Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Cloth Story, Part 1

I was so intrigued by cloth diapers while pregnant with Miss. I really wanted to try them. But I did not, for two main reasons. First of all, we were living in a very yucky rental house with terrible hard water. The water itself was stinky. It was nearly ruining our regular clothes. Ben's workout clothes (and mine too if I'm completely honest) came out still stinking of sweat, and I just didn't believe it could possibly get dirty diapers clean. Second, I was truly overwhelmed by all the cloth diaper products and the resultant lingo. First, there were the different types of diapers, the All-in-ones (AIOs), All-in-twos (AI2s), pockets, fitteds, contours, prefolds, covers, etc. Then, there were the different materials each of these items might come in, microfiber, hemp, bamboo, fleece, wool, organic bamboo velour (OBV)!! Then there were so many different diaper manufacturers like Bum Genius, Fuzzi Buns, Happy Heinys, Tiny Tush, Hugga Buns. . . and different sites for learning about and purchasing diapers like Hyena Cart, Diaper Pin, Kelly's Closet. The list goes on and I'm still learning. But when I was pregnant and in the first few months of Miss's little life, I was way too intimidated by all this to even know where or how to start.

My first effort at compromise and "greenness" in diapering was with the gDiaper. This is kind of a cross between cloth and disposable, with a cloth cover that has a snap-in plastic liner to make it waterproof and biodegradable disposable/flushable inserts. I think the gDiaper is a great idea, but it didn't work for us. The newborn poo often got all over the cloth cover and the plastic inserts all ended up stained from it. And we didn't have very good plumbing in the rental house (yeah, it was a dump, don't even get me started on the furnaces, water heaters, dishwasher, etc.) so I was afraid to flush the inserts. Thus, I never did come up with an efficient clean-up and disposal system. With disposable diapers, everything goes in the diaper pail, then when the bag is full, it goes in the garbage. With cloth, everything goes in the diaper pail with wetbag, then when it's full it all goes in the wash, bag and all. But with the gDiapers I was putting the inserts and wipes in the diaper pail and not really knowing what to do with the poopy liners and covers. I ended up putting the cloth covers in the laundry and setting the plastic liners in the bathroom sink until I could get a chance to go in and wash them off, then put the in the laundry. Though he never said anything, I'm pretty sure this grossed my husband right out. Plus, the process of putting the inserts in the diaper pail was disgusting since I had a Diaper Champ with the flip top that had the piston-like thing that pushes the diaper down when it is flipped and keeps the stink from getting out. Well, since the gDiaper inserts had no way to wrap them and fasten them to themselves neatly like a disposable diaper, they would typically get poo all over the sides of the Diaper Champ or worse, get stuck in the mechanism and come back around the next time I tried to dispose of one. Needless to say, I quickly became frustrated with the gDiaper and decided that, though gDiapers did a wonderful job of preventing poo leaks onto clothes, the system just wasn't for us. And we went back to disposables.

Then in May, we moved to our new house. Not only is is beautiful and comfortable with working appliances and plumbing, it has less-hard water and I am easily able to get clothes clean. Thus, I decided that I had adequate equipment to brave the laundering of cloth diapers. I just needed to brave the above mentioned mass of cloth diapering information to decide what diapers to try. And that is a story for another day.

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