For those of you who theme-diaper your babies, here are the hot new looks for spring. We all know the rules: don’t dress the baby in tinsel and jingle bells after March 1! These looks will make your baby feel confident on the playground or in the crib.
There you have it–spring’s hottest diaper trends! [Applause.]
Thank goodness for the greener, cheaper, and far more adorable alternative: reusable swim diapers! Even for those families who don’t want to make a full-time commitment to cloth diapering, reusable swim diapers are incredibly easy.
During our swim diapering years, we owned two reusable cloth swim diapers for each of our kids. If one diaper became soiled while swimming, we popped it into a dry bag, cleaned our baby, and put her into the other one. The total cost was around $12 for both diapers, which we found on clearance at target. They lasted for about five years and saved us heaps of cash and piles of soggy disposables.
At some of our local pools, they ONLY allow reusable swim diapers because apparently their elastic holds in messes better than their disposable counterparts. I love that eco-friendly, budget-friendly cloth swim diapers are also more effective. Does your pool allow reusable swim diapers? Are they a hit in your community or considered a bit odd?
Cloth diapering saves a heap of cash (and garbage) over the years, but the up-front cost of using cloth is a barrier for some families. If you are willing to buy preowned diapers for your tot, you’ll save packaging, shipping, and about half the cost of a new cloth diaper layette.
How much did I spend on used diapers? Rebecca took me to her favorite consignment shop with her baby in tow when I was six months pregnant. I bought about eight diaper covers for a dollar each. Then I paid 30 dollars for 45 used prefolds at a local diaper service. Total cost: $38. Not bad! I did spend money later on as my son grew into a different size, but my overall diapering cost was well under 300 dollars. With my second baby I had virtually no cloth diapering costs as we just reused what we already had.
What types of diapers are best to buy used? Cloth prefolds are extremely sturdy and inexpensive. I bought a set of 45 used from a diapering service that then lasted through several more children as we loaned them out to other people. Eventually those prefolds became our household rags and are still going strong five years later.
Beyond prefolds, consider diapers with snaps instead of Velcro. Depending on how much use they’ve gotten, Velcro can wear considerably over the years. My Fuzzibunz pocket diapers with snaps have held up beautifully over the years.
Where can you find gently used cloth diapers? Check out Jillian’s Drawers, a company that offers families the chance to try cloth diapers at no risk for a short time. They then sell gently used diapers at a great discount. The Used Diaper Company also sells and trades secondhand diapers as well as Diaper Junction.
You can also find gently used diapers on Ebay or buy yourself a whole set by checking out what is available on Craigslist. Also, be sure to check whether your local consignment shops sell cloth diapers or covers. You’ll get a chance to handle them to see their condition firsthand and judge whether they’d be a good fit for your child.
Have you bought used diapers? Some parents are a bit freaked out by the hygiene aspect, but diapers only require a wash or two to be totally sanitized. Have you had the gift of cloth diaper hand-me-downs? Those are even better than buying used!
My husband perched our baby daughter on the toilet at about six months when he realized that she had bowel movements at specific times of the day. We had never read a book on infant potty training or ever known anyone who had done it successfully, but we were excited to try anything that would help us avoid poopy diapers.
At first it was just an entertaining event. We found it hilarious that she made the sign for poop to let us know she had to go, happily pooped on the toilet and then sighed in victory every time she finished. But within a few weeks we realized that we had stumbled upon a glorious system.
Jovi stopped pooping in her diaper altogether at about seven months. She did urinate in her diapers, but that was so much easier than dealing with solid waste. Suddenly traveling while cloth diapering (to other states…and to the grocery store) became infinitely easier. She was more comfortable and the amount of laundry we needed to wash on a weekly basis dropped considerably.
I know there are families who never buy diapers, cloth or otherwise, and intend on infant potty training right from the start. I admire them…really I do, but that route seemed really hard for us, especially since Jovi was in daycare part of the day. Just working on getting her to poop in the toilet and use cloth diapers the rest of the time was both manageable for us and empowering for her. Have you experimented with early potty training? Any victories? (Or hilarious stories of defeat?)
I used to think I lacked diaper origami skills. All I did was fold a prefold into thirds lengthwise, stick it in a Velcro or snap cover like this Thirsties diaper cover or this Bummis super snap diaper cover (ooh, or this Thirsties duo wrap snap hoot cover) and put it on the baby. It turns out, as a reader informed me, that I was actually employing the newspaper fold.
