Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Freecycle Sharing

I was emailing with a fellow Freecyler about diaper sewing. Here is some of the email I shared with her on my sewing and other diaper thoughts.

I decided to cd first to save money and second for the environment. I really thought I would try to use G-Diapers as much as I could with this baby ( her name is Tuli). They are expense though. I do have 2 kits that don't fit her yet but I think I can just put inserts in them. My mother in law told me she was very surprised I haven't decided to cd but when I was pregnant and changing poopy diapers on my then 2.5 year old (Danika)... the thought cloth made me want to puke... literally! Once I had Tuli and went through 2 packages of diapers in 2 weeks and I was reminded what newborn poop is like, I thought I would investigate them. So here we are about 8 weeks into it. I have to admit I am slightly addicted.

I have a few one size diapers (BumGenius, Happy Heiny and Cloth Diapers Wholesale). I love my BG & HH and still a little on the fence on the Cloth Diapers Wholesale I actually bought mine off ebay and they were about $7.50/diaper. I have a little trouble making sure none of the inside material is sticking out so that they don't leak. I use all of them as my night time diapers on both girls.

When it come to sewing my fitteds I have to admit it was a challenge but a good one. But it was a challenge because of my serious lack of sewing knowledge and experience. Before sewing diapers the only thing I did with my sewing machine was curtains and hem pants. I combine several different patterns till I got one that worked for us. I started with Mama Bird altered the diapers to work for Tuli. Then someone gave me a few 12 year old Indisposable Fitteds and I really like how they fit. The other 2 websites that were helpful with my inexperience were and

My fitted are anti-pill fleece inside (next to baby's skin) and flannel outside ( just used old flannel sheets). My soakers were an old terry bath mat ( the kind that are thinker than regular towels). They are amazingly absorbent, but are think and take a long time to dry. I am cutting apart the smaller fitteds to put some in the new ones I am sewing. I am experimenting this time around with bamboo/cotton and micro-fiber soakers so they are a little more trim. I sewed mine so that I just zig-zag around the entire edge instead of sewing them inside out and then turning them. I felt like there was less thickness between Tuli's legs. But putting the elastic in has been tricky... again first time I have ever put elastic into anything! This time around I change my closure to be more like the Happy Heiny's. The closure and rise is what Tuli out grew so quickly on the other ones I made. I used 2 inch aplix this time time instead of 1.25" too. I feel a little more experienced in making them and hopefully she can wear them for longer than a month. I also bought some PUL and would like to try to make some pockets and covers but the fitteds are priority right now. I have made soakers and wipes too. I have been using micro-fiber and terry for the soakers and I use flannel for the wipes. My daughter was super sensitive to all the disposable wipes so I would have ended up making my own anyways, whether I was cding or not.

Version 2

This is the next set of fitted diapers I made. I made the wings longer and the rise longer. Though I have now realized I have to remember to think about what the soaker will be because that takes up room and can effect the rise. So far I am very happy with the design and will make the next ones the same way. I used cotton/bamboo batting as a soaker on some of them and really like the thin absorbency of them.

The First Round

Here are pictures of the first fitted diapers I made. Tuli quickly out grew these in the rise and the wings but the soaker material was awesome.

Halloween Diaper

CD Thoughts - the novel

A friend at play group asked my about cloth diapering. Poor thing I wrote a novel with all my thoughts. This is from a month or so ago. I have much to expand on but I thought I would start here.

My opinions on cloth diapers based on the 4-5 weeks of doing them.

First of all I did not start them when Tuli was a brand new new born. By the time I had done all the research and made a decision she was 4 weeks old and approx 8.5-9 lbs. To the best of what I can tell you almost have to get a stash for the first few weeks (depending on the size of the baby) and then a second stash that will last a little longer. Most things have weights and measurements so you know what the ranges are. Danika was only 15 lbs when she was a year old so if Tuli takes that same path things will fit her much long. Nothing I say is really any different than what I read online just I didn’t believe them until I did it myself.

