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How many people really use environmentally friendly diapers?

 
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So far most babies in my social circle were the kids of permies (or of people who are permie-like to various degrees). Most of my "other friends" don't have kids. Permies usually used reusable diapers, and many mothers were already using reusable sanitary pads, so it sort of felt natural.
But now seems like most friends with kids are using single use diapers, because washing cloth diapers is too much work. Some use biodegradable single use diapers, but they cost twice as much so most don't bother spending their monies on that.
Seems like really only a few people have a more "environmentally friendly" approach to that. What I hear more often is "with kids you'll create a lot of garbage, it's inevitable".
What do you think?
One example of newborn parents: they have some reusable diapers which they didn't start using, some biodegradable single use diapers and some cheap single use diapers which they use most often.
Other friends used the cheap single use diapers only.
The permie friends mostly used reusable cloth diapers but also moved out of the city first.
Seems like the thing is extra hard to do for city people.
 
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We started out using washable cloth diapers with our first kid. It went alright when we had time. When things got stressful it became easy to just use the disposables all the time instead of just when going out. That became the norm for us. I guess we got lazy.

I'm a bit sad that we didn't have the gumption to keep it up, but we didn't and there it is.

I think... if we had higher quality diaper covers of all sizes, we might have kept it up longer. But there were a few other factors at play too.

I do know a few other people that used cloth diapers with their kids, or at least started out doing so, but far and away most people I know here use disposables.

I bow to the parents that can keep it up, keep their kids rash free, and stay sane. My mom did. Good on her.
 
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Cloth diapers all the way!!!
and since we're well past potty training, my wife cut up the cloth diapers into strips, surged the edges, and now they are used as "pee" cloths. It's amazing how much toilet paper women go through just to wipe pee.
 
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Both of my children were raised on cloth diapers so I know all about trying to wash them in a mild soap and soaking the stinky ones before washing.

Since I was a mother who worked full time, over the years there were several occasions where I had to tell the daycare not to put disposable diapers on my babies.

I always knew when they did that because it was apparent that the babies' bottoms were red.

The diapers I used were also contoured so there was not a problem having to learn to fold them. This also saves time when stacking them after washing and drying.

At the end of the baby's crib, I had a Diaper Stacker that hung on the bed where the diapers were stored and the diapers were easily reached when changing the baby's diaper.
 
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Truth time....

We used cloth for our oldest.  We also potty trained (elimination communication) by 18 months, so we no longer used them after this, though he still had occasional accidents, mainly of the bed-wetting type.  He never went to childcare as my husband and I managed to trade off shifts at our respective workplaces.

We used cloth for our youngest until she was 12 months old, and used elimination communication pretty much from birth, so she was reliably dry by 12 months and out of nappies completely.  However, I also went back to work then and she went to childcare...and while being mostly brilliant in all other respects, they were not prepared to potty a little girl of this age (she gets one potty visit for her 5.5 hour stay).  So she was wetting herself daily and we had to start sending her in disposibles after a few weeks (they don't do cloth nappies).  

And now at nearly two she's in disposibles every day...and wets herself again at home on the weekends if we put her in her undies.  Sigh.  
 
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We were lucky that when our kids were in diapers there was a cloth diaper service in our area; they collected the dirties and dropped off clean every week. (We flushed the poopies, so not as stinky as you might think). The kids still had some disposable, maybe 15-20%, b/c of time at daycare.

My mom tells how when we were babies she would take loads of dirty d iapers to the laundromat. I really can’t imagine doing that.
 
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Only cloth for both of our son's...all washed by hand and hauled water from the creek to do so...hung on the garden fence to dry.  
Back then (early seventies) we were pretty hard core about almost everything.

A couple decades later we had my mom living with us for 10 years and for the last couple years she needed diapers. We used disposables even though by then we were back on the grid and had a washing machine.
 
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A quick search turned up 95% as the number of people who use disposable diapers, and I believe it. We have done cloth diapers almost exclusively with my daughter, but both my wife and I are able to be nearly full-time parents. My impression is that raising a kid is at least 60 hours of work a week. For a family where both parents work, I could see that it would be really hard to find the time to add cloth diapering.

We call disposables "trash diapers" and it pains me a bit to use them at all. They are convenient if you go on a trip and dont want to haul around a bag of soiled diapers. I feel like I have heard of "biodegradable" options, but there are still plastic parts that need to be removed, I believe. Still, most people dont have a good way to compost them anyway, so I suspect most of them would still wind up in a landfill.

It seems like the root cause of a lot of our problems is a capitalist system that glamorizes wage labor while denigrating more enjoyable pursuits that are not able to be profitably exploited by big corporations. Stuff like parenting your own kids, or growing a vegetable garden. Instead people work too much so they can afford the million little conveniences that they can buy to make the grind a little more bearable.

I am not sure there is a way to fix any of this stuff without tearing the whole $#@&er down and starting over, but I have certainly been wrong enough times that I am open to suggestions :)
 
L. Johnson
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I think people tend to take the path of least resistance... just like electricity. But that can be overcome with enough incentive or willpower.
 
