Lovingly called the fluffy butt, cloth diapering families know their nappies are a bit on the bulky side. This doesn’t work for everyone, which is okay because there is no wrong way to diaper a baby. In fact, some countries don’t even use diapers. The question most parents have is which diaper to use. It almost always comes down to cloth versus disposable. There is a lot of information to delve into before deciding if a fluffy butt fits your family.
The cloth diaper has always been used. It was the only diaper in production for over a century, but lost popularity in the 1960’s with the invention of the disposable diapers. In recent years, however, the cloth diaper evolved to appeal not only to environmentalists, but others due to fresh designs.
Even as late as the 1990’s, cloth diapers simply meant prefold. This is a thick multi-layer cotton that is absorbent. It has to be wrapped around the baby and pinned into place with a fleece or rubber pants around it. These are sized, so as your baby grows new prefolds need to be bought. This is still a popular choice, however, because they are efficient and fit most babies. Recently, snaps were introduced that allow you place the diaper without worrying about pricking your baby or finger.
Other styles of cloth that now exist include:
There are also a number of materials that can be used with cloth diapers. The most popular include:
Caring for Your Cloth Diapers
Owning cloth diapers takes a lot more care than a typical disposable. This is where a lot of consumers loose interest. If you don’t buy used, the process starts immediately. It does not end until your child is completely done with diapers. The process includes
Prepping: If you choose any diapers that include natural fibers like bamboo, you need to prep the diapers before use. If this step is skipped, the fabrics actually repel fluids. This can be done through washing the diapers in hot water through many cycles (approximately eight). You can also boil them in water on your stove top for 30 minutes and then finish with a wash cycle. When ready, the material will absorb water and there should not any water drops piling on it.
Washing: Each person has a different wash cycle. There are two important steps to accomplish – cleaning off the waste and ensuring all the soap is gone. Cloth diapers take only one fourth of the detergent that a normal laundry load needs. A typical cycle includes a rinse cycle followed by a hot wash cycle. Complete the load by rinsing at least one more time or until no bubbles remain. Diapers should be washed minimally every 3-4 days.
Drying: You may put diapers in the dryer on low or let them air dry. It is highly recommended to dry the diapers on high approximately once a month to reseal any pinholes that may occur in the outer shell. This keeps it waterproof. If you dry your diapers in the sun, it will also help reduce staining.
Stripping: Cloth diapers should be stripped about once every month or two. This gets rid of any accumulation of grime, soap, or excess build-up on the diaper. There are two methods that do this well: RLR and Dawn dish soap. With RLR, you simply add the packet to a normal wash cycle; it will take an extra four or more rinses to complete the washing routine. Dawn is done the same way, however you only add a teaspoon to the wash cycle. It must be the original blue dawn to work correctly.
Storing Dirty Diapers: If you decide on cloth diapers, you will need travel size wet bags as well as a large garbage bag size. This is where the dirty diapers stay until you wash them. Some people do choose to fill a garbage can with water and store the dirty diapers in that believing that it makes cleaning easier. Once your child starts solid food, or if she uses formula, you will need to spray any solid matter into the toilet.
Pros and Cons
More than likely at this point, you are already overwhelmed with information. This is the reason many parents do not go on to use cloth diapers. Here is a quick recap and list of the pros and cons of cloth diapers:
Once you figure out a system of cloth diapers, it becomes a familiar and easy process. As an added benefit, you can always switch to disposable diapers when leaving the house, traveling, or anytime the cloth diapers feel overwhelming. Many parents opt for the cloth diaper simply because there are fewer alternatives that are chemical free and environmentally friendly. Once these options are mainstreamed, there will likely be less fluffy butts running around with more parents going for convenience and health.