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Diapers and more diapers

Thirsties cover

Ellie is three months old now and so we’ve had nearly 3 months of cloth diapering. The first couple weeks we had some trouble because we had apparently not gotten ones small enough for a newborn, so we ended up using disposables till the others fit.

We have 6 Thirsties size one covers and 6 pair of the old fashioned plastic pants, and one Mio newborn size cover (this was the first thing that fit her, but she’s already outgrowing it at 12 pounds.)

The Thirsties work well and are by far the easiest, you just fold up the diaper, lay it in the cover and velcro or snap it shut. When it is dirty you simply take out the dirty diaper from the cover and put in a clean one, though we rotate them out each time so they are nice and dry before we put a new diaper in it. The drawback to these is that with the newborn breastfed baby the poop is very liquid and 9 times out of 10 it gets on the cover and then must be washed, so we go through these covers fairly quickly. Luckily though, not every diaper is a poopy diaper.

The plastic pants are of the same sort I remember using on my little cousins back in the day, with one wonderful development. Now instead of using safety pins to close the diaper I have these snappi closures that look like a wide T with claws at each point of the T that you simply hook into the diaper and it stays on. No stabbing yourself or a wiggly baby with pins. Because the diaper is wrapped around the baby the poop gets on these covers less often and so they don’t have to be thrown in the wash quite as often. I still rotate through them so they get a chance to air out between uses.

The drawback I’ve found for the plastic pants include taking the additional steps of folding and hooking the diaper properly and putting an extra layer of pants on a kicking baby as well as not being as good for night time. The folding and hooking really isn’t that bad, it just adds up after you’ve done it 3 times in 45 minutes.

Ellie wiggles the pants down a bit when sleeping on her back and if any bit of the diaper is wiggled out of the cover then her pajamas and bed are soaked, making it necessary to change not only the diaper, but her pajamas and bed at whatever hour she’s decided to get them wet. I haven’t had this problem with the Thirsties covers.

The Thirsties covers run about $13 each, and the plastic pants run about $1.25 each. I’ve been using the plastic pants during the day and at 5:45pm I consider myself off duty and move to the Thirsties covers for the evening. That way she is also assured to be wearing a Thirsties cover when she goes to sleep for the night. Though for the most part Thierry changes the diapers in the evenings once he gets home.

For the actual diapers I was fortunate in that I got the box of about 36 diapers that Mom found in the attic from when Andy, Paul, and I wore them. They are 36″x18″ and very absorbent. They are well loved and don’t look quite as pretty as new ones might but I find they get the job done quite admirably, and really who cares what a diaper looks like? The covers are stylish enough to make up for whatever is inside them.

Ellie in Diaper with her Lamb

I also have a package of prefolds that I bought to use as spit up rags when I first started watching Will, as well as a package of 27″x24″ Gerber diapers from Target that I do not like as much as the ones Mom gave me. The others are less absorbent and the prefolds already seem a bit small for Ellie. I like the 36×18 shape better as well, it folds very easily for extra padding in the front where it is needed. I think they will be a lot more flexible as Ellie gets older as well to fold them to whatever shape we need.

I was hoping to get some more diapers to spread the laundry out a bit more, but until I find some that I’m happy with they will continue to just be stop gaps for while we are doing laundry. The Gerber diapers may just need a few more washes before they’re ready to go. If we do manage to have more kids in the next couple years we’ll certainly need to get more diapers so hopefully we’ll figure out some more that we like by then.

For wipes I’m using cloth, and a spray bottle of water to wet them with. Thierry prefers the little cotton squares and spray bottle to the cloth wipes and just uses the cloth wipes for drying Ellie, but I like them better for both. I find that the cotton squares break up and are too small for my liking. I have more wipes than diapers but I still go through them just slightly faster, so I need to get more of those.

As it is using cloth diapers has added about two loads of washing per week for us and one load in the dryer if any. The diapers don’t take much drying since we have the front loading h.e. washer which spins most of the water out of them anyway. I always use our dryer on the low setting since with our washer the higher setting is not necessary. But for the diapers which are just flat pieces of cloth it takes easily half the time, and if I’m washing other loads the same day I can just throw them in with the other load rather than putting them through on their own. I would like to hang them to dry outside since not only would that not use any energy but the sun, but that supposedly also bleaches them. I have yet to set up a clothesline though, so one of these days I’ll get to that, especially now that the weather is getting nicer.

When we take the diapers off, the poopy diapers and poopy cloth diaper wipes go in a bucket with water, borax, and oxy clean, and the poopy covers go in their own bucket with water, borax, and oxy clean. The diapers that are just wet as well as the wet cloth diaper wipes go into a diaper laundry bag that we have in a covered trash can. When it comes time to do laundry the covers as well as the changing table pads get washed with the rest of the laundry and the diapers get washed by themselves.

For the diapers I pour the bucket of wet poopy diapers and wipes into the washer, with the oxyclean and borax mixture, and put the laundry bag of wet diapers and wipes in as well and run it through a rinse on cold first. Then I put in the laundry soap and wash them on hot. Finally I put them through another rinse with vinegar to soften them and make sure I’ve gotten all the soap out.

Adorable Smile and Hat

I used to wait till I had plenty of laundry and spend a day washing it all. I’d sort it into all sorts of complicated loads. Now I have 3 types of loads, diapers, darks, and lights, and I wash them whenever I have a full load. Ellie spits up a lot causing more laundry than you’d imagine a wee one like her could accomplish. I wash the diaper covers and changing table pads with the light load, though I run them first through a rinse before putting the rest of the load in with them. Just the rinse gets them reasonably clean since it includes the oxyclean and borax mix that I soak them in. I also add an extra rinse to the loads to be sure we get all the soap out of anything that’s going to go on Ellie. The diaper covers do not go into the dryer though, I hang them to dry in the bathroom where they dry very quickly. I want them to last so I’d rather not dry out the elastic in the dryer.

I’ve used disposables on Will for the last year and I don’t really find the cloth to be any more difficult, and they are more convenient when the diaper is poopy since the cloth often can be used to wipe off the baby before you get out any wipes, getting her much more cleaned up before taking the diaper away, which means the changing table stays cleaner as well, and there’s less holding up the baby by her ankles juggling wipes and babies trying to clear off poop. Then the wipes just serve to make sure you get the last bits and get her nice and clean for the new diaper.

Also I’ve found that the disposables at times leave little pellets of who know what sort of absorbent gel on Will when I change him. I’m sure whatever it is is fine and all, but I don’t have to wonder what in the world is sitting on the kid’s skin when all that touches her is cotton. We also haven’t had trouble with diaper rash, there was one trip to Arlington where she got fairly red, but I think with all the passing her around she went a bit long without getting changed and also I didn’t put the diapers through an extra rinse when I washed them in Arlington so there may have been soap in them irritating her. It never turned into full blown diaper rash and stopped being red quickly as well.


One thing is for certain with the cloth diapers, when they are wet the kid knows it and will let you know. With the disposables it’s not always clear and they can get overlooked if the kiddo doesn’t complain. A wet cloth diaper is harder to miss which means they get changed more often which cuts down on diaper rash. It may mean that your little one won’t sleep through the night with the same diaper but I’m happy knowing she’s not sleeping in her own pee.

So overall I’m quite happy with the diapering experience so far, I’ve even learned that changing a diaper in the car with the changing mat on your lap is really not all that hard, so long as the kiddo still fits on your lap too.

Ellie on Mat

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