Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cloth Diapers 202

[Special Edition Chelsea Perry Elemental]

Cloth Diapers. Honestly, I never thought I'd be "one of those moms", but I have grown to love them over the years. I wrote about them a little before here. This post is going to dive a little deeper into what, why, and how. I will also give you a list of essentials and answer FAQ.

What Cloth Diapers Do I Use?

I chose Bum Genius because: 
[1] they were the best selling
[2] they sold an option that adjusted to fit kids 7-35 lbs
[3] they came in cute colors

Bum Genius currently sells three types:

These diapers [now] only come in velcro. However, these diapers don't adjust to fit all weights, so you have to buy small, medium, and large as your child grows. This is probably the most ideal to own, but expensive to purchase 12 in every size for every child. Probably more practical for that tiny newborn phase if you use cloth then. [were $15.95...currently on sale for $9.95]

I have been using Bum Genius 3.0 One Size for 4 years [no longer making] and this year switched to the Elemental. Elementals only come in snaps. They also come in 12 organic colors, plus this new designer line [shown above]. I own them in blue, green, white and orange as well. Hopefully one day pink! [$24.95]

4.0 One Size
This is their best seller, and rightly so. It's the upgrade to the 3.0 I used for 4 years. If you want a great diaper and a good price, this would be my recommendation. I used velcro [also called hook&loop], but now favor the snap version. It's a personal preference. Velcro goes on faster than snapping, but over the longer term I believe snaps wear out less. Snaps are also harder for the babies to take off. You are getting one diaper that will last from the infant stage to toddler phase[7-35lbs]. [$17.95]

Why I personally like the Elemental over the 4.0's velcro:

[1] Although the velcro fastens quicker, over time the velcro has worn out [you can buy a repair kit for $1, but I don't sew].
[2] The snaps stay on better even though they are a little harder to put on with a wiggling  baby
[3] I didn't want to stuff diapers anymore, the Elemental doesn't have an insert pad to slip into the diaper [the double liner is attached]. It's not that big of a deal, I did it for years, but I like the new option.
[4] I personally think the Elementals are less bulky
[5] Organic, but I don't really care too much if it's organic cloth or not

Why do I use them?

I hope this post is helpful to those considering using cloth diapers. It's not for everyone, and although it's "green", it was a financial decision for us. We were spending nearly $100-$200 a month on diapers for multiple small children, so we paid for our new diapers in just 2 months of going cloth.

How do I use cloth diapers?

I personally wait a few months before I use them because that whole newborn phase is transitional enough for our family laundry. Around 4-6 months I feel like they poop less and it becomes more solid so it's easier and less diaper changes. If I was to use cloth the first few months I'd suggest getting something more size specific, but again, it's a personal preference, I certainty know people who take the time to fold down the snaps to fit a smaller baby.

Both 4.0 & Elemental [regardless if they are a waist snap or a waist velcro] have snaps that adjust to fit babies 7-35 lbs. [Shown Above] However, I've found that if I wait till they are 4-6 months I don't have to adjust the size at all, but just tighten the waist as an infant and loosen it as they grow into a toddler. My kids have worn them until about 35 lbs [3 years old] and then indeed they are busting out of them. Time to potty train!

How often do you change them?

I change my diapers every 3-5 hours, leaning close to 4 most often. They rarely if ever leak and don't smell. They are a little more bulky than disposables so you have to be mindful when buying your kids clothes. I suggest a size up for pants or onesizes.

Do you ever use disposables?

I also feel no guilt about "hybriding it", meaning I might use cloth all day and then use a disposable at night, or outing, or for a babysitter, etc. I keep both around depending on my mood, but generally enjoy the cloth for saving money purposes. There is no rule that says you have to use them 100% of the time.

Why do you buy from cottonbabies.com?

I have been shopping with them for years and enjoy that they offer free shipping and competitive prices! They sell several types of cloth diapers, but I've always used BumGenius and been very happy. They also sell lots of natural products we enjoy.

Cloth Diaper Essentials:

[1] 12 diapers per child
The theory is 6 diapers a day per child, washing after two days. This does help with stains. I usually wash every 2-4 days. Again, that is the goal, but they can be expensive so I recommend buying just one or two and start supplementing them for nap or bedtime. Ask for them as presents and look out for deals. Slowly grow your stash overtime if you can't afford to buy them all at once. Sometimes cottonbabies.com offers a "seconds" sale so I recommend you use get on their email list and follow them on facebook. I've never personally bought off ebay or craigslist, but I know people who have successfully.

I own this, but it doesn't fit enough diapers for several children like I have, so I am currently using a trashcan and lid in the laundry room. I would like to invest in something like this. I haven't noticed an odor as long as I wash often and keep the lid on. You're going to laugh, but my current lid is a cardboard box top because I can't find my trashcan lid, ha.

[3] Pail Liner
I bought this and love it. I just throw it in with the diapers and it's cheaper than using trash bags like I did for years. Also, it doesn't leak or smell.

