thoughts on diapers

I’m cloth diapering my 2nd child. And going strong.

I’ve also sought to have a greater understanding of the diapering world in general. And I’ve come to the conclusion that you cannot chose cloth vs sposie on a mere financial basis.

If you chose sposies, you take on the cost of purchasing diapers for at least 2 and maybe 3 or 4 years per child. You might take on a monetary cost of disposing of those diapers, or it might merely be the environmental cost of disposal.

If you chose cloth, you take on the cost of purchasing the diapers (so many options!) and the cost of cleaning the diapers (detergent, water, wear and tear on the machines). You get to use the diapers for a 2nd or 3rd baby if you have more come along, but they will wear out (or covers will) so you will need to purchase more at some point with enough time and use.

But comparison is nearly impossible. After 2 road trips where we used sposies, I’ve still not used up the box of diapers I purchased. After all, these things are designed to go 12 hours if needed… they make great overnight diapers! I felt weird leaving my baby in a diaper for more 2 or 3 hours (not poopy, just wet), but I also knew there was a lot of absorbency not yet used in that diaper. So you can’t just count how many sposie diapers someone might use… they might change baby often or they might chose to let those diapers get super full. That could be the difference of 1 diaper to 8 diapers a day!

There are other comparisons that can be made. And if you can make an informed decision, that’s the best way to make a decision, really. So here’s what I’ve thought of. Please add your thoughts in the comments!

Sposies keep super absorbent chemical compounds right up next to your baby’s parts. On the one hand, it helps in keeping baby feeling dry. But… chemicals…. And sposies are scented, sometimes strongly.

In cloth, you can choose all natural fiber fabrics, all microfiber nifty stuff, and whatever mix you want. You chose what you wash in, so you decide, to some extent, what kind of chemicals (detergents, etc) you are applying to your diapers and what scent if any, they will have.

Changing a poopy diaper is easier with sposies. You just wrap the poop and the poopy wipes up in the diaper, fold it over on itself and put it in the trash can. Then wash your hands. Easy. But you have just put human waste into a landfill. That is a big no-no in general. Yes, you can use human waste as fertilizer on your garden, as they do in many developing countries, but you don’t want to… because parasites and other illness borne on the human poop that infect humans.  And so, if we can avoid putting human poop in the landfill, that is nice. Plus, the diapers have crazy water absorbing chemicals… that is a crazy something to add to the natural world.

With cloth diapers, poopy diapers are a bit more work. If baby is exclusively breast feeding, that poopy diaper just goes in the pail and it all gets washed in the washer. EBF poop is water soluble and just washes out nicely. Once baby starts eating solids… anything that is not breast milk… that poop needs washing off *before* the diaper gets to the washing machine. So, you are to tip the solids in the toilet. Ah-ha. Whoever first said that hadn’t been changing diapers all that long because most of the poop while baby is both eating and nursing is a nasty mixture of some rather wet some rather solid poop and it does NOT just tip off the diaper. So, a diaper sprayer is super handy. And sometimes, it takes a bit of time and spraying….

Having a diaper sprayer is super nice. You can now rinse muddy and sandy clothes off into the tub or toilet so you don’t burden the washing machine with said mud and sand. And little boys will love getting to rinse feet off if it happens to be by the tub (or not…). And if someone has a messy or sensitive bum, it’s nice to easily give a rinse. And post birth, it works better than a peri bottle.

Baby clothes are designed to fit over a dry sposie.

Fluffy bums are just so cute.

Add your pros and cons!

You can find more of my ‘diaper’ posts here

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Geffen Hemp/cotton inserts — a review

I usually review books, but, today, I’m reviewing a diapering product. Yea for variety!

This was the first time I’ve purchased a cloth diaper thing new. I’ve purchased fabric to make various items, and I’ve been given new stuff, but the vast majority of our stash are hand-me-down items.

old and dying hemp inserts

old and dying hemp inserts

The hemp inserts we have are very well used. And they are starting to fall apart. So, I decided to replace them. I looked around, I compared prices, I calculated the cost per layer of material in the insert*, and decided to order the Geffen Baby Super Absorbers. They got washed once before being pressed into service and they worked great from the start. Its recommended to wash them at least 3 times before using, I had special circumstances, though.

the inserts

the inserts

Last night, they were put to the test though. I put 2 into a pocket diaper. Wow, trim.

Yep, only 2. Normally, I would put 1 large hemp insert, 2 small hemp inserts and 1 layer microfiber strip into a diaper and this works the vast majority of the time.

This morning, after nearly 12 hours of sleep, little boy’s pajama pant fronts were damp and I could tell there was some leakage out the top of the diaper. The pj pant top had folded over into the top of the diaper and this diaper (a Haute Pocket) doesn’t have that extra bit of PUL across the top inside.

Conclusion, I’ll add a hemp insert, but, I think, my nighttime diapers will consist of 2 Geffen Baby Super Absorbers and a hemp insert.

An additional thought: When I received the package, I found on the package these diapers are labeled “absorbency level 3, 12-18 months and nighttime, absorbs approx. 8 – 9 oz”. There is even a chart on the package labeling showing the levels of absorbency. I would have really liked to see this in the online descriptions. If I had, I would have ordered the next absorbency up “Super Absorbers Plus”, slotted for 18-36 months. I know each child is unique in how much they pee at night (and every night is a bit different!), but such guidelines are so useful when figuring out a new product.

