First time mom - advice?

Elaine - posted on 01/11/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I'm expecting my first baby in June this year. To be honest, I'd never even considered using cloth diapers until recently, but now I'm trying to decide which way I want to go - cloth or disposable. I like the idea of saving money and reducing landfill waste, but I'm concerned about being able to keep them clean, storing them once they get dirty, and what to do with them when we're not at home.



Currently, I'm working a full time 9-5 job, plus working evenings and weekends at a business that my husband and I own together. I do expect to cut back those hours some once I go back to work after the baby is born. But I don't expect to be able to quit either job entirely, so I know I'm going to have my hands full just trying to keep up with the regular laundry.



So, what can all you experienced mommies tell me about cloth diapers vs disposables when you're a working mom? Is it practical? How do I minimize the laundry time without having to buy dozens and dozens of diapers? How can I store the dirties cleanly? I have a dog that sometimes tries to get into the trash if we forget to secure it at night, so any tips on doggie-proofing the dirty diaper pail so I don't have nasty diapers dragged all over the house? Also, I have a front-loading washer - will that make it harder to get them clean? What are the pros of using cloth over disposable other than cost and reduced landfill waste? Sorry for all the questions, but this is still so new for me! So any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, moms!

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Jan - posted on 03/01/2010

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We both work full time and we are about to have 2 in cloth diapers. Right now we wash once a week so the laundry is really no big deal, but I do have a ton of diapers so we can go a week with no issues. I know for sure it takes way less time to throw the diapers in the washer then it does to pack up the kids and drive to the store to buy disposables, plus I don't buy a bunch of extra crap we don't really need at the same time.
Other then the cost and environmental benifits, cloth is also much better for your and your child's health. Disposable diapers contain all sorts of nasty chemicals, bleach and perfumes that you really don't want to be exposing your baby to 24/7. Some of the chemicals used have been liked to altered hormone levels, infertility, reproductive cancers and general endocrine disruption not to mention breathing problems, allergic reactions and headaches.
Also you need to think about what you are throwing away when you use disposable diapers. Garbage dumps are not equiped to safely dispose of human waste, and even though you are supposed to dump all the poop in the toilet, no one ever does so that poop along with any viruses your child is sheading from immunizations or illness is going into the landfill where it has the perfect environment to bread new viruses and leach into ground water. When you use cloth diapers the waste ends up in the sewer or septic where it belongs.
We use cloth only, no disposables at all or else my DD gets a bleeding blistering rash. Using cloth when out and about is no harder then using disposables, you just roll the diaper up and toss it in a waterproof bag and dump them in the diaper pail when you get home, plus you never have to look for a place to throw away a dirty diaper when changing in the car or at a friends house.
I have a front load washer as well and it is a basic cheap model with no fancy features and it does just fine, you just need to figure out the wash rutine and detergent that works for your machine, diapers and water, it can take a little trial and error at first but there are lots of mom's on the internet that can help you figure out how to tweak your rutine if need be. I just use regular tide HE and do a cold quick wash, hot heavy wash and extra rinse.
We use a diaper pail with a pail liner (draw string bag) and a lid and have no odour or mess to deal with and the dog can't get into it, on wash day we just open the pail pull out the pail liner and dump the whole bag of diapers and the bag into the washer. It's simple.

Majaliwa - posted on 03/01/2010

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Elaine,
First - congratulations on your upcoming bundle of joy. Here are some quick answers to your questions as well as some resources you can check out to get you started.

1. Cloth is practical for working moms, however most daycares don't accept them so you may find you'll have to do a combo of disposable and cloth. The following links will give you an idea of what items you'll need and how many:

http://www.pootersdiapers.com/How-Many-D...
http://www.pootersdiapers.com/Cloth-Diap...


2. If you buy "one size" diapers, you'll only need to buy about 24 diapers ever. These will last you up to 35 lbs. If you interchange with disposables, you'll only need half of that. This link will help you determine how many you'll need.

http://www.pootersdiapers.com/How-Many-D...

3. The best way to store them is with a diaper pail liner. Typically, you'd want to put them in a diaper pail and line it with a diaper pail liner, but since you have the dog that likes to knock over trash, I'd recommend just a diaper pail liner with a drawstring handle which keeps the odors in and allows you to hang it in a safe place.

4. It is not harder to clean with a front-load washer. In fact, its a little easier because you don't have to use as much detergent. Here is a list of HE / cloth diaper friendly detergents: http://www.pootersdiapers.com/Recommende...

5. Other pros of cloth over disposable are the health benefits:
(a) Disposable diapers contain materials like plastic, bleach, and tributyl tin (a hormone pollutant proven to cause cancer in some cases)

(b) According to the Journal of Pediatrics, 54% of one-month old babies develop rashes as a result of using disposable diapers, 16% have severe rashes

Here's a great website to get you started that will help answer these and any other questions you have.

http://www.pootersdiapers.com/Getting-St...

