Our one year cloth diaper anniversary occured some time in March; which was when I originally determined to write a post about this. I thought about it all Spring, actually wrote my first draft in June … and now it’s August. I’d love to say I was editing it especially for my readers, but I’ve already blog-confessed several times about my procrastinating ways, so I doubt anyone would believe me.
Aw, there are the little guys when we first started … I forgot how cute they used to be! [mother moment]
Moving on … Here are my thoughts on cloth diapering after surviving it a whole year.
I have found cloth diapering to be intense and not unlike many relationships in life; a commitment that needs to weather the good, the bad, and the disgusting. (that last word is more about the diapers and less about my relationships, FYI)
The Bum Rap: Many households have “stashes” that they add to over time. Because my primary reason for getting into cloth was financial [3 children 3 and under in diapers; see also: complete insanity], I haven’t added a thing. Confession: I’m still using the same 30-35 diapers I was when I started. Bob and I researched the brands we liked, bought one or two of the top three and in settling on the Bum Genius One Size Pocket diapers, purchased the “Trusty Few”. They’re still workin’ away. Anyone want to guess how often I do a load of diapers?
The Equality of Detergents: Frankly, there isn’t an equality of detergents. Repeat: detergents are not created equal. To phrase it another way, there are certain kinds you SHOULD NOT USE! (take it from someone who has mistakenly used most of the ones you should NEVER use). After some pretty stinky trial and error and trying several all-natural (no “ites” or “ates” included) options, my favorite by far; and the most effective is Shaklee detergent and whitening powder.
Gathering of Information: So much of this process is subjective trial and error … your washer, your diaper brand, your kid’s waste, etc, etc. I can’t and don’t presume to put myself in your shoes (I kinda like my own…) but two sites I’ve found super helpful are:
www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com (especially the detergent rating page!!)
In addition to these websites, nothing beats hearing real life stories, so, if you have people around you who are seasoned people of the cloth, sit at their feet and beg them for their wisdom. Or, you know … do something less dramatic and sit down over coffee. You know … whatever.
What About The … you know?!: The poop? Yeah, it’s gross. There’s no way around it. It just is. However, there are some ways to make it easier to handle. For instance, this (a diaper sprayer): is a mad, crazy, awesome life saver. There are a lot of accessories you can purchase if you decide to cloth diaper but this is something I would consider a necessity. You’ll find a lot of wonderful tutorials online for its proper and non-spraying-all-over-your-bathroom usage, so I won’t waste your time with that here. Haha, waste … get it? Added bonus: it’s a great conversation starter as bemused house guests emerge from a first trip to your bathroom asking “What is that THING?”
What’s That Smell? : Once of the biggest things I’ve battled is the “diaper smell” on my BGs even when they’re clean. Playing with my detergent has helped a lot, as has a few extra rinses when I wash them. Other than that, I’ve found that nothing beats a little fresh air and sunshine, so line dry your diapers as often as you can.
Energy What?: I’m still trying to figure out the “green angle” to this whole experience. Yes, I am no longer a mass contributor to landfills, but honestly, there are days and seasons when I feel that the amount of extra spraying out, flushing, washing, and rinsing I do somehow rivals the water capacity of Niagra Falls and I’m left wondering how that is remotely good for the environment. Ah well … if I ever meet Al Gore, I’ll ask him.
So these are my highlights to date. There are so many blogs that address much more and in far greater depth, but this is based on what I do and it’s simple. It needs to be simple for me right now. I greatly admire those on a grand cloth quest, but I am not one of them. This is a stage where I need things to be easier, not more involved, and that in and of itself is one great beauty of cloth diapering: it can be as simple or involved as you choose to make it.
Goals: What are my goals for next year? With the addition of another infant in the Fall, I hope to report that the cloth is still working, that I still have the same diapers, and that I’ve found the perfect overnight insert combo that no longer leaks … EVER. If I can do that, I just may run for president.
God bless you, and God bless America.
[Sorry, I just couldn’t resist]
Have a cloth diaper question to ask or an experience to share? Please comment! I’d love to hear from you.