After my post about cloth diapering I received a lot of questions so I thought that I would just answer some of them here. I am in no way an expert on cloth diapering but I can tell you what I have learned so far.
Why cloth diapers? I decided to use cloth for a few reasons, the main one being money. Diapers are not cheap and I am a bit of a diaper snob. No generics for my baby's bum!! Not that generics are not good enough for baby poo, I just hate the plastic, crinkly sound the cheapies make. I prefer Hug.gies Snug.glers and Pamp.ers Swad.dlers as they are softer and drier on her widdle biddy tushie. The only problem with these diapers are that they are more expensive. I figured that even with coupons I would spend, on average, $45 a month on diapers. Cloth is by far cheaper, though the upfront cost is more. If you do covers and prefolds or the Econo.bums you can get started for about $100 and this will last you until potty training if you purchase one size covers. Since I prefer all-in-one diapers I have about $300 invested in my diapers. My water bill has gone up, but only $4 a month. I have not noticed a change in my electric bill. Then the detergent is about $10 for 3 months (on average). So for 2 years I will spend about $450 for cloth diapering. Had we done disposables we would spend over $900 for 2 years!! And if we use the cloth for a second child we will really save some dough!!
The other reason we chose cloth was because I hated the thoughts of throwing away so many diapers!! I still use disposables from time to time and I hate the thoughts of just throwing these in the trash knowing that it will take years for them to degrade, if ever. I am by no means "green" in the sense that I recycle everything, have a compost and use all natural product. But I do think that we should do what we can to protect the environment for future generations.
Lastly, we chose cloth because of the chemicals in diapers. I have no proof that these chemicals cause fertility problems, but I can't imagine that having all of these chemicals near our reproductive organs can be good for us. So on the off chance that it really is harmful I would rather avoid it. I would hate for Maddie to have to endure the pain of infertility if I can help it!
How do you wash them? Here you will find that everyone does it a bit differently and you have to find what works best for you and your washing machine. I have a front loader and it does not have a rinse cycle so I begin with a delicate wash, no detergent, and an extra rinse. This takes about 30 min. I usually start this near bedtime while I am preparing for bed. Right before bed I add detergent and start a wash cycle (hot wash/cold rinse/extra rinse). In the morning I toss them in the dryer. That is it! Not everyone puts them in the dryer, but I use bumGenius Elementals and sewn in insert is rough if you line dry it.
I currently use Charlie's Soap but want to try Rockin' Green as I hear rave reviews abou tit. A lot of people use Tide Original and swear by it. There are several options and many are fairly inexpensive. Also, you use less detergent on cloth diapers than you would on regular clothes. Detergent can build up and cause your diapers to become less absorbent.
Do you prefer velcro or snaps? I use both and they both have their pros and cons (which I will list below). All in all I prefer snaps, though.
Pros: You can get it as tight as you want; easy to use
Cons: Sticks to other diapers in the laundry; loses it's stickiness after awhile and needs to be replaced.
Pros: Never have to worry about it having to be replaced (unless you break a snap which is very unusual)
Cons: You have to be careful when unsnapping or you can put holes in the fabric
How many diapers so I need? It really depends on how often you wash. I change her every 2-3 hours and use one with a doubler for overnight, so I use about 8-10 a day. If you do laundry every 2 days then you will need about 24-ish. If you want to wash every 3 days then at least 30. It sounds like a lot and can be an expensive investment up front, but in the long run it really will save you money.
What do you do with dirty diapers? I purchased a trash can from Tar.get that has a pop up lid for about $10. I then purchased a pail liner from a cloth diaper store. I put the liner in the can and on wash day I throw the bag and diapers all in together. I only have one liner but plan on buying a second one to use while the other one dries (I hang it to dry every time).
If anyone else has any questions please feel free to ask! I will either answer them in the comments or post another blog post about if needed.