Going Green: Cloth Diaper Results and Q&A

Our little test over the past three weeks has been pretty fun! I’m not joking when I say that I was pretty excited to change Liv’s diaper – eager to find out how well this version or that fit my criteria (ease of use, trimness and durability). Here’s a look at the initial cd post, review #1 and review #2.

When it came down to it, there were two diapers that I really looked forward to putting Liv in: Happy Heinys minis for day and GroVia for night time. As I mentioned yesterday, all of the brands reviewed were pretty stellar and you really can’t go wrong, but these were the two that we’ve invested in for Liv’s first 16 lbs (or until she’s about 9 months).

I’ll likely revisit the stash I already have (and will continue to use!) to see what our next 16-30 lb purchase will be (I must admit, if I find a cloth diaper that doesn’t require line drying – GroVia hybrid’s only downfall – and is as great as it is overnight, I might switch it up for round 2).

gDiapers came in at a close third. The fit on g’s are terrific – they look just like a normal disposable under clothing and are so easy to use (I love that I don’t have to replace the entire diaper each time I change Olivia). Liv’s a heavy wetter and in the end the cloth outer covering couldn’t always hold up. BUT if your baby is a – how shall I say – ‘normal’ wetter, I’d definitely give em a go. Plus, you can’t beat the convenience of picking them up at Babies R Us and Whole Foods.

Now for a little Q&A that I received via email and in the comments.
I’m a novice when it comes to cding, but I’m more than happy to share what has and hasn’t worked so far!

Pricing: Is cloth diapering really cheaper?

I love that an upfront investment will turn into years of monthly savings. Here’s the quick math: the average cost of disposable diapers runs about $60 each month. That times 2.5 years adds up to $1800 per child. I figure that if I invest in two rounds of 18 cloth diapers (roughly 8-16 lbs and 16-30 lbs) at about $15/diaper, I’m looking at a $270 cost today and a $270 cost in 6 months ($540 total) for 2.5 years of use x multiple children (we hope to have 3-4!). And the water use? I calculate that to run us about $.50 a load, meaning we’ll spend roughly $65 more each year and about $500 total if you account for 2.5 years per child and 3-4 kids. That means we’ve saved ourselves somewhere around $6000 over the long haul. Not bad, right?

AND because I bought many of our cloth diapers second hand (I have no issue with purchasing dipes from someone else as long as I’ve done my research and asked important qs like, how long did you use them for? how did you wash them? (affects their absorbency) what shape are they in? I’ve received several hand-me-downs, and my score of 10 Happy Heinys for $60 on eBay came from a mom who dressed her daughter in cds for a mere four months before selling them in pristine condition ($6 a diaper? Can’t beat that). Want to try re-diapering? Check out eBay, Craigslist, ReDiaper.com, DiaperSwappers.com, PamperedBuns.com and a ton of other great sites by Googling ‘Cloth Diaper Consignment’ or the like.

Still nervous? A reader shared this link with me on the cd program ‘Changing Diapers, Changing Minds’ where you can try and return 10 different cloth diapers for the cost of shipping! (Thanks, Lisa!)

Environment: You’re using so much energy to clean the diapers, is it really that much more environmentally friendly?

This is subjective, but my feeling is that while you certainly do use a decent amount of energy and water to get these puppies clean (one hot rinse, one cold wash and a trip to the dryer) the benefits of not wrapping up waste in plastic only to sit and fill a landfill for hundreds of years to come far outweigh the water (a renewable resource) used in washing. You also have to take into account the energy used to make disposables and all of their components.

Cleanliness: Do you actually have to touch the poop?

Ha! I agree, the thought is pretty gross :). Right now we have baby breastmilk poop so while ‘explosions’ can sometimes be an issue, it’s really not stinky, big kid poop (yet). And I promise, there is NO poop touching. The entire cloth dipe drops right into the wet pail (to contain the smell – read more about that in review #1) and the entire wet pail is poured directly into the wash every two-three days. When Liv starts on solids, we’ll give biodegradable liners a try, and perhaps a sprayer too.

Cleanliness, Part 2: Can you explain how you wash them?

