolds & covers?
1. Affordable
Prefolds or flats and covers are pretty much as affordable as it gets with cloth diapering. You can re-use a diaper cover a few times as long as it doesn't have poo on it or get smelly, meaning you don't have to buy as many. You don't have to change a "full diaper" each time you change a baby's butt. For example, we go through around 3 covers and 7 prefolds per day. That means about every other time Calvin needs to be changed, I can just replace the insert and leave the outer shell.
2. Quick Dry Time
After doing my research, I decided to line dry the covers in order to help them last as long as possible, in order to go through as many babies as possible. You have to take care of the PUL material, elastic, snaps, etc. The material helps them dry super fast anyway since it's meant to be waterproof, there's no thick fabric for the moisture to settle in. I do, however, put our prefolds in the drier on medium heat and they dry in reasonable time. They are two separate pieces that come apart to be dried separately.
3. Basic
With all the different types of diaper systems there are, these are very basic and make sense to me. You have the absorbing part (prefold) and the waterproof part (cover). Easy peasy.
4. Versatile
You can use prefolds as actual diapers, wrap them around the baby, and secure with pins or a snappi. Put a cover on top for the waterproof barrier, or let the baby run free around the house. Or trifold them into a pad shape and use them as inserts inside diapers, which is so far my favorite way to use them. I was skeptical about this second method, I thought for sure the diapers would leak, but so far so good! Think about it, when you take a look at a disposable, only that center pad part is actually absorbing the potty, the wings and edges are just plastic stuff, like the diaper covers.
5. The Poo
It is super easy to just dunk a prefold into the toilet if need be! They are more compact than other options. No need for a sprayer. Not as gross as it may seem either! Haha.
6. Durability
Prefolds are pretty much indestructible, they should last through multiple babies. Covers will last longer because I hang dry them (see reason #2).

Thirsties Duo Wraps size 2 (top to bottom) Aspen Grove, Fallen Leaves, Woodland, Fin, Meadow, Moss
What's not fun about cloth?

Of course there are downsides too.
Snaps can take a few extra seconds to close the diaper on a baby, but I think with time and practice, I'll get quicker. Velcro legit takes the same amount of time as a disposable, so no worries there.
It takes like 30 seconds to walk to the bathroom and plop a poo in the toilet and walk back to the nursery. TMI but Cal's poos are very solid these days, they literally just plop right off. Exclusively breastfed newborn poo doesn't even need to be rinsed. So really the only time you have to actually deal with the poo is for those 4-ish months when you've just started introducing baby food.
The laundry aspect does kind of suck too. But it's only twice per week for us. And it's not really the fact that we're doing extra laundry, it's more that the diaper loads are washed differently from our regular loads.
Our wash schedule:
Soak in warm water 15 minutes
Heavy cycle, warm water, large load, medium amount of detergent
Extra Rinse
But since our washer doesn't have a lot of settings, this is what the diaper laundry schedule really looks like: Set to rinse cycle, keep the lid open while the water fills, set a timer for 15 minutes, let it soak with the lid open, go back and shut the lid to turn on the rinse cycle, wait for rinse cycle, then go back and turn it on for the full cycle. Not a super big deal, but I'm bad at remembering the laundry on a normal day, much less when I have to go attend to one load several times. So if we had a washer that actually had the settings all built in and I didn't have to go back and forth, I don't think the laundry would bother me at all.


Overall, I feel really good about this. It may sound weird and might be hard to understand, but it makes me feel more involved with my baby boy, just like breastfeeding and making baby food. Even when I'm not directly spending time with him, I'm still doing so many things for him and that makes me happy. I'm happy knowing this is money well spent. These diapers will be used on future babies and will help us contribute less to landfills, plus they're adorable! 

Thanks for reading!