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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Gosh, really?

Has it been almost a week since I posted anything? I have written about five entries in my head, but then I am too tired to get it from my head to the screen. Huh - must be the constant, consistent, never-ending days of 100+ degree temps. My brain is as dried out as the parched earth outside my front door. *sigh*

So, I thought I better take a minute to go through the different types of cloth diapers before I go on to share my personal picks. You will notice I tend to link to my favorite stores. There is, however, a vast, amazing array of cloth diapering shops online and I have yet to have a bad experience with any of them. Most of the people who run diaper shops are passionate about cloth diapering and natural family living and are truly wonderful people!

Okay, so let's start BASIC.

The very first kind of cloth diaper is a basic flat. This is the kind of diaper Mary probably used to diaper the baby Jesus. Many CDing moms are a bit intimidated by the flat because it's, well, flat. It requires folding to get into the shape it needs to be in to diaper sufficiently. Fortunately, you don't have to know origami to fold a flat (although there is an "origami fold!"). I like the flat folding instructions at Gumbush. Since D is a toddler, I find I use the flats in our collection a little differently than I plan to with little babies in the future. I like to take one, fold it into a kind of folded-up tri-fold and just lay it in a Bummi Original Cover. It's just easier since she is bigger. I think a standard sized flat in any flat fold would work nicely on a little baby though.

So, what do you get when someone else does the folding for you? A prefold! There are several varieties of the basic prefold. The two most popular, widely-used prefolds are Indian and Chinese. Indian prefolds (like the ones I linked to) are made from unbleached cotton. Some people swear up and down these are softer than the Chinese prefolds. I don't know - I have both and can't really tell the difference in texture. Because they are unbleached, they will have a natural color to them. The "classic" white cloth diaper you may have seen is the Chinese prefold. It is bleached cotton and has colored serging that tells what size it is. Prefolds come these sizes: preemie, standard infant, infant, regular, premium, and toddler. (It is very important to note that the most reliable, effective prefolds are generally NOT the ones you can buy at your local Super Store. You want to make sure you are purchasing Diaper Service Quality - DSQ - prefolds.) This chart at The Stork Warehouse explains the sizing. Note that the "ply" column - the higher the middle number, the more absorbent the diaper is. A younger baby doesn't generally let loose with the quantities of pee that an older baby and toddler can, so diapers designed to fit younger babies generally have less "oomph" in the middle.

Finally, you should know that a flat or prefold is not waterproof on its own. These all-cotton diapers are wonderfully breathable, and as we sweat through the Texas summer, I will often let D run around with just a prefold on and change her when she wets. This, however, freaks out her Dad - he sort of flips out at the thought of touching pee. (Why are men so squeamish about pee? I don't get it. I would think their hands interact with pee more than most women on an average bathroom visit.) Anyway, when her Dad is home, I make sure she the dipe is covered.

Ah, covers. There is so much to talk about here. And D is waking up. So covers will be, ahem, covered in the next post.