Thursday, November 7, 2013

diaper duty, 33 weeks, 6 days

Please excuse my absence, I’ve been deep in the vortex of YouTube, watching strangers with terrible camera skills put cloth diapers on their infants and uncooperative toddlers.

Let me explain.

Since the beginning[1], C and I had thought we wanted to cloth diaper. Because we are C is self-righteous and judgy cheap. Plus, we enjoy a challenge[2].

At first, I was terrified, imagining a future wherein I’m forced to resign from gainful, intellectually stimulating employment so as to remain at home, forever tied to the washing machine[3], just one load of poopy pre-folds away from sheer insanity, forever on the precipice of diaper doom.

Enter stage left: diaper service! Which, apparently, is a thing. A thing that I did not know existed outside some kind of exclusive celebrity run club of high rolling, sanctimonious eco moms who import organic Yak cheese from Nepal to fuel their solar generating wind turbines (Gwyneth, I’m looking at you).

But you guys. This is totally a thing within reach of the every-woman! It’s still (a lot) cheaper to launder your cloth diapers at home, sure – but the cost of a service, at least in this neck of the woods, remains equal to or cheaper than the boatload of disposable Huggies[4] that are being aggressively marketed to me every-freakin’-day-over-email dear-lord-in-heaven-please-enough![5] Plus, we don’t have a washer-dryer in our apartment. We share one with two other families – at least one of which would probably call the authorities if they found us the washing machine with baby-stink laden rags.

So here we are. Having selected the basic service and having spoken to the, predictably kind of crazy, middle aged lady named “Donna” who runs the place and will be showing up to retrieve our 70 filthy diapers every Monday night between 8-10 pm.[6]

<Deep breath>. Now to navigate the gear. Our basic service provides 70 “pre-folds” a week[7]. Pre-fold. A distinction which is endlessly confusing because, brace yourselves: you have to fold them all. by. your. self. There’s absolutely nothing pre-folded about these rectangular squares of cotton. Why, universe? Why?

Of course, in addition to the provided for pre-folds, there’s a veritable word soup of accessories and accoutrements to contemplate. Covers and Snappis and All-in-Ones and Pocket Diapers and Doublers and Inserts, OH MY. <Law degree, don’t fail me now>

Scout’s honor, it has taken me weeks to fully even partially understand the world of cloth diapering. To be able to wrangle from the jaws of the interwebs the necessary, amidst all the noise. (Noise being mostly related to long winded discussions of “blow-outs” and other soon-to-be-my-living-reality-horrors.)

So far, here is what we have determined:

(1) Covers
After much research and painstaking Amazon sleuthing, we’ve decided to buy about 5-6 covers. It’s an added layer of waterproof, reusable protection and we won’t have to wash them with every use. Because we’re always ones to bend to popular opinion, I think we’ll invest in a couple high quality Thirsties. Kind of digging the “Apricot” color. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll cave and buy some devastatingly adorable number from Etsy.

(2) Snappis        
My how times have changed. Apparently, the stabby pins of yesteryear are out. The new fangled appears-to-be-some-kind-of-tinker-toy?, Snappi, is very, very in. I guess the cover can hold things in place, but the added Snappi protection seems worth the investment. Word on the street is that one package of Snappis should get us through at least the first year. But somehow I can already see “Luna toy” written all over this…

(3) We care about the earth – to an extent[8]
When I finally thought I was done making sense of this cloth diaper bizness and feeling smug in my general environmental-feel-good-moral-superiority, a friend who cloth diapered her twins offered up the following gem: you probably also want to use non-disposable wipes.

HOLD THE PHONE. Are you possibly suggesting that I want to clean up my inevitable baby-blow-outs with a reusable rag? Is this a thing?


(I am completely, 100% not at all judgy of all the parents who use disposables. I swear. In fact, there will probably be some kind of heartfelt, deep-soul-searching post about 3 months from now in which I tearfully lament the end of cloth diapering because just-cannot-deal-and-Mother-Earth-can-go-to-hell! and please-make-the-baby-stop-crying! and all sorts of other “reasonable” and “balanced” commentary that suggests I have gone off the deep end. That’s a promise, not a threat. Stay tuned!).

For a much more in depth tutorial on all things cloth diaper, Amalah/Alphamom is where it’s at: here and oh-my-goodness-cloth-diaper-made-from-recycled-sweater-HERE and also, for good measure, here.

Any other cloth-diaper-hopefuls out there? Any intel to share from the experienced among you?

