Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Tag: CDs

Cloth Diapers 101 – Types

Hey there! I know I’ve kept you waiting a long time since my last post on #ClothDiapers. Well, life and Mommying happened as they say. Have you ever noticed how just as you plan to do something major on your blog or in your personal sphere, things are thrown out of gear by a new baby growth spurt or teething or just general mood off? Well, that’s what happened here too. But we have kind of defeated that and here I am to talk about Cloth Diapers.

There are many kinds of people. Book people. Coffee People. Horror Movie people.

And then there are Cloth Diaper kind of people. Even within that, there are the pre-folds people, flats people, pockets people and whatever suits them kind of diaper type of people. There are also people who want to try it all (Me!). Bottomline is that cloth diapers are not a one size fits all solution. A lot depends on the individual’s comfort and convenience and baby’s needs too. But let’s make an attempt here to simplify it and tell you, realistically, about the kinds of cloth diapers that you will most likely use and want to have in your stash. So here goes…

This post shows you the various types of cloth diapers out there –
  1. Flats
  2. Prefolds
  3. Pocket Diapers
  4. Cover Diapers
  5. All-in-one Diapers

flats, flat diapers, flat nappies, square cloth, nappies, nappy cloth, modern cloth diapers, advanced cloth diapers, superbottoms, cloth diapering india, cloth diapers india, cloth diaper shopsFlat diapers come close to the traditional nappies we were diapered in. They are square pieces of cloth that can be folded in various ways to hold baby pee/poo. They most usually need pins and other fasteners like a Snappi or Boingo to hold them in place.

Most commonly available as Flour Sack Towels (FSTs), birdseye cotton, muslin, Terry. (In order of pic above, starting with the bottom printed cloth)

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Various ways of using flat diapers

Pros:
  • Economical
  • Endless possibilities: use them folded/ shaped in various ways to customize absorbency for girl or boy babies
  • Easy to use – simply pad fold to give multi-layers. Easy to clean too.
  • Dry very fast as they are thin & can be opened up
  • Can be made out of any absorbent cloth, even old clothes/ bed sheets/ towels from around the house.
  • Can be put to various uses around the house once you are done diapering.
Cons:
  • Can be a hassle to use – folding them can be a pain during emergencies
  • Low absorbency when used on its own – won’t last more than an hour or so if used on its own.
  • Not waterproof – will need the addition of a waterproof cover
  • Baby will feel the wetness – these don’t give a stay dry feel.
  • You will need a ton of these.

The best way to use these:

By far the simplest and easiest way to use a flat diaper is to pad fold it and use with a waterproof cover like a cover diaper or a pocket diaper. You can also combine multiple flats to add absorbency.

My Brand Recommendation: 

  • TinyCare Muslin Flats (come in various sizes).
  • Mothercare Muslin Cloth.

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Prefolds are multi layered, stitched rectangular pieces. They are stitched such that the centre panel has more layers of absorbency than the sides.

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Like flats, pre-folds also can be used in various ways. They can be wrapped around the baby like a traditional nappy and held in place with a fastener or simply pad folded.

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Pros:
  • Usually made of very absorbent, natural fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, bamboo. This makes them hold a lot of liquid.
  • Makes for an economical method of diapering.
  • The pre-folds can be put to multiple uses once you are done diapering.
  • Can be used for day or even night-time diapering.
Cons:
  • Usually require a lot of pre-use prepping to bring them up to full absorbency.
  • Shrink upon prepping
  • Need fasteners to hold them in place
  • Not waterproof – will need the addition of a waterproof cover
  • Baby will feel the wetness – these don’t give a stay dry feel.

The best way to use these:

By far the simplest and easiest way to use a pre-fold diaper is to pad fold it and use with a waterproof cover like a cover diaper or a pocket diaper.

My Brand Recommendation: 

  • OsoCozy Organic Unbleached Cotton Prefolds

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Pocket diapers are by far the most popular type of cloth diapers used in the world. It consists of a waterproof shell and a stay-dry fabric lined inner. It has a pocket like opening on one side or both and allows you to stuff an insert of soaker pad inside. The most commonly used insert in a pocket diaper is micro fibre which is a synthetic fabric. However, inserts can be made of various materials – natural fabrics like bamboo cotton, hemp, organic cotton or synthetic like charcoal bamboo, bamboo rayon etc. They all have their own set of pros and cons and it greatly depends on the care giver’s preference as much as it does on baby’s comfort.