Hope this helps and Good Luck!

Sara - posted on 01/21/2010

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I have 2 that went through cloth diapers soley. Between me, my husband, and our moms, none of us minded. I would put mother-ease diapers head to head with any others out there. We had 14 and needed to do a load of diapers everyday. I cannot even begin to think about how much money this saved up and how much waste it saves the environment. As for the dogs, we have 2 and never had a problem with them trying to get in the diapers...

Jenifer - posted on 01/21/2010

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And if you run into any trouble cloth diapering you know there are thousand's of mom's to answer your questions an help you along the way.

Elaine - posted on 01/21/2010

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Thank you all for your advice, it's very helpful. I brought it up with my husband, and he was surprisingly supportive of the idea, so I think we are absolutely going to give the cloth diapers a try! Thanks for all your help!

Juduth - posted on 01/20/2010

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i can help!!! i'll send you a message and you can repost if you think it's got the goods! :D

[deleted account]

Hi, I am a cloth diapering Mama. I started out of necessity as my daughter had severe rashes caused by the dispoable diapers. As a working Mom it might be helpful to see if your area has a diaper service. many cities do. They pick up the bag of dirties and leave you clean ones. Usually very economical.

I use a ice cream pail from a ice cream shop - th BIG ones - because the lid snaps on - as many pails don't... and I did get them for free ( I have 2 just in case)... so it is cheap too!

They have saved us money for sure as well. I believe that figuring for the cost of the initial investment - we saved $400 in the first year and then much more following that.



Front loader is no problem.



My biggest pro for cloth is that they do not contain the chemicals that disposables do. Knowing now what is in them I don't think I could use them again!



Buying - I have gone the prefold route - which means a seperate cover and diaper. this makes for easier drying in the dryer and is cheaper than the all in one type. There are some brands that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole... my favorites "thirsties" and "Bummies". Don't touch Kushies with a 20 foot pole!



I think I answered several questions.... hope it helps. to sum up my thoughts. I am so glad I made the switch. It isn't as difficult as many people (who haven't used modern cloth diapers) will try to make you think it is. It is really quite easy. There are things you will need to read up on such as proper cleaning and such and you will have to use a soda based laundry detergent. I have used nature Clean and I love it so much it now is my Number one laundry soap... it is also healthy for th whoel family and the environmetn... there are several brands out there. You should be able to find one at a good grocery store. One tip a friend gave me that I have found invaluable is to put vinegar - regular white vinegar- in a downy ball. This helps to strip the diapers of ny residual soaps, etc, but also whitens a bit without the harshness of bleach which will make your diapers wear out prematurely!



Hope you have a beautiful day! ... and hope I have been helpful!

Jenifer - posted on 01/18/2010

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I run a daycare and only use cloth for all the kids in my daycare, so I wash diapers for 4-5 kids, every week. I bought and have lots of them with my little diaper service a large pet food storage container from Walmart, it has a locking lid, keeps most kids out and definately keeps the dog out, we have a dog who has never bothered with trash, but likes to empty baby pottys herself, I hope you get the picture..... Anyways the container has a rubber gasket that keeps the smell in which is good for us and the kids and my dog doesn't even realize it's there. I am a working mom, my son is not in diapers, but with my daycare and washing everyone else's diapers, being home all day really doesn't make it easier for me, I wash diapers every other day usually. I have a friend with 4 kids, 2 in cloth, 2 older, she has enough diapers for only 2 days, she washes them while the kids sleep. Put kids down, wash diapers, hang covers to dry and puts the inserts in the dryer, so when she gets up in the morning everything is clean. Not sure on washer thing, I have seen other posts about this though.... Good Luck, I like Fuzzi Bunz perfect fit. All the kids I watch wear them.

Mandy - posted on 01/18/2010

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I work full time, too and have not had any problems with cloth diapers! My daughter is almost 8 months old and has been in CD since day 1. I think I have about 40 diapers and do diaper laundry about every 6 days so it's not too bad. It is a lot of money up front but ends up saving you SO much in the end - especially if you plan on having more than one baby (like thousands of dollars!!!). You can find used CD online - try Craig's List or Ebay so it's even cheaper. We also have a curious puppy so I bought a trash can liner made especially for cloth diapers and have a trash can in the bathroom that you have to step on the petal to make the lid come up. That way he can't get in it and it keeps the smell inside the can. I bought a front load washing machine because I knew with cloth my laundry was going to increase and I LOVE it. It has a sanitize feature on it so that's what I use to clean them. With our daughter we have really enjoyed using the CD - we use FuzziBunz and they make reusable bags for your diaper bag so when you are out you just throw the dirty diaper in the bag and wash the bag with the diapers. They also make the trash can liner (and reusable wipes, breast pads...everything!) She has only had a few diaper rashes (only when she's teething really bad) and I never have to run out to buy diapers because I'm out! I love them and tell everyone they're the best!! Good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 01/12/2010

