Bored Housewives Network

Getting through the day, one bonbon at a time.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Cloth diapers?

So we've been using only disposable diapers with Henry from day one. I only know a few people that used cloth and i just never really considered it myself. I don't know why, but now i'm suddenly interested. Thinking about how many more diapers we have to buy and throw away(and did i mention buy!) before Henry is potty-trained, and how many more we'll need for the additional kiddos we'd like to have, i just get blown away.

I'm just starting to explore cloth diapers and all the accoutrement, so if anyone uses them that's part of this group, take a stab at my questions thus far.

1. From what i understand you use pre-folded diapers inside some type of diaper cover. Is there something specific i should look for in pre-folded diapers-- other than the various sizes for H as he grows?
2. What's with the "doublers?" They look like cloth maxi pads and from what i can figure you use them overnight to basically extend the absorbancy. Are they really necessary? Things i've read basically say if your baby is a super-peer at night use doublers or inserts. How do i know if i have super-peer? He's my first and i'm not sure i've heard this baby featured compared much among mums.
3. What's up with wool? Is this necessary? I don't get the benefits and just keep focusing on having to hand-wash them and "lanolize" them.
4. Folding the diaper in thirds and stuffing it in a diaper cover doesn't seem very difficult to me-- if it doesn't, is there a reason to get the more expensive "fitted" diapers? And if you do get the fitted diapers, do you have to put a cover over them?
5. What about wipes? I'm not sure i would give up disposables, but if i did, can't we just use some flannel fabric cut into squares or small washcloths? I haven't figured how the ones you buy really differ.
6. How much can i expect to spend for a mid-range cloth diaper wardrobe. I don't want to have to be doing laundry all the time, but i don't think i'm ready to drop $1000 or anything on his little tushie right now!

I think that's it for now. I'm really interested in exploring this but just feel like i have quite a bit more "research" to do before i take any steps.


  • At 9:07 PM, Blogger Anne-Marie said…

    oh oh, Kris - this one's all yours...!

  • At 12:10 PM, Blogger Melissa said…


    we've been using cloth for nile since day one. i only use disposables when we travel & won't have a washing machine handy..

    Generally, we end up doing laundry about once every other day - mainly because we run out of diaper i guess if you had more diapers & covers you could do less laundry, but how long do you really want stinky diapers hanging around? i find that it's best to do a soak cycle first to flush out all the poo & then a heavy wash cycle..after nile was born i actually ended up buying a brand new washing amchine b/c i figured i'd be needing it..i love it, it's my pride & joy (wow, now i REALLY sound like a bored housewife!!)

    if you don't want to wash diapers you can always use a diaper service, which we did for the first 3 months of nile's's also a good way to figure out if you want to use cloth without having to actually all the diapers.

    but to be honest, you really don't need that much stuff...

    we use the folded ones that get folded into thirds. we have about 20 diapers and 6 covers...i think they come in a few different sizes, S, M, L..he's now 9 month old & he's been in the medium ones for quite a while & i think he'll continue to be in them for some it's not like you have to constantly go out & buy bigger sizes, they work for quite a while.

    i initially invested in the more fitted style of diaper & found that they did not work as well, so i switched to the folded kind. but yes, you still have to use a cover for them.

    we also have a few "all in ones" that i keep in his diaper bag because they are simpler to use (they are the cover & the diaper built into one). they are a bit more expensive and not quite as absorbant, so not great for use all the time..but perfect for using when you're out and about and need to do a quick diaper change. the ones i use are made by bummis (

    the doublers are not really all that necessary because you can just fold up 2 diapers for them at night for more absobbancy - that's what we do .. but i actually do have a few doublers that i use now & then if i know he's going to be in his diaper for a long time & i might not be able to change him..i think b/c they have that weave on the top (like a maxi pad) that they keep their bums dryer than the regular diaper does..

    i use the bummis "super whisper wrap"diaper covers (about $10 each),which i'm really happy can see them at
    they come in plain white or cute designs. you don't have to wash the cover every time you change the diaper (unless it gets poo on it or it's really wet, of course) so , you can generally get a few uses out of a cover before you have to wash it..

    i don't know much about the wool stuff, when i heard about all that lanolizing i got turned off - sounded too complicated. but to be honest i really don't know much about it at all.

    basically it's a matter of finding the best combo for you..there's tons of options for diapers & diaper covers out there that you can combine as you please.

    as far as wipes are concerned, the choice is yours..i still use disposable wipes because it's convenient. but i have a few friends who use cloth wipes and one friend who just uses toilet paper...

    one good thing that i've heard about cloth diapers is that babies who use them are generally potty trained sooner than those who wear disposable...mainly b/c when you're wet in a cloth diaper ou really feel it - so it's not as comfortable to sit around in & that makes them more motivated to get onto the potty.

    i would really encourage you to try the cloth's a good investment, good for the environment & really nice not to have to buy expensive disposable diapers..

    let me know if there's anything else you're wondering about!

    good luck!!

  • At 12:13 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    PS - when buying covers, i've found the velcro variety much quicker & earier to use then the type with the snaps..Nile tends to wiggle & roll & struggle alot when his diaper is being changed, so i found the snaps to be too involved.

