Monday, April 16, 2012

Real Diaper Week : Day 1 - Making the Switch / Cloth 101

Anyone else excited about The Great Cloth Diaper Change this weekend?

This will be the first time that I (and my "Leettle") will attend a GDC event. We will be joining thousands around the world in attempt to break last years World Guinness record of the most simultaneous cloth diaper changes ever as 5,026 participants at 127 host locations in 5 countries had participated.

You can find a GDC event near you by clicking on this link.

If you live in the Lexington, KY location you can join me on this Saturday at Mother Nuture (be sure like the Facebook page for updates of the event) at 12:00 pm EST.

No matter which location you will be attending, a small donation of at least $1 is being collected for the Real Diaper Association, which provides education and support to cloth diapering families across North America.

Years ago, I would have considered myself crazy if I thought that I would be so excited as to change a cloth diaper, and even more excited about washing them. After 3+ years of cloth diapering my little boys from the get-go ("Little Man" is 3 1/2 and "Leettle" is almost 2), I had decided to become a Real Diaper Association Member & cloth diaper advocate.

Why did I choose cloth? Besides saving a TON of cash (I have spend well under $500 total to cloth diaper my 2 boys and could have cut that amount in HALF if I did not struggle from a "fluff" (cloth diaper) addiction), this picture sums it up...

Cloth 101

Cloth diapering has changed significantly since pins and cloth and the thought of where to look first can be extremely overwhelming, so I hope to make to give you as much information as possible in one post.

Want to know more about making the switch to cloth? The Real Diaper Association has a wonderful guide to educate you about getting started. Due to copyright issues, I could not post the articles directly on this page, so click here.

All of this info. may seem overwhelming at first, but luckily I found a website that is my "go-to" for all things cloth related. At Padded Tush Stats, there are videos, reviews, surveys, giveaways...everything that you need to know about cloth diapering can be found there so you can make an informed decision on what to buy. There is even a cloth diaper retailer section where you can quickly search for a specific type of diaper in mere seconds! There may even some special fan-only discounts (*hint *hint...)! Check out Tara's (the website creator - She is an invaluable asset to the diapering community!) "Introduction to Cloth Diapering" video for a quick peek at the current styles of diapers on the market.

What do I need to start?

This is mostly up to you and your baby (and type of diaper). Keep in mind that a newborn needs about 10-12 changes per day, so you will need at least 12 diapers per day. Multiply that number by the times by at least 2 (and add a few to keep in a diaper bag) if you want to wash every other day. I started with about 30.

*You will also need a diaper pail or large wet bag to hold a loads worth of diapers.

*A small wet bag or too are also useful for changing your baby when out and about.

*Consider cloth wipes, you are already trying to save money and/or reducing landfill waster (not to mention washing diaper laundry), so why not use them too? The great thing about cloth wipes...I have NEVER had to use more than 3 per diaper change. You should estimate using 1 cloth wipe per wet diaper and 2 per poo diaper.

Now, How Do I Wash Them?

This is how I do it...

1. Dump solid materials into toilet. Put diapers in (dry) pail or large wet bag until wash time.

2. Rinse diapers (no more than 15 at a time!)in warm water without detergent

3. Wash diapers with detergent with a full hot/cold cycle. Detergent should be fragrance and color-free with no optical brighteners or fabric softeners (this causes soap build-up which will cause diapers to leak!). Use enough detergent to clean a load of dirty laundry but not too much (usually 1 tbs). My favorite detergents? GenerationMe and A Happy Green Life...both are chemical free and leave my diapers smelling clean EVERY time!

4. Rinse again in warm water.

5. Dry! Thoroughly dry diapers in the sun or in your dryer. The sun will save energy and bleach out stains. If you use a dryer, use the lowest temperature, especially for items containing PUL.

Click here for printable washing instructions

Please visit my blog daily for more info. on cloth diapering...and join the blog hop hosted by the Eco Chic!

I will be posting various articles, pictures, maybe even a giveaway...this week leading up to the big event on Saturday. So be sure to subscribe to my blog by e-mail (in the top right hand corner) so that you do not miss a thing!

And now to leave you with a few facts compiled from The Real Diaper Association...

"Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S.

Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome by increasing absorbency and improving the environment for the growth of toxin-producing bacteria.

Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals

In 1988, over 18 billion diapers were sold and consumed in the United States that year. Based on our calculations (listed below under "Cost: National Costs"), we estimate that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are consumed every year in the U.S.13

In 1988, nearly $300 million dollars were spent annually just to discard disposable diapers, whereas cotton diapers are reused 50 to 200 times before being turned into rags

No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren will be gone

Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.

Americans spend about 7 billion dollars on disposable diapers every year. If every one of those families switched to home-laundered cloth pre-fold diapers, they would save more than $6 billion, enough to feed about 2.5 million American children for an entire year. Coincidentally, the 2002 U.S. Census reveals that 2.3 million children under 6 live in poverty"

...and there is plenty more

Also - If you have any cloth diapering questions, please ask! I LOVE ANSWERING THEM! ;-) Feel free to leave questions in the comment section below too.

Alanna Butterfield



  1. Thanks for listing how to wash the diapers. I know that for first timers that can really be intimidating. This is definitely a post to share. Thanks

  2. Informative post! Thanks for sharing!

  3. As your cloth diaper posts are a few years old, any chance you know of someone who has recent recommendations on the best value ones out there for soon to be mom's? I want to do cloth but don't have the money to do a lot of trial and error. =)


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