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Cloth Diaper Challenge Update

Baby Mo's nanny was in Brazil when we started our cloth diaper challenge. When she came back, I gave her a cursory review but I guess I was a little rushed because I received this email from her later that day:

"I'm pretty sure I messed it up with the cloth diapers yesterday, sorry. I didn't know anything about it and when I got home I Googled the topic and realized that I only put the cover of the diaper on [the baby]. I'm so so sorry... Could you please teach me how to do it right?"

The poor thing! She actually had not messed it up. I pre-stuffed the pocket diapers so that they were ready to go on demand. However, her email speaks to how intimidating cloth diapering can be out of the gate. 

About a week and a half into our challenge, we seem to be going strong. I feel great about fewer chemicals on Baby Mo's bottom, plus we are saving the environment and some cash. I'm still having a little trouble getting into the cleaning routine but I'll save those details for another time. It's lunchtime and I'm not in the mood to talk poop.

We are using FuzziBunz, Rumparooz, RagaBabe, Charlie Banana, Evolution Diapers, SoftBums, and Bootyful Babys. These are all pocket diapers but we are also trying a few gDiapers with disposable inserts.

In my day job, I review gadgets. You would think that I could apply my product review experience to diapering but I just can't bring myself to give a bad review to a product that was designed by a work-at-home mom (or WAHM, as the lingo goes). These women stitched and sewed together these products out of love for their children. How can I say disparaging things about something like that!?

I will say that some work better than others, some are easier than others, and some are just so darn cute! I really like SoftBums for evening because of the extra protection, and I LOVE Charlie Bananas because you remove the pocket insert from the front instead of the back. This means you're much less likely to get poopy hands removing the padding. (I guess I can't avoid talking about poop.)

I also really like Rumparooz and FuzziBunz because they are less bulky and have great designs.

I'm on the fence about the semi-disposables. I somehow feel like maybe that is cheating? My husband saw the gDiapers and said, "Doesn't that defeat the purpose?" Also, when they say flushable, I'm not sure they have New York City plumbing in mind. The flushables absorb a lot of water and get huge. I'm not sure my toilet can handle that so I ended up throwing them in the Diaper Genie. But you can stuff gDiapers with non-disposable inserts so that certainly isn't sacrilege.

I guess my question to the CD community is this: Is there a hierarchy of cloth diapering that I should be aware of? For instance, are you less of a true CDer if you use disposable inserts and disposable wipes? Are there snooty purists who look down their noses at anyone who doesn't use all reusable material? And if that is the case, do those people shun toilet paper on their own backsides? Just wondering.

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Reader Comments (51)

The answer to your last question is YES. Some of them do.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Wisabus

Well, some people say that the hybrids are the best of both worlds, but also the worst of both worlds. You still have to keep buying diapers and you still have to wash covers. We use hybrids when we travel and I think they are perfect for that. I also flush the gDiaper inserts in two flushes- the inner core first and then the outside part. (And yes, that is totally possible without really touching anything gross.)

Some people do actually use reusable wipes for toilet paper. I have some available, but I don't use them often. It's not a hard jump when you get into cloth diapering.

And there are snotty purists for everything, not just diapering. ;)

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHereWeGoAJen

Ha! Good point!

November 23, 2010 | Registered CommenterNatali

The flushable g-diapers, you rip them in half to flush them, and the inside part is just pulpy, so once its wet, it has no problem going down any toilet. you just have to be sure that it is no longer in the shell that holds it together. The shell is thin and should go down any drain that can have toilet paper down it. That being said - I know many people just throw them out with the knowledge that they are able to break-down on their own.

My own laundry routine - I always pre-stuff my pockets, and I also put in a flushable liner. Its part of my folding routine - I'd rather sit down on the couch and stuff all of them than try and do one in the middle of changing a diaper.

Also, and I haven't read all your previous comments, but a secret on pulling out the inserts. I don't do it. I dump all the pocket diapers in the wash, with the inserts in them still, and run a rinse. 2/3rds of the inserts come out during the rinse, and i'd much rather go through diapers with no poop on them! I swear - its so much easier, and no gross factor. You'll never go back to pre-pulling the inserts!

