My take on cloth diapering… for a newborn

As I hinted in a previous post, the hospital here does things a bit differently than a lot of places.  One of those being that they’re a green hospital, so all diapers are cloth.  Even the hospitals nearby don’t use this, and we were wondering about the transition from disposables to cloth once she was big enough.  But knowing she would be in cloth right away, we made the decision to start right away as well.

There’s a great little shop here in Boulder called Bundle that specializes in cloth diapering.  I stumbled across the store when a friend’s ex-wife (wife at the time) invited us to go to a grand opening for a little strip mall.  So when I got pregnant, S and I visited there a couple of times to get information on brands and how to.  
Since we registered at Target and Babies R Us, our options there were limited.  I heard a lot of great things about the Bum Genius brand, so I registered for a couple sets there.  In most of the research I did, as well as talking to other cloth diapering moms, those weren’t really good until the baby was at least 8-9 pounds.  While I knew there was a chance she could be that size at birth (assuming a full term baby – oh my naivety at the start of the pregnancy), I assumed she wouldn’t be.  So we looked for other options for the beginning.
We had quite a few options to choose from, and decided to approach it conservatively at first – buying a couple of different brands and seeing what we liked and buying more.  So we started with 3 Rumparoos Little Jimmys and one Weehugger, using prefold inserts instead of all in ones (AIO) or pockets, which you usually find for the bigger babies.
For the first few days, we went through all of our diapers in one day.  What we liked became pretty apparent pretty quickly.  While the weehuggers have some cute patterns, they’re more expensive and leaked more than the Rumparoos did.  I don’t know if we had a defective one or we washed it inappropriately, but it seemed to leak through the shell itself.  When the Rumparoos leaked, it was because the insert was touching the outside.  So the weehugger became the one that we kept in the diaper bag for emergencies.  
We went back to the store and bought two more shells, and another dozen newborn inserts.  We’re not doing laundry nearly as often and we have yet to see a rash develop into more than a dot here and there.  As she grows, we have three GroVia shells to try, a Rumparoos AIO, and two BumGenius.  We’ll probably go buy another Rumparoos or two, just because we’ve had such an easy time with them.  The GroVias are the same – shells with snaps for various sizes.  
But you can’t cloth diaper without a few other things.  One is a nice diaper pail liner, another is a few wetbags, and the third is a good detergent.  
The diaper pail liners I bought came from a shop on Etsy.  I bought two so that I could have one in the wash and the other being used.  They’ve been fantastic, and wash really well, and I recommend the seller (I don’t know her and I didn’t get anything for writing about it).  Plus, there’s quite a few colors to choose from to match nursery decor.  I haven’t had any issues with smell, unless I leave the lid to the trashcan open, and they hold quite a bit.  I ordered a light pink one and light yellow one.  
Also from Etsy, I found a few shops that sold wetbags.   So I started to look for ones that had patterns I liked.  I came across this shop and ordered two small bags and one medium bag.  The smalls hold two inserts and a shell easily, and the medium bags I haven’t come close to filling yet – but that will change when we go to daycare.  I may end up buying another one or two just for daycare. The good thing about these wetbags is that they’ll be good in the future for things like soiled clothes or wet bathing suits.  My only complaint is that when they’re washed and inside out, the zipper can be hard to find. But really, they’re fantastic and even if I forget the bag in the diaperbag for a day and there’s no smell. Plus they’re cute and the seller was wonderful – she even sent me a keychain and a button magnet šŸ™‚
The final thing that we needed was a good detergent.  We went with Charlie’s Soap, since it was one of the brands that they sold in the diaper shop.  We even started using it on our clothes and it’s been great.  All of the diapers come out really clean and not stained, even the nasty tarry newborn poops.  
And as a newborn, it really hasn’t been bad.  I thought it would be hard because she was small, but we did it, even when she weighed 6 pounds.  Other than all of the laundry washing and making sure the liner isn’t touching the outside (wet cloth touching cloth = leaking.  It’s just how it is.  But the inside of the shells are waterproof and keeps it all in nicely – even crazy amounts of poo!), it’s just like disposables.  Not to mention I feel good about what we’re doing.  
If you or someone you know is debating cloth diapering, go for it.  It is a great way to be more eco-friendly, is a lot easier than when our parents and their parents did it, and it’ll save so much money.  We’ve spent about $300 so far, and will probably spend another $200-300 when we settle on the type (shells and inserts vs. AIO/pockets).  But that pales in comparison to the amount we’d spend on disposables.  
I’ll do another post when we get into using the toilet sprayer (we have it installed, but don’t use it right now) as well as what type we end up using as she grows.

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