Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dare I try it?

If you had told me 3 years ago that I'd be making my own cloth diapers, I would have thought you were crazy. CA-RAY-ZY! It was around that time (3 years ago) that I first heard of someone my age using cloth diapers for their babies. It seemed so...outdated. All I'd ever heard about cloth diapers were how crazy difficult they were to clean. Dunking them in toilets. Dangerous safety pins. Leaks. Covers. What a mess. Our mothers were so very, very happy when disposables hit the shelves.

While it did seem quite frugal on my friend's part, I honestly thought she was totally bonkers when she told me she was cloth diapering. I thought I'd never even consider it. Since then I've actually had a number of friends switch over, and I've discovered that there are TONS of cloth options. All-in-ones (no covers necessary), pocket diapers, Chinese or Indian Pre-folds with snappis, etc., etc., etc. and that diapers and the like have come a long way in ease, absorbancy, containability, and cleanability. (The pre-folds with snappis are the closest to what our parents used, and I still haven't quite gotten to the point where I can imagine using them exclusively...though I have 2-3 friends who do and love it.)

The first diaper that caught my fancy was the Bum-genius A.I.O. At $18 a diaper it would be a large initial investment, but it would even out or come up less expensive in the end. I never actually tried them because it seemed impractical to buy just one, but what if it was a bad fit for Dean or what if I totally hated cloth diapering? Plus, Matt's not supportive of the idea and swears he'll never change a cloth diaper. I believe him. He can barely handle changing a disposable and nearly gags every time.

I was going to do a cloth trial, but I chickened out of that too since a lot of the trials only give you all your money back in online store credit when you send the trial diapers back. I mean, what if I didn't like it at all??? But once Dean hit size 4, I started thinking about cloth a lot again. The diapers were getting more expensive, and he goes through about 5-8 diapers a day still! (He poops a lot! Today I'd already changed 5 poopy diapers by his nap at 12:30! Not all days are that extreme, but some definitely are.) I'm spending over $40/mo. in diapers right now, and that number's just going to go up and up with 2 kids in diapers!!

A couple months ago a friend of mine posted a tutorial (on her private blog) on how to make your own pocket diaper, using Rita's Rump Pocket pattern. Her daughter has had bad reactions to disposables and has had great success with her own homemade diapers. I kind of balked at the idea at first, but then I started warming up to it. After all, it could be pretty economical and I could at least see how I handled the cleaning part of diapering. Plus I could make as few or as many as I wanted and could go as recycled (using old sheets and towels) or as new as I wanted (cute fabrics, etc).

Rita's pattern calls to use safety pins, but two of my friends had successfully used aplix-velcro with the RRP diaper. Safety pins are a hands down NO for Dean. Most of the time it is torturous trying to change his diaper with him wiggling, fighting, twisting, and running away. So I ordered some 2-in. aplix online and it got here this week.

I finished sewing my very first cloth diaper today. It took me about 3 hours all together, but that's because I'm a little slow learning a new pattern (I'm still a novice seamstress, teaching myself everything as I go), I made some dumb mistakes that I had to correct, and I was learning new elastic skills. I imagine the time it takes to sew them will drop dramatically if I make more. I haven't yet tried it out on Dean. I did put it on over his disposable just to see if it came up high enough, and it did. We'll see if I can get up enough courage to try it out in the next couple of days. If it doesn't work or fit as well as I like, I am still open to trying commercially made cloth diapers. I made the inside out of a tight-weave cotton and the outside out of flannel. There's an opening in the front (or back, depending how you make it) to stuff a liner (pre-fold, microfiber rags, terry cloth, hemp liners) inside to absorb the pee. These do technically need a diaper cover, but my friend only uses covers when she leaves the house. I can make some out of fleece which I'll probably do this week.

I'm going to first try a microfiber rag as a liner since we have some of those lying around. Anyway, once I get up the courage to try it out, I'll let you know how it goes...


20 comments:

Heather and Ryan said...

Dang! That is CUTE! I absolutely love it!

Just be sure to be around the house when you try them out for the first few times. They take a little while to get used to the differences between disposables and cloth, but in the end they are SO worth it! I am saving tons of $ each month now, since Kate goes through 10-12 diapers a day still (size 5 in disposables), but thanks to cloth she is almost potty-trained. Hooray! (We bought her panties tonight and she is so excited!)

When you do laundry, make sure you cover up the hook part of the aplix with something. Otherwise it will stick to everything. I either fasten the diaper and turn it inside out (so the part against the skin is now on the outside) or I have a piece of the loop velcro/aplix to put over the hook part.

If anyone else wants to see the tutorial on my blog, feel free to use the email link on the post in my blog and share with them.

Kristeee said...

You're a brave, brave woman. I'm not that brave. I should probably get over my prejudices and give cloth a try, but I'm just not willing to invest the time and washing required at this point. Good luck.

P.S. They're very cute. Love the little monkeys.

Him, Her & The Wee One said...

Anyone that uses cloth diapers is brave. But to make your own? Really brave!

My friend does cloth and loves it.

Jodi said...

That is really cute!

I don't think I would ever be brave enough to go the cloth route, either. Good luck!

Rubalcavas said...

Good luck to you...you are a better woman than me for trying it. I'm just not that brave.

holdstock said...

You are way braver than I!

Stephanie said...

Looks great! Hope it works for you and Dean. I'm not sure if I'll stick with cloth diapers now that my boy is eating solids, but I'm trying it. Right now I'm using some disposable liners that someone gave me, and it sure makes cleaning up a lot easier.

Wendy said...

I seriously looked into this and was very excited about the idea. Then I had Sarah...that is a lot of diapers!! The idea of washing that many....I don't even like mush on cloth bibs, what was I thinking, cloth diapers??

