Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cloth Diaper Woes...

When you first hear of cloth diapering, you may be in one of two camps, either it sounds icky and like a lot of work or it sounds incredibly easy. Initially, I was in the first camp when I was pregnant and my cousin decided to cloth diaper her son; I wanted absolutely no part of it. I thought, "Eww. I don't wanna touch poop!" However, when J was about 7 months old I was bemoaning the cost of the Pampers which ironically are the only disposables that J doesn't leak out of and of course it took a different type of Pamper diaper to hold him over at night. With the 2 boxes of Pampers plus the wipes, it was costing us about $100/month to diaper J and I calculated that if he remained in diapers til the age of 3 like my nephew that we would be out $3600 in the long-run. Like a broken record, I would tell my lovely hubby, "It would've been so much cheaper if we used cloth diapers on J, but it's too late now, right?"

Finally a friend told me that it is never too late, and that got me thinking. So I then spent 2 months researching cloth diapers by reading blogs, watching vlogs, reading books, tweeting moms who cloth diaper their little ones, etc. After much obsession on which are the best and how to use cloth "the right way," I decided to do a cloth diaper trial through one of many online cloth diaper retailers who offers one. When the diapers came, I kept the prefolds and flip diapers in the package, convinced that I would never use them. I really thought that I would wind up going with AIO's (all-in-ones) because those are the most like a disposable. Much to my surprise, I wound up preferring the pockets for their faster drying time and customizable absorbency. Washing was simple enough: cold prewash, hot wash with some cloth diaper friendly detergent, 2 cold rinses, then line drying the diapers and using the dryer for the inserts. So of course, I invested in diapers and as I always do, I did it with all-or-nothing mentality. Instead of gradually investing in diapers, I put out money instantly: the majority of it on "China cheapies": Sunbaby diapers & Kawaiis, and bought some other "better quality diapers" that were on sale: BumGenius 4.0.

Everything was smooth sailing for the first two months, then I was hit with problem #1: stinky diapers. I started googling how to battle stinkies and first tried revamping my wash routine then switching detergents. Of course, I didn't strip the diapers before switching so that led to problem #2: repelling. For those who don't know cloth diaper lingo, repelling means that instead of absorbing urine, the diapers repel the moisture so that most of the insert stays dry and the pee soaks right through instantly. That meant I needed to strip the diapers and I tried every method under the sun within a 1 month span to strip those suckers: hot water washes all day long, hot wash with blue Dawn, then finally RLR to soak then strip. The last one did the trick. Problem #3 came along when I decided I was tired of sizing up with clothing: compression leaking. Think of a cloth diaper insert like a sponge. It can hold a lot of liquid, but if you squeeze it, liquid comes out. With a cloth diaper that has compression, the liquid comes out the top at either the front or back of the diaper.

At this point, I had been cloth diapering for three months and was fed-up, so I decided to go back to disposables for a little while. After one week in disposables, poor J got a rash and so I put him back into cloth, and of course it turned out to be a yeast rash which I figured out too late. That meant I needed to kill the fungus from the diapers and treat J for yeast. Again, the cloth was put aside and left to sit in the pail for WAY too long. His room reeked of ammonia and no amount of washing could get rid of the odor even though I did kill the yeast with tea tree oil, lots of hot water, and sunning.

Once again, I switched detergents, this time to Rockin Green and rocked a soak. Initially, odor was gone and I was washing diapers every 2 days once again. However, soon the diapers picked up a musty barnyard odor. I knew that I was not about to give up on the cloth diapers, because I really didn't want to hear "I told you so" from everyone who swore up and down that I'd wind up hating the cloth. In desperation, I contacted Stephanie of AbbysLane. Basically, Stephanie told me that the diapers were stinky because there was bacteria that wasn't being killed and that biological matter was being left behind. Worried, I decided to follow the advice on how to get the diapers back to a clean slate: I stripped the diapers with bleach then switched to Powder Tide Free (she originally wanted me to use the original powder Tide but after I said that J is sensitive to fragrance, she said to use the free version). Finally, the diapers always just smell clean out of the wash, J doesn't get any rashes whatsoever, and there is no leaking. I also now wash a little bit differently: I do a warm prewash, hot wash with detergent all the way up to the 2nd line, and 2 cold rinses. As it was explained to me, if you skimp on the detergent, there is not enough to actually work to clean the diapers and bacteria will always be present.

Now that the issues have been worked out, J has a comfy behind and I love the cloth once again!

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