Pocket Diapers also give the user the freedom to actually use anything inside the pocket. You can use ready to use inserts or any other material pad folded to fit into the pocket. You can even add multiple inserts inside the pocket so as to make it last longer. When its time to change the diaper you have to replace the entire system – insert and diaper shell.

When it’s time to change the diaper you have to replace the entire system – insert and diaper shell. Thus a pocket diaper lasts only for 2 hours on average with the regular stuffing. Addition of a booster may increase its holding capacity.

Pros:
  • Versatile – can be used with a variety of inserts stuffed into the pocket. The essence of the pocket diaper is the stay dry inner layer and so anything that you use inside the pocket is fine. Baby will get a stay dry feel.
  • The pocket diaper itself does not require any prep. One wash and you are good to use.
  • Dries fast after wash even in the Indian monsoon
  • Value for money – usually the most affordable amongst all the diapers available

Cons:

  • Cannot be reused. Have to change the entire diapering system if soiled or full
  • Can sometimes seem bulky, especially if you are stuffing multiple inserts inside it.
  • Can sometimes be a hassle when you have a fidgety baby on hand and you need to stuff the diaper with the insert. A good idea to counter this is to keep the insert stuffed into the pocket while storing.

The best way to use these:

Stuff the insert inside the pocket and store them until use. This will save time.  You can also add a trim natural fibre booster inside the pocket in addition to a regular insert in order to increase the time the pocket will last for.

My Brand Recommendation: 

  • Superbottoms Pocket Diapers

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After having cloth diapered for a 1.5 years and using virtually all types and the most advanced types of cloth diapers I am drawn back to the simplest of all – cover style cloth diapers.

Cover Diapers essentially refers to the water proof shell only. But they provide a great deal of versatility in terms of what you can use inside the covers. Pictured above are a few of the options – Pre-folds, Terry cloth shaped into a nappy, pad folded flats, or special inserts meant for cover diapers. Cover diaper inserts need to be customized to have a stay dry layer on top, especially in the case of microfibre or natural fabric inserts.  These materials are not meant to be used next to baby’s skin (MF) or don’t have an inherent stay dry quality.

I love the Cover diaper and Soaker system from Superbottoms The soakers have a special feature which means they can be snapped into the shell to keep them in place. The material is high-quality microfibre which usually lasts me around 3 to 4 hours on its own.

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Superbottoms Cover Diapers – newborn & regular sized.

The best part about a cover diapering system is that you can simply replace the soaker/insert once full, wipe down or air dry the shell (unless soiled with poop) and add another fresh soaker. Basically, you get to reuse the shell (cover) over and over until it needs a wash. This makes it a very economical cloth diapering system.

Pros:
  • Versatile – can use anything inside the covers, specific cover diaper inserts or home made nappies.
  • Gives multi-uses as the cover can be reused by replacing the soaker/ insert
  • Dries in a jiffy even after a full wash cycle.
  • You will need only a few sets of the cover diapers and can just keep buying the inserts, if you intend to diaper using this system.
Cons:
  • You need special inserts if you prefer to give baby a stay dry feel. (But mostly they come with the cover diapering system.)
  • Using cloth diaper inserts inside a cover can lead to bunching, shifts and leaks as not all inserts have snaps to hold them in place.

The best way to use these:

Use soakers with snaps which will help keep them in place inside the cover. While replacing the soaker, wipe it down with a cloth dampened in hot water and air dry it for a while, before reusing it.

My Brand Recommendation: 

  • Superbottoms Cover Diaper & stay dry soakers

The All-in-one diaper is the one that comes closest to a disposable diaper, in the sense that it can be just fastened onto baby without the need to add any other inserts/ soakers. It usually also lasts much longer than most diapers.

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All-in-ones as the name suggest contain all the diapering parts – waterproof shell and absorbent insert built into the cloth diapers system. You just put the entire diaper on and are good to go.  As such they are convenient and less hassle. Most All-in-one type diapers are made of very absorbent materials and so will last for a much longer duration. This makes them a favourite for night time diapering. You can also add more absorbency to these diapers to increase their hold time.

There are various types of All-in-one diapers. But these are the most common:

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Left: The absorbent part is stitched into the inner shell of the diaper. (TotsBots)

Centre: Flap style inserts (Superbottoms Plus)

Right: Snake style insert which can be folded as per your preference.  (Smart Bottoms 3.1 )

All-in-one diapers are a big favourite with people who prefer less complicated diapering. It is a wear and go kind of system. This also makes it easy to be carried on vacations or while out of the house.