I do wonder if it works better as the baby get older. Thicker poo(+ disposable liners), less frequent changes, etc. And the perks of being more self reliant and the potty training pluses. You should totally go for it!! Maybe I'll get courage from you.

My question is: Are moms who do cloth diapers always on top of their laundry?

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

Test run #1. No cover, microfiber rag, changed right after a poopy diaper. He peed through to his pants within 45 min. So 1. I need a cover and 2. I need a better liner.

Jeff9 said...

The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use at the same time as you benefit from using it on the diapers, by using it on yourself. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off" Available at www.bathroomsprayers.com they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain.

Lady Steed said...

5-8 diapers a day!! Holy moly! THat is incredible. I usually change Large S three times a day, sometimes four but any more than that is highly unusual. You created a pooping machine.

Heather and Ryan said...

When I use microfiber, I usually use a single layer of terrycloth with it. Some people like microfiber only, but I find that they absorb better/leak less with terrycloth. I always put the terrycloth closer to the outer clothing.

I also usually let her run around in only a shirt and diaper so I know when she pees and can change it pretty quickly. It's easier when they can start to tell you when they are going and you don't need to watch for when they get wet. It took Kate about 2 weeks of full-time cloth to tell me when she was going.

And to answer Wendy's question, no we are not always on top of our laundry. Most of the time the diapers are the only thing that get washed and I usually grab the diapers out of the dryer to put them on the kiddo.

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

LS: The 5-8 diapers are not always poopy diapers. He poops probably 3-5 times on average. Sometimes more. Rarely less. I like to give him a fresh diaper before bed even if he has only had his other diaper on an hour since he's a heavy night wetter. And some days the diapering is less. If I switch to cloth I will for sure have to change at least 8-10 diapers since it's more imperative that wet diapers get changed frequently. He pees quite a bit since he's a good milk and water drinker.

Heather, thanks for all the tips!

Juls said...

My friend has a great one size fits all diaper if you want I can ask her what she uses. I am sure you have tons of friends who use cloth...man, I am just not there yet (especially concidering that this may be the last one for me...)

Brian & Veronica said...

Celia, it looks fantastic! :) I'm so glad it turned out so well for you. It took me a long time to figure out as well. I really should post about it. :) And, I was told microfiber, especially doubling it up, would be enough. . . but, it hasn't been for me. BUT, I also haven't washed it the recommended amount of time yet. (at least 5 before it's really absorbant). I've only washed it twice and so far still just as leaky. So, I'll have to use covers as well, at least for a while. oh well. that's o.k. with me though, I already have them. :) Seriously, good job. I'm trying to work myself up to making more. I want to, I need to, but seriously, 3 little ones??? I have NO time to do it!!! one day...

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

Honestly V- I've washed this microfiber rag more than 5 times and it still wasn't enough. I should have bought those ShamWows I saw at costco! haha. But get this, he actually peed out of his disposable diaper today! And he'd only had it on maybe 3 hours. It was totally loaded. So, he urinates a lot.

The homemade Rita's are good diapers, but I honestly think if I do this I'll need something a little more heavy duty (maybe something with the PUL fabric even though it's not as breathable). I might try doing quality prefolds as an insert with a cover, but I like the idea of AIOs. Plus, these diapers are almost too small for him in length. It looks so cute on him though.

Amanda said...

wow. 10-12 diapers per day?!?!?!? i love huggies. i swear i always get to the point where it is 3 diapers per day (with all 5 kids!). one in the morning, one poop diaper, and one bedtime diaper. never more than $20 a month, and the best $20 i ever spent, even when we had no disposable money in the budget.

....but you go, girl.

i will say, i have heard potty training is easier for a cloth diapered baby, but seriously, i will never be one of those incredible women who goes cloth. there is not one particle of me that thinks it could possible ever in a million years be worth it.

and i'm glad that matt made his voice heard before the experiment. you choose cloth, you change cloth.

Amanda said...

by the way, i know i am a bad mom for only changing my babies 3 times per day. if i was a good mom i would be making cloth diapers.

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

After I told Matt I placed the cloth trial order he just shook his head and said, "I just can't understand why you even want to try it. I think it's going to be a huge flop."

I said, "Maybe it will be, but at least I can then get it out of my mind and peacefully use disposables." I've just been thinking about doing this for a year and have felt I need to at least try if nothing else. I don't know if I will or won't stick with it.

Amanda, if it was my 5th baby and I was only spending $20/mo. on diapers, I'd probably not even consider cloth! So you're not a bad mom.

melinda said...

Hi Celia! It has been a LONG time! Congrats on your pregnancy and your family is beautiful. It is so fun running across blogs of those you haven't seen since high school! Glad to see you are doing well!

Ok--now for the long story....;)
Great job making the diapers! I think you should try it for sure. I started cloth diapering my daughter (who is 6) when she was 4 months old. I was off and on with it until I got the hang of it, but once my son was born he never had a disposable on his bottom (except for during his one day in the hospital). I never looked back and never will now. I honestly can't stand the thought of putting a chemically invested plastic-y diaper on my sweet baby's bottom LOL I am expecting #3 in about a week and I've got enough diapers for the baby's diaper wearing days. OH and btw, both my kids learned to use the potty between 17-18 mo. and I totally give credit to cloth. I didn't do ANYTHING--they just feel the wet/poop and don't like it. I started with Fuzzi Bunz and I think I've tried 50 other brands by now--just for fun. I've even used alot of wool which is a completely different experience. Diapering gets addicting imo--there are so many choices out there. Good for you making your own. I've attempted a time or two but I just don't like to sew! OK, so didn't mean to ramble, but I guess I'm obsessed with enviornmentally friendly products and get excited when others want to use them! Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!! I'd love to help! Take care:)