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Hey Natali!! Glad to see you're keeping it up! I'm glad your nanny is willing to try, too, and concerned about doing it the right way :) As a nanny myself (I take my daughter to work with me!), I have really tried to get my bosses to switch over to CDing. I'm at least trying to get them started with cloth wipes. Are you using CWs? You would LOVE them. I LOVE my Thirsties Fab Wipes--velour and LUXURIOUS--and Thirsties Booty Luster spray... I feel like I'm giving Lily Claire a mini bath every time I change her!

As far as a hierarchy, I'm new to the CDing world, but I like to think we're proud of anyone who would even consider CDing--part time, full time, half time (disposable inserts, etc.)! I'm a consultant for Everything Birth (, and we have a One Cloth Diaper a Day program to encourage people to try cloth.

When it comes to toilet paper, I have read there are families who use cloth wipes on their own bums and throw them in with the baby's diapers and wipes. I'm not there yet, but the concept is green and economical, too. Overall, I feel wherever you fall on the CDing spectrum, you're still making a difference for your baby-- and our world!

Loving the updates... keep 'em coming! :)!

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJamie Lynn

Hi Natali!

I am fairly new to the CDing world, but I have gone through my fair share of trials and tribulations.

A friend of mine just switched over to Family Cloth. She likes it, but I don't think I could ever do it myself.

I use a pocket diaper called SunBaby. They are really cheap ($5 a piece including shipping)..

I am very glad you are

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

Keep it up, you are doing great!

I have had the same issue with the gDiaper "flushable" inserts with various toilets. Sometimes I have almost had a toilet overflow! Occassionally I put a folded-up prefold in my gDiapers which works way better for us than dealing with flushing the mush :-)

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny B

I cheat a little. I use a liner (Mioliners) on my cloth diapers. But these liners can go into the washer and dryer. So if it's got poop, it goes straight to the toilet. If it's just pee, it goes into the diaper pail for wash. I'd say the liners can withstand 3-4 wash cycles and I always hang them dry (but they can be dry in the dryer b/c I've tried that too).

I have the FuzziBunz pocket diapers. I can cut 1 sheet of the liner into 2 and still get good coverage on the diaper. Sure, you still get some poop one the diaper but overall, it's a 90% improvement on the gross factor. :)

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKeira

Oh by the way, I use cloth wipes at home but disposables when I go out. Also, I use disposable wipes at home if it's a huge poop mess. Pre-solids poop is not so bad, easy to wash off, so I'd use cloth wipes. But babies on solids foods (and toddlers) can have yucky yucky poop. I use disposables for the yucky yucky stuff.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKeira

First I want to give you, your nanny, and your husband a round of applause for trying something new.

The way I see it is that you are saving a disposable diaper from going into a landfill. So if you occasionally use a gdiaper or a flushable wipe big deal!

My little one is not here yet and we have purchased rumparooz and ragababes and plan on using a combination of disposable wipes and reusable wipes. But I can tell you in my research that there are families out there that have banned TP from their homes and the entire family uses flannel wipes and moms use reusable pads! (I love mother earth....but there is no way I am going there....and my husband would have me committed)

Keep up the good work.!

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

My husband said the same thing about the disposable inserts/ liners. "Doesn't that defeat the purpose?" I think it's slightly better for the environment, because you aren't throwing away the entire diaper, so it saves some of the resources needed to make all those diapers, and it also means less in landfills. And I think, generally, the disposable inserts are made from natural/ more biodegradable materials. That being said, I don't typically use them, because I honestly don't want to keep buying them! But I could see where they would be more convenient.

In terms of the purists, yes, they are out there. Some people do everything they can to be totally trash-free (google No Impact Man if you're interested)- this includes toliet paper, tissue, napkins, and yes, feminine products. I have yet to jump onto this bandwagon. I still put disposables on my little guy at bedtime, and sometimes when we're away from home. You just have to find what is right for you.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie F

We used Gdiapers with the flushable inserts on occasion but I preferred full on cloth much better. When I did use the Gdiapers though, I never felt like I was cheating. Those inserts aren't going to be spending 100's of years in a landfill. Not sure if you've gone on the Gdiapers site and poked around but they have a cool little video that shows a Gdiaper flushable insert breaking down along side 2 different types of sposies.