  • At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi, so far I have been a lurker on the bored housewives blog, but I felt compelled to respond. We use cloth diapers on our 17 month old daughter, Menna, and I love them. It is just a little extra work (the washing a drying part), but it is very worth it. Here is a little run down of the knowledge that I have gained over the last 17 months:

    Prefolds are the best bet, esp as your baby grows and pees more. The unbleached ones are the best, but when you purchase them new they need to be washed and dried (high heat) a number of times prior to use. This removes the natural wax and makes the diaper more absorbant, and the diaper will shrink in size a bit. The longer you use the cloth diapers, and the more they are washed, the more abosrbant they become. The bleached prefolds (which are white) won't need to be washed as many times in the beginning because all the nautral wax has been bleach out, but the bleaching compromises the integrity of the fibers, and it is bad for the environment. Usually the unbleached are cheaper as well.

    As for the doublers, I would recommend getting 12 newborn sized prefolds, and folding that in thirds and slipping it inside the regular diaper at night. When Menna was born I bought 12 newborn flannel prefolds and as she grew I have continued to use them as inserts during the night. I was never sure if she was a super-peer either, but the extra diaper during the night helps keep those accidents at bay, and since she sleeps with us, I didn't want a mattress that smelled like pee. She has never had a leaky night time diaper either.

    As for the wool covers, I have never used them. Some people really love them, and initally I was curious about giving them a go, but the cost kept me away, and they sounded a little more time consuming than the average diaper cover. I live in the US, and unfortunately had to go back to work after 12 weeks maternity leave (I have been envious of all you canadian's and your 12 MONTHS maternity leave!). The special care instructions that wool required was too much for me. So, i can't really speak about wool.

    I still use disposable wipes, but I did purchase about 40 flannel sqares with the intention to use them as wipes, making my own solution. But, again the time factor.... I do use them if Menna has a diaper rash. I just wet them with warm water. If you decide to make your own wipes, make sure you sew the edges because they will frey during the wash. Before buying the flannel wipes, a friend and I cut out a bunch of squares from old diapers to use as wipes, and during the first wash they broke apart in the washing machine, and turned in to a HUGE knot, never to be useful again. You mentioned using small wash cloths, that is a great idea, esp if you use the baby wash cloths because they are not as rough.

    As for the fitted diapers.... I have never used those either. I did buy a 5 package of "all in one" diapers. This is a diaper with the diaper itself and the cover all attached. we use those when we are out and about, and because everything is attached and "all in one" it is easy to change. They are not necessary though, and a five pack in the US costs about $45, and the brand is "Kushies" which is Candian.

    To start out you may want to buy about 24 cloth diapers, and anywhere from 5-10 covers, depending on how often you want to do laundry. My favorite covers are the "Super Whisper Bummis wraps" also a canadian company. I tried a few different brands, but I found these to work best with Mennas pooing and peeing habits. There are other brands that are cheaper, but these are more breathable, don't feel plastic-y, and are quite durable (they run about $10 US). But, different brands work better with different children, so you may need to experiment. I have 3 other friends who are using the bummi wraps sucessfully, one of which is a bored housewives blogger. So, they seems to be pretty consistant. There is always a trial and error period when beginning cloth diapers, so be prepared for some accidents as you get the hang of things. You could probably get started for less than $150 (24 diapers and 5 covers), that is in US dollars. Once purchased, cloth diapers last a real long time, and thru a couple kids. When the glorious day comes, and diapers are no longer needed, you will have some durable rags.

    The washing part is pretty easy and not a big deal, esp if you get Dad incharge of it, as I have done. Don't use bleach or fabric softener as these products will compromise the absorbancy of the diapers and covers.

    I hope this helps.
    happy diapering,
    PS Cloth diaper kids generally potty train a good 6-12 months earlier than disposable kids. That alone is a big plus for me!

  • At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I won't add much in terms of cloth diaper details (as the crew above has done a fab job), but I want to throw in my two cents about a big perk. Jonah has been using cloth for just over a month -- since he turned 1 -- and he is *already* hating the feeling of being wet. This is, from what I have been told, a necessary step to potty training.

    Oh, and we use a service which launders and drops off the diapers once a week. (It is about $10/week in Vancouver.)

    Good luck!


  • At 8:16 PM, Blogger Tallis Ford said…

    Thanks to everyone for all their wonderful advice and wealth of information. I'm getting more into this cloth diaper notion so i may check back with some more questions as i get specific about what i'm going to buy. I did want to mention that i'm in the US and also jealous of the 1-year off Canadians get. BTW, i was mentioning this to a friend at dinner tonight and she asked if it was paid maternity leave. That i could not answer. I just assumed it was because i haven't heard people talking about the financial implication, but maybe you guys could clear that up for me.

    Thanks again!

  • At 8:25 PM, Blogger Anne-Marie said…

    It's paid by the government at 55% of your salary. Some companies, mostly larger ones will top up from 55% to as much as 100%. For example, my company topted (sp?) up for the first 6 weeks to 70%, then the rest of the year I've been at 55%.