If it's a solid poop just dump in the toilet and throw diaper in the pail. However, use the sprayer to make the messy poops bearable. You simply attach and clean your diaper in the toilet.

Tip #1: always keep your mouth shut
Tip #2: lay the diaper in the toilet base, not the water
Tip #3: don't spray the water too, spray only the poop on the diaper, spraying the diaper and water will cause lots of spraying in which case refer to rule #1
Tip #4: if you want, squeeze out and wrap up to carry to diaper pail
Tip #5: obviously wash-your-hands

I use this in my diaper bag for outings. It's an easy and clean way to tote back a wet or dirty diaper. You can also use these if you have wet clothes or swimsuits, etc.

I know you may have lots of questions, I'm going to refer you to Cottonbabies FAQ, but please feel free to ask me any additional personal questions regarding cloth diaper use that you can't find the answer to on there.

I do follow their instructions for washing and have used this list in the past to purchase my laundry detergent. I use to use Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Free [no scent] soap before we got an HE washer and now I anything HE & free.

It is a lot to learn, spend, and wrap your mind around, but I'd guess if you'd give it a try you'd enjoy saving all the money you do. Don't forget...they-are-cute-on!


  1. I mentioned to the hubby that I was thinking about cloth diapers (after talking to you actually) and he said he would rather eat peanut butter and jelly every day than use them! :) Maybe after we have multiple kids in diapers (no that wasn't an announcement) I'll print him this blog post and let him read it :)

  2. Thank you for being "real" about this. I like your take on it and I like how you recognize it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I think for me it wouldn't be better money wise. For one reason we only have 1 in diapers. Caleb was potty trained at 23 months (except at night until he was 3 1/2). I buy LUVS in bulk with coupons at BJS, so they are really cheap. Plus he really doesn't go through that many, maybe 4-5 a day? I can certainly see how they would be cheaper with multiple children. I am curious about how you go 4 hours and never leak? I've had other friends who cloth diaper and they say they have to basically change everytime they pee, but their children are older?
    Anyways, great blog!

  3. Elizabeth, I recommend reading the Cottonbabies FAQ about money savings for a break down of costs. I think the biggest turn off to people regarding the diapers is the poops, and thats where the solids get really nice. You just dump and leave the skid marked diaper in the pail. It's no different throwing the trash. Then you just dump pail straight into washer and run a few cycles. Stuffing is a bit extra work, that's why I like like the new ones.

  4. Jess, I agree, one kid really isn't breaking the bank. I like the larger size diapers babysrus brand and my fav is probably costco brand. You'd have to ask them which brand they were using, I've had my one set for years, and don't have a problem. I think it has mostly to do with how people use them. If you do a few things wrong with the care...it stops their ability to absorb correctly and causes major leaking. Things like types of detergent and no dryer sheets.

  5. Ive used BG diapers since my middle child was 4 mo old, so now that im cloth diapering Owen, thats like 4 plus years of diapering with them. My velcro has held up fine, I have 2.0s HEHE and those are finally giving out, the leg gussets are becoming loose and no longer tight.. that may can be repaired.. but I got new 4.0s instead.

    The elementals are beautiful, one day maybe ill have a few ;-)

  6. That last shot is adorable.

    I was going to use cloth diapers, yeah it's the thought that counts. :)

  7. Those are some pretty cute diapers!


  8. I love cloth too! I wish I had had these cute ones with my babies.

  9. I wish that I could get away with wearing cloth diapers. They are super cute.

  10. great post and photos! i love cloth diapering! after 3 in pink ... now i get to use blue!

  11. I always wanted to use Cloth. my husband always said NO! esp once we had 3 in diapers...LOL.
    Yes, his ideas of cloth diapers weren't accurate, but- that's how it goes sometimes.

    I'm glad you found such a great cloth diaper route

    (hip homeschool hop)

  12. P.S.-- I just realized you visited my blog today.. thanks for visiting!

  13. I'm "one of those mama's too" and love it. I love your diapers-they are so cute. we have a pic of Love with a clean diaper on her head too. for a pail i use just a regular bucket with a lid (and one of those dirty gym clothes bags we already had for a liner). i keep it right outside the backdoor so when we open the lid to put a new diaper in all the smell is outside.

    we wait to start too-about 6 weeks old, before that i use the seventh generation chlorine free diapers-love them.

    we use charlie's soap, line dry the covers, put the inserts in the dryer. i was every 3 days, no spraying, one cold cycle, one hot cycle with soap and they are fresh and clean.

    We use all fuzzi buns-now on child number 2 and love them, but i do have the small, med and large so one day after several more kids when we have to replace them i will probably go with what you use.

    you are a wealth of resource!

  14. We've been using BG diapers from about 1 month old - so many fewer leaks than the Pampers! I love that she can go all night without a change. With the disposables, all night meant leaks and skin irritation. We have 12... I'd been thinking of getting more but as she gets older that may turn out to be enough. The elementals are so cute, it might be worth getting couple to try - I didn't know they had built in doublers!



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