Pros:

  • Simple and easy to use.
  • Usually have great capacity so can be used for longer durations. This makes them great for baby naps, local travels or even vacations
  • Less number of spare parts – great when travelling out of home.

Cons:

  • More absorbent also means thicker and so these diapers tend to be a little bulky
  • They also take more time to dry
  • Tend to be expensive
  • Some All-in-one diapers still need you to add extra absorbency.

The best way to use these:

Buy All-in-one diapers which are trim and promise to hold long hours. This way you can get away without adding any additional boosters/ inserts.

My Brand Recommendation: 


The Hybrid or All-in-Two diapering system gives the user a little more freedom with its usage.

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Typically a hybrid or AI2 diapering system consists of a waterproof cloth diaper shell or cover and an insert for the absorbency. The cloth diaperer has the option of using either the special snap on reusable cloth inserts that are designed for the shell or disposable, biodegradable inserts. One can actually even get away with using other insert types like flats, pre-folds etc within the shell.

Technically any cover diaper/ shell + customized insert diapering system also works under the same principle as a hybrid/ AI2. You can use any insert within the shell – customised reusable, own inserts or even disposable inserts.

Pros:

  • Gives greater flexibility to the user.
  • Is convenient especially when traveling out of the house – the insert can be discarded if using a disposable one.

Cons:

  • The shell usually has a mesh or suede inner which can get messy to clean when soiled
  • The shell is not reusable unlike a cover diaper (which comes close to the shell + customised insert/ soaker system)
  • Some shells offer the use of only the specific inserts which can be snapped on. One cannot use any other inserts with the system.

The best way to use these:

They are great for travels when you have no access to a wash and clean facility. You can simply dump the insert without feeling too guilty for harming the environment.

My Brand Recommendation: 

  • Grovia Hybrid diapers

Have you entered the big, beautiful world of cloth diapers? Which type of cloth diapers did you start with and what are your favourite types? What is the one element of cloth diapers that you struggle with?

E is for eCommerce for baby shopping

Looking back, my pregnancy was one of the best phases of my life.. i was basking in everyone’s attention and I was still free to do whatever I pleased in life and whenever I wanted to, without a tiny little person clinging to my legs or breasts. 🙂 I miss my pregnancy a lot. I miss my baby bump a lot.. have never felt so comfortable with my body than I did when I was sporting a baby in my tummy. 🙂 And what do I do when I get really nostalgic about the bumpy days? I browse through the previous orders sections on ecommerce sites like Amazon, FirstCry and others. It takes me back to that feeling of playing totally blind, not knowing if it will be a boy or a girl, not being able to even imagine who baby would look like and how much he would weigh or his height. It was a beautiful feeling and looking at the old shopping lists – tiny booties, caps, baby diapers, bathing towels, blankets, nursing pads, cotton wool, wipes etc is so therapeutic.

Back then I mostly shopped and stocked for all baby stuff from Amazon, FirstCry, Hopscotch and Aliexpress. Then I got introduced to the other specialised ecommerce businesses, mainly for cloth diapers which were setup and managed by mompreneurs but were very professionally designed and run.  And then came social media – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and the businesses that were run through these. The online shopping category has boomed and how?! I  think I can say that almost 95% of babyT’s shopping is done online and I enjoy the experience and have been very satisfied with all my purchases.

So for today’s E is for eCommerce for baby shopping I will tell you about my favourite places to shop and some tips and tricks to make the most benefit.  Continue reading

C is for Cloth Diapers: Why are we obsessed?

Cloth diapers got me totally cray cray y’all. And I mean they’ve captured my very soul and essence. So obviously the letter C was bound to be my favourite one in the #AtoZChallenge

I’ve written many posts about Cloth Diapering, but still its never enough. And i think you will agree when I say that you have never met (ok maybe barring 1 – 2 people) anyone who cloth diapers and is NOT obsessed with them. I am the biggest example of that and everything mentioned here in this post is about me. 🙂 Quite shamelessly too!

But why are most new moms obsessed with cloth diapers?

Here’s my feeble attempt to justify all my CD obsessions by giving seemingly valid and scientific reasons for the insanity.

