Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cloth Diapering Guide Part 2 : More Starting Tips and Cloth Wipes

I remember when I made the switch over to cloth diapering with my first son. It felt like it should be all or nothing. I did reading and reading, although 6 years ago there weren't quite as many choices as there are now. Now there are not only dozens of brands of pocket diapers, but then you have small WAHM shops that sell their own version of the name brands, and so on. No matter what I read, there were about a zillion differing ideas on every aspect of cloth diapering.

Here are the important things to remember :

1. it's about creating a system that works for your family. This does not mean buying 2 dozen of one brand just to discover you don't like it. I highly, highly recommend buying 1 diaper to see if you like it rather than seeing this happen : you buy a bunch, wash them all.. discover they do NOT work for your family and you sell them all almost practically new at a huge loss. Yes, you save a few dollars per diaper if you buy a big package. Just be sure you like them first! You can try out diapers used by buying off of e-bay or swaps, or even looking at online retailers for Second Quality diapers at a reduced rate.
I just bought a bunch of diapers that I found worked GREAT for Liam - ones that both fit him well and are absorbent enough, and you can't even tell they're second quality. I can't even tell what's wrong with them. But that's a tangent...

2. One step at a time is OK. When I first tried cloth diapering, I bought enough diapers to last us for 3 days, cloth wipes, and a diaper pail I was told was great for cloth diapering. It turned out I disliked every single thing I got except for 1 brand of diaper. So I sold it all that I could get a decent amount back for, and continued to use the diaper pail and wipes even though I didn't really like them. Just because you're cloth diapering doesn't mean it has to be full time right away (be sure to read part 1 of my guide to know what I mean) and using all accessories
right away.

With those two things out of the way here are some answers to questions I was e-mailed after writing part 1.

-What about cloth wipes?
-Can you make your own cloth wipes using a standard home sewing machine?
-What about wipes solutions?
-How do you store dirty diapers at home?
-What about dirty cloth diapers when you're out?
-Do snuggly soft diapers stay soft?
-What detergent should I use?

I'm going to answer the first 2 questions today and the rest later in the guide. Send more questions if you have them!!!

I love what Tara wrote about cloth wipes, because it summed up how I felt about them and how much better they work :
"For some reason, after I overcame the thought of using cloth diapers being gross, I still thought cloth wipes were gross. Not sure why this was. However, it only makes sense. Why separate disposable wipes from your cloth diapers before you put them in the pail? With cloth ones, you can throw everything in the wash. Plus, they work way better. In my experience, I use far less cloth wipes per change than disposables."

I would suggest that if you are currently a disposable diaper user tackle the issue of using diapers first. Which ones you like, finding the system that works well. Especially if making the initial investment is more difficult financially, you'll save money more quickly by switching to cloth diapers than with wipes. However, it is estimated that $800 is spent on disposable wipes alone per child. That is significant once it's all added up.

So when you're ready to tackle switching to cloth wipes here is what I recommend. If you are used to using disposable wipes, don't buy cloth wipes that are smaller than what you're used to using. Little 4x4 squares are going to annoy you! 8x8 is a great size.

Lots of materials work well and I have found that a lot is based on preference. But if you don't know what material to use what are important factors? Pretty much just size and price. As far as softness goes... save softness for your diapers.
You need something that is going to clean up the worst of messes!!! I recently ordered some bumGenius wipes at a GREAT sale price and was so impressed with their snuggly softness, thinking I'd love them on my newborn. But after 1 washing they felt like just ordinary terry. So they do work well but for the regular price for bamboo wipes I'd say... don't bother. Good size and good price are what you're going for here. Personally, I like 1 layer wipes as I think they're easier to use and I can fit more in a travel container - but that's just me.

One thing I also have found in a preference for wipes is wipes with serged edges, not with ribbing or binding. The ribbing makes it difficult for needing to get in between chubby little baby leg rolls.

I just recently tried some wipes that not only are a good size, good price, but are a GREAT material. Good old Kissaluv's. They are 8x8. One size of the wipe is a smooth knit side of the fabric, but if you need a little extra scrubbing power the other side of the wipe is a long loop terry. It's only 1 layer of fabric, which is my favorite, but it's nice and plush. And due to the plush terry material you can fold it in half as an emergency extra doubler if needed. And at $0.99 per wipe, that's a great deal!!
(if Adam is reading this - I know, I know!! Is it really $0.99???! You and your documentary have scarred my thoughts on good deals forever) I also discovered here a bundle of 5 Kissaluv wipes at $0.90 per wipe, plus I LOVE their Cleansing Greens Wipes Solution - so a good one stop shop. Although I'm going to stop there since I'm saving a review of wipes solutions for another day - as I'm testing out a new kind right now as well.

Can you make your own wipes? Well, zig-zagging the edges doesn't really cut it. You will have lots of fraying from my experience in trying to make flannel wipes. A serger is what you really need if you want to make your own wipes. I think that it may take more time than you're looking to spend in sewing ribbing/binding around the edges of your washies, which is how you could make washies using your home sewing machine. Although maybe you could find some way to bind washies that don't make the edges too thick.... if so, I will be happy to spread the word!!! :-)

You can cut microfleece into wipes without having to do any sewing. The fleece doesn't fray. While I'm personally not a fan of fleece wipes (I don't think it works well at cleaning really messy diapers), this may be a good option for you if you really have a desire to make your own wipes :-) You can often find scraps of fleece remnants for a pretty good price.

That being said.. I'd really like to own a serger someday to make my own wipes!!! :-)

So to reinforce the main points : size (around 8"x8") and price. Descriptions that say things like "snuggly soft" will appeal to that baby weak spot in your hormonal, mommy mind ;-) Just remember "size and price" Let me know what wipies you end up finding for good deals, I'll add them to the list!

Starting with my favorite :

Kissaluv wipes $0.99 each at Kelly's Closet or a bundle of 5 for $4.50 at Little Sprouts Diapers


Tara said...

great post! :)

I've made all my own wipes out of flannel. Nothing special, but they work well and have stayed soft. Since I don't have a serger, I made them double sided (sewn right sides together), trimmed the seam allowances, turned them right side out, and did a zig zag around the edges. The edges are not bulky at all. I'm sure there's other ways to do it, but they work for us!

I know some people use cheap washcloths or baby washcloths and find that they do the job, too.

Arizona Bam said...

Ha... well, I don't usually spend my evenings poring over cloth diapering info, but I'll echo my wife and say Well Done! And, I apologize for the scarring documentaries that I write about;-)... for what it's worth, I'm scarred too!