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We bought them for our first boy. I tried to use them, but my wife was against it for several reasons.
First, they were bulky, so we had to wait until the baby grew a little.
Then, since they were bulky, they also were too warm, which was a problem in summer, so no cloth diapers on summer.
Then, there was a little window in fall when we were using them, maybe twice or three times a day, while the other four to five daily diapers were of the disposable type.
Washing them up was not an issue, but waiting until they got dry was the real problem. We also bought a protective film for poops, so cleaning the clothes was easier.

We are keeping them for the next baby. Maybe it was not the most ecological thing we've ever done, but if we can save a few disposable diaper bags, I'd call it a day.
 
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I have a newborn, born 6 weeks ago.

We've been doing cloth diapers during the day, but I'm curious, is cloth diaper better for the environment if we don't recycle laundry water? The cloth diapers results in alot of laundry (twice a day) and I'm not sure if it's more environmentally friendly to just use disposables. Anyone have an idea?
 
Abraham Palma
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is cloth diaper better for the environment if we don't recycle laundry water?


If you wash them with eco-friendly cleaner (potash soap), I should think that it's more ecological. In the worst case, the poop goes to the sea and it feeds algae (though it can be recycled too!). Meanwhile, the disposable diaper requires resources (energy, petrol) to be produced and the waste is non recyclable plastic that pollutes for centuries and gets in the trophic chain. The cloth diaper also needed some resources (energy and fibers) but it last much longer, so I think it should use fewer resources. The reason disposable diapers are cheap is because we don't price petrol properly, because if we did we wouldn't be using much of it, to the petrol industry lose.
 
Amay Zheng
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Abraham Palma wrote:

is cloth diaper better for the environment if we don't recycle laundry water?


If you wash them with eco-friendly cleaner (potash soap), I should think that it's more ecological. In the worst case, the poop goes to the sea and it feeds algae (though it can be recycled too!). Meanwhile, the disposable diaper requires resources (energy, petrol) to be produced and the waste is non recyclable plastic that pollutes for centuries and gets in the trophic chain. The cloth diaper also needed some resources (energy and fibers) but it last much longer, so I think it should use fewer resources. The reason disposable diapers are cheap is because we don't price petrol properly, because if we did we wouldn't be using much of it, to the petrol industry lose.



Thank you for the analysis, I feel much better about using cloth diapers now haha.
 
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I used 99% cloth diapers with my kids. My last one exited diapers 3 years ago.

    ~ When they were newborns, we used the 7th Generation diapers, since our cloth ones didn't scale down that tiny. By the time they were a month or two old, we switched to using the Flip diaper system (a PUL diaper cover, and whatever insert you want to use. We used "flat" diaper cloths because those came clean the easiest)

    ~ When we were going to go on a trip or over to someone's house, we might bring some of the disposible (supposedly compostable) Flip diaper inserts. These came in SUPER handy when my daughter was hospitalized for 3+ days at 8 months. I could just use the disposable inserts with our covers, and not have to worry about washing them.

    ~ When we had a long roadtrip and were staying at my sister-in-law's house for a week, we bought a few packs of 7th Generation diapers to use, just so we wouldn't have to use their washing machine.


Apparently, in the 3 years since I my kids were in diapers, the Flip disposable inserts were discontinued, and the whole Flip diaper line might have been, too? I can't access the Flip website, or the www.cottonbabies.com/ website (Cotton Babies makes/made both Flip and BumGenius diapers). Maybe the websites are just down momentarily, as I still see Flip diapers sold on Green Mountain Diapers.

My sister-in-law used wool covers with her kids, with great success. But, I just never figured out how to wash the wool covers compared to the inserts. I like having a diaper cover that fit from 1 month to 2+ years old. I found the covers lasted about 1 year of washing on hot and hanging to dry. They lasted even longer when I realized that hanging them out to dry in the sunshine was degrading the plastic. I took to hanging them to dry inside, and that worked great.

My favorite flat diaper was/is OsoCozy birdseye cotton flats. These are durable, soft, and organic. They also unfold easily in the wash, and wash through a LOT easier than the prefolds or polyester inserts. The inserts were really awful at getting ammonia build up because the washing water couldn't get through the thick cloth well enough to get all the pee out. I still have and use some of the old flat diapers and use them for cleaning rags and napkins. They're great for having in the car for when kids get the munchies while driving!

As someone without garbage service, the thought of having to store and dispose of a whole bunch of poopy diapers was not tempting at all. I'd much rather have a diaper bucket, and do laundry every 2-3 days, and not have any poopy trash! I also used cut-up old teeshirts, receiving blankets, and washcloths as wipes. Just get the cloth damp with water, wipe the bum, and put the rag in the diaper bucket, and then wash with the diapers. Easy-peasy! We did use organic wipes when we were out and about, but we used them so seldom that we STILL have a few containers of wipes that we just keep in the car and backpack for emergency clean-up.