Per the instructions on the cloth diapers, each load gets a cold rinse (just a pre-rinse, not a full cycle), a hot full cycle and a trip to the dryer (though I hope to hang them outside in the summer). I use Charlie’s Soap and I hear Rockin’ Green is awesome, too. So far so good!

Cloth Diaper Diapering Tools

Okay, you’re probably so done seeing half naked pictures of Liv. Back to home updates and great entertaining/decorating finds. And to all of you non-cloth diaper readers out there, I still love you! To each his own. Thanks for being patient through these posts.

Going Green: Cloth Diaper Review #2

Back with review #2!

This post is a continuation of the cloth diaper review that I started last week – and happy news! We have a winner! Well, two actually. But before I dive into the specs of each diaper, I should preface that I couldn’t find anything terribly frustrating about any of the cloth diapers that I tried. Sure, there were certain diapers that I automatically reached for at the changing table, but I would be thoroughly happy with a full collection of any of the diapers I checked out. So much thought has gone into the new wave of cding that there aren’t bad ones out there, just versions that fit different babies best.

Liv is long and lean so her major issue was the fit around her legs. If it was less than perfect it was either loose and leaked (an issue with disposables as well) or caused red indentation marks on her thighs from being too tight.

We immediately found out that every ‘one-size’ diaper (aka a diaper that was supposed to fit from 8-35 lbs) was out until she’s a wee bit bigger. Most companies readily admit that one-size diapers are not intended for newborns and are best for 4-6 week olds that have developed a bit of fat on the thighs – well we’re at 12 weeks and whether it’s BumGenius or Fuzzi Bunz, the one-size-fits-all is never really quite tight enough around the legs. That being said, I came across a major find at a local baby store where I snagged Fuzzi Bunz, BumGenius and Happy Heiny newborn diapers on clearance for $10 – so I gave those a test run below as well. And when Olivia reaches the 15-20lb mark, we’ll bring the shelved OS dipes back into rotation.

Now for the review…

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GroVia Hybrid Diapers

These diapers are similar to G Diapers in that they offer both a cloth and disposable/biodegradable insert. The cloth liner snaps in (a nice alternative to ‘stuffing’ a pocket) and it can be doubled up by snapping a second liner to the first, making it an excellent overnight dipe. I mentioned above that the one-size diapers were a tough fit – this might be the exception to the rule in that it’s so super absorbent, snug around the leg holes and is great for night time.

Pros: Babysitter, grandparent and Dad friendly while still cloth! The disposable inserts are super easy to use too and don’t require an extra plastic lining like the G Diapers do (great for travel and long day trips). The cloth insert is my favorite of the mix as well, in fact you don’t even need to separate the cloth liner from the diaper for washing (you have to ‘unstuff’ pocket diapers for washing and drying) if it’s a really dirty diaper. The regular GroVia (not the hybrid version) has the liner attached (but not stuffed) as well so it features the same ease of use while still drying quickly after washing.

Cons: This one-size-fits-all is still rather large and is reserved for night time use until Liv is at least 5-10 lbs heavier and it doesn’t look quite so bulky beneath her clothing. The cloth insert is super thick and can take a while to dry. Unfortunately the inserts for GroVia are unique and can’t be used with other cloth diapers because of the above mentioned design.

Fuzzi Bunz

The above Fuzzi Bunz diaper is the newborn version for a slimmer fit (see below pic for the one-size diaper). Fuzzi Bunz is a pocket diaper and quite similar to BumGenius.

Pros: The newborn fit ranges from 5-12lbs and looks quite fitted beneath Liv’s clothing.

Cons: She’ll grow out of these too quickly – perhaps if we had started at birth a diaper with this size range would make sense but now that she’s 11lbs this diaper will soon be out of our rotation and we’ll have to wait until babe #2 is here to use it again. We did experience one blowout that caused a not-so-pretty leakage at the legs, an option for a tighter leg hole would be a nice addition but I’m not sure a disposable would have held up either ;).

As you can see, the one-size Fuzzi Bunz is large and in charge. Even at the very smallest leg fitting there was still too large of a gap to use even at night time. See you in a couple of months, pink Fuzzi Bunz!

