Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Starting my cloth diaper stash....

Brett is going to be out of town this weekend, so I figured that I would try to plan on doing something productive to keep myself busy. Specifically, I've decided to start working on my cloth diaper stash.

When I first started researching cloth diapers, many people (my mom included) tried to talk me out of it, telling me that they had tried it, and it "just didn't work well." Let me tell you, friends, those same people were struggling with prefolds and pins and plastic pants. With all of the options available today, there's really no excuse to contribute to the massive waste that disposables produce, or to expose you baby to the chemicals in them.  According to

"Some of the facts: 18 billion disposable diapers are thrown in landfills each year, taking as many as 500 years to decompose. Disposable diapers make up the third largest source of solid waste in landfills, after newspapers and food and beverage containers--a significant fact, considering they are a single product, used by a limited portion of the population.1 It takes upwards of 82,000 tons of plastic and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp, or a quarter-million trees, to manufacture the disposable diapers that cover the bottoms of 90 percent of the babies born in the US.2"

Of more serious concern are the toxic chemicals present in disposable diapers. Dioxin, which in various forms has been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, and skin diseases, is a by-product of the paper-bleaching process used in manufacturing disposable diapers, and trace quantities may exist in the diapers themselves.6

And what about the material that makes "superabsorbent" diapers so absorbent? If you've ever used disposable diapers, you've probably noticed beads of clear gel on your baby's genitals after a diaper change. Superabsorbent diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, which absorbs up to 100 times its weight in water. Sodium polyacrylate is the same substance that was removed from tampons in 1985 because of its link to toxic shock syndrome.7 No studies have been done on the long-term effects of this chemical being in contact with a baby's reproductive organs 24 hours a day for upwards of two years."

Anyway, I'm off my soapbox now...

Initially I was planning on investing in BumGenius 3.0, which are amazing, easy-to-use, all-in-one, and *only* $18 a piece! I figured the convenience would make up for the cost. However, once I did a little research into covers, I realized I could combine those with Chinese prefolds for much less money. It's really not a big deal to fold a cloth diaper into thirds, IMHO. If you want to check out the tutorial, go here: diaper folding basics

So the basic outline for my "beginning stash" is listed below. I'm also planning on supplementing with the more expensive wool soakers, as I hear they are amazing and don't retain odor much at all, so require less washing. We'll see what works. Cloth diapering mamas, feel free to chime in/offer advice/comment! I appreciate your insight! 

Not sure of exact numbers yet:
- A few BumGenius to try out
- Chinese prefolds 
- Maybe some Proraps?

I've been planning on making cloth wipes, so I'll head out to Hobby Lobby to shop around for flannel in some cute prints. I've got my 50% coupon in hand, so this should be a very inexpensive endeavor. Think of how many wipes you can get out of one yard of flannel! I'm planning on measuring the flannel, cutting it into squares, and then sewing them together on the machine, so they'll be two layer wipes. 

What will I wet them with? Why, a homemade wipe solution! To make it, combine the ingredients below and fill a spray bottle with it. 
  • 2 TBSP Baby Wash
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil or 1 TBSP Calendula Oil
  • 2 Drops Tea Tree Oil
  • 2 Cups Water
Thanks to Natural Birth and Baby Care for the recipe! 


Beth said...

I like your soapbox! Stay on for as long as you like! I care about the chemical stuff, but the driving factor for me is the environment. It's just insane how much waste they produce! And I hate how everybody assumes that I'll be using disposables and then say, "More power to you" when I tell them my plans.

I have heard that the Bummis Super Whisper Wraps are supposed to be good. By the way, you're the one who got me to think about BumGenius - I was originally going to go with the Chinese prefolds and the wraps. Hah. :) is a great site to check out.

Good luck with your wipes!

Jenny said...

I have tried/bought for the new baby all the diapers on your list except for the wool soakers. The prefolds were a failure for me, but only because I didn't know what I was doing. Then I upgraded anyway. I love Bumgenius, but not the all-in-ones, only the one-size pockets. I got some all-in-ones used from a friend and although they were fine when she sold them to me, they get stinky so easily, take forever to dry (a waste of electricity) and are hard to get the stink out of. I am more sensitive to it while I'm pregnant. Tea tree oil in the wash is great for de-stinking all the others, but the all-in-one Bumgenius are just too thick. My all-in-ones of other brands (like Bumkins) don't have that problem because they are sewn differently, with the absorbent layers loose except for on the ends. I love the Bummis Super Brites and can't wait to try them and the Snappi. I am doing regular unbleached prefolds for the new baby, because we couldn't afford a whole stash of Kissaluvs AND covers to use for just a few weeks. If you are ever up in Asheville, you have got to visit The Littlest Birds ( They have the different diapers for you to touch and feel before you buy. They also have an amazing selection of natural parenting items, slings, wraps, wooden toys, etc. (That is also where I got my Storchenwiege wrap on sale for $52!) I haven't bought wool covers, but I made a pair of wool longies out of an old sweater. Suzi never used them because I couldn't find diaper pins for the prefold! Hopefully our new baby will like them.

I will have to try your wipes solution. We've just been using water, and it works fine but Suzi's had a rash so maybe the solution would help. We have all that stuff at the house already, so I might just make some real quick! I bet flannel wipes would be nice too. We have been using baby washcloths, because we have so many of them--way more than we use for baths, and we picked up a few extra for cheap at the consignment sale. We sell Pampers wipes at work because people get to the hospital and that's the one thing they don't provide. We've had people return them because they are a little dry and it makes me laugh. Um... Just add some water?

Sorry for the extremely long comment. I love to talk about cloth diapers :-)

Emily said...

Beth- I totally agree. People totally underestimate how easy cloth diapers are these days! And really- I'd rather do extra laundry than drive to the store for extra dipes any day. I'm glad you like the BumGenius- we'll be getting some to try out, and I may need them for daycare. Thanks for the website recommendation, too.

Jenny- Thanks for the advice. I guess I just figure if I have to stuff pockets, why not just use prefolds??? Who knows- that's why I plan on getting a variety to try out. I'm planning a trip to Asheville, too (been bugging Brett about it for quite a while- ever since you posted about it a while back). I have also considered cutting up receiving blankets to make wipes- you get so many of them! That is hilarious about people returning "dry wipes!"

Stephanie said...

I really really love Fuzzi Bunz, and Haute Pockets.
I have some BG's too, and they are great!!
Congrats on your pregnancy!!