Berry Berry Busy


Our twin girls arrived a little early at 33 weeks and 4 days. They're getting bigger day by day since they blessed us with their arrival. This blog is to document their amazing feats since we know they'll grow up entirely too fast.

Diaperfest 2011

Now that I've lured you in with a cute picture lets talk about something less cute... Diapers.

Since the girls' school is working with them on changing their own clothes and changing their diaper in the bathroom while they stand, we decided we should switch diapers to something that would help with the transition. Changing them standing up in the bathroom is to help them start to make the connection between having a dirty diaper and going to the bathroom - how clever is that!

So for about two weeks now we have been cleaning our own diapers. Scary right? Well it’s not as scary as I expected :-)

We had been using Green Baby Diaper Service of Rockwall, which we would happily recommend to anyone. Unfortunately, the diaper service didn't have anything between pre-folds and potty training type pull ups (meant to be used for a short amount of time), so if we knew if we wanted to continue on with cloth we were going to have to invest in some ourselves.

Evie sporting her cute cloth diaper self while she dances

For economy (primarily since we didn't really know if we were going to be able to pull of washing them ourselves and the fact that we would need enough for two days worth of diapers for two babies (28+ diapers and covers) to give it a solid try) we opted for the pin-less Dappi diapers with the Dappi nylon covers. I’ll admit, this is one of the cheapest cloth diaper you can get, but we were trying to be realistic about the amount of time we had to clean diapers – working full time with twin daughters is already very time consuming.

About the Dappi pin-less diapers: They are very trim fitted diapers (available in S, M and L) with extra layers for absorption in the center and velcro on the side to help make it easier to change the girls while they are standing (the majority of cloth diapers have this feature too, it was just hard using the pre-folds while they were standing). They have some elastic in the leg gusset that is built into the diaper. It is not adjustable, but provides a snug fit that prevents most leaks. The velcro on the sides seems stiff (but durable) so far and sticks out a little awkwardly, but maybe that’s because the girls are on the low end of the weight for their sizing. There is a tag to indicate the back, but it is still hard to tell what's inside and what is outside. If you put it on to avoid the awkward sides then the rough side of the Velcro faces the girls skin. Since I'd rather the girls look a little silly than potentially have rough Velcro tough their skin, I make sure that the rough side of the Velcro faces out.

The weird stick out on the side, possibly due to the really firm Velcro.

Initially the main diaper material was not really ‘stiff’ but wasn’t really very soft either. Since we have been washing them for two weeks they have softened up considerably.

Sizing: Since the girls have a lot of tall slender Tberry working for them and we were on the high end of the medium size weight range we opted to get two of the mediums just to try. We were glad we didn’t get all of them in that sized because the girls would not have been able to wear them for long. So we opted to go with the large size diapers. I would say the sizing runs pretty close to what is recommended. The mediums fit really well, but since we opted for the larger size to get more use out of it they fit the girls a little awkwardly.

Mina in her diaper without the cover

About the nylon Dappi pants: The covers (available in sizes Newborn-XL) we decided to get in a size medium since they seemed very generous in size. The rise in the crotch seems to be what will push the girls in to the large size eventually. It really looks like the girls have a big old balloon on their bottom, but they keep the girls clothes dry and we haven’t had any leeks.

Diaper liners: We did invest in about 6 overnight liners to add some absorbency for night time. They are long and wide enough, but not very soft (maybe with more washing they’ll soften up).

Cost: We bought our diapers at Buy Buy Baby and each diaper was about $4. The covers, while also available at Buy Buy Baby we purchased from (because I love that company, they do free 2 day shipping, and I didn’t have time to run out to the store) at 2 for $4 so ultimately we spent about $185. Since most cloth diapers that I’ve researched I’ve found to be priced in between $20-$24 I figured we spent about 1/4 of what we could have spent.

Overall: These diapers aren't near as cute as the diapers they were wearing, but they do what they are supposed to and we haven't had any real leaks. For those on a tight budget, or just wanting to try out the cloth diaper experience, I think these diapers are pretty good. They don’t have all the bell and whistles as some others, and aren’t as soft as some of the more expensive ones, but they are functional and do what they promise.

Balloon bottom Mina

One thing I have done to help with the softness is to cut up some fleece strips to put in between the girls bottom and the diaper. I had already been doing this for the pre-folds to not only help the girls feel drier, but to keep from compromising the diapers absorbency when we had to use creams on the girls bottoms. Since fleece is relatively cheap, does not fray and is easy to cut this solution was relatively easy to do and worth the time, effort and cost. In case you are wondering I cut my strips to be about 3”x7”. I may make them a little more fitted later (widen in the front and back) but since I was in a time crunch, this has gotten us by in the mean time.