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My precious laundry pile

Continue reading

Cloth Diaper Laundry: my wash routine

There is nothing more therapeutic, so relaxing and stress busting than cloth diaper laundry. You may not believe me right now, but once you’ve taken the plunge into cloth diapering, you may agree wholeheartedly. I do my CD laundry in the evenings after babyT has drifted into slumber-land and I look forward to it with so much enthusiasm, almost getting crabby on the nights when babyT refuses to fall asleep and thus delaying my laundering plans. It’s the same kind of high I used to get on weekday mornings, after the maids would leave and the husband left for work, and I would settle down from the whirlwind chaos with a hot cuppa in hand and the day’s papers.

But many cloth diapering discussions I’ve had with newbies begin with cringing at the thought of washing pee and poop laden items. They find it to be an added chore to their already burgeoning list of things to do around a new baby. I can still reminisce about my early post partum days when I would be spraying poop off for the n’th time off a diaper and getting all splashy and pooey in the process and that too at some un-Godly hour of the night. Scary, but I soon found my mojo and I was so fond of it, that I did not let anyone else in the house have the privilege of doing CD laundry. 😀

CD laundry is not really complicated, but it is very important. You are, after all, using and reusing an item of clothing which holds not so nice body waste (although pee is sterile) and you need to ensure that the items have got a thorough cleaning and safe for the next use. Again, not at all scary to achieve this, follow a few simple steps, make it a routine and it will work like magic. So here is my washing routine and I can now safely say at this juncture, almost a year of cloth diapering, that this has worked like magic. I have arrived at this after quite a few trials and some faulty steps, but this is now a win for me.

Do note however, that I do not have hard water issues and so I have not encountered much of the issues which cloth diapers face (read: stink, mineral build up.) This is really a CD laundry for dummies kind of guide. It is simple, no frills and easy to follow. 

For ease of understanding, I’ve divided this into three categories:

  • Pre-laundry prep
  • Wash routine
  • Post wash care

Pre-Laundry Prep

Cloth diapers need to be changed immediately upon a poopisode or after a gap of 2 to 4 hours (day time, that is. Overnight diapers really do last overnight and don’t need changing until the morning, unless poop.) While many people are content just tossing the soiled diaper into the pile, I don’t advise it as it can lead to stinks, stains and not to mention degradation of fibres, fungus etc. Cloth diapers must be given a basic rinse before storage for laundry day.

  • Remove all poop with a scraper or spray off with the jet spray attached in most modern Indian toilets. or simply wash under a tap.
  • Rinse peed in diapers under a running tap or swish around in a bucket of water.
  • Squeeze off excess water. Avoid wringing.
  • Store either in a wet bag or hanging against the rim of an open pail/bucket or on the towel rod in the bathroom or airy place. Closed rooms and spaces are hotbeds for micro-organisms to grow on damp items.

I would recommend doing cloth diaper laundry on a daily basis or at max alternate days, I find it leads to lesser damage of any kind to the diapers. And for the hot and humid Mumbai weather, this is highly recommended. I have had a case where I left an organic cotton diaper in a wet bag for barely over 24 hours and it developed spots of fungus, nothing that a bleach couldn’t solve, but avoidable for sure.

If for any reason you must go beyond a day or two, dry the pre-washed diapers entirely rather than leaving them damp in a pile in the wet bag or the pail. I’ve had situations where I have a few wet diapers and going out of home for a weekend away, with no time to do laundry I’ve just hung the rinsed diapers to dry and then returned home to give them a thorough wash.

Wash Routine 

I have a top loading washing  machine, with separate inlets for hot and cold water, however the plumbing in my house doesn’t cooperate and it just too tedious for us to connect the hot water. So cold water it is. And the machine is a very simple one, no built in programs where only some higher power knows what the settings are. Below is my wash routine, which I ensure is sacrosanct, no matter where I travel to with my diapers.

