Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Twitchy continued...

Okay, here's the wrap up on cloth. I promised I would talk about how to care for cloth diapers, and I hope I made it clear that I am not a clean queen. We are talking about bodily substances here people, and I am a veteran nurse (well as much as one can be at age 30), so I don't use cute metaphors; consider yourself warned. No matter what you do, you will want 5 gallon buckets with lids, which you can pick up at Lowe's, Runnings, that sort of place. I have 2 for convenience. Adding some vinegar will apparently keep the odor down when you open the lid, though I never bother because we don't have odor problems, keeping the lids on is sufficient.

I would say there are really 2 approaches that you can use depending on the disposition of the people changing diapers. If you aren't squeamish, you can do the dunk and flush as we call it. Diapers with solid waste are suspended in the toilet while you flush. This eliminates most of the solid material and makes it easy to just throw the diapers in your bucket. Diapers that are wet only just go straight in the bucket.

If one of the diaper changing party members are squirrely about diaper contents, the best way to handle it is to use your 5 gallon buckets as a pre-soak; in an empty bucket, throw in a fair amount of mildly soapy water, and some vinegar. I would probably fill it halfway or so with water, and I would think 1/4-1/2 cup vinegar would be sufficient. As you change diapers, no need to do anything with them except throw them in the bucket. Using this approach would require absolutely no more contact with messy diapers than disposables would. Even if you throw them away, you still gotta change them! Once the bucket is full, the non squirrely member of the family pours the whole bucket into the washing machine, turns on the spin cycle, and then proceeds to the wash cycle.

So to actually wash the diapers, you'll need to follow the manufacturer's instructions, but they are all basically the same. I double wash mine with hot water for both cycles, using my homemade detergent, any additive free detergent is fine though. Don't bleach them, bleach is really hard on fibers and will age them faster. If you were doing the presoak, you could probably just single wash them, and maybe double rinse them. I absolutely never fold diapers in any way! They go into a designated laundry basket, and I pull them out as I use them. I do use one basket for the diapers, and a separate hanging bag for the liners, as it's more convenient than lumping them all in together.

If you're cloth diapering, you'd be silly not to cloth wipe too. I have something similar to these, though not exactly this item. For the "wipe water", we combine water and a tablespoon or two of plain old baby shampoo in one of those squeeze water bottles, and that way we can just squirt it on a wipe as needed. We keep the wipes stacked neatly in a hard plastic container that's just a bit bigger than the wipe is so they're easy to grab. It's about the only thing I do neatly.

I realize that one big barrier to cloth diapers is your day care situation. I am impossibly lucky in that my mom in law is available to watch my kiddo when I work, and she has no problem with cloth. A small in home day care might be the most easy to convince that they can accommodate cloth; I went to a momma and me swim class for quite a while, and the instructor did day care, and she seemed somewhat receptive to the idea. My pitch would be exactly what I said above, you have to handle any diaper to a degree, and for the day care provider to throw disposable in the garbage or cloth in a wet bag, it really seems no different to me. You gotta wash your hands afterwords, either way. If you absolutely can't find a day care who will take cloth, maybe you should just use the pre or flat-folds at home, and you can send junior with disposables. I would definitely think you would still save money compared to all disposables.

So, what are your thoughts? By the way, I'm blessed with a non squirrely husband, and I give him a lot of grief about it, but I still know I'm lucky! The sample comment I will never let him forget; when told that he would be escorting me to childbirth classes, on Valentine's day no less, he wondered if that was necessary, since he's "pulled a lot of calves." Thanks honey, I love being compared to livestock!

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