Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Keeping it Simple with Two in Cloth Diapers

I still love cloth diapering, but it's definitely gotten intense the past couple of months!

Before Barrett, I was washing cloth diapers every five days or so. My stash has grown to about 35 diapers, which made for a very comfortable length between washes. William was going through about 5 a day, so if I didn't get to sorting right away, that was fine.

When Barrett was brand new, I put both boys in disposables for a couple weeks to transition. (Disposables are convenient and they travel great... besides that, I hate them!) I was anxious to get back to using our cloth diapers. Thankfully, Barrett fit into the one-size pockets in two or three weeks, so back we were.

However, back in cloth diapering world... things were definitely more crazy. Barrett was going through about 10 diapers a day. William started wetting more heavily so he began needing more frequent changes. It seemed as though every two days, I was out of diapers. Also, even though the diapers I use can fit a new baby and a big toddler, they need to have the rise adjusted with snaps, so I was sorting two different piles of sizes and pre-stuffing each pile to make sure I had the right number of inserts to covers and to make diaper changes faster.

I began to grow VERY weary in well-doing, to borrow the phrase.

There was about a week in there when I was questioning if this was worth it! What else could I be doing during the 45 minutes it took every two days to sort diaper laundry? Working out? Cooking dinner? Doing a puzzle or reading books with Will? I told Brian, "I feel like I'm being a very good steward of our money, but maybe not so much with my time."

I think God had mercy on me (because He definitely has more important things to worry about in this world than my use of a particular type of diaper) and I was able to figure out a system that helped me.

In no particular order, here are some tips I learned:
1. Add extra absorbency. I don't know why Barrett seems to wet through diapers faster than his big brother did at his age, but the regular insert I was using wasn't cutting it for more than an hour or so. Adding an extra "preemie-sized" prefold diaper to the insert I was already using made it so I could suddenly go three or four hours between changes (barring poop of course). Suddenly, the diaper seemed as absorbent as a disposable! This has given me at least an extra day between washes, as well as the extra minutes I save by not constantly changing his diaper.

2. Don't pre-stuff. I know not everyone uses pockets (even if I think they're the best ever!) but not pre-stuffing has saved me a lot of time during sorting. Now I just count the pile of inserts, count the covers, and make sure I have enough of each. Then two neat stacks go under the changing table (for Will) and the coffee table (for Barrett - whose room is still the office for sleeping/living room for changing).

3. Use disposables. This is counter-intuitive, but knowing I have a stash of disposables in case I get too busy to sort diaper laundry is a stress-reliever. I find myself hardly using them, except on days we'll be out of the house for a long time. There have been weeks I'll take an extended break for a few days, if life is very busy. I don't worry about it.

4. Think of other ways you can simplify. For me, this has meant using disposable wipes instead of cloth ones. I hope to go back to cloth wipes one day, but for now, I am content with knowing I'm saving where I can. (Incidentally, I just throw the disposable wipes in with the laundry, and they don't fall apart. They get nice and clean with the rest of the diapers and then I pitch them when I'm sorting into the dryer. Simplifying has also meant not worrying about stains, line drying the covers (every time), or bothering with the outdoor clothesline. If I can hang up the covers in the laundry room, great - that saves some wear and tear. Otherwise, they get tossed into the dryer for a few minutes. And stains that I would previously be worried about... they'll just have to stay for now.

5. Think of the dough! I am saving a TON of money by cloth diapering. I paid off my stash in about the first ten months of William's life. Since then I've had to make purchases here and there for extra insert materials or to convert some velcro diapers to snaps (wayyyyy better). But even if it took a year to pay off the diapers, William is almost TWO now. So that's a year I've been diapering him for free, with the exception of the odd pack or two of disposables I've bought for trips or for the transition to having two babes. Barrett is being diapered for free as well. I love walking by the diaper aisle in the store and not having to shell anything out... if I don't want to.

Okay, those are my tips! Hopefully, William will be out of diapers within a year. But changing up my process has made having two in cloth much easier. I am much more relaxed about being a "die-hard cloth diaperer", and ironically I find this mindset to make it EASIER to actually stick with it. If you're struggling with this problem, I wish you the best of luck!

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