This is the third and final installment of Emily’s cloth diapering series.
Warning: poop talk ahead. You know you love it.
So first off, yes, we are still loving cloth. Our favorite diapers are the bumGenius 4.0 with snaps and although Finn will rock the occasional Charlie Banana, we always reach for the BGs first. I’m no longer putting the covers in the dryer though. I think it was really starting to wear them out, and they come out of the washing machine not feeling very wet to begin with anyways. I get asked a lot why we didn’t go with the all-in-one diapers as opposed to the pocket diapers, and the ability to separate out the covers and line dry them is a big plus in my book. If it’s sunny they go outside, and if it’s not they hang up indoors on this awesome little Ikea hanger. The inserts and the wipes still go in the dryer.
I’ve perfected my cloth wipe spray solution since I last posted. It’s one splash California Baby Diaper Area Wash, two splashes Witch Hazel, and the rest purified water (the kind you can buy at the drugstore). I love the smell of the California Baby stuff, but it’s too expensive to use by itself. The Witch Hazel keeps it from going bad (I make one spray bottle worth at a time, which lasts us probably a week and a half). I keep everything in Finn’s closet along with a cup and a funnel so it’s easy to make a new batch whenever I need it.
I will not lie to you all and tell you that we haven’t had any problems at all with cloth. A few months back we started having some STINKY diapers. They would smell perfectly clean when I put them on Finn, but as soon as he peed they would reek of ammonia. A little bit of googling told me that I was not alone with the microfiber stink problem. Our solution has been a simple one though. I now put a quarter cup of bleach in with the detergent every other time I wash them. The BumGenius website actually recommends this (although they suggest once per month).
The second problem we’ve encountered is overnight leaks. I’ve dabbled in extra inserts (another reason to love pocket diapers), a wool cover, and even disposables, but nothing seems to be foolproof. I now add a Thirsties Hemp Insert to Finn’s overnight diaper, and that seems to be the best solution for us so far. The hemp insert goes underneath the microfiber insert. It makes for a big booty double-stuffed diaper, and it helps all of us sleep better at night… most nights.
Okay, okay, the reason you’re all reading this post is because you want to hear about the poop. Turns out that when you feed a baby actual solid food, things change in the poop department. I was dreading this. Up until this point, all dirty diapers went straight in the wash without so much as a rinse. Breastfed babies’ poop dissolves in water, and we never had a problem. But solid food changes things. I had heard good things about diaper sprayers, so I started doing a little research and came across a product called The Potty Pail. I couldn’t believe that in all my cloth diaper research I hadn’t come across it sooner, because it’s pretty flipping genius. Now a sprayer isn’t necessary for every single poopy diaper… sometimes all that’s required is turning the diaper upside-down over the toilet. I’m hoping you can imagine what I mean without more poopy detail here.
Here’s the deal: to use a typical diaper sprayer, you hold the dirty diaper over the toilet and use a (fairly high pressured) sprayer to clean off the poop. I had a hard time picturing how that was going to work without a) having to touch toilet water, b) having to drip dirty water across the floor back to the diaper pail, and c) being splashed with poop. Now as a mom I don’t mind dealing with poop, but being splashed with poopy toilet water is really where I draw the line.
Here is where The Potty Pail comes in as an accessory to the diaper sprayer. It was designed by a husband and wife who were cloth diapering their babies and frustrated with the “swish the diaper in the toilet” method. It’s basically a bucket attached to a little platform that allows it to sit on your toilet. It’s angled to drain into a hole in the bucket, has hooks to hang wet diapers, and a rest for the sprayer itself. So now, all the water from the sprayer and all the poop stay contained inside this magical bucket which drains right into your toilet. No splashing and no touching the toilet: the gross-factor drops WAY down.
Hubs describes the diaper sprayer installation process as “ridiculously easy”. I didn’t pay much attention, but he had it finished in about five minutes.
He says all you need is a wrench.
The system comes with a little hook for the sprayer which we attached to the side of our toilet tank.
The sprayer itself has a little valve that you can use to adjust the pressure, but I pretty much like to have it turned up all the way all the time for maximum poop-removal strength. This is where there would definitely be a problem if I was spraying directly into the toilet. I’m picturing one of those infomercials for the self-straining pasta lid where someone is fumbling around with a hot pot of spaghetti and spilling it on themselves, only in this scenario it’s me getting splashed with baby poop and it’s not awesome. Thank you Potty Pail for shielding me from the gross. I owe you one.
The pail has two hooks where you can leave a dripping diaper to dry, and there is a lid for the pail which I use as a tray to carry the diaper back to the diaper pail (the less touching of the diaper I have to do the better). It even comes with a tray that you can set the whole pail in so that you don’t drip onto your bathroom floor. There is also a chain and stopper that you can use to plug the bottom of the pail if you want to soak your diapers. I have a couple of clothespins attached to the side of it too for wipes and inserts that need to be sprayed… and the occasional poop covered article of baby clothing.
Negatives? Well it’s one more thing to buy. You could probably make something like it yourself, but I don’t think it’s that expensive that it would be worth your time to try. Also, it does take up a bit of space your bathroom. Ours lives next to the toilet in its drip tray, but you could keep it inside your tub or shower if you didn’t have enough floor space. (And it stays plenty clean with just a quick spray down so I wouldn’t be grossed out about that.)
So overall, the game has changed a little, but it is SO not a big deal. Even hubs and our babysitter have used the sprayer and both thought it was totally fine. I really can’t imagine continuing to cloth diaper now without at least a sprayer. So I’m sorry if I sound like the infomercial I just made fun of, but it is SO USEFUL. Solid poop is way less scary than I had worried it would be. And bonus, the poop is gone down the toilet where it belongs, not hanging out in my baby’s room. Cloth or disposable, I think we can all agree that’s a nice thing.
And this concludes your poop talk for the day. Carry on. :)
Hellobee Series: Cloth Diapers part 3 of 141. Cloth Diapering by parenting
2. Washing Cloth Diapers by parenting
3. Cloth Diaper Update and Potty Pail Review by parenting
4. How to choose a cloth diapering system by Mrs. Superhero
5. Real Registry: Diana's Cloth Diaper Registry by Real Registries
6. On Cloth Diapering a Newborn by Mrs. Superhero
7. Cloth Diapering Update by Mrs. Hopscotch
8. Easy Cloth Diapering by Mrs. Superhero
9. Who, What, Why, and How: Cloth Diapering by mrs. tictactoe
10. On Cloth Diapering at 4 Months by Mrs. Stroller
11. Building a Cloth Diaper Stockpile by Mrs. Hopscotch
12. Confessions of an (Ex) Cloth-Diapering Mom by Mrs. High Heels
13. Cloth Diapering Diaries by Mrs. Sketchbook
14. They really are genius! by Mrs. Tea