This is a Babykicks fleece prefold. But don’t ask me what the name of this fold is. Newspaper?
Good old diaper pins. Never used them myself.
I just folded a prefold in thirds (newspaper style–yeah!) and placed it in a diaper cover like this one.
Why learn special folds and wrestle with diaper pins, we asked our readers in Diapers 101: How Do You Put on Chinese Prefolds. While we always like to ensure neophyte diaper users that pins and plastic pants are relics from a distant past, it turns out that there are some advantages to expanding that diaper fold repertoire.
This leads us to an informal poll: If you use prefolds, how do you put them on? What’s your favorite diaper fold and why? Please let us know in the comments!
The concept of cloth diapers is glorious and hip, until you start thinking of solid waste. Many people can’t make it past the mental hurdle of the toilet dunk and give up on cloth before they ever start.
Here’s a shocking revelation: did you know that ALL poo-laden diapers, even disposables are supposed to be dunked in water? There is actually a written note on every box of disposables recommending that solid waste be rinsed off before disposal. After all, who wants human waste to be sitting in a landfill? (Even greener disposables like Seventh Generation recommend a toilet dunk with solid waste.)
A few toilet dunks are inevitable, but you may be surprised by just how often you can bypass the icky chore in favor of our slacker cloth diapering alternatives. Here are tips for every stage of solid waste your baby will produce.
Milk based poop: If baby dines on breast milk alone, the solid waste does not need to be rinsed before the diapers hit the washing machine. In fact, you can simply store them in a dry pail with a few squirts of Bac Out on each diaper. For formula fed babies, solid waste will have a stronger odor and may need a few extra doses of Bac Out. If you’re grossed out by the fact that poopy diapers will then have to be loaded into the washer, wear rubber gloves or simply dump the pail in the washing tub to avoid contact.
Baby food poop: There are two toilet dunking alternatives. Either use a flushable diaper liner liner to shield the diaper or install a diaper sprayer onto your toilet. My hesitations on flushable diaper liners were that they seemed to ensure that more poop ended up all over my baby’s bottom and I wasn’t confident enough in my plumbing to actually flush them. They are slightly easier to dunk than a diaper and can actually be washed and reused, so you may find them helpful. Many parents find that a diaper sprayer is easy to install and can be purchased for far less if you buy the individual parts rather than a kit. This is a great video on installing your own diaper sprayer will save you about 30 dollars.
Solid food poop: This is the golden stage of cloth diapering. Solid waste is often firm enough to simply be dumped into the toilet with no dunking whatsoever. The diaper sprayer can come in handy at times when baby has loaded up on fruit or popcorn, but poopy diapers are so much easier overall at this stage.
Do you have any genius methods for avoiding the toilet dunk? How have you dealt with poopy cloth diapers? Anyone tried infant potty training? We accidentally figured out how to have our daughter pooping in the potty exclusively after seven months old and were happy to say goodbye to poopy diapers forever. I’ll be sharing her story in my next post!
What if you could try cloth diapers for 21 days, with lots of support, and a money back guarantee if it didn’t work out? Jillian’s Drawers Changing Diapers, Changing Minds program allows you to order $145 worth of diapers and use them for three weeks, risk free. At the end, even if the diapers are stained, you can return hem for their full value, minus the cost of shipping.
Many of our readers have recommended the Jillian’s Drawers cloth diaper trial program and and have kept the diapers at the end of the three weeks and continued with their cloth diapering efforts. Did you try a few cloth diapers at first or did you just take the leap and invest in a cloth diaper collection right from the start?
It’s difficult to maintain new hobbies in the early days of parenting, but cloth diapering can become pleasantly addictive. Do you love the cloth diapering experience, toilet dunking and all? We did.
For us, the thrill of experimenting with different styles, brands and laundering techniques was fascinating enough to begin this blog and devote a significant portion of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to cloth diapering. Have you crossed into the cloth-diapering-as-a-hobby phase yet? Take our short Cloth Diapering Quiz to find out.
1. You discuss cloth diapers
a. Rarely and only with people who ask about them.
b. With people who are obviously new parents.
c. With anyone, including complete strangers in their mid-seventies who try to avoid eye contact while backing away.
d. On your blog, in your book, and on your public access T.V show, “The Real Poop on Cloth.”
