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Cloth diapers - an informational hazing for hippy parents

Let's talk poop.

Before Harvey was even born we knew we would be committed to cloth diapers. One reason - the reason we say out loud - is that disposable diapers (or as pick-a-fight momma likes to say "plastic diapers") don't decompose in the environment for something like a hundred billion years. Or I don't know - it's a long time. For a family who heavy-heartedly chucks out a tiny half bag every week, that's a big poopy landfill to swallow (to mix metaphors into a disgusting visual image). The other reason - the one we don't say out loud - is that I'm colossally lazy. Well, lazy in one particular way, which is any way that involves leaving the house. Household items like toothpaste stay on the fridge-top list for so long that I'll be brushing with the dentist sample of kids-flavored fruit-smacks-gum for two weeks before I get my butt to the CVS. So to prevent diapering our child with paper towels wrapped in plastic bags, we invested up front in the cloth kind and never looked back.

Well, actually, now we're looking back to blog about it. Lucky you!

The main kind of diapers we looked into were diety-service diapers, flushable diapers, and pocket diapers. If there is any other category of cloth diapers I will be amazed, but you never know. Leaky poop all over your bed is the mother of invention, after all. (If you want a whole website of helpful cloth diaper comparison information, go there and stop reading this post!)

We decided on a pocket-type diaper because 1) there's no diaty service in our area, and 2) flushable diapers require walking from the changing table to the toilet, and like I said before, lazy. There are a bunch of different pocket-type diapers to choose from, but from my extensive research (okay, two friends and one website) the best is the Bum Genius 3.0. And how can you not be with a name like that?

We have about 30 diapers in various fun colors. When Harvey soils one we take the insert out and throw both diaper and insert into a big Simple Human pail lined with a cloth bag. (Each diaper comes with two different size inserts so that they fit him better as a newborn but absorb better when he's a heavy pee-er. Which Harvey is. A pee-er of the realm you could even say.)

Every other day we take out the bag (and put in a clean bag - you need two) and throw the diapers in the washer. You can't wash the diapers in the bag, but you can sort of press the bottom of the bag up to push all the diapers into the washer without touching them. Whatever - when you're a parent you touch a lot of gross things - you get over it. We wash the diapers for 30 minutes on cold with mountain green soap, and then 30 minutes on cold/hot again with soap. Then we put them in the dryer for an hour and they're done!

Well, not quite done. What you have then is a big laundry basket filled with diaper tops and diaper inserts. It takes about half an hour to put them all together and back into the baskets. But I wouldn't say that's a deterrent to the process. When you're watching a baby all day, there's A LOT of sitting around time.

We also use cloth wipes, which I highly recommend. We have about 50 of them. Half of them (actually 21 - I've counted) go in our wipes warmer (thanks Matt!) with a mixture of baby soap and water. The other stay in a basket by the changing pad, because sometimes you need both wet and dry wipes to do a job, if you know what I'm saying. If you're a parent, you know what I'm saying.

We didn't start cloth diapers for about two weeks were when Harvey was first born. This is mostly because I wanted to oversee the whole process vis a vis the washing machine, and didn't realize I wasn't going to get out of bed for that long. So other people put him in plastic diapers, and the world didn't implode. And I'll even say that for the first couple days where black tar-like liquid is coming out of your baby it's not a bad idea to throw away a few diapers. Mother nature won't fine you, and also the hundred grandparents in your house won't come in every five minutes while you're sleeping to say HOW DO I SNAP THIS THING ON, AGAIN???

Which is actually a big benefit of the bum genius that I forgot to mention - they go on like regular diapers, which is to say with the same general shape, so that even babysitters can do it. If you ever leave your child with a baby sitter that is. That's another issue.

Another time we took a break from bum genius was when we went camping at H=5-weeks-old. Then we brought along plastic diapers due to the lack of washing machine at the camp site. Our hippy identity was only saved by the fact that we were TAKING A 5-WEEK-OLD CAMPING!

Even so, I'm glad we had that brief experiment with plastic diapers, because it reaffirmed our belief that cloth diapers are actually neater. In the plastic ones Harvey's poop got all spread around and smushed to his butt causing more rash, whereas it absorbs better into the cloth ones. Also? Plastic diapers are really expensive! Sure the cloth ones are a big investment up front, but then we're done buying diapers until he's potty trained.

The other things I found helpful with diapering on the go are a big diaper bag, since packing cloth diapers takes a bit more room, and two wet bags for the road (two so that one can be in the wash sometimes - although a plastic bag from CVS will work just as well if you happened to forget your canvas bags at home one time you horrible hippy race traitor.)

And if you want more resources on washing cloth diapers, like I said I've found this site helpful. You can even print out their washing instructions and tape them to the front of the washing machine.

Beats paper towels any day.


Man, Leah did all that writing because someone on my facebook was asking about cloth diapers, and then we got nothing from it. Oh well, maybe we'll get some google love.

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