As far as using disposable wipes goes, there are biodegrable sposie wipes too. But try cloth wipes and you may not want to go back. I found them way more efficient at cleaning a poopy bum. Not to mention you're doing the laundry anyways, so what's the big deal? Using cloth diapers was a first step for us, which lead to the use of cloth wipes, and now we also use family cloth (cloth wipes for toilet paper). I mean, why not? OK, I get why not. Baby poo is one thing...haha. My husband doesn't use the family cloth. And I mostly use it just for #1 for myself. My son it potty trained now and I use it for #2 for him. But honestly, even just me using it for #1 cuts down on our TP consumption quite a bit!

Cloth diapers can totally be the gateway drug to other things green! I never ever buy paper towels anymore (I use our old prefolds for wiping us messes and they work like a dream) and I also use a Diva Cup and cloth pads when Aunt Flo comes to town. Not only do all these changes make a difference for the environment, but they all also work better than their disposable counterparts! Who'da thunk?!

One last thing I want to say is, that if you're going to get properly acquainted with cloth diapers and cover all the pros and cons and such then I really think you need to try some other types as well. You're going to do like, a re-do of your cloth diapers vs. disposables segment, right? If so, you need to know more than just pockets. Please try AIO's and maybe even AI2's, fitteds and prefolds with covers and be sure to try a couple different types of covers. Not just PUL, but maybe even give fleece and wool a shot.

Glad you're keeping it up:)

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I don't think it's cheating just because they break down easier than diapers. I wouldn't use them a lot though. I don't look down at anyone's diapering choice. Cloth diapering is just my own personal choice and I tell anyone who will listen about it.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Just want to say kudos to you Natali for giving it a try! When my ODD was a newborn, my friend showed me her cloth diapers and I think I said something like--"I could never do that! "

Fast forward 3 years and I find myself cloth diapering my new LO and absolutely loving it :) I'm sad now I didn't try earlier. I know it's not for everyone, but you never know until you give it a try and I think it's awesome you are willing to try it before writing it off like I did the first time around.

If there is a hierarchy, I don't know about it. My experience in the last 4 months has been that the cloth diapering mamas on Babycenter are super supportive and helpful--no matter what type you use.

My absolute favorite hybrid are the Best Bottom Diapers from Nicki's Diapers--they are soooo trim and we've never had a leak! When using a CD isn't convenient, they work great with the bioliners from GroVia.

My current favorite diapers are bottombumpers and fishnoodles--talk about trim! When she's got them on under her clothes, you can't tell she has a cloth diaper on. They are AMAZING!!!

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnan

I cloth diaper, and I use cloth wipes. It just makes sense. I am already doing the laundry daily or every other day, so why not add wipes to the mix? I just bought a few dozen of the tiny gerber washcloths (ones where the edges are sewn to keep from unraveling) and California baby diaper wash spray. I dilute that by half with water. We also have a pump pot (the type that is usually used for coffee) to store warm water with a small bowl under the "tap" to catch drips. We keep that at the changing table. It works great, and I love that I am not throwing out wipes daily as well as knowing what I am using on my daughter's backside (instead of all the stuff in wipes).

When we are out for the day I pack a few pre-wetted washcloths in a sandwich sized zippy. If it is just a short outing, I am fine with just using water on her behind, but if we go longer then I would just throw in my bottle of CA baby wash.

I personally don't see a hierarchy. Everyone needs to decide what is right for their own family. Though I do wish more families would give cloth a chance. I know loads of people who barely even give it a first thought because it is just assumed that it is not a viable alternative.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

Hey Natali! Our store would LOVE to send you some BUMMAS wipes as well as some Honey Bun drops from Chubby cherubs so you can give cloth wipes a try!! They are really wonderful and just one more step in helping your babies bottom and our landfills! Please send us your contact info!

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan Clark

Hi! You seem to be enjoying this! The washing routine can be very tricky at first!!! You'll figure it out soon!!!

Please try BumGenius 3.0 AIOs!!!! I love those and anything BumGenius!!!

You're making me want to try SoftBums at night! Fuzzi Bunz are my no-fail night diaper, but SoftBums are better???

Have fun and enjoy! You will not regret this!!!

