anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Cloth Diapering | One Month In


Before we jump into cloth diapering, I wanted to share my definition of "wholesome living". When I think of wholesome living, I think of living intentionally. I think of eco-friendly and non-toxic. I think of real butter and real cream and whole milk. I think of being content with what I have and using things until the end of their life, rather than when I get tired of them or itching for something new. Wholesome living to me is about being authentic and real and taking the extra time to be present or make a homemade meal. These posts will be about things I've tried to my life more in line with that vision of being wholesome. 

We are officially one month into cloth diapering so I wanted to share our experience. 

I thought I would start off with why we decided to start cloth diapering. Honestly, if you don't have a good "why" you are doing cloth diapering, then it probably isn't going to work for you. I don't care what I've read, or heard people say, having done disposables for over a year and a half, disposables are definitely more convenient. 


For me, the "why" came down to two things:

1. Cost
2. Better for the ecosystem.


Babies go through so many diapers and the thought that my babies' diapers will still be in the landfill after I'm dead after Everly is dead, and after her children have also lived long and healthy lives... it seemed a little too much for me. Since having Everly I have thought a lot about the impact that I am having on her and the world around us. I want to leave the world better for her and so I decided to try cloth diapering.

Like anything that I've tried to be more sustainable and eco-friendly, it has to be better for the environment, but it also has to work. I'm not willing, at this point, to do anything that is wildly inconvenient for me or is less effective. Well, less effective to a point. 

I did a lot of research into cloth diapering before we took the plunge and honestly I wasn't planning on cloth diapering Everly at all. I figured we would start fresh with this new baby, but as my "stash" (of cloth diapers) grew it seemed silly not to try it out now. That way we would have a feel for it before we tried it out when things were crazier with two kids and then we could start saving on diapering Everly now. 

If you're considering cloth diapering I definitely recommend talking to someone who has cloth diapered, check out the websites of a few different brands, and join the Fluff Love & CD Science Facebook group


Here were my main concerns before we started.

  • Cost to build a stash
  • Not knowing how much I would need
  • My husband maybe not being on board with trying it
  • LEAKS
  • Dealing with Poopy diapers
  • Washing them (how would I know if they were clean, what kind of detergent would I need, how long would it take me to wash and fold diapers...)

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of those concerns I want to first say what I love about cloth diapering so far.

1. I feel like I'm living more in line with my principles about doing what is good for the world instead of what is just easiest for me.
2. Everly has very sensitive skin and got a lot of diaper rashes before we switched. It wasn't uncommon for us to be putting Desitin max strength on her every few days for a diaper change or two because she was red or had a rash. We haven't had any issues with rashes so far. I have put cloth safe diaper cream on her twice when she was slightly red but other than that... nothing.
3. Cheaper. Yes, we've spent a lot building our stash, but I'm so excited to not have giant boxes of Costco diapers every month or so. We're in size 4 diapers now, so our stash (detailed below), cost us about 6 months worth of diapers, but our diapers will last us until she's out of diapers and hopefully through all but the newborn stage of our next baby. We'll even say 7-8 months worth of diapers if you factor in detergent and washing. Still SO much cheaper. 
4. They're way cuter than disposables. I love the diapers we've gotten so far and it makes me feel way better about letting her run around without pants on.


Here are the realities of each of my concerns for our family so far.


Cost to build a stash.

This kind of blends into knowing how much I would need. Once I decided what kind of diapers I wanted (we went with Pocket diapers, which are basically adjustable sized diapers that have a pocket you place an absorbent insert into) and found a brand that I liked, their website had recommendations on how many diapers I would need as a minimum to start. They recommended at least 14-24 cloth diapers. I started when we had 14 and continued to use disposables for nighttimes and nap times. Our diapers were from Nora's Nursery. We continued to build our stash to what I considered the bare minimum adding in 4 Grovia O.N.E diapers for overnight and an extra set of 10 inserts from Nora's nursery. All that comes to about $240. We would just buy a pack of diapers or a couple of the overnights per paycheck so it took us a few months to build to that point. 

Husband maybe not on board.