Yes, when I need something more absorbent, I will likely go back to Geffen Baby.

*my calculations — It came down to Geffen Baby vs Thirsties and I went with higher hemp content from there.

ebay gal — 2 layers, 4″ x 12″, 6 inserts, 55% Hemp, 45% cotton — fleece, $13 [$2.17 per insert, $1.08 per layer]

geffen baby — 5 layers, 5.5″ x 13.5″, 6 inserts, 60% hemp 40% cotton — fleece, $21.99 [$3.67 per insert, $0.73 per layer]
thirsties — 6 layers, 5″ x 12″, 2 inserts, 55% Hemp 45% cotton — jersey, $8.75 [$4.37 per insert, $0.73 per layer]

Changing the system

One thing I was reminded of, as we prepped for our trip was that one ought not change any systems right before leaving.

Late Monday morning, I put Little Man in a sposie diaper and washed *all* the diapers. I didn’t want to leave any wet diapers around, and we’d planned on using sposies for the trip, except the two nights we planned on backpacking in. As fortunes would show, I was quite lucky the hemp/cotton inserts I’d ordered arrived that morning, so they got into the wash as well.

Now, up to this point, Little Man had worn sposies one here, one there, but usually only one, rarely/never two in a row. But that Monday, but the second diaper change, his bottom was looking red and irritated. By the time I changed the third sposie, his skin was so irritated he cried as I wiped his bum and he had little blisters that bled (just a tiny bit). I pulled out a cloth diaper for the night. At the time, I didn’t know if it was the sposie or the poop (ya know — sometimes its the poop that irritates!). But I didn’t have time to figure it out, either!

But, the next morning, all blisters were gone and the bum in question was a smooth as a baby’s bottom should be.

The next morning we quick pulled the packages of sposies out of the car and I sat in the back with a basket of freshly washed diapers on my lap, which I folded slowly over the first hour of driving. Though the new inserts needed another 2 or 3 washes, I used them in the overnight diapers and they worked great! Those new inserts expanded my nighttime inserts so I could have 5 overnight diapers! Before I had the inserts (hemp ones) to put together only 3 diapers at a go.

Lesson learned. Don’t change the system all of the sudden when you don’t have time to make sure it works.

Here’s some of what I’ve figured out about traveling with cloth:

  • Its not all that bad, though poops on the road are a bit difficult to deal with.
  • Have lots of plastic bags. The kid you get from the store when checking out work great at keeping the smell contained when you tie them tight. If its not a poopy diaper, I will twist the bag closed and then tie it when I add a second diaper. Poopy diapers get solids dumped into the appropriate place (toilet or 6 inch hole), the into a bag that gets tied tight (yes, they will need to get dunked and swished or sprayed at some point before washing).
  • Pre-folds seem to travel the best. Flats are nice since they are fairly easy to wash and dry quickly.

My Dad and his wife let me wash the diapers at their house, which meant a 4 day stretch between washings. Not too bad. I did rinse the diapers at one camp ground about 3 days in, but unless you are able to let the dry, I’m not sure its worth it. It was dry there, but cool, so I ended up wrapping up the diapers in bags to save for washing. I guess rinsing them was good, though.

Questions? Please ask. I love the cloth diapers and am happy to talk about them!

Babies, diapers and projects

I’m finally feeling like I have the time and energy to live beyond merely feeding and diaper changing; its a nice feeling.

Diaper update:
I’ve not gotten any more diapers made, but with the slew that we have from the hospital, diaper tree and gifts, we are set for another 2 weeks or so. Nonetheless, we have played with our cloth diapers and tried them out. Even with the kissuluves, size 0, it results in the monster bum, though the onsie will still close around it.  As for the one size that my friend Liz has made (and I’ve been working on), I can get them small enough, but the little guy is soooooo skinny it takes some doing.

To be a true one-size, I think we’d need to make our velcro tabs two sided so they can overlap and still attach. Otherwise, it seems to work great.
In other diaper news, about a month ago, I purchased the e-book from allaboutclothdiapers.com. I read through part of it, and wondered if I’d paid too much. But today, I went directly to the “washing” section, read and have a plan.Totally worth the money, if only for that section. Sure I could of done the research via google, but with a newborn dominating my time, and recovering from a c-section (which going well, I think), it was worth the price to just open the document and read — no research required.
Sewing:
Of all prep that I did for having a baby, I didn’t acquire much in the way of nursing clothing. So, I’m converting a few tank tops into nursing tops… 
I’ve sewn ribbon from the shoulder strap to the underarm, added a button and cut the pieces apart. 
Babies —
Took me 2 hours to write this post, the little guy refuses to let me put him down, is fussy-fussy, and we have a guest over. Of course, we have a guest, and baby Samuel gets cranky. Ah, breaks my heart trying to figure out how to comfort him, tonight seems to be somewhat solved, but we will see.  We’d hoped to make it church tomorrow, but we will see how tonight goes. Luckily, the past few nights have been good — solid 3 hours at a time. Can’t ask more than that from the little man.