BumGenius Part 2

I did a review for the one-size BumGenius last week, but after picking up a newborn version for 50% off I thought I’d add it to the mix. This xs is actually an all-in-one, meaning there’s no pocket for stuffing.

Pros: Much slimmer and fits perfectly under Liv’s cloths! Love the velcro closure (velcro gets annoying in the laundry since one diaper can get stuck to the next if you don’t use the laundry tabs) but it’s much easier and quicker to use over snaps. Easy peasy to use! No pocket means it’s SUPER Dad friendly and pops right on just like a disposable.

Cons: This diaper will expire at 12 lbs as well which is a bummer – I would like to try the BumGenius small (which fits 8-16 lbs) to see if it works equally as well. This diaper didn’t have leg adjustments which the one-size offers, it would be a nice addition. Because it’s an all-in-one it takes quite a while to dry. So as not to use up more energy, I usually dry it once with the usual diaper load and then hang dry or throw it in later with a load of towels. It can be a pain giving is special attention.

Big fan of the velcro, in fact before I discovered newborn diapers I invested in a one-size BumGenius with the velcro closure and I can actually get the below one tight enough to serve as a night time diaper. Still too large for clothing though – unless I bump her up to 6-12 month outfits!

Happy Heiny

Happy Heiny diapers are great – I wouldn’t have thought to order them on my own if I hadn’t found a newborn/mini version for $10 at my local baby store.

Pros: These diapers have the strongest velcro of all that I’ve tested and they fit super snug. The mini will last baby from 6-16lbs, meaning we should get a great fit for at least a few more months. These smalls have a leg adjustment available with one snap, a welcome change to the other newborn diapers we tried. Plus this diaper lets Liv fit into her newborn-3 month cloths perfectly.

Cons: Would love for the waistband to fit more like a G Diaper, it’s a little thick. It’s a pocket and while that means fast drying (one cycle in the dryer only) you do have to stuff and unstuff the insert. Finally, Liv is a heavy night wetter and this diaper is best for daytime use only. Because it’s trim, it doesn’t really allow for doubling up on the inserts for nighttime.

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I’ll be back tomorrow to reveal the winners! I’ve placed my order and they’re on the way to the house as we speak. I know that having two simple set ups (one for day, one for night) will make cloth diapering pretty easy and extra Dad-friendly in the Spenla household.

Sorry for the semi-blurry pictures. I’ve kept a camera next to the changing table for a couple of weeks and have snapped a shot of her on the nursery rug between each changing – meaning taking photos at lots of different times of day and not always in the best lighting!

Project Nursery: All Lined Up

Remember back when I first started the nursery curtains only to discover a little snag in the plan when the fabric arrived? The back-up fabric for the curtains worked out beautifully, but I was left with five yards of a great fabric that I needed to find a project for.

Enter basket liners part 1. Our changing table (which received this makeover) holds four baskets from Amazon that fit it perfectly –  but the white liners were lacking for looks.

When my aunt (an excellent seamstress whose skills I envy) asked if she could sew something for Olivia’s nursery, I asked her opinion on the liners and a couple of other projects (soon to come).

Liv loved the idea!

And the baskets look amazing, just what the space needed!

To sew liners for your own baskets, create a pattern by using a seam ripper to take apart the current liners. If your baskets are empty, use the measurements of the width, depth and height of each edge and the base of the basket to create a pattern out of paper (don’t forget to take into account the hem and overhang on the outside of the basket). Use the paper to cut your fabric pieces and sew each edge. A little elastic in the outside hems around the corners will help keep the basket liners in place!

Easy! A quick makeover that changes the entire look of the baskets.

That’s our hanging diaper pail from our cloth diapering adventure hanging on the right side of the table next to the hanging hamper that we love. Dirty cloth diapers go into the wet pail (which keeps all smells out) and dirty clothes are tossed right into a washable hamper.

Liv digs it.

Thanks great auntie Laurie!

More Project Nursery posts: the great glider makeover, sewing the curtains part 1, part 2, part 3, nursery fabric board, curtain fabric selection, rocking horse find, new pendant light, vintage wall art addition, changing table makeover, nursery wall striping tutorial, painted animal project, the initial inspiration board and the before picture posts.

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