Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Cloth Alternative!

Some of our WAHM's...Otto's fav fluff!
We have used cloth diapers on Otto since he was about two weeks old. Before he was born, I did a lot of research. If you aren't schooled in the art of cloth diapering, trust me when I tell you...the options are endless! In addition to scouring the internet for information, I also visited the most charming cloth diaper store, A Child's Garden in Northampton, Massachusetts to ogle the lil' beauts in person! I even bugged Vanessa, my sister-in-law, to learn about her experiences with cloth diapering a decade ago. When all was said and done, I decided to start Otto on a variety of diaper types, so we could learn what would work best for us. Here is the rundown on the different types of diapers, what we liked, what we didn't like, and what we're still using today.

Basically, all cloth diapers need an absorbent part on the inside (called the diaper, soaker, or fluff) to soak up whatever the baby "produces", accompanied by a water-proof layer on the outside (called the cover) to keep whatever the baby "produces" on the inside. There are many ways of achieving this.

AIO's / AI2's
AIO's (All-In-Ones) have everything integrated into one diaper entity, very similar to a disposable. They are easy to use, but take forever to dry. There is a hybrid of AIO's called AI2's (All-In-Twos). These incorporate a removable inner soaker pad, which is as easy as an AIO, and will dry much faster. We have used the FLIP AI2 system with Otto, almost from the beginning. I like these because there is nothing between the soaker pad, and the baby. Other AI2's have a fabric pocket that baby wets through, so once the diaper is used, it ALL has to be washed. But with the FLIPs, the cover is separate and can usually be used over again. We did inherit a slew of FuzziBunz  from Darren's friend*. These are the type with the fabric pocket. I would have never tried these had they not been given to us, but they have turned out to be a favourite.

The next general category is a cloth soaker with a separate cover over it; two distinct entities put on baby independently of each other.

The Fluff First. . . 
An Old Fashioned Prefold;
still an economical & versatile choice
The simplest, original version of fluff, is an old fashioned rectangular prefolded diaper. This is probably pretty close to what the cavemen used. :)  While this is the cheapest of all fluff options, it does require some extra work getting it on baby . There are a variety of folds to conform this rectangular fabric to baby's body, and then it needs to be fastened with either old fashioned diaper pins or Snappis. Prefolds are a nice option, because you can customize the fit to your baby's body -- if you're good at folding. When Otto was first born, we used organic prefolds from Vermont Diaper Company, a small company run by the Pruitts out of Mountpellier, Vermont. These diapers are great, but I never quite got the hang of folding them, so leaking was a problem. Also, prefolds need to be prepped before you start using them, in order to fluff up the fibers and make them absorbent. We boiled ours in hot water with a tiny drop of Dawn dishwashing soap about four times.

Thirsties Fab Fitted:
a sized fitted that Otto kept outgrowing

The wonders of a OS snap system
.  . .our FLIPS!
Fitteds look very much like disposable diapers, with elasticized legs so no folding is needed (Yay!) and built-in fasteners (either snaps or velcro). Both varieties come in either OS (one size fits all)
or a sized option. I prefer the OS, hands down! I'm amazed at how these diapers expand or contract with the manipulation of a few snaps. The weight range on many fitted OS diapers is from around 8 - 35 pounds! At 8 months old, Otto is still wearing OS diapers he started out with, but alas, the size XS fitteds have long been removed from his diaper shelf.


Now .. . for the piece de la resistance! WAHMs might have something to do with my mini obsession over cloth diapers. There is an entire subculture of  WAHM"s (Work At Home Moms) who design, create and sell *AMAZING* cloth diapers, right from their own homes. Since they usually work by themselves in their spare time, these diapers are produced in micro batches, and are often hard to come by.

One of Otto's Newborn Mutts
I am on the mailing list for my personal favourite, Muttaqin Baby. Every time Michelle, the owner, puts a diapers up for sale, she sends out a notification. If you want one of her diapers, you had better move fast, because they don't last. And I can't forget The Good Mama, another WAHM goodie. Both of these diapers can be purchased through Hyena Cart, an online marketplace for earth-friendly, handmade wares. These diapers aren't cheap, and can cost nearly $30 a piece. But these lil' works of art are all handmade of high quality materials, and each one is unique! These are top of the line, and well worth every penny.

Now The Covers...
Covers are all fitted, and all have either velcro or snap fasteners. Otherwise, they don't vary too much. But out of all the covers we've tried, I like the Organic Cotton Imse Vimse the best. The front has a huge panel of soft velcro, that makes fastening super easy. And the quality can't be beat. They are a little pricey, so I supplement with Thirsties, which are affordable and well-made. Oh, and I also cheat. I use the shells from our FLIP system as covers. Really quite resourceful, if you ask me. Plus. . .they are my only OS covers, and we all know how I feel about OS, don't we?

Love this cover!
Organic Imse Vimse Safari print
So. .  I have a small confession to make.  We do not cloth diaper Otto 100% of the time. I wish we did, but I am not the only one that cares for him, you see. Since my mother lives with us to help out with Otto, she's got her hand in the mix too. And for whatever reason, she has her reservations about using cloth diapers. The irony boggles my mind that the only person in the house who was actually raised with cloth diapers, resists the concept!  When I diaper him, I use cloth, when my mother diapers him, she uses disposables, and when Darren diapers him, he uses whatever Otto happens to be wearing at the time (a true diplomat)!

I won't brow beat the benefits of cloth diapering, but there are many. I'm very glad we cloth diaper Otto, in whatever capacity we can. We are making a difference environmentally on many levels. . . and even socially, as I've been learning through the WAHM mamas I'm getting to know.
* Yes, that's right. . .Otto uses some pre-worn diapers. Initially, this grossed me out. But I got over that fast! In fact, I have purchased many of his dipes used, as long as they were taken care of properly: washed in a good "clean" soap that won't leave residue (we use Charlie's Soap) with no bleach or fabric softener.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, to hear that I did that a decade ago makes me feel old. For the time I used them, I had no problems and loved them. These days the prints are so cute, makes them more attractive than cloth.