so in the first post, i told you about our cloth diaper workshop. i went over the differences between cloth and disposable diapers, and the care of cloth diapers.
one thing i forgot to mention - what do you do with the cloth diapers between washes? jessica recommended 24 diapers, which would be about a 3-day wash cycle. in between washes, you toss the dirty diaper into a wet bag. the wet bag is lined with a (pba-free) plastic lining. when you're ready to wash, you just dump in the diapers, turn the bag inside out, and throw that in the wash, too. there are apparently cloth diaper pails that you can purchase, but for about $20 cheaper, you can pick up a plastic trash can at target that works just as well. the important part is the wet bag. for cloth diapering out and about, you just get a smaller wet bag that you carry in the diaper bag. done.
ok, so now, the different kinds of cloth diapers. this is where you can get a little head-spinny. there are a ton of brands out there and it can be a little confusing to wade through it all. so jessica broke it down into 4 categories, ignoring the brands for the most part. it's much easier to shop by type than by brand.
first up, prefolds and covers. prefolds are simply absorbent cotton diapers (the kind that most people picture when picturing cloth diapers - the white things that used to be attached with pins). you fold up the diaper and lay it inside of a waterproof cover. the waterproof cover is then folded up over baby and put on just like a disposable diaper. so when you change the baby, you simply pull out the prefold, lay another one in, and buckle up - you can reuse the same cover all day long. the advantages to this system are that it's the least expensive, by far - you can easily build a diaper stockpile for less than $200. this will also probably last the longest - jessica said you can easily make the covers last for 2 or even 3 kids. you may need to replace some of the cloth diapers along the way, but the covers should last for a looooong time. the disadvantage is that since these are simply cotton diapers, they do not "wick away" moisture like some of the more expensive types of diapers. so baby feels uncomfortably wet more quickly. the upside of this is that kids in prefolds are often potty trained much earlier in life - her daughter was potty trained at 18 months because she hated feeling wet!
next up, fitted diapers. these are essentially just cotton or wool diapers, like the old-fashioned ones, but they come with velcro or snaps instead of pins. they are super thick (so that they can be absorbent without leaking through) and seem like they'd be really warm on baby. and again, they are do not wick away moisture. they are also not waterproof, so you'd either need to buy covers or just make sure you're changing frequently enough so that the liquid doesn't soak through and ruin clothing, furniture, etc. we ruled this option out immediately.
now we jump up pretty significantly in price to the pocket diapers. a pocket diaper is a diaper and cover attached together. the inner fabric is water-wicking, so baby doesn't feel wet. but it is not absorbent on it's own - you must slide an absorbent insert into a pocket in the diaper to catch the liquid. so when changing the baby, you take the whole thing off, pull the insert out, and put both (separate pieces) into the wet bag. i'm honestly not sure what the advantage of the pocket diaper is. especially when, for not much more money, you can upgrade to the final type of diaper...
the all-in-one (aio). the all-in-one is exactly what it sounds like - waterproof cover, absorbent insert, and water-wicking lining all in one. you change it just like you change a regular diaper. it is definitely the most expensive option at about $20 per diaper, but the convenience factor makes it extremely attractive.
after much discussion and going back and forth about prefolds vs all-in-ones, matt and i have decided to go with the aios. we think it will be easier on daycare, and easier on our parents when they babysit. if one of us were staying at home, we'd probably do the prefolds and then just buy disposables for when we're out and about or when we have a babysitter. but since baby boy will be in daycare full-time, and we want them to like us, we thought the all-in-ones would be a better option. again, i've done a ton of research and it sounds like bumgenius is the hands-down winner, so we'll be stocking up on about 24 bumgenius freetime one-size aios. it says one-size, meaning it can fit from 8 pounds through potty training, but jessica (and many other bloggers) said she doesn't think they fit very well until about 10 or 12 pounds. so we plan to use disposables when baby is a newborn until he's up to 10-12 pounds. it will be better anyway, because the cloth diapers can irritate the umbilical cord/belly button site, and we'd also have to be careful with his circumcision - you can't get vaseline on a cloth diaper or it affects the absorbency.
we'll be getting 4 wet bags - 2 diaper pail liners (so there is always one in the diaper pail, even when we're doing laundry), and 2 smaller ones for day care. at the end of each day of day care, we'll empty out the wet bag, spray it with bac-out (an antibacterial spray), and reuse it for a few days. we'll also get some rice paper liners.
we've decided not to register for any of our cloth diapers or cloth diaper accessories because, to be honest, i don't want to hear people tell me how crazy/stupid/foolish/etc we are for choosing this. we've already heard it from a number of people, and i just don't want to hear it about it all day at the shower. after attending the workshop, matt and i feel pretty confident that this is something we can handle. it will be more work, but we're willing to do it if it means that baby will be healthier and our carbon footprint will be a little bit smaller.
plus, have you seen baby butts in cloth diapers? so.cute.