Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cloth Diapering-Getting Started

So, you've selected your CD system (or sample "pack") and are ready to make your first purchase.  Like all good web retailers, your store probably has special "accessory kits" or at the very least, a "diaper accessories" tab.  Is this just an add-on gimmick, or do you legitimately need these extras?  What, beyond the diapers themselves, do you genuinely need to cloth diaper?

1) Wipes.  If you're going to use cloth diapers, you may as well use cloth wipes as well.  Think about it: for the cost of one bulk warehouse case of wipes (which would last about 6 months), you can buy enough cloth wipes to last your baby from birth to potty training.  And, given the fact that they don't receive the wear and tear of your diapers, you'll probably be able to make them last through all your children ... depending on your textile of choice, anyways.  Hemp is extremely durable.  However, my Warmies Bamboo wipes are not so much -- they unravel easily.  As luxurious as I find them, I can't really recommend the brand.   I can, however, recommend:

2) Wipes warmer.  OK, this isn't so much a need, but after taking one baby from birth to potty with cold disposable wipes (not to mention midnight rushes to the bathroom to rinse a washcloth when I'd run out), I determined with baby #2 that a warmer was a justifiable luxury--especially with the shift to cloth.  Fortunately, the Prince Lionheart Warmies Wipes Warmer is specifically designed for cloth wipes.  Mix your solution (generally a blend of water, baby wash, and olive oil), saturate your wipes, ring out the excess, roll, and stack in the warmer.  This makes those midnight changes every bit as pain-free as using disposable.  Meanwhile, you don't have to worry about separate pails next to or under your changing table.  Just throw the wipe in your pail with the diaper.

3) Pail w/ liner.  Actually, many CD manufacturers are even making the pail optional.  I'll get back to that momentarily.  My mom actually introduced me to the "old school" wet pail method; but for the sake of your back, I recommend dry-pailing.  Translation: instead of filling a plastic pail with water and soaking your dipes continuously between use and laundering, line your pail (plastic is cheapest, but wicker has the most airflow and metal retains the least odors) with a PUL liner.  On diaper night, dump the whole thing in the wash (liner included!).  I do recommend two liners to rotate.
As for obsolete pails ... some manufacturers are making pail bags with straps or handles to hang on door nobs or over-the-door hooks.  Just think of the saved floor or storage space!

4) Wet bag.  This is a necessity for the diaper bag.  Just like the pail liner, it's made of PUL and more often than not, has a zip closure.  Even if you use sposies on the road, a wet bag for toting soiled clothing is a must!  Again, I recommend two so that you have one ready while the other launders.

5) Diaper pins or Snappis: flat, prefold, or contour users only.  While most snug-fitting wraps will hold your diaper on fastener-free, there are certain types of cover (especially wool soakers) that necessitate keeping a Snappi or pair of pins around.

Frankly, I don't understand why web-retailers don't include both pail liners AND wipes in newborn starter packages (generally it's one or the other) -- perhaps we should spam them.  For that matter, would it be too much to include a couple of pairs of pins and a snappi with a prefold and cover package?  All those in agreement, say "Aarrrrgh!"
(For the record, I have no idea why I just felt the need to release my inner pirate, but there you go.)

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