Amay Zheng wrote:I have a newborn, born 6 weeks ago.

We've been doing cloth diapers during the day, but I'm curious, is cloth diaper better for the environment if we don't recycle laundry water? The cloth diapers results in alot of laundry (twice a day) and I'm not sure if it's more environmentally friendly to just use disposables. Anyone have an idea?



Congratulations on your wee-one! To save on water usage, I would get a few more days worth of diaper inserts (I like OsoCozy birdseye cotton flats for that), and do laundry every 2-3 days. Even a "small" load of laundry uses a bit more water than you likely need for 1/2 day of diapers. So, if you have a few days worth of diapers to do, then the amount of water in the wash is a bit more appropriate. THOUGH, I just realized that maybe part of the reason my kids' diapers had ammonia build-up is because I washed every 2-3 days, which allowed the urine to turn to ammonia. Apparently, it starts turning to ammonia after 24 hours. (WHY could I not find that information when I was sleep-deprived and trying to figure out why my babies had rashes!)

What I did to fully clean my kids' diapers was:

    (1) Use a good amount of detergent (for me, it was half a scoop) and wash on HOT with the medium amount of water. I'd prop open my top-loading washing machine door and just keep restarting the cycle so it churned in there for at least 45 minutes. If you can set the cycle to that long, you'll probably have an easier time.

    (2) Rinse on HOT with a high amount of water. (The only way I could do this on my machine was to restart the cycle. )

    (3) Rinse on COLD, just to make sure all the detergent is out of the diapers, because it can cause rashes, too!

    (4) Always use "flat" diapers, rather than prefolds or other thick inserts. This allowed the water to get all the way through the diapers during the wash


If you're doing a load of laundry once a day, or every other day, you should save time and water. I'm really glad I did cloth and not disposables. I'd feel awful about having contributed a ton to the landfill (I feel awful enough about the fact that I hadn't initially realized that the "cloth" inserts I got were actually polyester and were therefor just MORE PLASTIC. The polyester inserts also were more prone to ammonia build up. They were all-in-all awful for us!)
 
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A long time ago, I used flat cotton diapers and a coated nylon cover with velcro fasteners. I only used disposables when I wasn't going to be with the child and couldn't trust the "sitter" to manage cloth. It was years before the old diapers were too worn to be rags. I recall doing the wash every third day also. I don't recall having any issue with rashes, but I would have been using a mild soap. I may have added some water and vinegar to the diaper pail - I did say a long time ago - I would have done exactly what my Aunt, who actually had a shop in a different city, selling cloth diapers and other baby things, told me to do! That's not much help now.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Jay Angler wrote: I don't recall having any issue with rashes, but I would have been using a mild soap. I may have added some water and vinegar to the diaper pail



Diaper washing sometimes seems like a science. The minerals (or lack-there-of) in the water plays a part, so do the chemicals in the detergent, and apparently the time the diapers sit, and probably also what they sit in! One detergent might work for one family with their washing methods and water type, and it might be terrible for another family. Some families never have any problems, and others do. I know my parents cloth diapered my brother, but I got rashes from cloth diapers--probably because of ammonia build-up from the years of him using the diapers. Who knows!

People say not to use any soaps when washing diapers, because it'll cause fatty build up and the diaper won't absorb as well. Some say to use soap nuts, and others have problems with them. I use Country Save detergent, which is A rated by the Environmental Working Group, and is the same stuff as in a lot of cloth diaper detergents. But, maybe I would have been better off with something else. I started out with homemade diaper detergent, and gave up on that, thinking it was causing the rashes and ammonia build up. But, it didn't go away when I switched to Country Save. But, what works for one person, doesn't work for another, and it's all rather confusing when you're tired and brain-dead and just want your baby to stop having rashes. I honestly wonder how many parents give up on the cloth diapering because they get the wrong cleaner and method for their water, and their baby gets rashes so they ditch cloth for disposables.

I did a "dry pail" method. Maybe I should have explored that variable, too, to figure out what was going wrong. Maybe I never would have had issues if I tried the wet pail method. I just don't know! There's just so many variables, and the internet--bless its heart--has a WEALTH of information about cloth diaper washing, and a lot of it contradicts itself! I think you were so lucky to have an aunt who was an expert and knew how to work with those diapers in that water and with those soaps. YAY!!! I hope more people have experiences like yours ♥
 
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I used a cloth diaper service with my twins, I was amazed that such a thing existed, and it was fabulous. The first daycare (a Head Start) worked with me to send the dirty diapers back and forth, which was awesome. The next daycare we switched to refused to try, so we stopped (since I was working full time, there wasn't much point continuing), but it was good while it lasted and I really liked it during the newborn period.
I did get a lot of pushback from people who felt obligated to lecture me on how much water we were wasting (not sure why). I work in the paper industry, I can assure you there's significant water use involved with paper diapers as well.
I don't judge anyone, just raising tiny people is hard enough as it is, I'd like to think we're all just doing the best we can.
 
