Thea after her bath
A few folks have asked for an update on how cloth diapering is going, and for my thoughts on the diaper service we've used. So here goes...
We just finished up our fourth week of using the service, and the diapering went well (I'm using past tense because I just discontinued the service with plans to start using our own cloth diapers). After my last post, I contacted the service and told them about Thea consistently soaking through the diapers. With our next delivery, we exchanged the preemie size covers for smalls, and we also got the next size up in diapers. We continued to use the "girl fold" and the covers. The small diapers were significantly more plush than the preemie/extra-small size, and proved to be much more absorbent.
I was very surprised at how easy using cloth was. I'm sure the ease of it had a lot to do with not having to do the wash myself. Here's how the service works:
-You contact the service to set up an account (minimum of 4 week commitment). They ask you questions about the weight/size of your baby and get you all set up with the proper size diapers.
-There are several ways to get started. You can rent covers from the service, buy covers from the service, or use your own covers. They have offer a starter kit with a diaper pail, snappi clips, cloth-friendly diaper rash salve, diaper pail deodorizing disk, and - best of all - an instructional CD showing you how to use the diapers and the service (the fact that they offered the CD was one of my favorite things about the service).
-Thursday is delivery day. You put your bag of soiled diapers out on your front stoop. Sometime after 7 am, the dirty diapers are picked up and fresh ones are dropped off. If you need to switch diaper sizes or covers, you put your clean diapers and covers in a separate bag marked "clean." If no exchange is needed, you mark on your soiled diaper bag (with stickers provided) how many clean diapers you are holding on to.
-Throughout the week, we just tossed the soiled diapers into the diaper pail and bag provided by the service. We never got our diaper pail but a standard 13-gallon trashcan worked just fine. Each day, I sprinkled a bit of baking soda into the pail to help with mildew and odor (but really, there isn't much odor when the baby is only having breastmilk).
-Several times a week, I washed the covers (with Thea's regular wash). I pre-treated the soiled parts with a bit of detergent to help with any staining. After treating and washing them, I hung them on the clothesline to dry.
At first, one of the biggest challenges in using the cloth was that they were so ginormous on Thea's tiny little body. Any clothes that would accommodate the bulk of the diapers completely swallowed the rest of her. The onesies were falling off of her shoulders. Baby clothes are definitely not made for cloth diapering. However, as she continued to grow and get bigger, this became less and less of a problem. Now, at nearly 9 1/2 lbs, it really wasn't even an issue at all.
One of the best things about using cloth was that I found myself using significantly fewer wipes during diaper changes. The cloth really seemed to help contain the mess. As far as wipes go, I continued to use the seventh generation wipes we had been using - I just kept an additional small (covered for protection from the pup) trashcan next to the changing table for this purpose. Once we start using our own cloth diapers, I'll use the bamboo wipes I ordered and just toss them in with the diapers for washing.
And speaking of mess, we generally went through several covers a day. No matter how I folded the pre-folds inside the covers, poo seemed to escape onto the cover. Which isn't such a big deal, really. Looking back, if I were to continue to use the pre-fold and cover method of cloth diapering, I would simply have more covers on hand. All of the "stains" washed out with the pre-treating, and I didn't find this extra step in the laundry to be overwhelming at all.
I will say that if we were going to be out and about, I went back to using our standby, seventh generation disposable diapers. For me, it was just easier.
Now, we're back to using the seventh generation diapers that we had on hand while I try to get into a rhythm that allows for the increased laundering doing our own cloth diapers will require. I already miss her little bubble butt.
Really, I can't say enough positive things about the service. The owners are friendly, extremely professional, and responsive. The CD offered in the starter pack was great. The price is comparable to using the more eco-friendly seventh generation disposables, and just cents more than using conventional disposables. The whole thing was much less complicated than I originally anticipated. If you're in Richmond or Charlottesville and are considering cloth diapering, the service would definitely be worth a try.
So, there you have it.