Cloth Diapers, Poetry & Words

How I Quit Cloth Diapering (and Faced the Mama Mafia)

The cost of using cloth diapers vs the cost of using disposable diapers I quit cloth diapering.

There, I said it. The cat’s out of the bag.

Actually, I quit at the end of January. I’ve kept it a secret all this time. I’ve been careful not to talk about it. I’ve been careful not to post any photos of Aveline in which she’s obviously wearing a disposable.

Why did I hide it? Because I was afraid of the backlash. I was afraid of the Mama Mafia.

The Mama Mafia is brutal.

But this week, I made another decision. I decided I’m not going to be intimidated, nor am I going to make excuses. I’m going to be honest. Because truthfully? Cloth diapers are gross.

Before you stick your hand through your computer screen to grab me by the throat, let me say that again. Cloth diapers are gross. They just are. It’s a fact you can’t really argue with. You can downplay it and talk yourself through it in order to save money, but you can’t deny it.

I reached a point, nearly a year in to cloth diapering, when I asked myself, “Ok, how much money am I actually saving?”

And so The Great Disposable Experiment began. At the end of the trial period, here’s what I learned.

The Cost of Cloth Diapers vs. The Cost of Disposables

  • It cost approximately $5.63/week ($22.50/month) on electricity, water/sewer, and detergent to use cloth diapers.
  • It cost approximately $6.25/week ($25.00/month) to use disposable diapers.

And that’s not even counting the hundreds of dollars I spent purchasing (used, not new) cloth diapers.

A savings of $2.50/month? I quit cloth diapering.

Fellow mamas, let’s be brave. Let’s be free. I’m done hiding behind the mask of fear. My baby wears disposables. Now you know.

And you know what? I’m ok with that!

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Cloth Diapers

Welcome, readers from The Budget Mommy!

If you’re stopping over from my Cloth Diapering on a Budget: How to Buy Used Cloth Diapers guest post over at The Budget Mommy, welcome! Aveline is super happy to see you. :-)

Be sure to check out all my cloth diapering posts:

smiling seven month old baby girl - Aveline on Oaxacaborn

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Thanks for stopping by!

Cloth Diapers, How To

Part 2 | Frequently Asked Questions about Cloth Diapers | Best Practices for Laundering and Care

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CLOTH DIAPERS - oaxacaborn blog series

Last time, I talked about various types of cloth diapers. This installment, we’re looking at —

Best Practices for Laundering and Care

What Detergent do You Use?

You can’t just use any old laundry soap for washing cloth diapers. You need one free of fabric softeners, fragrances, dyes, optical whiteners, and enzymes. Washing in the wrong detergent will result in fabric which repels instead of absorbs liquid, leaving you with leaky diapers. It will also allow ammonia to build up in the fabric’s fibers, causing an awful smell and leading to diaper rash. Basically, improper laundering is the root cause for most of the problems that give cloth diapering a bad rap. The right detergent, on the other hand, will transform cloth diapers from yucky to honestly enjoyable.

So how do you know which detergent to choose? Thankfully, there’s a fantastic cloth diaper detergent chart over at Diaper Jungle. This convenient resource ranks dozens of detergents on a scale of 1 to 4, letting you know which ones to avoid at all costs and which ones are ideal for diaper laundering. (Tide? Don’t even think about!)

Personally, I use Rockin’ Green*, a wonderful powdered detergent naturally scented with essential oils. Rockin’ Green comes in different formulations, depending on whether you have hard or soft water. I first tried Rockin’ Green by using a small sample, and I’ve never looked back.

Another note about detergents. It seems counterintuitive, but less is actually more. A lot of times a lingering smell is actually caused by using too much soap. If you’re switching to using a cloth-diaper safe detergent after using a less-than-ideal one, you’ll probably encounter stink as well. This FAQ has a lot of pointers on stripping/soaking to eliminate build-up.

How do You Wash Cloth Diapers?

The basic procedure for laundering cloth diapers is three-fold: an initial rinse in as much water as your washer will hold, a soapy wash in hot water, and a final rinse.  (If your baby hasn’t started solids yet, you just put the diapers in the wash as-is.)

How this plays out in reality really depends on your individual water type and what kind of washer you have. Through trial and error, I’ve discovered that for my washing machine, the initial and final rinses need to be actual full wash cycles san soap, not just quick rinse cycles. Because I have hard water, I often soak the diapers in the soapy hot water — for an hour or so, or even overnight — as well.

Another note about the initial rinse: use warm water. Most guidelines tell you to use cold water, which I was doing faithfully until I realized that most of the diapers had gotten stained. Since I live in an second-story apartment with no balcony (and thus no yard), hanging the diapers in the sun wasn’t an option for stain removal. I contacted Rockin’ Green and asked them for advice. They told me to try an initial warm rinse instead of cold, and wouldn’t you know it? No more stains.

Still want to read more? I recommend this PDF from Rockin’ Green, which explains five different variables impacting the laundering process.

Do You Use a Diaper Pail?

No. In lieu of a pail, I use a water-proof laundry bag called a wet bag. Made of laminated polyester (PUL), the beauty of a wet bag is that no separate cleaning process is needed! On laundry day, you just toss it right in the washer along with the cloth diapers.