Jay Angler
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Tereza Okava wrote:I did get a lot of pushback from people who felt obligated to lecture me on how much water we were wasting (not sure why). I work in the paper industry, I can assure you there's significant water use involved with paper diapers as well.
I don't judge anyone, just raising tiny people is hard enough as it is, I'd like to think we're all just doing the best we can.

And add the rate that diapers fill up the landfill, increase the cost of garbage collection, all the embodied energy involved in manufacturing, packaging, shipping. My cloth diapers got shipped once. I've seen lots of "greenwashing", but much of it smacked of someone wanting to make money.  
 
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My kids are now 17, 17, and 12.
I believe that it's never necessary to go all in--everything is shades a grey. I used a mix of cloth and single-use with all three of them.  I got hand-me-down cloth diapers that had been used by 2 kids previously and I passed them on so potentially at least 6 kids wore those diapers. I did use single-use when we went out and about. As my oldest two are twins, were only partially breastfed, and had reflux, leaving the house meant packing a bag with changes of clothes, things to prepare bottles if needed, etc. I didn't want to also be hauling around used diapers! So I used single-use on those occasions with them.
I also used FLUSHABLE BAMBOO NAPPY LINERS. These don't seem to be that well known in the US--I think Kimberly clarke probably fights to keep it that way. You put this thing down as the innermost layer of the diaper, and when the baby poops, you lift it off --with all the poop---and flush or nonflush as your toilet may be, but you dispose of it the way you do your own poop. THE DIAPER IS NEARLY CLEAN!!!
It was actually easier to use the cloth diapers with the twins than with my singleton for two reasons. The first is that I got a load full much faster. I kept a soaking bucket when I dropped the diapers in--remember I used the liners so there were hardly any "solids" on the diapers, then every other day I did a load of diapers which I lined dried in my tropics sun. With just one baby, who also pooped less frequently, I didn't get a load full of dirty diapers until 4 days or so. Which meant diapers sitting around, which was gross.
The second reason was my twins were 5 when my singleton was born so they had places to go and people to see, which meant I was outside of the home a lot more in his first year than I was in theirs.

It's also worth mentioning that I think people in the United States of America potty train much too late.  In Mexico, it's normal to start at 18 months. You don't have to do extreme hippy things (Elimination Communication) you just add going to the potty to the routine. as you do hand washing before eating--invite your toddler to go potty before and after eating, before and after bath time, and before and after any sleep--nap or night time.  If they don't go, no big deal, If they do go, praise them. Also, make sure YOU and all other caretakers are open and vocal about your potty going.  Say, "Oh, just let me go potty before I get your snack". "Oh, I'm going to go potty before we go out." And ask if they want to use the potty too. I personally believe it also helps to not close the door on your potty going, but well, you can decide your own comfort level.  Model that the grown-ups or bigger kids in their lives go potty without getting into pressuring them to "be a big kid" or "not be a baby"-- no rewards, and no pressure.  Just modeling. From what I gather from my old friends back in the US of A and the mommy groups on social media--modeling is really absent in US of A potty training techniques.  All three of my kids were day trained by 2 years old, and my son was night trained at that same time. He told me he didn't need a diaper when I tried to put one on him on the night of his second birthday. I was skeptical, but he was right.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Melissa Ferrin wrote:
It's also worth mentioning that I think people in the United States of America potty train much too late.  In Mexico, it's normal to start at 18 months. You don't have to do extreme hippy things (Elimination Communication) you just add going to the potty to the routine. as you do hand washing before eating--invite your toddler to go potty before and after eating, before and after bath time, and before and after any sleep--nap or night time.  If they don't go, no big deal, If they do go, praise them. Also, make sure YOU and all other caretakers are open and vocal about your potty going.  



YES! I worked in preschool for many years, and it's MUCH easier to potty train most kids before they hit the age of 2. Toddlers before the age of two are generally happy creatures who enjoy sitting on the toilet and don't think about saying "NO!" My son was potty trained at 18 months (I could easily have done so when he was 15 months, but my sister-in-law was getting married in Idaho, so we were going to be flying and driving and staying in weird places. So we thought it best to potty train after all that for stability sake).

I actually would sit my son on the potty as early as he could sit up on his own. I'd sit on my toilet and put him on his potty, and sing songs and talk to him and do sign-language for animals with the animal sounds to keep him happy while I did my business. And, if he went pee, we would sing "Buddy went pee, buddy went pee, yay yay yay, buddy went pee." (replace "Buddy" with child's name) We didn't penalize him when he didn't pee--just reward him with happiness when he did.

Then, when we were ready to fully potty train, we just took 3 days and went diaperless and rushed him to the potty whenever he started to go. I think it's called the "potty training in a weekend" method? It's intensive because you have to stare at their bum for two+ days straight, and you stay home the whole time, but it works!