  • Pre-wash cycle: this is a 15-20 minute cycle (depending on number of diapers and water level I set) and includes a quick wash, spin and rinse. I do add about 1/2 or 1/3 teaspoon of detergent at this stage. This stage basically removes any remnant solid particles and pee.
  • The actual wash cycle I follow and which has worked for me despite no hot water: 30 minutes of wash cycle, 2 or 3 rinses and spin. I use about 1 – 1.5 tablespoons of Rustic Art detergent for a full load of laundry (that’s around 10 – 15 diapers and other baby clothes) Basically, choose the cycle on your machine which runs the longest wash.
  • Water level you use is quite important. While the perception may be that a lot of water will clean better, what is more important is if the CDs and other items in the machine are getting a good scrub (against each other) during the wash cycle. This scrubbing action is what helps remove all dirt and grime off the items. Again beautifully described by Fluff Love University.
  • If you are handwashing diapers: Please consider machine washing as I have found it to be so effective in cleaning CDs. But if you still must, then
    • Soak the diapers in warm soapy water (same quantum of detergent) for 20 – 30 minutes. Avoid longer soaking as it is not needed at all and will only add to degradation of fibres.
    • Agitate them well, like really well. This can be done by dipping your hand in the bucket and swishing things vigorously or lifting and dropping the items rapidly. A good 10+ dunks should be good.
    • Throw out the soapy water and fill up some clean hot/warm water. Dunk/swish multiple times till the water runs clear of any soapy suds/ bubbles. This could take like 6+ rinses also.
  • For stains that refuse to go make a paste of detergent in water and rub onto the stained part. Let it stay on for about 10 minutes and then follow the regular wash routine. You can give it a light scrub if you like, too. Do remember, never soak stained diapers in hot water as it sets stains, rather than removes.

I’ve not bleached or had the need to strip my diapers. The wash routine I’ve followed works well for me and wherever I’ve felt that I have slight issues of repelling or decreased absorbency, 2 to 3 hot water hand washes have helped deal with the problem. I also follow the multiple hot water washes technique before I sell my diapers and using preloved diapers.

Do keep in mind though that if your child is fighting off infections like UTI or yeast, you may need to bleach your diapers before reuse. You can refer to the bible of CD laundry for this here.

Post Wash Care

After one successful year of cloth diapering I can safely say come rain, shine or snow (I wish!) CDing is easy and possible in any weather. Drying cloth diapers is child’s play and all it takes is back to basics:

  • Line dry in sun or shade. Sun is highly recommended for getting rid of stains, drying diapers faster and to kill any micro-organisms.
  • A combination of sun and shade drying is best, especially if you have a lot of natural fabric diapers (hemp, bamboo, organic cotton) as only sun drying tends to leave these materials crisp and hard. Nothing wrong with that, but the general perception is that only buttery soft stuff next to baby’s skin is to be used.
  • Oh but the horror of monsoon! Fear not – make the fan your BFF. Cloth diapers and other clothes dry well under a fan running at high speed. Depending on the type of diaper you use they can take anywhere between a few hours to overnight, to dry. For more details on successfully CDing in the monsoon read one of my first blog posts for Cloth Diaper Shop.

ProTip (geek alert): Hang the diaper such that the weight of the wet diaper is evenly spread out and not causing extra stretch of the elastics. Also avoid PUL being exposed for far too long to the Indian summer sun. Both can damage the diaper beyond repair.

Detergent

After being very nitpicky about the detergent I use, I have come to relax my rules and say any detergent is safe as long as it does not contain added fragrances (there is no such thing as natural fragrance in any item you buy off a shelf), softeners or brighteners or enzymes.

I would recommend using Rustic Art, it has worked well for me for washing CDs and baby clothes. But I have also used Tide regular and Surf Excel at times, although I do find even regular Surf is pretty strong and harsh on my skin.

I would also highly recommend soapnuts for washing your clothes (baby et al) It is completely natural and leaves clothes ‘oh-so-soft’ It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to know that I am not adding to water pollution. However it did not clean my natural fabrics such as hemp as thoroughly as the material warranted. Also soapnuts tend to leave a yellowish-creamish tinge on the bright white coloured clothes, redundant on coloured clothes of course.

My learning from CDing babyT for a year now are keep it simple, make sure its effective and be regular with it. Have a particular cloth diaper laundry query? Leave a comment here and I will respond to you asap.

 

 

Prepping Cloth Diapers

Fluff mail

Fluff mail: Smart Bottoms (3.1 in J&J), Blueberry (Rainbow waves in organic), TotsBots Easyfit (Shoemaker & the elves), Smart Bottoms (3.1 in Luminescent Adventure), Bambino Mio (Zebra crossing), Grovia (Chesapeake Bay), TotsBots Bamboozle

After months of agonizing wait (me)  and traveling distant shores and seven seas (USA to UK to Mumbai, via some Middle Eastern countries) these diapers reached me this week. This is them fresh out of the bags. I held them, touched them, gave them a little hug, admired them from all angles, probably like I did with T when he was put into my arms. It was so difficult to untag these beauties. But they are meant to go OTB (on the bum, in cloth diaper parlance) so off they went for ‘prepping’.