I keep a large bag near the changing table, and a smaller one in my diaper bag for use when we’re out and about. Most wetbags have either a zipper or drawstring closure. Obviously, a zipper closure is preferable for use away from home.

How Often do You do Laundry?

I wash cloth diapers every other day. My stash is big enough that I could probably get away with waiting a longer period of time between loads, but this schedule works out perfectly for me.

Also on Frequently Asked Questions about Cloth Diapers,

A Review of Pocket Diapers and Diaper Covers

Cloth Diapering on a Budget / Reasons to Buy Used Cloth Diapers

Have a question you’d like to see addressed in this series? Leave me a comment!

*I was not asked to include this link or to mention Rockin’ Green, and I was not compensated or rewarded in any way for doing so. They are not a blog sponsor; but I’ve included them because they’re a really company that I love!

Cloth Diapers

Part 1 | Frequently Asked Questions about Cloth Diapers | A Review of Pocket Diapers and Diaper Covers

Many of my friends have messaged me asking my opinion on cloth diapers, so I thought I’d start a brand-new blog feature here on Oaxacaborn. I’ll do my best to address your cloth diaper questions in a series of posts.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CLOTH DIAPERS - oaxacaborn blog series

First off, just a little disclaimer: I am not an expert on this in any way. There are countless blogs devoted to nothing but cloth diapering, and many other mamas are much more qualified to talk about cloth diapering than I am. There’s really an entire subculture built around cloth diapers, complete with a myriad of acronyms and vocabulary. (If you want to pick an pro’s brain on the subject, my friend Kristi at Hip Green Baby* is a wealth of knowledge!)

I won’t pretend that I know it all — but, I’ve been exclusively cloth-diapering Aveline since she was six weeks old, and I want you to know that’s easier than it looks, it’s definitely doable, and it saves astronomical amounts of money!

So here’s Part 1, in answer to the commonly asked question —

What brands/kinds of cloth diapers do you use?

Here’s a mini-review of each of the kinds of pocket diapers and diaper covers that I currently use. (I’ll talk about prefolds and other inserts in a later installment.)

GroBaby/GroVia Hybrid Diaper

GroVia GroBaby Cloth Diaper Hybrid Shell

Formerly GroBaby, GroVia diapers are fantastic. Truly my favorite of all the ones I use. I use the Hybrid diapers, which have a fabric/mesh outer shell with a snap-in thick cotton liner. They have nice, tight elastic on the leg gussets. As with many diapers, you can adjust the rise with the use of snaps, and you can purchase ones with either a velcro or snap closure.

To prepare for wash, you just unsnap the liner to separate it from the cover, and fold the cover velcro onto itself so it doesn’t snag the rest of items in the laundry load.

Pocket Change Diaper

Pocket Change Cloth DiaperAs far as I can tell, this particular brand isn’t sold anymore — but the concept is alive and well, and is something you can find with any of the other pocket diapers on the market. This type of diaper cover has a pocket into which you slide an insert. You then use the stuffed diaper cover over another liner — either another insert, or cotton prefold diaper which has been folded into thirds. I’ve found that with a slender baby, the thicker the inserts, the better the leg seal.

To prepare for wash, you don’t have to do anything special, since the pocket is open at each end. The agitation of the washer will work the insert out of the pocket.

Huggabuns One-Size Diaper

Huggabuns One Size Pocket DiaperThis is another pocket-style diaper. It’s probably just Aveline, but I’m not really a fan of the way these snap closed. While the right hand part of the flap closes securely with several rows of snaps, the left-hand flap (the one with the logo on it which wraps over) only has those two snaps. So, to the left of the logo, there’s nothing attaching that flap to the rest of the diaper. After half an hour of wearing a Huggabuns*, my little wiggle-worm always manages to make a disheveled mess of this diaper. Maybe better for a chunky-thighed baby? I do, however, like the inserts and liners which came with this diaper. The hemp/cotton blend is super absorbant.

To prepare for wash you’ll have to remove the insert by hand, since (unlike the Pocket Change) the pocket is only open at one end.

Bumwear One Size Diaper

Bumwear Kaleidoscope Diaper
My husband calls this one “the ’80s diaper”. But fear not, Bumwear comes in other patterns/colors as well. This is a pocket diaper, so you’ll need to use an insert and/or a liner. The Bumwear One Size has snap closures, an incredibly soft fleece lining, and a very waterproof outer layer. The leg elastics aren’t the best for my Aveline’s tiny little thighs, but it’ll fit better as she gets bigger. I am sure if you have a chunky-thighed babe you won’t have any trouble with this one. I do like that the elastic is covered by the fleece. It doesn’t leave any red marks on her legs.

You don’t need to do anything extra to prepare this cover for wash.

Thirsties Diaper Covers

Thirsties Diaper Cover
This is an entirely different kind of diaper than all the pocket diapers I talked about above.  While a pocket or an all-in-one/one-size diaper has to be thrown in the wash after each use, the Thirsties Cover lasts through several diaper changes. It’s a thin, waterproof layer which you use over an absorbant contour or prefold diaper (I’ll talk about these in an upcoming post). These are wonderfully thin, yet leak-proof, and have excellent elastic leg gussets to protect from blowouts. Hands-down favorite cover for sure; I highly recommend these.

