Friday, July 31, 2015

Baby Must-Have: Cloth Diapers - Part 2

Part 1 on cloth diapers focused on our choice to use cloth and the company we wanted to support. As you might remember, it mostly boiled down to environmental concerns and extended budgeting.

For environment concerns, it really can vary based on where you live. Running a load of laundry every day might actually be a much harder, long-term drain on the environment (especially if you live in CA or the Southwest) than putting disposable diapers in a landfill. It'll take a lot of water to keep up with cloth diapers! We happen to live in an area of the country where water scarcity and drought are never an issue, so cloth makes sense for us here. If we lived in CA it would likely be a different story.

And when it comes to extended budgeting, it's hard to swallow spending over $500 right now on diapers (barring any that are very generously gifted to us), but considering we'd spend over $2,000 over the first years of Lil' Feisty's life, I'd rather be a little pinched now rather than constantly drained over years. And if we have more than one child? These same cloth diapers can be used for as many children as they'll stay together, meaning the savings will add up a LOT.

So, what did we decide? We're buying a small haul of diapers once a month to try to spread out the sting a little bit. And our first haul came in last week!

And I couldn't wait to get them figured out and prepped.

First, I just had to admire them packed neatly in their little box. So precious.

In case you couldn't tell, I went with mostly black and white prints (and the only other chevron print in stock at the time!) and the two blue colors. I think they were between shipments when I ordered because some of the colors and prints I might have preferred weren't available, including ALL of the AIO (All-in-Ones). So I chose some award-winning bamboo pocket diapers.

By the way, these diapers all come from The Little Bee Company, an amazing (and quality) cloth diaper company that operates by utilizing a business model similar to TOMS shoes. Basically, by buying these seven diapers, seven identical diapers were sent to orphans in need around the world. To learn more about how and where they send off these diapers, visit their Diaper Drops page. You can even suggest an organization you know would benefit from this service.

After admiring these darling things for a few minutes, it was time to pull out a diaper and examine it.

Let me just say that the inside of these diapers is amazingly soft. Have you ever worn clothing or slept on sheets made from bamboo? It's always so stinkin' soft and luxurious feeling. And even better? It's a SUPER renewable resource. Score.

When I pulled out the inserts (yes, each diaper comes with two), I was a little confused.

Turns out, even though you can't see it in this picture, these two inserts can snap together and be used in different configurations for boys, girls, newborns, daytime, and overnight use. See that long, rectangular one? That's the main insert. That contoured insert is for newborns and smaller babies. More on how to do that farther down.

It was time to get these bad boys prepped.

The directions are different for every cloth diaper brand, but, in general, you're going to have to wash your diapers more than once before their first use, and you'll need to use a cloth diaper-safe detergent.

The prepping directions for The Little Bee Co. had me wash the diapers twice, both times in hot water. Once with a tiny amount of detergent, and a second time with no detergent.

In my search for an appropriate detergent to use with cloth diapers, I briefly considered making my own. I am a diehard DIY laundry detergent advocate, but I haven't done enough research or work to determine if a DIY detergent would work well with cloth.

I found this chart particularly helpful, and I'll probably try a number of the top-rated detergents, but thankfully the detergent by The Honest Company is available right in Target.

Just remember, you can't use any ol' detergent with cloth diapers or else you will ruin the waterproof liner, and fabric softener is a big no-no.

Now, since the directions called for a TINY amount of detergent, it was time to add that and the diapers to the washer drum.

After the first, hot wash, it was time to run them through a second time. After the second time, I had the option of drying them on low or line-drying. Since we don't have a line set up anywhere (which might be a good idea to do), it was in to the dryer for these guys.

Now, according to The Little Bee Co., natural fibers like bamboo take much longer to dry, so this little pile took just over an hour to dry on low heat (the recommended setting).

Once dry, it was time to assemble my diapers.

Since these diapers will first be used on a small baby, I snapped each diaper into the smallest setting. The diapers come with some vertical snaps that can fold a diaper into a small or medium size.

Then it was time to add the insert. Again, since these will be used on a new, tiny baby (once Feisty can fit in them), all that was needed was the contoured, newborn insert.

Then all I had to do was fold the diapers up and snap shut for easy storage.

Excellent! Prepped and ready for a brand new baby.

Like most of us when we do laundry, that amount of time didn't really count because I was doing other things while that was running. Once the diapers were dry, it took me about 20 minutes to stuff and snap these 7 diapers. I'm betting it will go much more quickly once I get used to the process. And hopefully we'll be able to buy some AIO's soon, which will cut down on prep time even more.


That's all for this week, y'all! Next week: more updates and a new Stitch Fix! Woo!

Until then, keep it real,

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