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Cloth diapers?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from kaydo. Show kaydo's posts

    Cloth diapers?

    Anyone doing cloth diapers?  DS is a month old and we've been using Pampers and intending to switch to gDiapers (the flushable ones) soon but they're so much more expensive (compared to buying Pamers at BJs, which is what we've been doing) that we're actually starting to toy with the idea of cloth.  (I just can't stomach the idea of putting soooo many disposables in a landfill over the next few years.)

    Thoughts?  Advice?  Cost comparison?  Laundering/service suggestions?

    We also tried Nature Babycare diapers and they were ok but felt rough and seemed to soak quickly... although I assume cloth will soak even faster so maybe they'd be a good go-between?  I don't know... we can't seem to decide... all advice welcome!
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from lesal. Show lesal's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    we went to an informational workshop on cloth diapering at this store in Somerville.... (you have to sign up for the class ahead of time and it did fill up pretty far in advance). it was very helpful in understanding exactly what is involved and what all the different types of cloth diapers are exactly, with pros and cons.  I'm sure you could get the info by stopping into the store and asking questions too.  we are going to try starting out with cloth while the laundering is simple and blowouts are common (ie before starting solid foods).  I'm not sure we will continue with it after the first 4-6 months, things get more complicated in terms of laundering at that point, but we'll see.  I'm also not sure how it would work for you when daycare starts, but at the workshop they claim more daycares are okay with it these days, especially if you do the "all-in-ones" which are the most expensive (and most like disposables in design).  we are going to start off with a small stash of cloth, like 1 days worth, as well as have disposables on hand and play it by ear.  honestly, for us the idea of being able to wash them frequently rather than hanging onto the stinky diapers until we can get to the dump is a big factor.  there was actually an old thread somewhere in the boards that first got me thinking about it, maybe you can find it.  there was alot of good info there.
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from lesal. Show lesal's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    the other thread is under 'Green Living' 
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Notanewbie. Show Notanewbie's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    I just started doing cloth on weekends a few weeks ago.  My DS goes to a large daycare center and they are not open to doing cloth during the week.  I looked into it while I was pregnant but quickly became overwhelmed by the options and decided to stick with disposables.  Now that I've had a chance to settle into motherhood I thought I'd give cloth a try. I just purchased an Econobums starter set to see how it would work and I'm pretty happy, but already I can see other systems that I'd like to try.

    Cotton babies
    They sell BumGenius (which is one of the most popular all-in-ones), Econobums and the new Flip System.  Flip is sort of like gdiapers in that there is a disposable insert option, but they also make reusable liners too.

    Jillian's Drawers
    This site has a great trial offer where you can purchase a sample package of various diapers for about $150 and keep them or you can return them all with 21 days for a $10 fee.  I think you can also choose to keep just some of the package.

    In general the options seem to be:
    Prefolds (tradiational style cloth diapers), used with some sort of waterproof cover
    All-in-ones - most like a disposable
    Or Hybrids of cloth and disposable like the flip or gdiapers.

    If you are on the North Shore, Crunchy Granola Baby in Salem often has classes about cloth diapering and they sell some eco-friendly options.