Brian is typically more eco-conscious than I am, so I was surprised when the first time I asked him about cloth diapering he told me he felt that it was more of a hassle than it was worth. 
I'd been considering cloth diapering since Everly was a few months old and we'd even considered biodegradable diapers (which are much more expensive than regular disposables). 
I continued thinking about it and did more research. I listened to a podcast on cloth diapering. I joined the facebook group. The more I learned the more I wanted to try it out. I was really worried about Brian not being willing to. In the end, his main concern was leaking (which is totally valid). We'd had leaks with disposables at times (mainly blowouts or overnight). I told him about everything that I learned and had him come with me to my cousin to talk about cloth diapering (she cloth diapered her twins).
In the end, he was willing to try it. We knew that if we decided it wasn't for us we could always sell our diapers and get some of our money back.

LEAKS.

I'm not going to lie. Leaks happen with cloth diapers. I wouldn't necessarily blame this on the diapers though. When we started, I didn't have any extra inserts, which meant I couldn't double up. With cloth diapers, you need to change them about every 2 hours (which apparently you're supposed to do with disposables, but I never knew that) to avoid leaks. We had leaks mainly when I pushed it past the 2 hours, and occasionally when Everly had just had a lot to drink. For example, since we got the extra liners I can double line most of the time, but I still don't have enough to double line ALL the time. So when we changed Everly for the last time before her bedtime bath yesterday, I didn't use two inserts. I knew that it would be just over 2 hours before we were throwing her in the tub, but she'd had a lot to drink and she soaked through her insert... and her pants. It hasn't really bothered me much to deal with leaks, other than I feel like I have to be more aware of just how long it has been since I last changed her. 
Overnights have actually been amazing with the Grovia O.N.E. diapers. We have had a few times where she leaked through, but after being vigilant all day to change every two hours (she can actually go 3-4 hours if I double line, which I do if I know that I'm not going to be able to change her soon), it's so wonderful to put her down for 12+ hours and know that she's probably NOT going to leak through her diaper. If they weren't so expensive (and didn't give her the biggest fluff butt I have ever seen 😂), I would probably use them all the time instead of pocket diapers. 

Dealing with poopy diapers.

I don't know anyone that likes dealing with poop. I had been emptying Everly's poopy diapers into the toilet anyway when we were using disposables (which it says to do right on the box) so cloth diapering didn't seem like it would add that much to it. Still... I was a little hesitant. I ordered Grovia's bio liners which lay inside the diaper between the diaper and that baby. They aren't very expensive and work pretty well. That said I don't usually use them anymore anyway. I learned that while you can flush them, you probably shouldn't (just like you shouldn't flush anything that isn't toilet paper or human waste. Yes, even your "flushable" adult wipes.), so it just seemed easier to not use them at all. Most of the time I can just dump the diaper and be done with it anyway, and for the diapers that require a little... scraping, I use a diaper cream applicator (basically a small silicone scraper) and wipe it off with a wipe.

Washing.

Once you have your routine down, washing is actually pretty easy. I pull out the inserts when I change Everly so when it's time to wash (I wash every other day or when I'm down to 4 clean pocket diapers), I just dump them into the washer. The hardest part was picking a detergent. When you start looking into cloth diapering you learn that there are all sorts of detergents that you can use, but there are all sorts you should not use. Mainly because a lot of detergents contain things that will stick to your diapers and over time either damage the fabric or build-up and keep them from absorbing like they should. 
We went with All Free and Clear Powder detergent (the liquid is not Cloth diaper safe) because it was the cheapest and we were already using the liquid kind so it was a good place to start. I haven't had any issues with it so far. 
I hang dry the "shells" or the outside parts of the diaper and dry the inserts for an hour in the dryer. They are usually still wet when I pull them out so I hang those after as well. If I'm short on time everything that I have is safe for the dryer. The shells are pretty dry after one cycle in the dryer, but the inserts would definitely need longer. 

Cloth diapering has been different, but I'm so glad that we decided to give it a try. I fully recognize that cloth diapering isn't for everyone and I have no qualms about using disposables from time to time. It just makes me feel better knowing that every time I cloth diaper, it's one less diaper in the landfill. I plan on doing a series on sustainable switches that I try, and I'm sure that not all of them will stick, but the ones that do mean that it's a little better for me and my family and the planet. I love the quote about how it's not about a couple people doing zero waste perfectly, it's about all of us doing it imperfectly. Any step we take to be more sustainable, more toxin-free, and more wholesome is a good one, but I'm definitely never going to be perfect and that's ok. 

I hope this was a helpful look into cloth diapering! If you have any questions about it, please drop them below or send me a message! I'd love to answer them :)
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