    It's not much, but definitely manageable.

  • At 8:28 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Tamra, we did cloth diapers for the first couple of months, but then slowly fell away from them because my husband HATED putting them on (he just couldn't get the knack of it) and he was doing the majority of the diaper changing.

    HOWEVER. Now I'm doing the bulk of diaper duty these days, and I must say that I'm liking the sound of earlier potty training. So I'm glad you asked this question and brought it front of mind for me, too.

    To answer your question about mat leave in Canada, yep, we get 52 weeks of paid parental leave, which can be divided between both parents however they choose. I know a few couples who chose to have the mom stay home for the first 6-9 months, then the dad stayed home for the remainder. It's not a tonne of money, though. It's equal to whatever you'd qualify for employment insurance benefits, with a maximum of around $400/week. Some employers can choose to top it up, but they're not required to. Still, it's better than nothing, and I'm glad for whatever I can get (though I wish it could last till Sam's in preschool).

  • At 10:37 PM, Blogger Cataclysm said…

    Ohhh! Ohhh! Where have I been?!?!

    Sorry all, not been checking in recently but wow, Cloth Diapers!

    Big up for Bummis Super Whisper Wraps (never, never a poo-cano, as everything stays nicely contained). Love the froggy print and check on-line diaper stores for the best deals - I have 4 covers which are fine. Forget wool (never tried it but SWW are invincible) and bummis fleece covers leave cloths damp.

    As for the diapers themselves, I'm a Sweet Cheeks fan - and Rian at 22 pounds is a toddler size. I use the liner that they come with and a fleece doubler that wicks away the wetness so he feels pretty dry. Its all velcro so totally EASY to put on! Even Pete can do it! We have been using these since he was 3 days old as the cost of disposables freaked me out and that I was having to change his outfits 4x a day due to the exploding poos. Eek! And the smell! Like a men's urinal that has never been cleaned...

    [Hate Wonderoos and Fuzzi Bunz pocker diapers but I think I've been doing something wrong.]

    Now I have 21 toddler size Sweet Cheeks which cost about $12.50 CDN (I bought mine on sale 3 for 2 so less than $200 for the set), plus the newborn size still work, so we do 2 extra loads of laundry per week. We also have a $40 diaper sprayer that fits to the toilet so we don't have to swooch it in the bowl, just spray it out, flush and to the dry pail. Easy!!

    Once you switch to cloth, you will NEVER go back to disposables! Provided of course you have in-suite laundry facilities. Babies do toilet-train an average of 6 months earlier because as Libby mentioned, the wet feeling isn't nice.

    Rian has NEVER had a diaper rash (except when I was on heavy antibiotics for mastitis) and we use the cloth wipes with a dish pail of plain water that I change once a day (before I go to bed). I HATE the huggies/pampers wipes as I need to use 12+ to get him clean from a poo, whereas 2-4 cloth wipes do the same job easier and better.

    And the enviro-karma!!

    AND get this, people sell USED diapers for big $$ on eBay! So even if you don't have a 2nd baby, you'll re-coup part if not most of your investment. Win-win-win!

    So yep, I'd say never too late to start! Any other questions??

    Bottom line, the most important part is the Bummis SW Wraps, then get whatever you think will be easy to put on. Good luck!

  • At 7:28 PM, Blogger Tallis Ford said…

    Thanks for the feedback guys i've made some decisions.

    Unbleached pre-folds with Bummis super-snaps for me, Kushis AIO for daycare.

    Q: Will the Bummis super-snaps work for overnight? If not do you have overnight recomendations? I was thinking Stacinator Stretch Wool because a) they snap which i'm obsessed with and b) they come in fun colors.

    Q: Do you think i could dye my Bummis super-snaps? I just want them in solid colors and they only come in white (i'm not a fan of the prints). Was wondering if the outside material would take to dye?

    Thanks in advance!

  • At 4:42 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    not sure if you're still checking in on this b/c it's an old post..but just wanted to say:

    1. i don't think you can dye the bummis. the fabric does not sem like it will take dye. the kushis all in ones come in lots of fun patterns & colors (more than the bummis do). but to be honest, you really don't see them & i find that i really like putting a nice, clean, white diaper cover on baby sometimes.

    2. Bummis will definately work for overnight, so you don't have to buy different covers. just double up the diapers at night.

    3. i found the diapers with the snaps to be a real pain. you can't get as close of a fit as you can with the velcro, which means leaks. i would buy a few & try them out for a while before you purchase your whole supply. everyone has their own favorite, but i REALLY didn't like the snap covers. i think that the velcro ones will fit your baby longer too b/c they are a more flexible fit.

    good luck!

    let us know how it all works out.

  • At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We bought cheap washcloths, cut them into quarters, sewed cut edges so they wouldn't unrsvel, (actually payed a handly senior to sew them), them carried around a little stck with a bottle of water in the diaper bag. We'de moiten a few whenever it was time to change the diapers. A friend of mine got so interested in researching cloth diapers, she stated an online company: timetochangethe I know she'd be happy to talk with you if you want to know anything at all about cloth diapers. Her name is Tammy.


Post a Comment

<< Home