    Finally, in terms of ease of use, I've found it pretty easy.  I needed to prep the prefold diapers by washing them in hot water and drying them 3-5 times before use. After that, it's pretty easy.  A regular diaper change is not that much different than with sposies: take cover and lay a tri-folded prefold diaper in it, place under baby, snap/velcro cover in place. For wet diapers, I just throw it in a diaper bag that I got for that purpose ( and insert a new pre-fold into the cover.  You can reuse the cover unless you've had a leak thru (I only had that happen the first weekend of use while I was getting the hang of it). For solids, I just roll them off into toilet and put the diaper in the bag with other dirties.  I have 12 pre-folds that we use during the day only and that seems to get us through the weekend.  I do the diaper laundry on Sunday nights.  I think if you are doing fulltime you need to plan on doing diapers every 2-3 days to prevent stains and smells.  I have not noticed an increased odor in the baby's room.  In fact, I find the smell of the sposies to be worse (maybe the chemicals?)
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from nell98. Show nell98's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    I've found that that the velcro on the GDiapers tends to come undone sort of easily, esp once my DD started moving around. I had better luck with Bum Genuis and Fuzzi Bunz even though they were a little bulkier than the G Diapers. 
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from carriefranf. Show carriefranf's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    We've been using cloth with my son since the beginning--he'll be 2 in February.  Never looked back.  I love them for various reasons: environmental, SO much cheaper (especially since it's a one-time purchase, and we got a lot as gifts from generous grandparents), and we find they're easier on his sensitive skin than disposables.  What works for us is a combination of 2 types: Bum Genius pocket diapers and prefolds with covers.
    We had him in part-time daycare for about a year and they were initially skeptical but ultimately okay with it, as long as I took the dirties home every day.  At daycare we used Bum Genius 3.0 pocket diapers, which you put on just like disposables but disassemble to wash.  All the babysitters I've ever used have been fine with them, too, since they're just like disposables.  (PP referred you to, which is where we got ours).  The other good thing about Bum Genius diapers is that they last as long as disposables without feeling wet... the wetness soaks through the fleece against the baby's skin and into the absorbable liner.  Some drawbacks with the Bum Geniuses: you have to assemble them after laundering them and make sure you put the liner in straight otherwise they can leak; the fabric doesn't like to be next to diaper rash cream so you have to put another strip of fabric inside if you're using cream; they're expensive.
    It is much cheaper (and the laundry is easier) if you use prefolds and covers, and we have a good stash of those, too.  We use Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers and snappis to hold the prefold on.  In order to address the wetness issue, I usually put a strip of fleece (that I bought at a fabric store and just cut to the right size) against my son's skin inside the diaper.  Drawbacks with this system: they're complicated for babysitters/daycare; they're difficult to get on when my son is feeling squirmy.
    Very good luck!  
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    Re:  velcro on gDiapers:  You HAVE TO close the velcro before you wash them, otherwise, they stick to one another and it will wear out much more quickly. 

    Re:  cloth vs. disposable environmentally.  I don't think one is necessarily better than another, and this is certainly up for debate, but if you have to run cloth diapers through the laundry several times BEFORE using them, and then an extra load of laundry 2 or 3 times a week, you're still using water.  If you're washing in warm or hot, you're using heat/fuel, plus, most detergents that you would wash in are not great for the environment.  If you use a diaper service, add in the fuel used in the truck driving all over picking up and dropping off diapers.  Plus, it's my understanding (and I could be wrong on this--shocker) that diaper services use very harsh chemicals on the diapers to sanitize them--and that can't be good for the environment (or baby?).  So, yes, disposables will sit in a landfill forever, but I'm not sure the environmental impact of the cloth is much better in the long run.

    I'm convinced that gDiapers are best for the environment and we've been using them 50 - 75% of the time since the babies were big enough to wear them.  Unfortunately, they ARE expensive, and it takes time to pull them apart and flush them (water usage) and wash the covers and liners (and again, we're into the "impact of laundry" debate).  The up-front cost of the "little g pants" is quite expensive too, even if you buy the bargain pack of 6.  So, unfortunately, we've decided that when the babies outgrow the mediums, we are not going to continue using them since we'll have to spend another $100+ on the "little g's" and, of course, the more-expensive diapers themselves.  It kills me to think of all the diapers we'll be sending to the landfill, but I do feel like we've done more than most as far as keeping diapers out of the landfill at this point.  And we're down to 3 - 5 diaper changes a day (x2) most days which is considerably less than the 8 - 10/day when we  first started using the gDiapers.

    In the long run, unless you're going to do "elimination communication," I don't think there's a way around killing the environment with diapers one way or another.  Either you're using more water and putting detergents and/or chemicals into the environment, or you're putting plastics and chemicals into a landfill to rot and degrade for the next several hundred years.  Even if you buy so-called environmentally-friendly disposables, they are still sent to the landfill in a plastic bag that is NOT easily biodegradable, so they aren't going to degrade until that plastic bag they're in does.  I really feel like it's a no-win situation.  You can't simply use fewer diapers--babies need to be changed when they need to be changed (you CAN have fewer children = fewer diapers overall).  In the end, you have to do your best to be environmentally-friendly in other ways (recycle more, re-use more, walk or bike instead of driving, etc.) and hope for the best.
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Notanewbie. Show Notanewbie's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    Cloth vs. disposables is such an intersting debate (to me at least).  You can pretty much argue almost every angle and in the end, as with every other parenting decision you'll make, it comes down to what you as a parent can live with.

    On pure cost, cloth definitely wins out even when you factor in home laundering costs (unless you become obsessed and buy a million different cute patterned diapers).

    On the eco-front, I'm not convinced that even adding in water usage makes cloth comparable to disposables. Sure you're using more water and detergents, but if you factor in manufaturing costs, cloth just seems like the better option.  You can find many local and home-based businesses who make or sell cloth diapers.  That's gotta be better than mass produced plastics and chemicals that Proctor & Gamble or Kimberly-Clark are creating and using.
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from CTMum. Show CTMum's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    An earlier poster mentioned Nature Babycare diapers.  Here's a plug for those. 

