Monday, 27 January 2014

Cloth diapering 0-4 months

I promissed to write about our experience about the cloth diapering. Overall we have been very pleased with the cloth diapers and I think I have been even bit too excited about the cloth diapers at times (just ask A). This is a long post, so just incase you are not that interested to read the whole thing, here is an introduction in form of pros and cons.
Pros of using cloth diapers
+ Saves money, especially if the diapers are bought used
+ You can make them yourself
+ Saves trips to the grocery store
+ You do not have to take out trash constantly
+ Cloth diapers do not smell like piss
(+ Saves the environment, I have no facts so I'm not getting into this)
Cons of using cloth diapers
- There is more laundry (although not as much as you would think)
- Cloth diapers take more space, if there is very little storage at your home then this might be an issue
- Cloth diapers are bigger, some clothes might not fit from the bum
- If outside home you have to carry the dirty diapers back home
- You do need to study different cloth diaper types and get the hang of them, but once you've done that it's really easy
∞ ∞ ∞

Likka is now bit over four months old and we have been cloth diapering her almost from the time she was born. She was on the smaller side, only 2,8 kg (6,2 pounds), when she was born so at first all the cloth diapers we had were way too big for her and we had to use disposable ones for many weeks. But once she reached 3,5 kilos the diapers started to fit her nicely. When I was first reading about cloth diapers I was baffled by the variety in styles of the diapers. There are all-in-one diapers, pocket diapers, different types of inserts, flat diapers... you name it. But it's really no rocket science. Basically cloth diapers have just some absorbing material inside a water proof lining, just like disposable ones.

But why?
We started to use cloth diapers mainly for environmental reasons, but two other reasons have surpassed the environment. The other is money and the second is crafts. In the end the environment factor is not as important to me as I thought it would.

Before Likka was born I bought a set of used cloth diapers from a Finnish online flea market. The set had at least 30 diapers, plus huge amount of extra inserts and covers. The whole set with the postage cost less than 70 euro. So the cost of one diaper was really low. Later I also bought a smaller set of all-in-one diapers. I do not think we have spent much more than 150 euro on the cloth diapers or their materials, plus I can always sell these diapers again once Likka does not need them anymore.

So far cloth diapering seems to be very cheap, especially when those were bought used and I have done lots of them myself. Which brings us to the other reason why I like to use cloth diapers on Likka. Because I enjoy crafts I have really liked making the diapers and their covers myself. Cloth diapers do not have to look perfect and it does not require much know how or time to make diapers. Especially flat diapers, prefolds and extra inserts are so easy to make and the materials for those can be found from any home, like the ugly or worn towels you don't use or clothes that you don't like anymore. Or the bed sheets which are so old that they have torn.

What type of diaper to use?
I'm not going to get into details about brands, since I don't know enough about different brands and babies are different in shape and size so one brand might not fit all. But I have preferred so far to use separate diaper and cover on Likka. Newborns do not move that much so it is quite easy to combine the cover and the diaper insert and put that on. But I have noticed that now that Likka moves more the all-in-one diapers do seem quite handy. The good thing with the covers is that those can be used again and again with out washing them in between if they have not gotten poo on them.

I have liked to use PUL (polyurethane laminate) covers, I haven't used the knitted wool ones much (these and these), those have been quite big still. I prefer PUL covers with velcro attachment, we also have a few with snaps, but I don't think those have enough adjustment in size.

Inside the PUL covers we have used separate fitted diaper or a folded flat diaper. I have also made a few fitted diapers which we have used a bit, those too were too big for a long time. When Likka was about two months we started to use an additional insert in the diaper for better absorbency. The diaper was always soaked when we changed it, so I figured it could use some extra material. I made lot of these inserts myself and sewed on them a dry cloth on the outer surface. The dry cloth is supposed to keep the diaper feeling dry even when it's wet. Likka's skin didn't seem to mind even when the diaper felt wet, but I just felt more comfortable having this technical material between her skin and all the wet cotton. On some of the inserts I also used some technical material from a sport underwear as a dry cloth. I'm not sure if it works as well as the official dry cloth but to my hand it feels drier than the wet cotton anyway.

Have the cloth diapers worked?
The cloth diapers do occasionally leak from the crotch but on the other hand the disposable ones occasionally leak from the sides and for some odd reason the poo travels upwards to her back on the disposable ones and get her clothes dirty. But usually both work fine and we do not have to change Likka's clothes very often because of accidents. One big difference I've noticed is that the disposable diapers really fast start to smell like pee, in some disposable diaper brands it's more obvious than others, but the cloth diapers never smell like pee.

Is there lot of laundry?
I'm sure you think there is lot of laundry now and of course there is more than before, but not as much as you would think. I at least have been surprised that I do not have to wash laundry everyday like I thought I would. I wash laundry about four times a week as in before the baby I washed laundry once or twice a week. We do not have a dryer so I'm really happy there hasn't been that much laundry after all.

I wash the diapers using hot cycle and if we have dirty sheets or towels that are also washed in hot cycle I wash these together with the diapers. I know that sounds bit discusting but everything ends up clean anyway.

So all in all we have been very happy about cloth diapering, I'm really pleased we desided to give them a go. I think the diapers were really money and time well spent.


  1. When we were planning on having kids, we decided to cloth diaper. Our main concern was the chemicals they use in disposable diapers...some of which have even been proven to sterilize people (maybe that's what happened to us, ha!). But it does seem like a LOT of money saved for just a little bit of work too, which is always nice.

    1. If that is true it is not very vise of the disposable diaper manufacturers, they are reducing their future market. Bad joke, I know. Sorry.
      To tell the truth I never even considered the chemicals, I wanted just to avoid all the plastic and silicone. Money is a big issue for me, it bugs me to buy something solely to throw it away in few days. 150 euro can be easily spent on disposable diapers in couple months.


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