Cleaning: So far cleaning the diapers hasn't been too bad. I've been doing it for just over two weeks now. Since we have enough for about 2 1/2 days, I try to do a load every night to stay on top of it. The diaper sprayer we installed really REALLY helps (I think this is a good investment even if you aren't washing your own diapers).

The washing process: Since we usually just slide the diapers off the girls and place them in the bin, I have to pull out the all of the diapers from the day and separate the diaper from the cover and place them individually in the wash. I make sure that all the Velcro is secured together so that the covers don’t get stuck to the Velcro in the wash. I separate out the ‘dirty’ diapers from the wet diapers and put them in a separate plastic bin so that I can spray them out into the toilet with the diaper sprayer. I spray off as much fecal matter as I can while wearing gloves, reconnect the Velcro and place them with the previously soiled area facing out. After putting the rest of the soiled diapers in the wash I then run a cold prewash cycle to help loosen up as much as possible before running a heavy soiled load with my homemade detergent plus a little extra oxyclean in hot water. After they final spin I hang them on the line outside (thanks to grandmamma for installing the line). We also have a drying rack for inside when it rains. They will usually be dry by the morning if I hang them up right before 10.

Diapers on my indoor rack.

So far I’ve had a little bit of staining and there is a bit of very very slight – I’m talking about minimal - smell, but is sure to get more prominent with time. I think I might just need to look in to other detergents to deal with the harder water we have here.

Conclusion: I'm pretty happy with this adventure so far. I'm not going to tell you there's no ick factor, but seeing as how I wipe their little bottoms to get poo off it's really not that much more, and the cost savings are worth it. Even though it requires a little bit of time ultimately will be saving $170 a month from now on (since that is what we were spending for a month for the diaper service - they picked up/dropped off and washed enough diapers each week for both girls providing pre-fold diapers, thirsty covers and overnight fleece diaper liners). All of our cost savings we will be putting directly into the girls college fund. Also, I also feel better about not adding diapers to the landfill. Have you ever seen those statistics?

I don't regret using the diaper service at all, we really loved using them. They were very pleasant to work with and always very responsive when we needed something. Honestly, washing our own diapers is something I think I had to work up the courage to do anyways. When the girls were really little there's no way I could have done it, but now that we have really settled into our routine I think it will really work.

For the future: We plan to keep on moving ahead with our cloth journey. Now that I know it is something we can keep up with I might even invest in a few other diapers for special occasions when I want them to have the cute cloth diaper booty back – seriously cloth diaper bootys are too cute :-) I also have decided to invest in some more diaper specific detergents. I ordered some Hard Rockin’ Green last night from (seriously I love that store) so we’ll see if that helps – I’ve heard really great things about it.

Bonus cuteness just for reading the whole entry :-)

I’d love to hear if any one has any recommendations, tips, or just wants to share their experience


Anonymous said...

Fun blog! You are such a talented writer! Such a knack you have!!!

I chose the frugal, tried and true cloth diaper method with my kids. Not fancy (as you say) by any means, but as far as reliability, economics, and practicality goes, you simply cannot beat plain old diapers. Besides, diapers shouldn't be fancy.

Again and again, baby after baby, old-fashioned cloth diapers proved to be the best option in our house. Traditional, reliable, practical, economical.

I used flats exclusively. So versatile. It's all in the fold you use. Good for newborns, simply fold down, adjust fold for younger and older babies, adjust again for toddlers, and once again for older children requiring nap-time/night-time diapers.

I went with pins for fastening. The old-fashioned-ness of pins won me over, as did rubber pants. It's what I remember from my babysitting days. The benchmark of diapering. The proper, real way. The standard.

I kept two plastic diaper pails on the go. One for wet diapers, the other for dirties. The wet pail lived in the nursery, while the dirty pail took up residence in the bathroom. Every second to third day was diaper wash day. A quick cycle through the washing machine, then outside with everything to tack it up on the line to dry. Uber cheap! The sun worked wonders killing diaper rash causing bacteria, while at the same time, bleaching stains out of the diapers!

For the newborn stage, a single flat was ample, but I quickly switched over to double, even triple diapers as the baby grew. Rubber pants over diapers around the clock.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! In a second! In a heartbeat! The money I saved...


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