Prepping is a word you will hear often in the cloth diapering world. It basically means getting the cloth diapers ready to do their job, i.e. hold pee and poo. No rocket science there, is it? Oh but there is. There is a lot of science behind cloth diapering and its just one of these things about CDing which make me go weak in the knees. 🙂

Cloth diapers, are made of cloth, duh! No surprises. And cloth comes in all forms and types – natural (although experts will say there is nothing natural about the so-called natural fabrics which still have to be processed to get them into a recognizably usable state.) and synthetics (which undergo vigorous processing using chemicals and structured methods to give them their identity. ) Basically all this processing and running around machines in factories, mills and workshops gets them to a stage where they look functional, but they still need to be brought up to a level where they are functioning as effectively as they are meant to. That’s where prepping comes in.

Natural fabrics like hemp and organic cotton, contain a lot of their natural oils (oil repels moisture) and hence cannot absorb liquids readily. A good washing is needed, and several ones at that, to get rid of those natural oils and get the fibres ready to hold. Once fully prepped, there’s nothing quite like the efficiency of natural fabrics in cloth diapering. Synthetic fabrics don’t really contain any oils per se, but they are highly processed remember, so they do tend to pick up the processing elements and a lot of the factory dust, which needs to be washed away before ending up OTB.

Having said that prepping is no rocket science, but it can still be a daunting task. I remember how my first bamboo AIO sat on the shelf for weeks, because I was too scared to ruin it and never had the perfect set of dirty laundry, read: non-synthetics with which I could prep it. But moments like those are a distant memory now and I no longer fret over prepping. I follow a simple wash method which helps me get the diaper OTB faster and also saves much more water and detergent.

First of all, I would say, don’t worry about washing synthetics and natural fibres separately. Unless you have ten organic cotton or hemp and only one microfibre diaper in your laundry mix, don’t even bother washing them separately. I know experts will tell you that the oils from the naturals will get onto the synthetics but don’t forget that there is detergent present which is doing the job of removing all of that from your wash. Keep it simple, and make cloth diapering less tedious and more fun instead.

So here are some tried, tested and succeeded methods which work for me:

  1. Pre-wash fresh diaper in plain water, without detergent. This is like a 15 minute cycle of wash, rinse and spin on my machine. This removes much of the superficial factory dust from the dipes.
  2. Wash with regular laundry – diapers or other baby clothes. If I have a lot of natural fabric diapers, I even like throwing them in with bedsheets or towels. (Detergent does go into this cycle.)
  3. Now for synthetics I start using immediately after one wash (that goes for microfibre, charcoal bamboo and for pockets, covers, inserts) But natural fabric diapers (mostly in case of AIOs, prefolds, inserts) need several washes to come up to best absorbency. I find that my Smart Bottoms diapers (organic cotton AIO) are perfection only at 20+ washes. And I definitely don’t advocate waiting that long a time to start using the diaper.  3 to 4 washes are great to get the diaper on the baby, click some otb pics and post to social media. 🙂
  4. Where multiple washes are needed, you don’t have to dry the diaper before the next wash. One rule of thumb I follow, two washes – one drying – two more washes – dry – OTB. This ensures that the diaper gets up to 4 washes but is used within a time frame of 1 – 2 days. However, you may find that the diaper still won’t be good to hold for long hours, or overnight just yet. It will still need its double digit number of washes to get there, but you can start using the diaper albeit for shorter periods.
  5. Hot water is good, but not mandatory. I have a very simple, no-nonsense, top loading washing machine. It has only one type of water setting and we have been good thus far.
  6. Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble: Don’t be afraid to boil to prep your natural fabric inserts or prefolds. Bring up a large pot of water to boil, add the inserts/ prefolds/ flats to it and boil for about 15 minutes. No need to add any detergent. Some people do add dish washing liquid to it, to quicken the process of removing all the natural oils, but I don’t find washing diapers in dish washing liquid very effective. It left my prepping with varied and patchy absorbency.
    Do remember to check that there are no plastic bits like snaps, pul/tpu or elastics on the items you would boil to prep.
  7. Accessories like wetbags don’t need any prepping. But I’m finicky about these things and if I intend to carry fresh diapers or other stuff which babyT is going to bite, chew or play with, I do make sure the wetbag has had a wash first.

How does one know if your diapers are prepped?