To prepare for wash, just fold the velcro over onto itself.

Nature Babies UK Classic Wraps

Nature Babies Classic Wraps

This is also a very thin, waterproof cover to be used over an absorbant contour or prefold diaper. It’s got great snap closures, tight leg elastic, and an adjustable rise. Plus, it’s available in some very fun patterns! I have no complaints about the Nature Babies Covers; I just love these. In the past, the only thing that would have given the Thirsties a slight edge over the Nature Babies for me, is the Thirsties’ velcro closure. This provides for a more tightly adjustable fit. But, with Aveline so close to being able to un-velcro her own diapers, I’m now leaning toward preferring these snap closures!

You don’t need to do anything extra to prepare this cover for wash.

Dappi Diaper Cover

Dappi Diaper Cover
These are very thin with a mesh and waterproof inner layer and a cotton outer layer. Dappis fasten simply and easily with a wide velcro closure, and like other covers, are meant to last through more than one change. They are by far the cheapest cover I’ve come across – just 2.99 each. But, I have my reservations about these. Despite the incredible ease of use, the velcro isn’t holding up very well. Second, the waterproof layer isn’t really all that waterproof — she’s leaked right through these more than once. (The leaking has occured through the fabric back itself, not through the waist or leg gussets). Still, I keep them in rotation, I just use them during the day when we’re at home and I know I can change her frequently.  (And on a frivolous note? The cotton outer layer takes dyes fabulously.)

To prepare for wash, just fold the velcro over onto itself.

Bummis Super Whisper Wrap

Bummis Super Whisper WrapBummis Super Whisper Wraps are incredibly durable. I’m very happy with how mine have held up. The ones I have were given to me by a friend who had already used them for a full year, and they are still going strong. A waterproof cover with a strong velcro closure, these covers just keep going and going. The elastic leg gussets don’t show any sign of wearing out. A great cover.

To prepare for wash, just fold the velcro over onto itself.

Wonder Wraps Diaper Cover

Wonder Wraps Diaper CoverA thick cover, Wonder Wraps have an adjustable rise and velcro closure, and feel almost as though they are made out of Neoprene. This makes them really bulky, but it also makes them virtually bulletproof and a great choice for overnight diapering. A note about day use — I find that instead of being able to use Wonder Wraps through several diaper changes as they are intended, I can only use them for one use before I put them in the wash (the unique material really retains odor). But, like I said, great for overnight. I’m having trouble locating where these are currently available, however.

To prepare for wash, just fold the velcro over onto itself.

Sckoon Merino Wool Diaper Cover

Sckoon Stick -N- Snap Machine Washable Merino Wool Diaper Cover

If you’ve never used wool diaper covers before, you’re in for a treat. Contrary to what you might think, wool is breathable, water-repellent, naturally anti-bacterial, and no, it’s not itchy at all. This is definitely the best choice for overnight diapering. I definitely recommend you add at least one wool cover to your stash; Aveline has never even come close to leaking while wearing a Sckoon. (Plus, wool is totally dyable — the cover I have has been dyed a pretty pink.)

This brief article about wool wash and lanolin is helpful in learning how to prepare your diapers for wash.

In upcoming installments of Frequently Asked Questions about Cloth Diapers, I’ll talk about

Cloth Diapering on a Budget / Tips on Buying Used Cloth Diapers
Best Practices for Cloth Diaper Laundering and Care
Inserts, Doublers, Contours and Prefolds

Have a question you’d like to see addressed in this series? Leave me a comment!

*Links marked with an asterisk are Hip Green Baby affiliate links. I was not asked to include this link or to mention Hip Green Baby, and I was not compensated or rewarded in any way for doing so. They are not a blog sponsor; but I’ve included them because they’re a really company that I love!

Conversations with Designers

etsy shop feature: rebourne [handmade eco-friendly baby & family goods]

This weekend I caught up with the shop owner of rebourne, an online clothing shop specializing in wool cloth diaper covers.  Marni, the artisan behind the upcycled items, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me — even though her newest baby is not yet a week old. Thanks Marni!

RebourneClothing.com - Etsy shop featuring upcycled wool cloth diaper covers and other handmade ecofriendly baby and family goods

Q: How would you describe rebourne?

My shop is a collection of handmade items for baby and family. I use mostly upcycled materials to create one-of-a-kind creations, many of which are cloth diapering oriented.

Q: As I was browsing your shop, I noticed the word “longies” used to describe some of the diaper covers. For the benefit of those who aren’t familiar with the term, could you explain?

Longies are pants made out of wool that are used as a cloth diaper cover. Instead of using a plastic cover over a cloth diaper, longies are worn as a cover that doubles as comfortable pants!


Wool Longies via Rebourne on Etsy

Q. What are the advantages of  using wool as a cloth diaper cover? Continue reading “etsy shop feature: rebourne [handmade eco-friendly baby & family goods]”