Monday, December 27, 2010

Thoughts / Reviews

It's been a while since my last post! Hopefully I will be able to post a little more regularly after the new year, but I wanted to share a few thoughts I had over the past 2 weeks regarding some of the diapers we have been using.

By far, the ones we like the most are the BumGenius 4.0's. They have a lot of flexibility as far as absorbency goes without being overly bulky, and once they are stuffed they are the easiest to use. They are probably the best option if your child will be left in the care of someone not familiar with cloth diapering - there is not much of a difference between these & disposables as far as the actual changing goes. I can comfortably leave K in one of these for about 2-3 hours & not have to worry about leaks. I wouldn't leave her in ANY diaper for much longer than that anyway, so really not much is different from disposables with this one. Most of the time I just use one of the regular inserts, but I often combine it with the infant insert as well, especially if I know that K is going to nap. We opted for the snap closures because they last longer than the aplix closures, and I'm not that talented when it comes to sewing so I don't want to have to replace them. The snaps take about 2 seconds longer than the aplix would, and K has not figured out how to un-do these yet. Cotton Babies has been running a sale of buy 5 get 1 free for a while now, so we also have the most of these diapers & more are on the way! Even without the sale, I am finding that these are one of the less costly pocket diapers.

When we made our first purchase, we also got one of the Flip Diaper Systems. We chose the stay-dry system over the organic or disposable inserts - I didn't want to have to wash the insert a million times before I could try it out as I would have to with the organic, and the disposable insert seemed to defeat the purpose. In outside appearance, they look no different than the BunGenius diapers, and the stay-dry insert also feels a lot like the BG inserts, only thicker. (I guess since they are made by the same company it's not that surprising) I felt that this one was just OK. We use it in every diaper rotation, so I'm sure we've got the hang of it and that it's a case where I just don't like it that much. It's not very difficult - just flip it over to fit the right size in the cover (it's even labeled). In theory, you can re-use the cover & just put in a clean insert during diaper changes. However, I found that when the insert gets wet, it bunches up a lot in the front and a lot of moisture got around it. It did not cause leaks or anything like that, but I would not be comfortable re-using a cover without washing it. And because it bunches up so much, I am also not comfortable going more than 2 hours without a diaper change. If I know I will have to go a longer length of time I will either opt for a different diaper or use one of the BG infant inserts in combination. These are probably my second or third favorite of the diapers we have used so far.

We also got some of the plain, old-fashioned Chinese prefolds in combination with some Thirsties Duo Wraps as a Christmas present. Again, we chose the snap closures over the aplix. It took a few uses to get the hang of these. For me the hardest part was getting the prefold to lay correctly in the cover before putting it on my daughter. The cover is kind of stretchy so I thought I had it set right & then when I pulled tabs to close it, the cover ended up much higher than the prefold and I didn't feel that there was enough protection, so I had to start all over again. A Snappi helped with this a little bit, but that just added on an extra step for me & ended up taking just as long because you have to fold the diaper a little bit differently. I think a big part of our problem is the sizing - I think the cover we got is just too big for K, even on the smallest setting! The Duo Wrap comes in 2 sizes: Size 1 is for 0-9 mos or 6-18 lbs. Size 2 is for 9-36 mos or 18-40 lbs. We know that K is tiny, but she is 22 mos old now and weighs just over 20 lbs (finally!!), so all things pointed to Size 2. But I have to say that we totally should have gone with Size 1 - I don't know that she'll be big enough for the 2 even by the time she's done with potty training! So if you're thinking about buying these, keep in mind that they run BIG! We have gotten them to work for us, but I am nervous about leaks. We haven't had any yet, but since the cover is too big, we don't have a great fit & I can foresee leaks in the future. So I use these mostly when I know I will be at home (i.e. laundry day, while I'm cleaning the house, etc.) However, I did use them while traveling over Christmas and they did work out just fine, but I made sure that K was also in a onesie that was a bit snug to help keep everything...confined, LOL. These too bunch up in front, but not as much as with the Flip diapers, probably because of the bulk. These are the bulkiest diapers we have. And another downside to the prefolds is that you have to wash them a gazilion times before they reach their optimal absorbency. I don't feel I can give an accurate rating because of the sizing issue, but maybe with Baby #2 we will buy a Size 1 cover & have more luck!

Our newest additions are the SoftBums Echo & Omni systems, and we chose the Dry Touch Pod for both. They are another OS diaper, however instead of adjusting the size with snaps on the front of the cover, there is a hidden drawstring in the inside of the cover that you access through a slit in the very top of the diaper as well as push tabs hidden in the legs. This is taking me a while to get the sizing right. Still haven't found the perfect fit yet, but I'm sure that once I do, I will LOVE these diapers! They are the softest ones I have come across yet, lined with a super cushy fleece. The Echo is similar to the Flip in that it is basically a diaper cover with an insert, but with the Echo the insert snaps into place in the rear of the cover. And while the insert also bunches up in front, since there is a fleece lining throughout the cover I am less worried about leaks. Also this is THE TRIMMEST cloth diaper I have used yet!!! Comparable to a disposable!! No huge bulge in the front like with pretty much all of the other diapers! And the Omni is exactly like the Echo, but also has the option to be a pocket diaper. So you can still snap the insert into place, or you can stuff it into the pocket if you want, or you can stuff it with a prefold. Since it is a pocket diaper & sized to allow for a prefold as well, it is not as trim as the Echo. The only downfall so far is the difficulty with the sizing. But these diapers are newer to us so we have not used them many times at all. There is no option for snap closures, only aplix, so let's hope they hold out!! Both boast that you can re-use the cover & just replace the pod or insert, but I wouldn't, especially with the fleece lining. The only real down-side I'm finding is that these are the most expensive of the diapers we have purchased yet so I'm not sure we will be getting a ton of them. But I am convinced that once I get the sizing right, they will probably be one of my favorites, right up there with the BumGenius's!