They will be absorbent and hold for the amount of time they are meant to. Genius!

But no, seriously, synthetic fibres are good to use after the first wash. You will see only marginal improvements in absorbency after subsequent washes. With natural fabrics there is no universal indicator as such. For example, I find that Blueberry  AIO (organic simplex) is good for overnight use with even one wash (add a booster anyway), Grovia organic cotton AIO take about 5 -6  washes and Smart bottoms (again organic cotton) takes around 20+ washes before I will risk using it for nights. So you just have to go with trial and error and see what works for you. A lot depends of course on your baby’s wetting pattern.  My recommendation is to therefore, test out the diaper for daytime naps (if you’re lucky to have a baby who naps more than 20 minutes *eye roll*) before venturing out for overnight use. And don’t underestimate the power of a booster, the right one can even sail you through the night with a half-prepped diaper. 🙂

 

 

Anatomy of a cloth diaper


Most people get flummoxed by jargon and Cloth Diapering is an area that is rife with it. Read on to decode the CD terminology that you encounter.

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Front view of a cloth diaper

  • The outer cover of the diaper is PUL or TPU. This is fabric which has been treated to gain a waterproof quality. So when used on a diaper it prevents water from the absorbent inner to seep outside. Read more about PUL here
  • Waist tab snaps – the waist tabs are brought up to the front of the diaper and snapped on to this panel here, to give a snug fit around baby’s waist. The diaper must not be too tight so as to dig into the baby’s stomach, nor too loose such that it is gaping. Experts suggest that it must be snug enough to allow one finger to slide along the inside edge of the diaper.
  • Rise settings – you would have heard that diapers come in one-size fits all range, allowing them to be used from newborn to potty training stage. These rise settings help with that. Bring up the row of snaps to snap up to the desired size. This will reduce the length of the diaper. Usually the lowest row of snaps is for newborn size and leaving the rise setting snaps totally open (unsnapped) gives the largest size.
Front view - diaper open and laid flat

Front view – diaper open and laid flat

  • Waist tabs – these are the wing like panels of the diaper which are fixed onto the front of the diaper to hold it in place. See below image:
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Cloth diaper in the position it is fastened on to baby

By adjusting the rise settings and waist tab settings, you can get a range of sizes to suit babies at various stages in their growth stage and sizes of course. For more details on fitting, see this post on My First Cloth Diaper.

This is the inner of a cloth diaper.

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Cloth diaper laid out flat open, to show inner side

This is a pocket diaper with a suede lining.  There can be many variants to this, but I’ve used this particular cloth diaper as it shows most of the other features inside.

  • Suede lining – the introduction of a stay dry lining in diapers revolutionized the cloth diaper industry. The magic of materials like suede and fleece is that they draw away moisture quickly from the baby and onto the absorbent inserts; and yet themselves are stay dry, i.e. baby does not feel wetness. How awesome is that in a cloth diaper that comes with no chemicals?  Inner can be of  various types: suede, fleece, charcoal bamboo (all stay dry and synthetics) or cotton, bamboo, hemp (non stay dry, but natural fabrics) Here are some of the other inner linings that cloth diapers can have. 2016-10-28_16-56-42There are others too. Will save them for a specific post in the future.
  • Leg elastics – these wrap around baby’s thigh once the diaper is fastened on. They hold what goes on inside (think runny newborn poop, teething poop) and prevent leaks. When putting onto baby, the diaper rise and waist settings should be such that there are no gaps at the thighs.
  • Double gussets – if single elastics are not foolproof enough to hold in the business, double gussets do this job well. They at least prevent or delay leaks from out the diaper, even in the worst case of pooplosions. I swear by double gussets and find cleaning them relatively simple too. Double gussets also work well in case of babies who sleep on their side.
  • Tummy leak guard – these are designed to prevent leaks from the front of the diaper, ideal for tummy sleepers.
  • Waist flap – pocket diapers usually come with a flap over the pocket area which covers the pocket hole and also prevents leaks from the back of the diaper.

Depending on the brand and type of diaper, tummy and waist flaps can look like a free piece of suede or PUL stitched in the diaper inner.  But basically their function is to hold it all in. So together, the leg elastics, double gussets, waist and tummy guards all help to prevent leaks no matter what kind of sleeper your baby is.

A cloth diapering system also comes with absorbency in the form of inserts. I’d like to do a detailed post on that, including prep and care instructions, soon.

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