the convenience of cloth

2 months, 10 lbs., 3 different wash routines later, we are still cloth diapering exclusively and enjoying fully the convenience of cloth.

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Our cloth diaper stash from my previous post has gone pretty much unchanged, save for the addition of some AIOs or all-in-one cloth diapers. We’ve decided to use covers and flats and prefolds (no pocket diapers and no microfiber inserts) this time around, and we’re loving this diapering system more and more as the days go by. When baby was a month old, we were dependent on flats as it was basically pee and poop every hour. But now that he’s going for longer periods without pooping, I find myself reaching for prefolds at almost every diaper change. At 2 months, baby poops about 5-7 times in a day, and we’d have no more than 12 diaper changes within a 24-hour period. That’s a lot less compared to 16+ changes when he was a newborn.

Snappi'd GMD prefold
Snappi’d GMD prefold

Our covers are also holding up really well. We are getting by with only 2 covers on rotation, one is a Bummis Super Brite sized small (up to 15 lbs) and the other is a one-sized (8 to 35 lbs) Bummis Simply Lite. I like the stretchiness of the Simply Lite, it makes it super easy to put on and get a good fit. But the Super Brite seem to be more durable, thicker PUL, and a really strong velcro, yet I’ve never had issues with having the velcro snag on other clothes in the wash. Although, the fit of the Super Brite seemed really awkward earlier on, but now that baby is getting bigger, he’s filling it up quite well. We’ve also transitioned from having prefolds in an angel wing fold to just trifolded inside the cover. We only have infant sized prefolds and it’s getting harder to snappi the ends together around the waist as baby grows. I haven’t yet decided whether it would be necessary to buy larger sized prefolds in the later months, but I would definitely need a couple more covers in large size. I’m planning to give the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap a try, as well as a Thirsties Duo Wrap.

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Ira wearing a Bummis Simply Lite cover when he was less than a month old

We had been also been going out more frequently now, although mostly for just 1 or 2 hours. We use an AIO when we’re out, because it’s much trimmer, fits well under onesies, and pretty much works like a disposable diaper would. We’ve only tried Thirsties Duo AIO and Bumkins AIO (Dr. Seuss prints!) so far, and we’re looking to get more AIOs in our stash. It’s Thirsties AIO hands down for us, as I really dislike the tongue-style soaker in the Bumkins AIO. It gets tied up with other long-ish items in the wash, plus you have to stuff it inside a pocket and snap it into place. I’m not happy with all the extra work of having to stuff the other end of the soaker in a pocket  plus it tends to move around, and makes me worry whether it’ll be able to catch baby’s pee or not. If not for the cute Dr. Seuss prints, I’ll happily give our Bumkins AIOs away. I haven’t decided whether to just go and buy more Thirsties AIOs or to still give BumGenius Elemental and Grovia AIOs a try. What I liked about Thirsties AIOs is that the soaker is sewn into place on both ends, no need to worry about making sure that the soaker is snapped correctly, or that it wouldn’t bunch up or move around inside the diaper. The reason why we chose AIOs as our diapering system on-the-go is so that we could practically just slap it on baby’s bum and we’re good to go. If we had to fumble with whether the soaker is correctly in place etc., it doesn’t make it any more convenient than when we’re using prefolds and covers at home.

Ira wearing a Thirsties Duo AIO
Ira wearing a Thirsties Duo AIO

The downside to AIOs is that they’re more expensive, say an average of P1,000 per diaper when bought locally, and more complicated to wash and dry. All of our AIOs stain easier than our prefolds, and stains are harder to take out (means longer sunning time). To avoid this, I place a washable fleece liner on top so I don’t get super stubborn stains on the diapers. Also, they take much longer to dry, 2 days when line dried under the sun, and I have to turn it inside out midway through drying so it dries completely. But I’d like to think of this as the price I pay for the convenience AIOs offer. There are really times when you’d rather just reach for a disposable than a cloth diaper and these are the times that our AIOs save the day. Since AIOs would mainly be going out nappies, and emergency nappies, I’m thinking 6-8 AIOs in our stash would be enough.

When it comes to doing the diaper laundry, cloth diapers will definitely not be as convenient as having to simply throw a soiled disposable in the trash, but it also is not as inconvenient as some think it would be. Let me share with you our laundry routine. I have two baby laundry baskets, a small one for baby clothes so they don’t touch peed and pooped diapers, and a larger one for soiled nappies. I do the baby laundry every other day (without fail). Just enough time so as not to have stinking nappies under the crib. On laundry day, I separate the pooped cloth diapers and wash off the poop. Next I do a pre-rinse of peed and pooped on nappies, with water only. Then I do a separate wash cycle for the baby clothes and the diapers. Everything, except PUL covers, get some sun time to take the stains off and also so the clothes and diapers rinse easier. Even on cloudy days I sun them out, there are still UV rays penetrating the clouds, and it still works on stains. As soon as the poop stains go, yes the magic of Mr. Sun, clothes and nappies go on a rinse cycle (twice for thicker diapers) and then I hang them up to dry. If it’s raining, it takes 1-2 days for the nappies to completely dry indoors. The final quality control is burying my face on the dried diapers just to check if all the pee and poo stink is gone.

Cloth diapering skeptics might raise some eyebrows in doubt whether washing nappies is as easy as I say it is. The answer is a big, resounding YES. I’ve seen and read about stained diapers online, or detergent residue buildup causing stink issues on cloth diapers, or babies getting rashes from diapers not getting cleaned enough. I haven’t encountered any of these issues, and I doubt I ever will. We only have cotton diapers in our stash, no synthetic fibers, which I think is a huge factor. Everything just washes off cleanly and easily.

Just so you know, our water bill doubled during baby’s first month. And we also happened to purchase twice the amount of detergent than we normally would in a month. This was the time that I was still recuperating from a C-section and have left all laundry (including baby laundry) to the househelp with mere instructions on what to do and how to do it.  But now that I am pretty much up and about, my stitches healed, and I’m starting to take charge (again) over my own household, our water bill has gone down to the usual, and our detergent usage, significantly less, although slightly more than when we didn’t have baby clothes and diapers to wash.

There is a learning curve to cloth diapering cost-effectively. But to us, saving money is secondary, to baby’s health and keeping our environment clean and safe.

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