If any deliveries ever make it through this snow, we should be receiving 2 FuzziBunz OS diapers soon! But more to come on that later :)

What are your favorite cloth diapers & why? Which ones don't you like?

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Long Wait

Our diaper sprayer has been installed for about a week now, and believe it or not we haven't needed to use it yet!! I can't believe this! I never thought I'd be waiting in anticipation for K to have a messy poop, LOL. Don't get me wrong - it's great that her digestion has been "regular" lately, and I would never actually ask for a messy poop to deal with, but I want to know how the diaper sprayer works! LOL. I'm sure we'll have an answer in time :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Semi-Routine & Less Garbage

So it's been a few weeks now & I have gotten myself into a bit of a routine with everything. We currently only have 7 diapers, which is enough to get through most of one full day in cloth. Usually what ends up happening since I don't want to do laundry EVERY day, is I will do laundry in the morning on Day 1. By the afternoon I get around to taking everything out of the dryer. We use cloth for the remainder of that day and do a disposable diaper overnight. Then the next morning after our shower/bath time, we go back to cloth until whenever it runs out on Day 2. Then laundry again the next day. So we are able to cloth about half of the time right now and I am washing every other day. Some days I admit that we are just too busy for me to get laundry done and we go an extra day with disposables or I wash at night & we have clean cloth the next morning. But those have been the exceptions.

Ideally I want to build up our stash so that I can wash every 3 days and still have a few extra diapers, but that's all going to take time because this can be incredibly expensive - The cheap(er) diapers are at least $17 each which adds up quickly. Not to mention all of the extras that you have to account for - Detergent, pail liners, wetbags, wipes, diaper sprayer, special diaper rash cream...and I am sure there will be more to come! Not that I am saying it's more expensive than disposables; quite the opposite. When we get where we need to be, ultimately we will spend A LOT less than we would on disposables. But to get started can be quite overwhelming financially. Which is part of the reason we are slowly adding to our collection & not buying everything all at once.

An interesting side note: With the switch that we have made already (I'd say cloth about half of the time, maybe even a little less if I'm lazy), our trash output has been reduced almost in half! We were going through almost a full bag every other day if not more frequently. And now a bag will last almost 4 days (as long as no food is left rotting in it - I will change it if it stinks too much!). So I am interested to see what happens to our trash when we make the switch full time!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Diaper Sprayers - Adventures In Plumbing

I was so ecstatic that our diaper sprayer came in on Wednesday that I rushed to install it right away! It seemed simple enough - Just turn off the water, disconnect the hose from the base of the tank & attach the sprayer between the tank & the hose. Piece of cake, right? Well, it would have been had we a "normal" house...

Those of you who know me know that we bought the house from hell in 2007. It's a real money pit & everything that had even a slight possibility of going wrong did. Including our plumbing. Not only was everything renovated poorly, but I don't think the house itself was ever constructed correctly to begin with. Almost everything that should have been an "easy fix" went horribly wrong because something wasn't the way it should have been or it wasn't the industry standard, so many things had to be customized. So why would our toilet's plumbing be any different?! Well, we already knew that when we tried to replace the toilet & had difficulties! But I thought the exterior plumbing on it was pretty standard! Turns out it's not.

Under the info. for the sprayer, all it says you need is a flexi-hose connecting from the wall to your toilet tank. Well, we have that, so I thought we were good to go. Alas, no. When I tried to connect the sprayer to the tank, I soon realized that there was not enough room between the toilet tank & the turn-off valve for the sprayer to fit in-between them!

(For those of you who still can't figure out what I'm talking about, here is a diagram of what it is "supposed to" look like after being attached.)

My toilet tank is too close to the stop valve & there is not enough room to fit the hook-up for the sprayer.

Needless to say, I was devastated! I was SOOO looking forward to this diaper sprayer for quite a bit of time now! I was counting down the days until we could afford to buy it, and then I was counting down the days until it arrived! I was crushed & couldn't think about not being able to use it as a possibility! There HAD to be another way around this...So now, what to do?

Luckily, my Father-In-Law is pretty handy when it comes to plumbing & is willing to come take a look at everything. I'm hoping that we can just fit some kind of extender on the stop valve to make room for the sprayer. But he can't make it here until next week sometime, so I have to make it another weekend rinsing poop the old-fashioned way. Ugh!!

Did any of you have a similar issue with your diaper sprayer? What did you do to work around it?