OK, so I've been doing cloth diapering for almost 3 mos now!! I wasn't really sure that I would make it that long. Being so lazy and all ;) It's really not that bad.
I started out with a bunch of prefolds that I had been given during various pregnancies for use as burp cloths. I had to purchase 2 packs of rubber pants (one for each little one). At that point in the game I didn't know anything about PUL or wool or fleece covers. I was in a big hurry to just jump in there and go for it - see how it went before I got all addicted to diaper sewing ;)
Tip #1: you have to wash and dry the prefolds about 5 times before they really become as absorbent as they need to be.
Tip #2: Don't bother with those really thin prefolds. Unless you want to use them as doublers. They are useless on their own, even at maximum absorbency.
Tip #3: Rubber pants suck. I bought a size up for each child, and still they were too tight in the legs and cut in :( And they also tend to make it all hot in there - not breathable at all. Not good. And they make a horrible swishy noise ;)
Tip #3: If you plan on making your own diapers, do as much research as possible BEFORE you go out and start purchasing materials.
Tip #4: If you are thinking about cloth diapering because of budgeting, check out this website here which tells you how to do it with stuff you have at home or for $30 or less! Wish I would have happened upon this site before I went and bought a bunch of stuff!
Tip #5: Wool soakers (covers) kick ass. And fleece comes in a close second.
Tip #6: If you are only going to be purchasing diapers (not sewing your own) buy from work at home moms on Etsy. They are probably just as good as the name brand ones that you can buy for twice the price. I couldn't believe how much the name brand diapers cost!!!
Tip #7: Even if you have done little (to no) sewing in the past, sewing diapers and such is relatively easy! I knew very little about sewing before I made the plunge.
Tips for those who are thinking about making your own:
Tip #8: Recycled wool sweaters!!! You can find tons of patterns online for using recycled sweaters for "longies," regular soakers, bum sweaters, and wraps! (And if you knit or crochet there are tons of great free patterns out there).
Tip #9: You must use 100% polyester thread.
Tip #10: If you want to go the PUL route - either buy prints (even more expensive than plain) or buy polyester printed fabric to use outside the PUL. Don't go buying a bunch of cute cotton flannel with the intention of using that outside the PUL ;) You'll end up with leaky diapers. Though I've seen some say that they worked fine for them, I'm just not willing to risk wasting the money I spent on PUL. I made one with cotton flannel on the outside and it did wick out the legs. But of course I used it on my heavy wetter...
Tip #11: Fleece pocket diapers are awesome. The fleece on the inside keeps baby's butt dry!! It's almost weird. The mistakes I made with my fleece pocket diapers: chose the thinner fancier printed fleece for the outer layer - which was not as water resistant as the plain thicker inner layer... so have to use them either as covers or inside out... The other thing is that you should use velcro or snaps for closures, as it's very frustrating to get diaper pins through 4 or more layers of fleece (the snappis work on some, but not all)!!
Tip #12: All pocket diapers are pretty awesome. And if you're looking to save money, make these awesome one size Rita's Rump pocket diapers!! The best things about the pocket diapers is the stuff-ability for overnights and the drying time (seriously, an all in one [aio] or fitted diaper with the soaker all sewn into the diaper takes FOREVER to dry!!).
Tip #13: there are tons of patterns out there - some for free and some that you have to pay for. This lady here has posted a tutorial on how to make your own fitted diaper pattern! I have 2 suggestions: 1 - though she likes to have her crotch area 5", it's a little too thin - especially if you're making a pocket diaper and will be stuffing it. 6" is about standard and seems to work the best for me and mine. 2 - if you are going to be using the diaper for overnight and stuffing the heck out of it add an inch to the waist. I made it with my daughter's exact waist measurement, and when I stuff the heck out of it for night time use it's at the boundaries of not being able to velcro it closed ;)
Tip #14: There are tons of diaper sewing tutorials online! So once you find or design your pattern go browse through some tutorials!
Additional info on using fleece:
Fleece comes in all different weights and types...some more water resistant than others. The cheap Wal-Mart fleece works great. The "anti-pill" fleece from Jo-Anne's is too thin, so you will need to double it (maybe just in the "wet zone"). The "ultra cuddle" fleece from Jo-Anne's works great. The most water-resistant fleece is Malden Mills, but it's kind of pricey - so I am sticking with the cheap Wal-Mart fleece ;) If you're not sure it's probably best to just double it in the wet zone ;)
The other thing to keep in mind with fleece is that it will wick into cotton. Especially if the clothes are too tight. So if you are going too long before changes or baby's britches are tight, may not be the best choice. But I'm pretty hooked on the fleece :) (funny story: last night when I was changing Baby Sister, she had a fleece pocket diaper on - she had soaked through to her cotton pants - but the fleece on the outside and inside both felt dry - but the inner soaker was totally soaked!)
--Another thing to keep in mind is that cloth diapers tend to be bulkier than disposables... so keep that in mind while clothes shopping... I realized that one pretty quick ;) all my boy's pants were a little too small in the booty area ;)
And a word about the laundering... Grrrr. And Ugh!! ;) Not for the nastiness factor - I have that one pretty much under control. I had a rash issue. So I immediately jumped to the conclusion that it had to do with my laundering. I did all kinds of crazy laundry crap - switched detergents a couple of times (btw: do NOT use free & clear detergents - they can cause horrible burn rashes on babies with sensitive skin) did things unimaginable (by that I mean, yes I actually boiled my prefolds in a stew pot on the stove to make sure I had everything out of them!). It turned out to be a food issue!! My daughter hadn't eaten anything new - she'd had strawberries in moderation plenty - but had recently started pigging out on strawberries, which caused a re-occurring awful rash (as can tomatoes)... so before you go switching up your laundry routine, think about food issues and teething issues first... and start out with the simplest laundry routine and make adjustments as necessary. There are TONS of sites out there with TONS of info on cloth diaper washing!
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