I was asked by one of my readers (wow, that sounds funny!) to post about my cloth diapering system. Please bear in mind that this is just how I do it - there are probably as many ways to cloth diaper as there are parents who cloth diaper their babies! I basically learned by doing lots (and lots and lots) of research, and through plenty of trial and error. It is by no means perfect, but it Works for Me!
We are currently using Fuzzi Bunz. I have 19 of these, which means I can go about 3 days between diaper washings. For the record, I LOVE my Fuzzi Bunz. I started with Happy Heiny's and hated them, and ended up selling them all on eBay. (By the way, used cloth diapers have excellent resale value... you can usually get back about half of what you paid for them!). I forgot to take a picture of my own, so I borrowed this one from the Fuzzi Bunz website.
Had I known then what I know now, I probably would have made my own diapers for next to nothing. But I knew so little about cloth diapering then that I just decided to go ahead and buy them. I think it cost us about $500.00 to buy everything we needed. Yes, that sounds like a lot. But compared to the thousands of dollars we would have otherwise spent on disposables, it was a steal. I probably could have made them all for about $50.00 or less. If you use things you have around the house to make them out of, you could easily spend less than $10.00 on just elastic and velcro.
Anyway, on with the show!
Here is our "diapering station" (AKA change table. :)
You can see I have all the diapers stuffed and ready to go. I stuff them right out of the dryer, and put them away so that it's as easy as possible during diaper change time. Beside the diapers you can see a stack of miscellaneous extra inserts/wash cloths. I use these to double up (or triple up!) at night time to prevent leaks. Next to those is a little container that holds the biodegradable liners. He still is not having formed poops (sorry if this is too much info!), so the liners save my sanity... I'm pretty good at predicting his poop times, so I make sure there's a liner in his diaper, and when he poops it's MUCH easier to just flip the liner right into the toilet, poop and all. If he doesn't poop, the liner just gets washed with the diapers. They will hold up for a couple of washings before falling apart.
Next to the change table I have my wet wipes, and a dry cloth. (Notice they're sitting on the radiator... a built-in wipe warmer). :) I always make sure I dry him off completely with the dry cloth after using the wet wipes, this keeps his bum nice and dry and keeps diaper rash away. Since I've started doing this, we have had virtually no diaper rash! On that note, I should also mention that you shouldn't use diaper cream while using cloth diapers. Any diaper cream that gets on the diaper will leave a residue that will not wash away, and will cause repelling. If you MUST use diaper cream (although diaper rash in a cloth diapered baby is rare, especially if you dry them off well between changes), make sure there is a liner or a wash cloth in the diaper.
Here's a close-up of the wipes. Just baby wash cloths folded in half, and I just use a regular wipes container from back in my pre-enlightened days. :)
This is how I "create" my wet wipes. When the diapers and wipes are finished in the dryer, I take all the wipes, and fold them in half. I then bring them up to the bathroom, and fill up the wipe container about half way with warm water. I add a couple of drops of apricot oil (which is not necessary, but it makes them smell good, and I find that little bit of oil helps clean off his bum a little better). Then I stick the dry wipes in, let them soak up most of the water, flip the stack over, and squish them down until all the water has been absorbed. That's it! 3 days worth of wipes. I think I have about 3 dozen cloths, which is more than enough. Even if I wasn't cloth diapering, I would DEFINITELY be using cloth wipes. There is just no comparison. Those disposable wipes are so flimsy they're almost useless. The cloth wipes actually CLEAN the baby's bum...they're so much sturdier.
And here is my high-tech diaper disposal system. :) Just a stainless steel kitchen garbage can. It lives in the bathroom. I used to keep it in the baby's room, but I had to go to the bathroom to dump poopy diapers in the toilet anyway, and also to wash my hands. So rather than go to the bathroom, dump the diaper, go back to the bedroom, put the diaper in the pail, and back to the bathroom to wash my hands, it was just easier to move the diaper pail in there. :) There's a removable plastic pail inside the stainless steel part. These diapers are pocket diapers, which means there is an insert inside. I just shake the diaper upside down over the pail until the insert falls out, and then toss the rest of the diaper in. The separate insert makes drying time much quicker, and I also believe it's much more sanitary, as all the components of the diaper get washed thoroughly.
Every 3 days or so (or when he's has about 3 diapers left, or the diaper pail will no longer close, whichever comes first!), I pull out the pail and take it to the washer, and dump it in. I set it to a cold soak cycle, with no detergent. (If you don't have this cycle on your machine, you can just use your regular cycle, and shut the washer off when it fills up. Let the diapers soak for 15 minutes or so, then turn it back on and let it finish the cold cycle). When that finishes, I turn it to hot, and add a couple of squirts of Allen's Naturally laundry detergent. It's really important that you NEVER use fabric softener on cloth diapers - it will cause a residue build-up which will cause them to leak. The same will happen if you use too much detergent. Detergent will build up over time and cause leaking, so every once in awhile I have to "strip" the diapers - basically running a hot wash with no detergent until there is no sign of residue, and then washing them as usual.
As for the pail itself, I rinse it out with some vinegar and water, wipe it down, and put it back in the stainless steel can. That keeps it smelling fresh.
When the wash is done, I throw them in the dryer. Some people hang their diapers to dry. I find it takes too long, and it would mean washing every 2 days instead of every 3 (to allow for drying time). So I prefer to wash every 3, and use the dryer. To each his own. I save the clothesline for clothes. :) I have plenty of those to hang!
Anyway, that's pretty much it! I hope I haven't missed anything. I've been doing it for awhile now, so it seems like second nature to me, I almost forget all of the questions I had when I was first getting started. So if there's something I've missed, feel free to ask away!
In case you can't tell, I really, really love cloth diapering. :) For those of you who have never tried it, that may sound a bit bizarre. Who uses "love" and "diapering" in the same sentence? It truly makes diapering a joy, and I would never go back to disposables. Not in a million years. They may be a little extra work, but in my opinion, it is worth it. It's so nice to pass right by the baby aisle at the grocery store and not give it a second glance! It's so nice not to have to run to the store when we get low on diapers, but rather just head to the washing machine. :)