Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cloth diapers

Lately, I've gotten renewed incentive to try to kick the disposable diaper habit once and for all. We've been dabbling with cloth diapers off-and-on for about a year. I am certainly not an expert on the topic; in fact, I find it rather overwhelming. There are so many choices these days that I hardly knew where to start! Eventually I just picked Econobum covers after my blogging friend Shannon alerted her readers to a "Buy One, Get One Free" sale at Cotton Babies. I purchased five so we now have 10 diaper covers and cotton prefolds.

I have no complaints with their functionality (no leaks or blow-outs in our limited experience), but they do have their drawbacks. Edmund is more prone to diaper rash when wearing cloth. Also, the cotton prefolds are pretty bulky and I have my doubts that they would work well on an infant as they are simply too big. And last but not least, they develop a strong odor when soiled -- I do realize this is probably due to build-up or laundry abuse on my part, I'm just still in the process of trying different things to see what will work to get rid of the smell.

So, I decided to take a look around and see what might solve some of my problems. Thankfully, Shannon is a fount of cloth-diaper information. I went back and reviewed her helpful posts on cloth-diapering (Adventures in Cloth Diapering, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) and decided to try my hand at the free Rita's Rump pocket diaper pattern, taking Shannon's suggestion of using Alova suede as the liner in an effort to keep moisture away from tender skin.

Serendipitously, Jo-Ann Fabrics had their flannels on sale for $1.99/yard and with a 50% off coupon, I was able to get a good price on the Alova suede, too. I planned to make just a few to make sure I liked the style and fit before going crazy making tons of diapers. I also bought some microfiber auto towels at Target for about $1 each to use as "soakers" in the diaper pockets. Here are two of my first efforts, made up in nice gender-neutral fabrics.

[You can see I added a seam at the crotch of the froggy diaper, just so the frogs would be right-side-up on both the front and back of the diaper!]

These diapers are not waterproof so I still use the Econobum covers over them. They do not have any fastenings, which is supposed to make them more versatile in fitting infants all the way to toddlers (the diapers do fit Edmund, who is almost 28 months and around 35 lbs., although the back wings barely meet in the front on him). Shannon said she is able to use them without pins by keeping them in place with the waterproof cover -- I tried this and it is a little tricky on a big, active toddler. I will pick up some diaper pins next time I see any at a store (I'm assuming these are still sold in stores, right?!) and try that route.

As far as reducing bulk, they certainly do that, and are doubtless more comfy for Edmund to wear than the prefolds. It remains to be seen whether they'll help with the diaper rash issue -- never a huge problem with him anyway, but one that just crops up from time to time when he is wearing a lot of cloth. It's certainly an economical option as the materials can be had pretty cheaply if you use Jo-Ann coupons, and the pattern sews up very quickly. It's a little hard for me to judge how functional they are because Edmund is in the process of potty-training and isn't giving them the full workout that a newborn infant will. So stay tuned for an update in a couple of months! :)

[Baby bump at 30 weeks!]