2. You constantly check your baby’s cloth diaper
a. To ensure that she’s comfortable.
b. Just to admire the snaps and elastic between changes.
c. Because you love flaunting the adorable fabric patterns to onlookers.
d. Because you’re looking forward to the next diaper change.
3. In your cloth diaper collection you have
a. A dozen used prefolds and about five simple covers.
b. Some of each type of cloth diaper along with cloth wipes.
c. More diapers than your child can possibly wear.
d. Cloth diapers in every size, allowing your child to avoid toilet training until his teen years.
4. You use cloth diapers because
a. You are perfectly happy laundering diapers every week if it saves you the 3am supermarket trips to buy Pampers.
b. You relish the eco-rightousness you experience while driving by landfills.
c. You would rather spend thousands of dollars on eco-friendly baby spa treatments (or organic applesauce) than disposable diapers.
d. All of the above.
If you answered mainly A and B, beware! You may quickly move into the deeper levels of cloth diapering devotion as the months tick by.
If you answered mainly C and D, welcome! There are many, many of us who are already card carrying members of the cloth diapering fan club. Stick around for a whole month of posts devoted to the art of cloth diapering. (And even a giveaway or two!)
Yesterday Joy asked if you stowed your baby in a dresser drawer. Green minds think alike, because I was just about to ask the same thing. (We are somewhat obsessed with this idea of ultimate thrift and practicality. We’ve mentioned it once or twice. And I’m sure we talked about it The Eco-nomical Baby Guide a few times, too.) And here I must make the usual disclaimer that if you do choose to stash your baby in the drawer, please follow the following safety guidelines:
As charmed as we both are by this drawer idea, neither of us tried it. That is a regret I will have to live with the rest of my life. “So what did you use for your baby’s sleeping space?” you may be asking, trembling with anticipation. “A hat box? A wine crate? A repurposed rain barrel?” Perhaps due to sleep deprivation, I wasn’t able to take advantage of any of these great ideas. But here’s what we did use:
Our bed. The ultimate in minimalist sleeping gear, simply keep your baby nestled between you on your bed, where she will surely sleep soundly. We did this in those early days, but we also had . . .
A Moses basket. We used a Moses basket for the first six months of our daughter’s life. It sat beside the lumpy futon where we were sleeping (for some reason) at night, and we could place it anywhere in the house for the baby’s naps. We even took in on a few trips. But then, at six months, we finally set up . . .
A crib. We liked getting away without a crib for six months because our house was so small. But you can’t keep a kid in a basket forever. In addition to the crib, we had just one more piece of equipment to fulfill our baby’s sleeping needs:
A Pak-n-play. I wanted to avoid purchasing something we’d use for occasional trips, and I did! We were able to borrow a Pak-n-play, and we couldn’t have traveled so easily without it. While sometimes we could borrow or rent cribs at our destination, it was nice to have a portable crib to take to Grandma’s.
Three years after giving birth, everything got a lot simpler. Our child graduated to a real bed at last. Did you use a Moses basket? Bassinet? Crib? Travel crib? Or . . . a drawer?! Let us know what worked and what didn’t for you.
Did your baby sleep in a drawer or a cardboard crib? (The latter item really does exist and is pictured below.) Did you even have a nursery or did you simply pull baby into bed with you? Did you manage to outfit your baby’s nursery entirely with hand-me-downs or gear from Freecycle?
Of course having a minimalist nursery (or none at all) isn’t the only way to go green, but there’s so much pressure to gear up that it’s nice to know how people manage to creatively raise their babies without all the newest gadgetry. In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we try to share a variety of money-saving options for going green with baby, but our favorite is to buy less and buy used.
My son’s nursery wasn’t exactly spartan, but most of its furnishings were either given to me or purchased secondhand (and that includes his cloth diapers). When we saw just how little he used some of the items we thought we “had to have,” we were thoroughly happy that we’d stuck with used gear. I’m sure we could have sold all of it for the same price we paid, but we preferred to pass it onto another local family who had read our book and was striving to get all their gear used.
What creative things did you do to simplify your nursery? Did you even have a nursery? Were there items you eliminated from your baby registry or did you opt to buy some things used?