Potty training 2 and 3 year olds is often hard because they go through the "terrible 2s" when they realize they are an independent being who can say "NO!" and they like to try out their independence on all sorts of things, like potties. And, by the age of two, you've basically already trained them that going poop in a diaper is "normal" and toddlers often don't like to change what they're already comfortable with.

I think it's important to seize any moment when the kid looks interested in potty training, and do it then. If you wait until later, they might not be interested, and then it can be a total pain. No one wants to deal with a potty battle-of-wills with a three year old! (Nor with the extra year or two of diaper cost/washing!)
 
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Hi, so great to hear other parent's stories from the pail.

We used cloth diapers for daughter 12 years ago. Using inserts and the fold-able cloth kind. I installed a rinser on the toilet. Like a bedit, hooked into the inflow water line for the toilet. This was helpful for rinsing the poo from the diaper into toilet. Then a wet bucket with baking soda water.
Diapers were washed in the washing machine, with baking soda and vinegar rinse then hung in the sun to dry.

The only time daughter got a rash was when I ate too much barley. haha....i have n idea someone could eat too much barley. Apparently it's high in uric acid, which the doc thought was causing the urine crystals that lead to a diaper rash. I changed my diet and made daughter a diaper salve. With cresote (larrea sp.), lanolin and some other stuff. I don't recall all what was in it. the rashes went away.

We used a special bag when traveling to put the soiled diapers in, until we could wash them. we thankfully were able to purchase many diaper covers used. It's an investment, as you know.

There are many new things when raising a wee little one. Clothe diapers were an extra step among many extra steps for new parents. Glad we did it. Totally understand why parent's shy away from this. Glad this discussion is a happening.
 
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Hi,
I cloth diapered for several years in the city. I had the advantage of having a portable washing machine that hooked up to my kitchen sink. The secret is to rinse them immediately, then wring them out and put them in a covered pail until washing every day or two. Unwashed wool makes the best diaper covers. Very waterproof. My kids had no diaper rash with cloth diapers but did with disposables. I carried a wet sack, waterproof drawstring bag, with me when going out to carry any soiled diapers. One of the harder aspects is the initial outlay of money to experiment and see which kind works best for you. If you can knit or crochet and can access unwashed wool then the covers are easy to make larger as the baby grows by adding side panels. Good luck on your diapering journey!
 
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My mother cloth diapered five children, and I helped with the youngest one or two, so I thought it was a normal thing to do. I was happy when my oldest was born to discover much cuter diapers than my mother had, and snappable covers, rather than the ugly crinkly pull-up covers she had to use. When my laundry was in the basement I struggled to get the diapers done every day. Where we are now the laundry is on the main floor, so it's really easy to have it as part of the flow of the day.

I have never had to analyze the laundry system too much. Our water leaves some hard water deposits on sinks etc but not crazy. I use "free and clear" detergent from different brands interchangeably, run a rinse cold/wash hot cycle, and have no problems. Just one round of bleach in between babies to get nice white diapers for a fresh start. My 5th child is 2 months old, and I think we are getting our money's worth out of this, not to mention the great feeling of not filling up landfills. (I do contemplate the water used, but that's at least part of an ecological system, not just creating trash.) It always shocks me when I buy disposable diapers for a trip or a baby shower, what an incredible amount of money is being literally thrown away.

This 5th baby had the most trouble with rash, but using coconut oil and Weleda diaper creams with every single diaper change for a few weeks got us out of that phase. I always think my kids look more uncomfortable in disposables.

I also discovered Elimination Communication with my oldest. For the first three kids, I started pottying them at 6-8 weeks old. They learned well, but wanted to wake up at night for potty, and I didn't get enough sleep. They were potty trained by 18-20 months, though. The 4th child, on advice from my sister whom I had also gotten on this track, I waited till 6 months to start them on the potty. That child is now 20 months old and mostly-ish potty trained. Still regular accidents, but I'm satisfied with the trade-off. I tell all my mommy friends, start potty training by 18 months. Almost none of them listen to me, and then I have to bite my tongue when they're fighting with a 2 or 3yo to get them to use the toilet.
 
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We used cloth diapers the whole time, but basically only because we got a cloth diaper service. It was $100/month and they picked up/delivered weekly. I never washed a single cloth diaper. We lived in apartments with shared washing machines and my neighbors would have noticed if I was washing diapers in the machines (not to mention how many MORE quarters I would have needed.) It also meant that I could get the bigger cloth diapers as my son got bigger and didn't have to buy new ones. I think some of the daycares did not do cloth diapers. That was a shame.
 
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Just a thought here about combating the rash.  I raised only one child but before I had him, I started a babysitting biz to earn the money to stay home, because I bought a house that needed some serious renovation, the cost of which was enormous.

Anyway, I took in eight children on Mon., Wed. and Friday and five more making 13 children on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I worked from 7am - 6PM.  I had seven children in diapers.  While all those diapered children were in disposables, there was only one time they ever got a rash and I mean a very bad one.  I finally figured out why they were getting them, as I knew I was very conscientious in changing their diapers, when needed.  

