Thursday, May 21, 2009

All About Cloth :: Part Deux

Ok, so now you know a little about your options out there for cloth. But there is still so much left. Covers. This can be kind of daunting, PUL, Wool, Fleece, Nylon, Aplix, Snaps...what?!?!?! I am going to break it down for you with pros and cons of each again.

PUL - otherwise known as polyurethane laminated fabric, is a lot more technical than just a plastic backing on fabric. The original application is the medical field, and it is still used for this purpose. Like cloth diapers, it is used to replace disposable products with reusable. It provides the waterproof barrier needed in the medical field that can survive multiple institutional washings. The laminate can also be autoclaved, which is a very high heat steam sterilization process, to make it safe for reuse even after it comes into contact with blood or other bodily fluids.

The polyurethane laminate can be customized by the manufacturer and comes in different thicknesses. For cloth diapers, 1 mil or 2 mil is generally preferred. This allows for a good stretch, complete waterproofing, and is still comfortable enough to wear next to the skin. There are other options for waterproof fabric, but PUL is so durable and reliably waterproof it has become a favorite for cloth diapers. It has been truly kid tested! (info taken from here).

This is what most diaper covers are made from. I love the PUL diaper covers I have. Mother-Ease, Bummis, and Thirsties are my favorite PUL covers.

Pros: These are LONG lasting covers. You can get them with velcro or snaps. They are great at containing leaks and wash really easily. You can find PUL covers in a variety of designs and colors. Good price for the cover.

Cons: They are not as breatheable as wool or fleece.

Nylon: The first diaper covers I ever bought were nylon. They are more lightweight than PUL covers and equally as protective. I really love nylon. They are more breatheable and quite cost effective. The company that made my original diaper covers is no longer (sob sob sob), but I have found some nice alternatives.

Pros: Breatheable, great price ($5!), wash very easily.

Cons: Right now I can only find them in a pull up pant. This on it's own isn't too bad, but when paired with a poop filled prefold, you could get some poop down the leg and whatnot. But, that is really the only con and it is something I can (and do) live with.

Fleece: A good fleece cover is a MUST. Fleece is breatheable and is really easy to take care of.

Pro: Breatheable, easy to take care of -- meaning you can wash it with your diapers and put it in the dryer, quick drying, keeps your baby's bum cool. Great for night time.

Cons: A bit bulky. Really, that is the only con I've ever found with fleece.

Favorite Fleece Cover - Stacinator Fleece Cover. This is the first fleece cover I have ever bought and still use them all the time. I have 4 Stacinator fleece covers in my rotation -- 1 newborn 1 small 1 medium 1 large and I LOVE THEM! (Stacinator is not paying me nor do they have any knowledge of my humble little blog).

Wool: This scares people. When I told my Mom I was going to use wool covers with Emma she was a bit nervous. She warned me that wool is itchy and that it would probably cause Emma to break out in a rash. I was not yet a knitter, so I didn't know how soft wool could be. I just knew that everywhere I read, wool was being praised, so I knew I had to give it a shot.

My first experience with wool was great. I got a wool cover from Stacinator (this was back when it was a WAHM company). I quickly lanolised it (putting lanolin back in the wool to keep it waterproof) and realized I had done something terribly wrong. The lanolin was chunky and all over the cover. It was ruined, I was sad. I contacted Stacy of Stacinator and told her what had happened. She apologized profusely (as if she was the one who did it) and said that her instructions were not clear. She then sent me a NEW cover and a prepaid envelope for the ruined one. She made a life long customer of me.

Ok, so what is the big deal with wool? Why do so many people love it? Why is it so scary? I really could do an entire post just about wool, but I will try to keep it simple and give you lots of links so if you want more information about something you can get it, deal? deal. Ok, here we go.

Wool has antibacterial properties. It is also very absorbant and can absorb up to 30 times it's weight. The lanolin in the wool keeps it clean, as one of my friends said, lanolin plus urine equals soap. So, this is what keeps it clean. You don't have to wash your wool unless it's poopy. I recommend getting a wool wash bar for these occasions. You will have to relanolize it every month or so, but that is not a big deal. I love Green Mountain Diapers site for all things wool. She has the best selection of wool covers, and has a fantastic tutorial of how to wash and lanolize your wool. Click on that tutorial link and read what she says. She is so very smart about wool and says it much better than I can :) Wool is breatheable and you can make your own covers really easily. If you knit, this is a great pattern, if you sew, this is a great pattern.

Snaps vs. Velcro

This is really a matter of personal preference. I like snaps, my sister-in-law likes velcro. You really can't go wrong. My favorite snap cover is this one, and her favorite velcro cover is this one.

In the last post I was asked by 2 ladies how many to start with. This really depends on how often you want to do laundry. I will tell you what I recommend, but you can do whatever you want.

2-3 dozen diapers -- prefolds, all in ones, fitteds or pockets. If you are getting pockets, get enough inserts for them also.

4-6 covers -- PUL or Nylon.

2-3 wool or fleece covers for night time.

2 dozen cloth wipes if you choose to do cloth wipes.

1 diaper pail -- a big trash can works great for this.

If you want to sew your diapers, I recommend going to Diaper Sewing.

You can generally find great deals on gently used diapers and covers at Diaper Swappers. I love that site! Also, Diaper Pin has a ton of great resources and reviews on diapers and covers.

There we go...did I forget anything? Questions? Are you more confused than ever? I hope not!

To the cloth diaperers out there, what do you use and love? What advice would you give a newbie? What was most helpful to you when you first started out?


Kalli Ko said...

good good good

for all in ones do you change the entire contraption every diaper change? Meaning do you use a whole new system? Or do you just restuff it? I'm confused...

Kim said...

For the pockets and all in ones, you use new ones everytime. For the fitted and prefolds you would use a new cover if the one the baby had on got stinky or poopy. Make sense?

Karin said...

I started the saem way as you. I put as much money into a "starter package" as I would have paid for diapers for two months. I promised dh that I would use them for at least two months and that way we wouldn't lose any money. We were both sold after that grace period! We were even living with my parents in transition and line drying out on their back porch (they don't line dry outside). I'll never return to sposies. I feel good diapering like this on so many levels. :-) Good comprehansive review!

Tiffany said...

Wow I so want to do this, I just seriously don't know if I can. I need to watch someone to this for a day and see what it really takes. I am so glad for all this info. I even have 2 dozen prefolds. I'm definitely pondering. I've been thinking about it for four months. Ahh..

Kelly said...

I'm all about fuzzi bunz for my heavy wetters. I love thirsties covers and want to love my prefolds, but I'm just not there yet. As my FBs wear out (on their 4th kid), I suppose I'll transition over to pfolds/thirsties/snappis exclusively.

Terresa said...

I never used covers. I used Bumkins AIOs. Loved 'em. Would've bought stock in 'em. And now, years later, I realize that cloth diapering is like dessert: everyone has their favorites for a good reason. ;)

Excellent post.

Tiffany said...

OK Kim. I have a bunch of cloth diapers now, and I began today! And I want to give up, but I promised I wouldn't for one week-ugh the poop... it's smelly, isn't it?