- The most affordable way to go is to do pre-folds (Ranging $2-$3/diaper). Pre-folds are what we think of as traditional cloth diapers (that we just end up using as burp rags). The ones you buy at Babies R Us are not really designed for true cloth diapering. I bought mine from an online store. There are 3 sizes (preemie, infant and baby) but you can always buy the biggest size and fold down for the most thirty route. But really with the price of each diaper why would you only get the big size. When you wash them a few times they poof up and get more absorbent. I have to say I am surprised how absorbent they are. I have cut pieces of fleece to lay in them because it wicks the moisture away from baby’s skin so the fleece feels dry but the pre-fold is wet. There are lots of different kinds of diaper covers. The most affordable is the Prorap ($6.25-$8.50 depends on where you buy it from). If you use this cover you need a snappi (in lue of diaper pins) to secure the pre-fold and then you put the diaper cover over it. You do not need a new diaper cover every time you change the diaper. One will most likely make through the day unless you have a poop out. The Prorap are not my favorite but I bought the small size with the weight range starting at 9 lbs so I think she just doesn’t quite fit into it. I have gotten better about making sure none of the cloth is sticking out and figuring out how to secure the cover so there are no leg gaps. The other things I don’t care for as much is there are no laundering tabs so they get stuck to other things (though I think I have just figured out to just to hook it normally and turn inside out.). The other feature I have found with other diapers covers (like Thristies and Bummis) that I like that Prorap doesn’t do is there is a pocket on the front of the cover so you stick the pre-fold in there and you don’t need a snappi. I have flipped flopped back and forth on whether to use the pocket or not. I have a cover that I bought on eBay that I really like that doesn’t have a pocket on it. The lady just had a baby but once she gets back to making stuff I will probably get more and I think she sells hers for $4-$5. Now all of this is pretty bulky but that doesn’t me or Tuli.

- The next one is the fitted diaper. Those are what I got for free and have made more to complaintment my stash. They still need a diaper cover so all the above applies there. The fitted diapers do not require snappi or pins and gather at legs preventing blow outs into the covers. The ones I made have a fleece against the skin so once again it wicks the moister away from the baby. I think these are $10-$16 / diaper. The only commercial one I have tried is Kissaluvs which I got in a starter pack. I like it. Once again this option is pretty bulky. Unless you get One Size* fitted you will have to buy different sizes as the baby gets bigger. *I know One Size, yea right. But I believe it. They have snaps to adjust the rise and lots or snaps or Velcro to adjust across the middle. I don’t think they would work on a new new born but Tuli can wear them just fine and she is only 8 weeks!

- Pockets Diapers. Sometimes you will see them called All In One – Pockets. So you are doing cloth diapers and you are saving all this money so in my opinion you can splurge and go this route. They range $15-$22 and then you have to buy some extra inserts $3-$5. I have bought some on EBay for less. When you look at it, you can buy One Size pockets like BumGenius (I found one at Target $18 and there are rumors Costco might be carrying them… but it is still cool to support all the WAHM’s (work at home mom’s) that have all these online stores)… sorry tangent there! But you can buy a One Size diaper and considering you need 10-20 ($180. - $360) and you can always supplement with prefolds you will still be better off than buying disposables. The brands I have tried FuzziBunz, Henry Heinys and other homemade ones off eBay. The reasons why I like pockets:

o less bulky (I know I said it didn’t bother me but sometimes it does)
o You can control how many inserts you put in them (these are what Tuli wears at night. I put in the insert and then a prefold behind it. If I use pre-folds I put 2 together and then the fleece liner okay that is bulky!)
o I like the one size feature.
o I feel like since you can take out the insert you can get the diaper cleaner than All in Ones with no pocket.
o Easy for other people to change the diaper besides you
o You don’t need a diaper cover

- All in Ones. They are the same price as Pockets. I have tried a few of them and I just don’t feel like that can truly get as clean as all the above diapers and once again if you have a heavy wetter or it is at night you are adding more layers. I think as bulkiness goes these are right up there with pre-folds and fitted diapers.