    Long story short, after a number of false-starts with cloth diapers, we settled into gDiapers and they were simply terrific.  We used them 100% of the time -- at home, when traveling, with our nanny, even when we switched over to daycare.  We used a combination of cloth inserts and the flushable inserts. I found them wonderfully effective and, as long as I pre-loaded a few little gs at night, super convenient.

    And then my daughter came down with a anti-fungal resistant strain of a yeast infection diaper rash.  We tried everything: four different prescriptions, lots of naked time, trips to the dermatologist, you name it.  After four months, I threw in the towel.  We switched to Nature Babycare disposable diapers.  And now I have a new love. These are fantastic diapers.  They are chlorine free and 100% biodegradable.  Convenient, effective, bio-friendly.  Some dislike them because they aren't soft enough.  They certainly aren't soft all-over like standard disposables, but they're soft where it counts!

    Using these diapers plus cloth wipes, I feel a little better about what I'm sending to the landfill.
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?


    What are you sending them to the landfill in, though?  If you're sending them in a standard garbage bag, it doesn't make any difference how biodegradable they are.  They won't degrade until the plastic they're contained in degrades....  On the other hand, if you're sending them in a paper bag, that's an entirely different story since the paper will break down very quickly.

    (I'm questioning this for academic/debate purposes--not to criticize in any way....)
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    Notanewbie...ok, fair enough...but is the cotton in the diapers 100% organic and grown in a sustainable way?  If not, there are fertilizers and pesticides that are used in growing the cotton.  The cotton-picking process is probably automated using something that uses fossil fuels to operate.  Any people involved in the process are exposed to the pesticides and fertilizers, and, I'm guessing, probably don't have great health coverage to deal with the ramifications of that exposure.  And then the cotton has to be processed which uses a lot of energy and, I assume, some chemical processes are involved somewhere along the way (I admittedly know nothing about how cotton goes from the field to being made into fabric/diapers/clothing, etc.).  And the process of producing an actual diaper requires some sort of machinery which runs on electricity and, therefore, uses some sort of fuel to operate.

    As I said, I certainly don't know what the entire process involves, but unless you are growing your own organic cotton, picking it yourself, spinning it (?--I don't do you make cotton thread?), weaving the fabric with a manual loom (made of sustainable wood), and making each diaper yourself, I can't imagine the start-to-finish process of making a cloth diaper is much better than making chemicals and plastics for disposables.

    I don't's a really interesting argument either way.  Any documentarians out there who want to solve this debate once and for all?
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Notanewbie. Show Notanewbie's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    Daisy: True about the cotton process, but I know there are organic, fair trade options out there (see below for a link).  For me, I use a mix of standard cloth and disposable so I'm probably just killing the environment in many different ways. :-)
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from CTMum. Show CTMum's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    Fair question, Daisy75.

    Most of the time I take them to the dump in a paper bag.  Within the paper bag, each individual diaper is tied up in one of those small biodegradable plastic bags (found them, initially, to pick-up after my dog) to help contain odor.

    Most of the time ...
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from lesal. Show lesal's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    I have no idea which is ultimately more environmentally friendly.  But an interesting thing I read while looking into cloth is that it's apparently illegal in most states (I don't know about MA) to put fecal matter into the trash (and I think is a WHO policy of some sort).  On the Amer Acad of Pediatrics website, the diapering instructions actually say to flush the solids before disposing of a disposable diaper, which I can't believe anyone ever does.  I have put plenty of fecal matter into the trash in the past few years courtesy of my dog without giving it much thought, so I found that interesting.
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from Melsau2006. Show Melsau2006's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    I use gdiapers exlusively and love them.  I love that I can flush them right down the toilet and don't have to worry about the impact on the enviornment!
    To save money, I bought my little gpants used from the gdiapers yahoo group ( and look for sales on the refills. will give you $10 off your first order and free shipping. So for a case of refills it made them about 40 cents each.  Not that much more than a disposable diaper. 
    You can also sign up for coupons ($2 off) from gdiapers and sometimes Babies R Us has refills on sale, too.
    Don't give up on the gdiapers!
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from PureBabySlings. Show PureBabySlings's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    We didn't do this, but I've read that the cost of cloth diapers + diaper service is actually cheaper than disposable ones.  And plus, infants that use cloth diapers usually potty train faster and easier - they are more aware of when they are wet is the theory.
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from kaydo. Show kaydo's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    Thanks for all the great thoughts & feedback!  Interestingly, the two friends I've spoken with who both did cloth diapers (one in western MA and one in JP) both  used the same state-wide cleaning service (Changing Habits) and the same covers (Imse Vimse).  Our friends in western MA actually seemed to think this is the only diaper service in the state, but I'm not sure.  Anyway, their website discusses how they minimize water usage in their cleaning, and fuel usage in deliveries.  It only costs around $16 week for the service, so I think it probably would cost less, overall, than disposables and definitely sounds more eco friendly.  We might wait until DS is a little older before trying it (right now he's still pretty squirmy during diaper changes, which I think would be hard if we were trying to deal with both the cotton diaper AND a cover) but I'm definitely intrigued.  Here are links to both, if anyone else is interested...

