Monday, November 29, 2010

What is on your baby's tush?!

What is on your baby’s tush?!
New LADYMAMA author and self-proclaimed "Granola Mom" Rivki Silver shares her
 journey navigating the tushy terrain of clothe diapers! 
(See her tutorial pictures included!)

"I am completely aware that this cloth-diapering 
business is not for the faint-hearted..."

I don’t really come off as super-crunchy.  Maybe that’s why whenever I’m diapering my baby in public I get such interesting reactions.  You see, I use cloth diapers.  That’s right.  Cloth.  As in they have to be washed.

Reactions I have gotten range from super-supportive (“Good for you!”), suspicious (“What, are you worried about global warming?”) to confessional (“You know, I used cloth diapers, too“).

Why do I do it?  Partly to save money.   Buying the cloth diapers costs a little more upfront (you do have to buy them all at once, after all), but in the end, even with taking into account the whole laundering business, I’m still saving.  And now that I’ve discovered other cloth diapering moms where I live, I’m able to borrow different size of diapers and covers, which means I’m saving even more.

The other reason I do it is, I guess, because I am a little crunchy.  I’m not anti-disposable or anything.   I still use disposable diapers at night and when the kids are with a sitter (though I know people who use cloth then, too) .   But I also have my moments, when I’m sitting by my toilet, rinsing the poo out of diapers (I know, ewwww) when I wonder why it is that I’m doing this.  Am I really that dedicated?  And the answer is yes, yes I am.  And I probably wouldn’t be if I weren’t just a little granola.

Some pros:  

  • Saves some $$
  • The bulkier cloth diapers help keep the pants up on my skinny toddler! 
  • When my toddler falls on his bottom, there’s plenty of padding. 
  • It gives me what to hold onto when cuddling with my baby. 
  • The covers are really cute
  • I don’t have to run to the store when I get low of diapers.  I just have to run to my washing machine.  Score. 

Some cons:

  • Hello, rinsing and washing them. 
  • More stuff to shlep around for public diaper changes

Despite the pros and the savings, etc., I am completely aware that this cloth diapering business is not for the faint-hearted.  I have some friends who are gung-ho, and others who think I’m off my rocker.

Here’s how I do it:

I have about three dozen pre-folds in various sizes.  These are the diapers which most people use as burp cloths.  You know, three layers, the middle layer thicker than the rest?  They are great.  I also have three dozen wonderfully soft and fuzzy cloth wipes and some easy-to-make spray to clean those cute tushies.

 A folded pre-fold

Next I use something called a Snappi.  It keeps the diaper on my babies without the need for scary pins (can you imagine trying to pin a diaper on a squirming toddler?  I can’t).  I have two, one for each child. 

 Safely secured

Then comes the diaper covers.  These help keep the moisture in the diaper from leaking onto clothes.  Wool covers allow little bottoms to breathe more, but the synthetic covers are more trim, and much more fun to accessorize!  They are super-easy to use, just like disposable diapers. 

And we're done!

After I change a diaper, it goes in a pail.  The wet diapers go straight in, but the dirty diapers I put in a plastic bag so I can rinse them off in the evening (sorry, gross!).

I do a wash every few days or so.  One time on cold (to help prevent stains from setting) and one of hot (to kill the germies), and then I dry them.

That’s it!  If any of you have been curious about this cloth-diapering business, but didn’t know where to start, here are a couple of very useful sites:  Green Mountain Diapers & Kelly’s Closet.

If only toilet training were so simple…

Rivki Silver is a mama with many hats.  When she's not spending time with her two boys and husband, she can be found writing, arranging and performing music; teaching piano lessons; blogging at and mainly trying to keep it all together.  She can currently be found in Cleveland, OH.

12 LadyMama voices:

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

omg this is way too funny! you go girl!

mother in israel said... [Reply to comment]

Great post! I used cloth diapers with my two youngest.
There's no need to wash them twice though, because a European machine that heats water starts cold. Unless you have an American machine that draws hot water? Even then I don't think hot water sets stains from feces, only blood.

Walker said... [Reply to comment]

I used cloth diapers on both of my children-wouldn't have dreamed of anything else. Fortunately my husband was willing to help with the rinsing, washing and folding! We didn't have anything fancy to replace diaper pins 28 years ago,though the only one who ever got stuck was me!

Elana said... [Reply to comment]

Do you think you're going to keep it up with all your kids? As life gets more busy with more kids, it will also get more expensive, so maybe...but it sounds like such a burden! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Rivki said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

@ motherinisrael - I'm using American machines (though I have no idea about the water temp business). I wash twice b/c that's what I read when I was learning about this diapering business. I will look into the possibility that it's okay to wash once. That would be great!

@ Walker - so nice to see you here! And so nice of your husband to help. That must've be glorious.

@ Elana - We will see what happens as our family, G-d willing, expands. I'm open to whatever works best for us. Thankfully, though, the cloth diapers don't feel like a burden. I wouldn't use them if they were. :)

mother in israel said... [Reply to comment]

Elana, it's not like they will all be in diapers at once!

EW! said... [Reply to comment]

Honestly, how much money are you saving in the end anyways????
And what about the dignity of your baby????

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I’m wondering now if we can talk about your sites statistics – search volume, etc, I’m trying to sites I can buy adspace through – let me know if we can talk about pricing and whatnot. Cheers mate you’re doing a great job though.

Rebecca said... [Reply to comment]

I've used cloth diapers all along for my kids, and it actually is easy and totally worth it. Cuteness aside (and they are so cute), I've saved a fortune. The average cost of diapering 1 child in disposables in North America is over $2000. I've diapered two children (for a few months at the same time) for less than $300.

EW? Dignity of the baby? What are you even talking about? It's diapers!

mother in israel said... [Reply to comment]

I think it's undignified to put disposables on a baby. Have you noticed how much they stink once the urine hits them? I'd take a bucket of dirty cloth diapers over one of dirty disposables any day.

Disposables are a new device said... [Reply to comment]

Haha! As if! Like what do people THINK mother's use before Huggies and Pampers came along!?!?

Rivki said... [Reply to comment]

Disposables were launched around 1961, so they are relatively new.

My Mother-in-law told me stories about how she would have to boil the diapers in a vat of soapy water (this was in Russia in the early 80s). So I think I have it easy, comparatively speaking.

And like Rebecca said, they are really so cute! There's nothing like a cloth-diapered tushy!

Thanks to Rebecca for the price breakdown. Very helpful. There's a link in my article about savings as well.