- Thoughts on Velcro vs. snaps… I thought why on earth would you want snaps they aren’t as adjustable as Velcro. I have been very surprised that they are as adjustable. It is amazing the thought that has been put into making cloth diapers. They will mostly launder over a long time better than Velcro. So I am game for either one.

- Other things you need:

o Diaper pail: Any trash can with a sealing lid
o Dry Bag: The nylon or PUL bag you put in the diaper pail. You can buy fancy print ones or just use nylon stuff sacks from Walmart ( I just made mine)
o Diaper pail deodorizer disk – why you can only buy these through cloth diaper stores is beyond me. I would have used these the whole time with Danika in that gross diaper genie thingy that we had!
o Wet Travel Bag: If you plan cloth diapering when you are out and about (which has been totally easy). I am using an Eagle Creek shoe travel bag but you can buy them.
o Laundry supplies- some detergents are no good for cloth diapers. I use Sun-Free and Clear. Here is more info on detergents.

How I wash my diapers. There are a bunch of websites that all tell you how to wash cloth diapers. Everyone has a different opinion. This is what I do.
- When putting them in the washer I make sure the Velcro is on the laundering tabs (they stick together otherwise) and make sure the pocket diapers are all unstuffed.
- I have an high effinecy washer so I wash in cold on heavy duty cycle, no spin, extra rinse with a little baking soda sometimes (you just want one that has lots of water to get the poop off).
- Next is heavy duty cycle, no spin, extra rinse with detergent but not much usually about a ½-1 Tbsp. Too much soap causes too much sudsing and you have to get the soap rinsed out well so it doesn’t irritate baby’s skin.
- Finally I do a heavy duty cycle, with spin, extra rinse and sometimes a little white vinegar.
- I line dry everything because it dries much faster. Diaper covers so not be dried and I think the pockets and all in ones should only be dried on medium heat so not the ruin the water-proofing. Line drying out in the sun gets the stains out too.

I have a friend with a HE washer and she just throws everything in one the sanitize cycle and using Tide HE detergent. No pre-soaking no extra rinsing. I just haven’t gotten that brave that I only need to do one cycle to get them really clean.

So that is what I have learned in the last month and ½ of clothing diapering. Oh it is additive too. So here are some of the sights I have liked: lots of info great for reviews & general info run by a WAHM. I really like her starter pack that is $53. and good price on pre-folds consumer reports good info homemade diapers the ultimate cloth diapering forum some neat skin care stuff

Thinking of diapers

I find myself often thinking about my daughter's cloth diapers. Do I need to wash them (the answer is always yes)? I should have made this batch with a even longer rise. What is really the best soaker material? Bulky vs. less absorbent. Halloween ones would be cute... am I really thinking this much about diapers... jeez some life I have. Actually it is a great one.

When I decided to cloth diaper (cd) my daughter in the middle of the night when she was 2 weeks old. I thought I was a little crazy. I brought the idea up to my husband and he was game, but he had the same questions I had. How to launder them... mainly! Now everyone thinks I am crazy. Not because of the cost effective, environmentally friendly choice we have made... no it is because I talk about them none stop!

Why we decided to cd because at 2 weeks old I had already gone through 2 packages of diapers. At $10 a package yikes! Also, I cringed every time I threw a diaper away, knowing it was headed for the land fill never to decompose! I am the recycle Nazi and those were just going to the dump. At least New Jersey is using their methane to power towns.

After much research I was still confused and amazed at the options out there. There are so many great resources but not a single easy answer. Luckily I had a few friends that helped point me in the right direction and now we have made our own CD journey. Now that we have been cding for 2 1/2 months and I have made 2 sets on my own cloth diapers I have lots of opinions. So I figured I'd throw them out there and when my daughter is older she can laugh at her crazy mom. Luckily my older daughter is young enough that everything I do is still cool.