    Thanks again!
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    If you're LO is squirmy now...wait until he's 6-12 mo old...I've now become rather adept at chasing down DS and diapering him while he's on the go...

    In the research I did, cloth diapers and disposable had the same impact on the environment. To truly clean cloth diapers you need to wash them 7 times in water about 170 degrees in order to sanitize them. That's a lot of washing and heating of water.

    Plus these days, in MA, we burn all of our trash so it doesn't sit in a landfill, it floats up into the air we breath. :)

    As I saw neither option was a win win. 

    I'm really hoping DS will potty train in the next few months-wishful thinking since he just turned 1! 

  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    Kaydo--the squirminess only gets worse.  My son is freakishly strong, and once he has it in his mind to roll over, that's it.  I've had to become very adept at putting on diapers while he's on his stomach or rocking back and forth on his knees.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!  The good thing is that you can always change your mind in the future if your choice no longer works for you/your son.
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from lesal. Show lesal's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    thanks for the diaper service info, kaydo.  I didn't have any luck finding one myself, and that certainly seems like an economical option.

    about the laundering, I haven't seen or heard anything about washing 7 times??  I would definitely not be up for that!  manufacturers instructions that I've read for different brands are generally either 2 wash cycles, (one cold, one warm or hot) or a wash plus extra rinse.  if you have a blowout or accident in the crib do you really wash the sheets/clothes 7 times before using them again?

    I'm still trying to decide what to do, and as bad as it sounds, the environmental aspect isn't necessarily the biggest factor to me.  I've heard that cloth minimizes blowouts, is cheaper (especially when you consider reusing for a 2nd baby), child will potty train earlier, and is healthier touching baby's skin (less diaper rash).  plus we always try to limit our trash/consumption in general partly b/c we pay per bag of trash (recycling free) and have to bring it to the dump ourselves.  so I can't see a good reason not to at least try it.  although 7 wash cycles would be one.
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    Lesal--As previously stated, I know very little about cloth diapers, but I think the 7 times washing is for diaper services.  Since the diapers aren't designated just for your family, they have to be sterilized/sanitized extensively before being handed out to another family.  From what I understand, if you're buying your own diapers and laundering them yourself, you are supposed to wash them several times BEFORE the first time you use them to make them softer, but after that, you just wash them as any reasonable person would wash something with p o o on it.  Since the same person is using them over and over again, it's not necessary to remove all possible traces of the previous wearer.
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from kaydo. Show kaydo's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    >>Since the diapers aren't designated just for your family, they have to be sterilized/sanitized extensively before being handed out to another family. <<

    Actually, according to my friends who use Changing Habits (the local diaper cleaning service), you actually have your OWN diapers that they wash and return to you.  You never get someone else's.
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    Huh...that's interesting.  I didn't realize that.  If that's the case, I imagine the 7 washes (if that is how they do it) are due to some sort of public health regulations rather than the actual practicality/reality of the "danger" of the diaper contents "contaminating" someone else.

  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from kaydo. Show kaydo's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    The Changing Habits website doesn't say anything about washing diapers 7 times... I suspect that applies to different services (where you DON'T get your own diapers back?) or to washing at home (although it still sounds excessive).

  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from Notanewbie. Show Notanewbie's posts

    Re: Cloth diapers?

    Lesal:  I think you've got the basic facts straight and pretty much sum up my reasons for why cloth might be a better option.

    I, too, have never heard of washing 7 times (other than the initial washes used to prep them).  It's just a cold water rinse, plus a hot water wash.  Some manufacturers recommend another rinse after the hot water wash, but that is usually with fancier all-in-one type diapers.  Cotton pre-folds are pretty forgiving.