[1] Of time? Infertility? This pregnancy? Our very existence!
[2] That’s a lie. For I am lazy.
[3] I just love how the title of this photo is “weary, dejected woman.” <I see my future>.
[4] Which, I kid you not (pun intended), are now made “with an umbilical cord cutout!” I could not make this stuff up if I tried.
[5] I blame Pea in the Pod, who conned me in to sharing my email in exchange for apple juice and some kind of estrogen laced fiber bar made for vulnerable pregnant ladies. *shakes fist*
[6] Can’t you just imagine the reality show? After the babies go to bed, one woman takes on the city. From east to west and north to south, she travels neighborhood by neighborhood in her diaper-mobile, laundering the hundreds of cloth diapers that keep these babies running!  Okay, maybe it needs some work. But I totally have a picture in my head – one that, apparently, Google Image does not share for my unrelenting searches have yielded nothing suitable. Use your imagination.
[7] That’s 10 ever-loving diapers a day for those keeping score at home.
[8] Truth: sometimes I drive to the drycleaner. Which is 4 blocks away. Now you know my shame.


  1. Ohh sister, I am right there with you on YouTube for endless hours trying to decide what to buy!!

    We have decided to go with pocket diapers. After all the research, I've also decided to go with pocket diapers. Probably bummis because they are the most highly rated it seems. I am really scared about unstuffing the diapers to wash them though...

  2. I don't know if diaper service is a thing where we are likely to be, but would totally use one if it were available. I have no insights, because, blessedly, my sister runs a home business making all things organic diaper and I'll inherit her goods. Score. Also, I am really averse to researching stuff like this, and miserable at it anyway, so that's all H's department.

    I can TOTALLY see that diaper lady reality show. I'm sure if you pitched it to TLC (aside: since when did 'learning' come to be constituted mainly by cake-based reality shows and the antics of Honey BooBoo?), they would bite.

    1. Wow - an organic diaper making sister. Amazing. Is she interested in a TLC contract? (SO right there with you on the bizarre metamorphosis of that channel - it went from actual learning to voyeur-dom of supersize families of 16 and cakes)

  3. Oh I have been researching this like crazy, the project-manager husband made a whole Excel spreadsheet proving how it is more cost-effective, energy-wise, water-wise, etc... Also better for the skin of the baby, etc...
    But oh, choosing which.So complicated. I tend to prefer all-in-ones (because I am lazy / want convenience) and also, considering the investment I prefer having a diaper that will fit from 3 months-ish until toddler-hood / potty training.
    I have read that the ones with the covers (like the ones you have chosen) are better, but then you have to get several sizes and our whole calculation is based on buying diapers once and forever. Ah confusion. If you figure all of this out let us know please!
    My major concern though is knowing which are the best to prevent leakage. Or is it bound to happen even with pampers?

  4. I am cloth diapering. We could pick from two different services here in the burbs of Chicago. The owner came over today to give me a tutorial which was awesome. We are going to try pre-folds to start out with, but my husband may prefer the fitted ones. We'll see. We went with the Thirsties for the covers- 6 of them in size 1 to start out with, but the other option was wool. You only have to wash the Wool ones every 2-3 weeks and they are super, duper soft. However, they are not great for newborns because there is no way to fold them down for the umbilical cord. We may get one or two later on as they are supposedly really good for night time use. Crossing my fingers all goes well!

    As far as cloth wipes, my husband is completely against the idea of putting poop in our washer. That is why he is okay with the cloth diapering (as long as we use a service) and NOT okay with cloth wipes. So far my research into more earth-friendly and no harsh chemical wipes has led to Honest wipes. Hopefully they work!

    1. Eager to hear how it goes for you on the pre-fold route! And I agree with the wipes - we ended up caving and ordering a bunch from Honest Co :)

  5. Ya, without a washer/dryer in your apartment, I think a diaper service makes perfect sense. We have LOVED our cloth diapers (Bum Genius Elemental AIOs) - and it really is so easy once you get your rhythm down. I've blogged a ton about it here:

    I used cloth wipes for awhile but fell out of the habit somehow. It wasn't a big deal either way to use/not sure them, honestly. For you though, would you have to wash them separately since the diaper service would be taking the diapers? Might be a needless pain.

    FWIW - breastmilk poop is totally sanitary and water soluble, so for the 1st 6 months at least, poop is easy. :)

    Also - we started cloth diapers at 4weeks with our AIOs (could have started earlier, just didn't), and the "blow out" rate dropped DRASTICALLY. I can count on 1 hand the number of blowout we had in cloth over 2 years, but in disposables they happened all the time! Cloth just contained everything better. Hopefully the same holds true for you!

    1. As always - you're such a great resource! I think if we were doing it on our own, we'd go for the AIOs but since the service only offers pre-folds, at least for now, that's our jam. Psyched to hear another mama preaching the vast reduction in blow-outs...(that is a sentence I never thought I'd write).