As Paxton spends more and more of his time in cloth, we dump less and less money into disposables (and landfills). Sure, we could buy cheap disposables from the wholesale club or from Target, but my crunchy-come-lately self, concerned about the amount of chlorinated hydrocarbons being released into the world's water supply, insists on buying chlorine-free diapers... that are also latex-free and fragrance-free... and cost $12 a package. $12, to me, is worth knowing that a) I'm not encasing Pax's butt in chemicals and b) I'm not letting those chemicals runoff into groundwater. I still feel vaguely guilty about the diapers ending up in a landfill, but hey--I'm doing what I can, yeah?
Here's a photo of what Paxton spends most of his time in now--prefold diapers. Prefolds are rectangular, multi-layered cotton diapers that are generally four-ply on the sides and six- or eight-play in the center. You can get them bleached or unbleached--mine are unbleached--and they come in several different sizes--mine are infant-size. The green-edged ones in the photo are from Green Earth, the
ones without the edging are made by Osocozy. In my (so far, limited) experience, I don't think the manufacturer really matters. My Green Earth diapers shrank more than my Osocozys, but they also quilted up more after washing.
To use a prefold, you simply fold it up around the baby and find a way to hold it in place. Some people use diaper pins, some people use a contraption called a Snappi, and I just stick the entire thing in a diaper cover and hope it stays in place, because I am way too cheap to buy pins or Snappis. (For the record, my cheapskate method works just fine.)
Here is my diaper cover collection, minus one. For some reason, my green Thirsties Duo Wrap never made it into my photos... oops. The two covers to the left are Thirsties Duo Wrap Snaps (the Duo Wrap looks exactly the same, except with a velcro closure and no snaps). The two in the middle are the outer shells that make up part of the gDiaper hybrid diapering system. The cover to the right is a Bummis
Super Brite wrap. The Thirsties and the Bummi are made out of PUL (polyurethane laminate), a waterproof fabric that keeps moisture from the prefolds from leaking out onto clothes.
gDiapers? Not a favorite. They are very, very cute and very trim, but Paxton soaks right through the inserts that make up the absorbent part of the diaper. To use them, we have to double-up the inserts, which makes the diaper bulkier (defeating the purpose of having a cute, trim diaper). I prefer using the prefolds and covers, although I'm still giving myself some time to warm up to the gDiapers. I've also tried using different inserts--I have a couple of Thirsties hemp inserts and I've tried sticking one in the gDiaper along with the normal insert, with some success.
When someone finds out I'm using cloth diapers, they always ask what I do with the diapers when they're dirty. It is deceptively simple--you'd think this would be a lot of work, but it's really not. At home, I have a small garbage can with a PUL liner that I toss the soiled diapers into (poopy diapers get dunked in the toilet first and the poop gets flushed). The diapers in the can get washed about every two days, sooner if there's a couple poopy ones since I don't want them to stain. I have two PUL liners, so a fresh one can go into the can while the used one goes into the wash with the diapers.
When out and about, I use a wetbag (pictured above). This is like my can liner, except in bag form. It is basically just a zippered bag made of PUL that I can store soiled diapers in until I can get home and dump them in the can. The wetbag occasionally goes into the wash with the diapers and can liner, too.
A note--my liners and wetbag are from Mommy's Touch, which I had never heard of before finding on Amazon.com. They are very cheap, and they work--I don't see the point in spending money on a PlanetWise, Kissaluvs or other PUL liner/bag when this inexpensive option works just as well!
When it comes time to wash the diapers, the process isn't difficult. I run an empty cycle on my washer--no laundry, just water--to clear out detergent and fabric softener from the machine. I dump in the diapers, covers, wetbag and liners, and run a cold/cold wash with a bit of detergent (and sometimes a squirt of dish soap). I then remove everything made with PUL and run a hot/cold wash with no detergent to sanitize and get all the soap out. PUL gets line-dryed, and the diapers go into the dryer for a little over an hour on low heat (which on my dryer is a lie--I'm afraid to ever set it on high heat because that thing gets HOT, even on low). I've heard that line-drying the diapers outside will help with stains (and it's very eco-friendly, regardless) but tossing the diapers into the dryer means that I have clean diapers sooner, so...
In any case, cloth diapering isn't turning out to be the PITA that many people warned me it would be. It's kind of fun, actually, and the diaper covers are, in my opinion, pretty cute. I need to get some bigger shirts for Pax, because I think it's really adorable to put him in just a shirt and the diaper cover. :)
I thought I'd include some links on how I got all this stuff. I got all of it off of Amazon.com, except for my gDiapers, which came from Babies 'R' Us (money-sucking devil that it is).