Monday, June 27, 2011

Musings from a Cloth Diaper Addict: Might As Well Face It, You're Addicted To Fluff

Scarlett in Rumparooz
Cloth diapers are made to catch poop.  We can dress them up all we want.  We can use snaps, aplix, and snappis.  We can employ an entire array of colors and prints.  We can create different diapers for different specialties.  But when it comes down to it, diapers have only one purpose: to catch poop.

So what in the world would possess me to select poop catchers as my addiction of choice? Did I mention the adorable snaps, colors, and prints? How about the opportunity to save thousands of dollars and the environment at the same time? Or maybe it had more to do with feeling a connection to my recently deceased momma – she cloth diapered me as a child.  I actually still use those same prefolds as dust cloths. 

No matter what started the addiction, it is safe to say that the cloth diaper has been my gateway drug to a whole new outlook on holistic living.  I always considered myself a hippie; I’m a proponent of alternative medicine, I went to massage therapy school, and I had a home birth.  But it took a poop catcher to get me skipping happily down the green brick road.  

I have become so immersed in the - ehem - poop culture, I forget many people are where I was a year ago -- completely clueless that over the past couple of decades, the cloth diaper has undergone an awesome transformation.  Because I have the feeling I’m going to be talking about my fluff addiction quite regularly, I want to make sure everyone knows exactly what I’m talking about.  These definitely aren’t your grandma’s diapers.

 Prefolds and Flats

Ok, these are your grandma’s diapers.  But there are very good reasons why they are still popular: they are cheap, easy, and effective.  A flat diaper resembles a receiving blanket.  It is folded many times and pinned onto baby.  A prefold diaper is a flat diaper that has been pre-folded and sewn together; it usually has about six layers.  It requires much less folding before it is pinned on baby.  Modern touches have, of course, snuck their way onto grandma’s changing table.  Snappis have replaced pins as a poke-free guarantee.  Both flats and prefolds require covers in order to become waterproof.  Popular cover fabrics include wool, fleece, and polyurethane laminate (PUL).  Just look how cute covers are! Examples include Thirsties, Bummis, and ImseVimse.

Fitted Diapers

The simplest way to describe a fitted diaper is to call it a fancy-dancy prefold or flat.  Fitted diapers are sewn with elastic in the back and legs to help get a better fit.  Many fitted diapers have extra padding (sometimes called a soaker) in the middle for extra absorbancy.  Just like flats and prefolds they require a cover to become completely waterproof.   Look at these adorable examples of fitted diapers: Little Beetle, Kissaluvs.

Pocket Diapers

Scarlett in her FuzziBunz
These dipes are what made me fall in love with cloth diapering.  A piece of moisture repelling material - usually fleece or microsuede - is sewn directly onto the waterproof cover - usually PUL, creating a pocket.  A moisture absorbing insert, sometimes called a soaker, is inserted into the pocket.  These can be made of a number of materials including microfiber, hemp, and bamboo.  The resulting creation is an extremely absorbent diaper that wicks moisture away leaving baby’s bottom nice and dry.  I could go on talking about these diapers forever, and probably will in future posts.  Examples of pocket diapers include FuzziBunz, Kawaii, and BumGenius

All-In-One (AIO)

An all-in-one diaper is basically just like a disposable diaper that you wash.  The waterproof cover, wicking liner, and absorbent soaker are all sewn together.  No stuffing, no pinning, no throwing away tons of crap.  Literally.  These diapers are on the high end of the pricing scale and the convenience scale. Examples of AIO diapers include Ragababe, Blueberry, and BumGenius.

All-In-Two (AI2)

An all-in-two diaper is sort of an all-in-one/pocket hybrid.  The soaker is not sewn into the diaper but is not stuffed into a pocket either.  Instead, it is snapped, velcroed, or simply laid in the diaper.  The inner layer of the diaper will usually be a soft, yet easily washable material that will dry quickly.  In some all-in-two diapers, you can reuse the covers with a new insert, saving money and time. Examples of AI2 diapers include Ragababe, Bottombumbers, and SoftBums.

This is just the tip of the iceberg! There are even more styles (hybrids, contours), dozens more accessories (liners, doublers, sprayers), and a very surprising number of brands.  There are even more Work At Home Moms (WAHM's) making and selling their handmade creations, but they deserve their own post!

So yes, they are still just poop catchers.  But they are damn cute poop catchers to match those damn cute tushies! Maybe now I won't seem quite so crazy...

Maybe not... 

***This post was originally written under my previous blog name, Zen and the Art of Cloth Diaper Maintenance.***

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