I discovered that when the babies were ready to cut their TOP teeth...some kind of chemical reaction took place, in their bodies, making their poo extremely HOT...burning their skin.  I tried all the creams that were out there at the time...like Desitin and others...but they did not stop their skin from being burned.  It was not really a rash but a burn!  That was when I thought of Vaseline...good old cheap Vaseline!  If you've ever tried to get Vaseline off your hands...good luck with that!  Now all I had to do was be cognizant just before their top teeth were starting to come in.  I'd feel around their gums for the lump of a tooth getting ready to cut.  They'll let you know because it's painful for them.  As soon as they started telling me they were in pain...I'd glob on that Vaseline all over their bum and their jewels.  It worked every time!  Those babies never again (and some never did) had their skin burnt off of their bums.

Make sure you have a lot of big jars of Vaseline.  It's also sold under the name of Petroleum Jelly which is even cheaper...same stuff!

Remember...it's only the top teeth that cause this horrific rash.  As soon as the tooth comes in, it stops.  Good luck with your new one:)
 
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I am of an older generation, my children have children now. When I had babies then 'old-fashioned' cotton diapers were still fairly common in use. You know (?), those squares of white cotton (in a certain weave) you had to fold in a diamond shape and then fix with a special clothes-pin over the baby's belly. And then knitted wool diaper-pants went over it (at least, that was what I did, many people used plastic pants).
The cotton diapers were easy to wash in the washing machine. The wool pants had to be soaked in hand-warm water.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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About rash: some babies have it, others don't. It's like an allergy. It can be an allergy against the material of the diaper, but also the laundry detergent, or even something in the food (your food if you're breast-feeding) ...
 
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We did/do. We're lucky to have an AMAZING diaper service locally, so we use that from birth to toileting. Though slightly more costly than buying/washing your own (if you have more than one kid, anyway) I think the environmental savings are greater because we're using diapers that many other kids have used rather than buying a new set. ITs just one of those things I'm totally happy to pay someone else to do for me! We do own a toddler set for the "just at night" years. These get HEAVY urine saturation, so each morning, I put the dirty diaper in a bucket with fresh water to soak/leach. At night, the diaper goes in with the regular wash and the bucket of pee water goes to the garden or the compost heap.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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And about potty training. I remember doing a certain method with my first son, which worked very well for him. For this method the child needs to be old enough to understand what you say, and to answer in an understandable way (what age that is depends on the child). It took only one day (!) of training, a day with all attention for this child. So it works best if you do not have any other children then ...
It was in the early 1980s and I can't find information on that method anymore. But it worked, back then
 
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I used Bumgenius cloth diapers with both children, living in the city, and working. I tried a few different kinds of diapers, but once I settled on a system, I didn’t think it was so complicated. We used a diaper liner so that poops could go to nto the toilet and then rinsed that directly in the toilet before spraying with an enzyme cleaner and sticking them with insert mostly pulled out into a dry diaper pail. I did a rinse and then wash every other day, and air dried the covers. I put the inserts in the dryer sometimes if I was nearly out of diapers because otherwise it took too long. It took 10 min to stuff the diapers the next day, and I would send diapers ready with a liner to the daycare. I did keep disposables for travel but otherwise it was cloth all the way. I did this with both my children. Now I got my brother and sister-in-law doing the same with their daughter. They bought a knock off called Alva baby and do the same as I did.
 
Phoebe Rehoboth
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Sandra Goodstone wrote: Make sure you have a lot of big jars of Vaseline.  It's also sold under the name of Petroleum Jelly which is even cheaper...same stuff!

Remember...it's only the top teeth that cause this horrific rash.  As soon as the tooth comes in, it stops.  Good luck with your new one:)



Vaseline is good for rash - but for the same reason it's horrible for cloth diapers, it gets all over them and prevents the liquid from being absorbed.  :)  A couple of times my babies have had such bad diaper rash that I had to use disposables for a few days so I could use vaseline or A&D ointment, which is based on vaseline. Most of the time I'm able to keep them in cloth, but that means I have to be careful what ointments to use. Coconut oil is safe and healthy, and Weleda makes a line of cloth-safe diaper creams with essential oils. It can be ordered from Walmart, so widely available. I get in the habit of rubbing coconut oil on after almost every diaper change, and especially the dirty ones, and I find that keeps the skin happy and prevents it from progressing to a real rash.
 
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I cloth diapered 3 kiddos. Used prefolds for the first 2, and discovered bamboo-blend flats before the 3rd. I folded those into simple waterproof covers that had flaps to tuck them into (front and back). Flats can be folded into different sizes and thicknesses, and dry quickly in a clothes dryer or on a clothesline. Sometimes I used a thin fleece overlay to help wick moisture away from little bottoms.

Simple was best in our case, and definitely most reasonable.