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I am pregnant and wanting to use cloth diapers for my little one, but am having a hard time knowing what diapers to get. So, it would be awesome if you did reviews on the different types you have tried.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKari

agreed! i'm new to CDing, using fuzzibunz onesize on my little guy -- but i'd love to hear your reviews (pros/cons) on all the ones you're trying!

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterheather

Everyone you ask will have a completely different washing routine that works for them, but might not for you. It's so variable because diapers need to absorb and many detergents cause build-up or don't rinse out well enough. Diapers that have build-up will leak or even cause diaper rash (due to the detergents left in the diaper). People also have different washers/types of washers and water. I can offer you a few tips, though. You might find they work for you.

I have a very archaic top loading washer. It has the most minimal of settings. It is nothing near the one at our old house and I know it doesn't clean as well. Due to my washer, I have to "waste more water" to get hot water in the "rinse" (I have to run a full hot wash to do this). It's kind of counter-productive if you're using cloth for environmental reasons, but that's not why I'm using cloth!

What I've found works the BEST for ME is #1 doing overnight soaks. I have noticed a huge difference when I don't soak.

#2 would be BIOKLEEN BAC OUT! I use the Stain & Odor Eliminator. What I do is I do a HOT WASH (this is my hot "rinse", but knowing the limitations of my dryer...). The hot rinse knocks the urine and stools out much better. Then I run another hot wash (would be rinse in a normal person's case) and add the Bac Out. Once the diapers are covered with water, I stop my washer. I let that soak overnight. I wake-up in the morning and I start the washer again and let that cycle complete. Then I put in Rockin Green Hard Rock. I need to use a bit more than called for. #3 You might find adding more detergent helps. I really don't add much more, though. I either soak that for most of the morning and then restart the washer or I just let it go. I rinse twice to make sure all the soap is out.

If I had a normal washer, I'd do one hot rinse, one hot soak with BioKleen Bac Out, one hot wash with detergent, and then 2 rinses.

Again, I have found this works in my case and I can tell a difference between the times I soak and use BioKleen and the times I don't do one or the other. If you think your diapers aren't getting clean enough, try soaking, using BioKleen, and/or using more detergent. It is all an experiment in chemistry! Also, make sure you know what kind of water you have (hard, soft, in between, closer to hard, etc...).

Good-luck and I'm sure you'll get advice somewhere that will work for you!

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

There are some stores out there that offer trial packages so you can try all of the different types of diapers for just $10 (and a large deposit of course). Most of those in their packages are the mainstream diapers. The one I'm familiar with is but just google "cloth diaper trial" and there are more.

I just started cloth on my fourth. Didn't with my other kids because there wasn't such a selection before. At first I didn't use cloth wipes, but then it just made sense. I'm washing the pooh anyway, why not for the wipes too. I will say that we still use disposable on the go. They come in handy for way more than just wiping bums (especially for getting spit smells out of your cloths).

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Kari, you should check out this site...

November 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Yes, some people use cloth toilet paper - it's called family cloth. We haven't gone that far...

If someone offers to send you cloth wipes, I would take them up on their offer though. They are actually easier to use with cloth diapers than disposable wipes since you throw them all in the same bag together.

There probably are some snooty people who look down on part time CDers, but most people are just happy that you've found a routine that works for you, whatever that looks like.

November 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi J

Heck no! So not cheating. when we went to Disneyland this year, I brought along a pack of Gro VIA disposable/biodegradable liners to use in my flip covers. I bought them just for this reason, because I didn't want to cart around a wet bag that was sure to get heavier throughout the very long almost 12 hour day at the park. I felt eased knowing that of all the diaper trash at the park, at least I knew mine was actually going to break down and leave less mess. We then used inserts at the hotel which was great. So now I use Gro Via disposable inserts when I know I am not going to have immediate access to laundering facilities.

November 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJuliana

LOL. I never thought of there being a hierarchy...maybe there are some people out there who think negatively about hybrids but I say use whatever works best for you. I have some friends who use those when they travel or are out and about. I just use all cloth because that's what I bought (didn't know about hybrids when I started).

I have heard that g-diapesr aren't good for containing the breastmilk poos that babies can have.

And I have heard of people using family cloth...I just can't go there myself..cloth diapers and cloth wipes for baby I'm cool with...cloth hand towels are great too...but that's about all you'll find at this house.

November 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal Biehl

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