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We started with disposables and used them for the first two or three weeks just because the idea of doing laundry wasn't very appealing. Once we started using the cloth though we found it was reallye asy to get into a routine. We wash twice a week. Between washes, we keep them in a diaper can that we found at Target. We bought a washable and waterproof liner for the can. The can locks closed, so we aren't worried about our dogs getting into it. When out and about, we just put them in a plastic grocery bag until we get home. As far as other benefits, I know that cloth-diapered babies are usually potty-trained sooner than disposable-diapered babies.

Kate - posted on 01/11/2010

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i also found that using disposabled for the first 6-8 weeks was a good idea , as they poo alot in this time and it gives u a chance to get into the swing of things being a first time mum, once things settle down and your getting used to little sleep at night then start

Kate - posted on 01/11/2010

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Hey I only use nappies part time also, i feel that some pro's of using cloth are that it reduces nappy rash because of the natural fibres in the material, it is more comfortable for baby, more finacially friendly, Cloth nappied children tend to toilet-train earlier, because the cloth tends to hold moisture closer to baby’s skin some Con's are that some daycares wont use them, there no good to use when your out, most people chose to use disposables while not at home, they can leak if not used properly/changed often enougfh, making the decision is completly up to you there is no right or wrong answer just choose what is best for your family situation. personally, i just use cloth when we're at home and use disposables if we go out and at night time. I dont have any trouble with cleaning, i have a nappy bucket and when i take a nappy off i put it in the bucket with water and "Nappy San" in it, then i just keep adding too the bucket intill i have enough for one load. You can also get these nappy liners (which look like a chucks cloth) that are flushable and u put this in the nappy so when baby poo's you just lift this out and flush down the toilet, majority of the poo goes on this and then having it soaking in the water and nappy san gets any stains off. As for the dog getting into it, if you have a nappy bucket it can be placed on a bench in the laundry or you can even soak them in the sink. Using a front loader should get them as clean as in a top loader, if there are any hard stains after soaking you can get a stain remover spray and spray the stain and chuck straight into the washing machine. hope some of this helps. xx

Amy - posted on 01/11/2010

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I started with disposables and used them for about 8 months. We switched because my daughter was always getting diaper rashes, mostly yeast that had to be treated with medication. Our doctor suggested trying cloth because they don't have all the chemicals and gels to irritate her skin, and it worked. The only problem we had was her daycare didn't want to use them, but the doctor wrote a note and they had no choice. Now no more visits to the doctors for diaper rash! I will never go back to disposables!



I also work full time, in the military, so my hours are always crazy. I find that doing the load of laundry is much easier then taking the disposables out to the garbage can and driving to the store to pick more up. I find many people are worried about what to do with bowel movements; we have a sprayer that hooks on the side of the toilet. We spray the poop where it belongs, and it works wonders to reduce the smell of the diaper pail. I think the disposables smelled worse than the cloth. As far as storing diapers, you can store the dirty diapers the same way you would with disposables, in a diaper pail with a lid. They also make water proof bags you can store them in, called wet bags. I have two that can hang on a door knob or a hook and that works well for us. It has a zipper to close, so our pups don't even try to get them. About every three days we dump the whole thing in to the washer. I also have a front loading washer and it cleans the diapers really well.

Heidi - posted on 01/11/2010

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I definately have saved a lot of money using cloth and I don't even use them full time. Disposables are handy when I will be out for the whole day as carrying 6 or more cloth nappies takes up a lot more room than disposables in my nappy bag. I use the scented bags for disposables and cloth alike when I am out. I have a nappy wrapper (for disposables and wipes) and a nappy bucket next to my change table (cloth nappy goes straight in there at each change (the bucket is dry, I don't soak nappies)). I would think that both nappy wrapper and nappy bucket with lid would be dog proof. Each night (or the following morning) I rinse any poo off and put the nappy straight into the machine. They are fairly clean at that point so I even throw my clothes in with the nappies to make a full load. Hubby set up a short length of hose with a trigger nozzle which I attach to the laundry tap to help with rinsing the nappies, some nappy companies sell similar items which attach to your toilet but I was worried about the spray of water going everywhere, it is much more contained in the laundry.



I use Baby Beehinds nappies and their website has a lot of info and goes over a lot of the pros and cons you might find it helpful ( babybeehinds.com.au ).

Can't help you with all your questions but hopefully this is a start.

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