Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cloth diapering adventures

We have now been successfully using cloth diapers with the triplets for about six weeks now.  We love our cloth diaper system and can happily report that, to date, we have had no poop explosions and very few leaks.  And when we have had pee leaks, 99% of the time, it is our fault because we missed that a small bit of the prefold was sticking out of the cover.  I know that I have mentioned that we are using cloth and shared lots of pics with them in their cute little cloth diaper covers, but I don't think I've actually written anything about the "system" we're using.  There are a ton of fancy cloth diapers on the market now like pocket diapers and all-in-ones, but our system is way more "old school."  We are using prefold diapers and waterproof covers.  The prefolds are pretty much exactly what my parents used with me when I was a baby, only they had a diaper service and used pins and we do our our wash and use this newfangled thing called snappis. (See pics below). We have two different kinds of covers in our rotation right now, bummis with aplix (Velcro basically) and rumparooz with snaps.
The changing table set up in our room

Ellie modeling how the snappi works 

Isaiah modeling the rumparooz with a "doubler" that makes his bottom half look huge! We only use the extra insert at night when they might sleep longer or to let us skip a diaper change & speed up the process.

At each diaper change, we change the prefold and as long as the cover didn't get poop on it, we just wipe it down with one of our cloth wipes (handmade by our friend Annie) and reuse it.  After a while the cover starts to smell a bit or gets dirty and then it gets tossed in the diaper bin along with the prefold. (We're actually using a stainless steel trash can with a wet bag liner for this)  We're using cloth wipes that are soaked in water with a few drops of lavender Castile soap and kept in a wipes warmer because cloth wipes get so much colder than the disposables. Then when the bag gets full of prefolds, wipes, and covers the entire bag gets taken to the basement and dumped into the washer.  Our current washing routine is very simple and just involves a hot wash on the extra large load setting, using Nellie's laundry soap, a low residue natural detergent.  We haven't had too many problems and feel like they've been coming nice and clean (no lingering stink issues).  The prefolds do have some stains, but the best thing for getting out stains is hanging them in the sun to dry and that is trickier this time of year.  We started having a little trouble with ammonia build up where the pee smell was a lot stronger when we changed them than before, but used Funk Rock ammonia bouncer and that seemed to help.  Lately though, our diapers have been feeling stiff and not nearly as soft as they used to be. 

So we've done a lot of reading up on this problem and what to do about it and have found a wide range of opinions!  The most likely problem seems to a build up of minerals from the hard water or a detergent build up. But the general way to fix that seemed to be to strip them, and one method (supposedly the fastest) is to boil them. So boil I did...to the point where all our windows were steamy. As you can see in the pics, I ran a science experiment in the kitchen because stripping them might help, but we might need more than boiling and we also needed a solution for ongoing washes.  So I had seven different products to soak the diapers in after they were boiled and then thoroughly rinsed them all in the sink and put then all through a no detergent wash cycle. I marked each one with a different safety pin so we could tell who the winner was. 
Boiling four diapers at a time

Our steamy view

My little science experiment

Unfortunately, at the end of the day when we all voted on which was the softest we all had a really hard time telling them apart and none felt very soft!! :( All that work essentially for nothing. How annoying! The kiddos are just about big enough to graduate from the preemie diapers to the next size up, but we'd like to figure out the problem before making that switch.  The diapers are usable as is and are still absorbent, but just not as soft and fluffy as they should be.  We may need to add extra rinses to our routine but that's annoying when laundry is in the basement and we have so many loads to do all the time and three babies to manage!

All day Saturday we had the babies in disposables while I tried to fix our prefolds. And it was a great reminder of why we made the switch to cloth!  We don't really know why, but when they're in disposables, man are they stinky!! We really don't notice a smell much at all in the cloth diapers so it was weird to notice the stink all day Saturday. Plus they wick the moisture away so much that they inevitably ended up with crusty poo on their bums that wasn't easy to wipe off.  And with the cloth it's just a little annoying when they pee or poop as you're changing them or immediately after, but with disposables I just feel so wasteful and like we're just tossing money down the drain.  So we will definitely persevere with the cloth diapering and hope we can figure out the best washing system soon!


  1. Perhaps trying a different washing method? This is what we did and it always worked great (though perhaps a little time consuming for you): hot water soak with the detergent at night and left soaking overnight. Ran as regular wash the next morning with no added soaps and a double rinse cycle. This was the method my cousin passed down to me. We just used Country Save powder and never had rash issues and never once had to strip our prefolds.

  2. Well, I hope I didn't mess it up. You never mentioned using the extra large load setting (Or I didn't remember it.) I am sorry nothing was clear cut but hope others also post ideas to try. As you know, Dad and I had to learn how to do this while we were there with the stickies, folding them correctly, getting the snaps down right, etc. We were glad to have the velcro choice on those other diaper covers for sure! And your science experiment sounded so good…..

  3. It looks like the six methods you chose from right to left were, Calgon, Rock something, Arm & Hammer, Wine, soda water, and toast. I don't know about you, but I'm hoping the wine worked the best although, what a waste...


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