We did have disposals on hand for the church nursery and any time folks might not be comfortable using cloth.

I used Dr. Boudreaux' Butt Paste (😂) when needed (they have a regular and a more natural formulation).
 
                    
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I am the oldest of 9 and helped with cloth diapers for most of my younger siblings. The best year was when someone paid for a diaper service for a year. Man that was wonderful not having to smell the soaking dirty diapers. The process was relatively pain- and smell-less in general. You dump/clean the diaper in the toilet and then soak in a bucket (in our case that bucket was in the bathtub so I would have to remove it first before taking a shower each morning). I've tried teaching the skill to my kids but for some reason, basic folding skills and diaper pinning was not one that they could master (or they learned that I would do it myself if done incorrectly often enough). If folded and pinned correctly, we often didn't need the added protection of the plastic cover pants.

We looked at doing cloth diapers with the most recent child, but finding cloth diapers (we had gotten rid of all of our previous supply) was extremely difficult, at least at a price/convenience ratio that we were comfortable with. If diaper rash issues are, well, and issue, then consider Dr. Smith's diaper cream. The absolute BEST cream that we have found. Works wonders in general and cleans off of cloth diapers easily.

Our biggest breakthrough with the latest kid, though, was homemade wet wipes. Absolute game changer. Seriously, game changing. I don't know if its been posted here before but I'll see if I can find the recipe and post it later if there is interest. In short, buy paper towels, our we needed to cut in half. We preferred the select-a-size. Remove the cardboard center. Place in sealable containers. pour mix of babyoil, and um, ... I think it was baby soap. close container and let soak. absolute best wipes ever.
 
Phoebe Rehoboth
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htims xela wrote:Our biggest breakthrough with the latest kid, though, was homemade wet wipes. Absolute game changer. Seriously, game changing. I don't know if its been posted here before but I'll see if I can find the recipe and post it later if there is interest. In short, buy paper towels, our we needed to cut in half. We preferred the select-a-size. Remove the cardboard center. Place in sealable containers. pour mix of babyoil, and um, ... I think it was baby soap. close container and let soak. absolute best wipes ever.



Nine kids in cloth diapers, wow!  You reminded me of the other eco-friendly thing I did. For the first baby I cut flannel into a bunch of 6" squares and quickly zigzagged around the edges to prevent fraying. Those are still going strong for the 5th baby, and have saved us so many disposable wipes. I keep disposables in the diaper bag for when we're out. When we're home, I find it most convenient to store the wipes dry in a pocket of the hanging bag I made to keep the diapers in, and I just wet them in the sink as needed. Extraordinarily dirty babies get impromptu baths.  
 
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Phoebe Rehoboth wrote:
Nine kids in cloth diapers, wow!  You reminded me of the other eco-friendly thing I did. For the first baby I cut flannel into a bunch of 6" squares and quickly zigzagged around the edges to prevent fraying. Those are still going strong for the 5th baby, and have saved us so many disposable wipes. I keep disposables in the diaper bag for when we're out. When we're home, I find it most convenient to store the wipes dry in a pocket of the hanging bag I made to keep the diapers in, and I just wet them in the sink as needed. Extraordinarily dirty babies get impromptu baths.  



This is what we did, too! I also kept a spray bottle by the changing table and would spritz either the rag, or even the bum, of my little one. If we knew we'd be dealing with a really poopy bum, we'd pre-wet a bunch of washclothes/rags/cloth-wipes/whatever-you-call-them in the sink with warm water. They worked really well! Now that the kids are out of diapers, we use the rags for cleaning up small messes, wiping the table, etc.  

Apparently, you don't even need to hem or zig-zag the t-shirt rags, and they'll still last a while. So, for someone who doesn't have time to hem a bunch of rags (because babies take a lot of time!) this might be a good option to try out cloth wipes.  There's actually a thread here on permies devoted to turning old t-shirts into rags: Make Rags From Old Clothes. (I did find, however, that t-shirts didn't clean as well as towel-like rags, but I still used the t-shirt ones for wiping a non-poopy bum.)
 
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We have used cloth diapers for 4 years and 2 kids. A third one abt to arrive. There's a lot to consider for sure and life is hard so don't beat yourself up regardless of the situation and your choices.

There's tradeoffs:

# Single use:
## Some Cons:
- lots of trash
- more expensive in the long run (in all the ways, money, environment, industrial processing)
- potentially putting microplastics in the environment depending on the diaper
- VOCs?
- different moisture permeability (i have a suspicion this facilitated. A molluscum infection)

## Some pros:
- money cheaper now
- uses less of your water (could be a better environmental choice depending on your situation)
- less work for you now
- you can throw it "away"

# Reusable
## Some cons:
- you have to clean them. We have a handheld bdai sprayer for the chunks and a washer machine for the rest.
- they eventually wear out and start leaking
- you'll prob use 1-6 gallons of water per diaper/use realistically... If you wash like 30 diapers × 2 washes per cycle it adds up
- drying costs/time. We are in a wet place so we have to forcefully dry them prob 3/4 of the time. We have a gas dryer so dependant on grid. Clothesline is not enough here.
- wear and tear on machines
- used diapers typically get put in a zipper bag and that stinks ngl

## some pros:
- we save ~$1000/year.
- we live on the Gulf coast, so our relationship with water is much different than most. Using more water does not impact the environment significantly, so the practice is cheaper
- buy once per kid probably $200-400
- you have a choice between most of your materials
- it's not really a lot of work. Maybe an extra load of laundry
- get the kind you don't have to fold and you don't have to fold anything, or if you like origami then yes get em
- cute big butt baby diaper butts are cute
- an excuse to have a grey water garden. We got a free hose from birthing LO#2 and now we use it to pipe the grey water with biokleen detergent thru a bunch of trees and plants and compost piles

Hey permaculture is kind of a sliding scale, and if it is "real permaculture" then we won't find out in our lifetimes. Don't let anyone s*** on you for your choice and also come at the problem with goodwill intentions to do the right thing for your family and the world.

Diaper rashes: 4 years of experience. We have used both kinds on and off. Your kid will get a rash no matter what. The best way to prevent a diaper rash is to check regularly. The only cause of diaper rash is eliminated waste sitting on skin.

Sure some kinds have sensitivities to things but that ain't diaper rash, that's just a rash. Also, how many kids have a cotton sensitivity? #reusuablediapers

I literally have muscle memory, when I pick up a kid, a finger goes in the diaper. Yeah you'll strike brown gold sometimes, but that also means you figure out which side of the diaper insert to check early on ;)

Frankincense infused wax is my favorite remedy for rash bc of how fast it works.

Consider organic cotton if you can. Non-OG cotton farming esp in Pakistan has been devastating to communities with disease, debt, and suicide. Obv the more local the better but globalized society is what it is.

Anyway we have used and still use both. Like when we are on our RV it's disposable. When at home with washing machine it is reusable.

Either way, no shame for not being able to afford one or the other. Kids are expensive.
 
Asthi Guido
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O yeah and a felt insert can help to wick moisture away. Worked like a charm for diapers w/o a wicking layer
 
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I used cloth diapers for my son who is now 17. We're given a package of disposable from the hospital and when they ran out I switched to cloth. My husband refused to do cloth diapers and seemed to always be looking for an excuse to make me use disposable. I found liners that came on a roll like paper towels, had the thickness of a dryer sheet, and were septic safe. So liners with poo got flushed and the pooless diapers and pee diapers whent in a pail till I had a load. Some were square flats that I inherited from my mom, others were made from a pattern called " better baby diaper" they have the same shape as disposables but are made of cotton felt. The longest run my son spent in disposables was when we whent to Germany for a month.
My sister just had a baby girl and she uses the biodegradable disposables. Appearantly while we can make biodegradable plastic flatware it's really hard to make Velcro biodegradable. So she has several waist high raised beds that she rotates being compost bins. She rips/cuts off the inch of Velcro to throw away and composts the rest.
 
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We did, twice (despite mocking from coworkers...my wallet laughs back!).  Saves a ton of money, but that's because you're putting in the effort.

What helped us, at least at first, was diaper rentals.  Those tiny newborn ones stick around so briefly it's not worth purchasing (unless maybe if you're going for a full dozen kids).

Another useful bit of info is:  don't ever expect your wash machine to sanitize your diapers.  Unless it has a special feature to get water hot enough to sanitize, it'll only ever cleanse (side note:  yes, soap choice matters).  For disinfecting, GSE (grapefruit seed extract) and/or UV are your friends.  UV gets you extra bleachy goodness, so put that sunshine where it doesn't often go!

No matter what promises you read about diaper rash, it's still going to happen.  Get your dipes as sanitized as you can (love that sun!), get the ouchies as much fresh air as you can as often as you can, and with a soothing balm you should soon be back in business (but beware those that might clog cloth diapers...anything petrolatum is VERBOTEN!).

Beyond that, you've no doubt seen there's a pretty dizzying array of variety of styles and structures.  I recommend you experiment with what works best.  We ended up settling on cloth inserts that snapped with an exterior waterproof cover.  Not foolproof, but seemed to be the easiest way to go.  We tried those flushable inner liners (yes, cleanup can be easier, but it can also turn into a bunchy mess...ditto for felt).  I don't recall brands at this point (was years ago, and brands changed in quality even during our diapering period), so again, experiment.  Rentals were surprisingly helpful here too, in that we could try a variety of brands before committing to a purchase.

Perhaps the most fun was seeing guests' reactions to the toilet sprayer.  "No, it's not a bidet!"  (though interesting fact:  We needed to buy a replacement for ours from the original manufacturer; it was originally labeled a bidet but white-labeled for diaper spraying purposes...so maybe let them bidet away?).  Anyhow, enjoy the adventure!  I actually kinda missed the diapers when that was all done.
 
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