a little and a lot

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Never Say Never: The g Edition

There are things in life about which you think, "That's a nice idea, and I'd like to do that, but it's never gonna happen."

My list of such things starts like:
- Running a sub-9-minute mile (I'm slow as molasses)
- Going on a ski trip (Bad knees, low funds, I'd rather be at the beach)
- Home-schooling my children (I had to take the same math class three times in college)
- Bathing my dogs and clipping their nails...any time, ever (I'm a wimp and they are wimps...bad combo)
(Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...)

I could probably tackle each of those things on the above list.  But I just find that my willpower and energy doesn't take me far enough.  At least for the time being...

To "g" or not to "g"...
At one point in life, cloth-diapering would have been on that list.
But somehow, I am doing it this year, and kind of loving it...

Here's the backstory:
I am a lover of all things Method brand.  (Here's proof.)  Many moons ago, they wrote about the creation of a new hybrid cloth diaper called gDiapers.  (A hybrid cloth diaper being one that can contain either a cloth insert or a biodegradable disposable insert.)  These little guys were not only adorable, but eco-friendly and easy on the wallet.  (After initial purchase.)

Then the rush of adoption paperwork came along and I thought to myself, "Nope.  Never gonna happen.  I'll try it with the next kid, but there's no way I have time to figure this out on top of everything else we have going on."  

Then, the wait.  I'm not sure if you remember, but I had a little bit of time to plan for Rhet's arrival.  ;)

I read everything on their website.  Then I read reviews and links.  And I start thinking, "Ok, this might be doable.  I think I can figure this out."

The receiving of the g's
We registered for the products we needed to get started and received them from generous friends and family at our baby showers.  My goal was not to 100% eliminate use of disposable diapers.  My goal was to save money.  (Sorry, Earth, helping you out was just an added bonus for now.)

Also, I did not research other brands or other kinds of CD's (cloth diapers).  Let me tell you, people are fiercely loyal to their CD brands.  Good gracious.  But I just did not have the energy to sift through all of it.  I liked what I knew about the first brand I looked into, so we just went for it.

Obviously, our four weeks spent in Ethiopia were not focused much on saving money.  We went the easy route whenever we could, which meant packing a suitcase full of Pampers.  (Seriously, a whole suitcase.)

When we returned and got over most of the jetlag, I gave the cloth diapering a whirl.  (By then, I felt like superwoman, so it was small potatoes!)

I have to admit, the whole thing can seem intimidating and gross and too labor-intensive, but I have actually found it to be amazingly easy!  Yes, it's a little extra work.  But the extra dollars I save are worth it to me.

I feel the need to insert a disclaimer at this time:
We are all different.  Our children are all different.  What works for me may not work for you.  We live different lifestyles, have different washing machines that use different water types, and our little kiddos' bums have different sensitivities.  If you find this post informative and motivating, SUPER.  But whatever you take away, PLEASE don't let it be guilt that you are not doing enough or not doing it right.  I detest MommyGuilt (which is an entire post for another time), and I am not intending to dish it out here.  I am a stay-at-home momma, which means I have a little extra time (that's relative) and a deficit of cash--FOR ME, cloth diapering has been awesome for us.

Here's how gDiapering works in the Rhet Faris world:

I store Rhet's g's in the top two drawers of her dresser.

g Setup

The composition of a gDiaper includes three parts:
(1) the gPant--the soft, cotton, outer pant that velcros in the back
(2) the gLiner--the breathable, but waterproof(ish) liner that snaps inside the gPant
(3) the gCloth/gDisposable--we mostly use cloth, which is microfiber on top and hemp on bottom, and it is stuffed inside the gLiner
Whenever possible, I try to pre-assemple the gDiapers for quick changes.  But often (including today), the gPants are stuffed into the left drawer and the gLiners and gCloths are stuffed into the right drawer.

I need to confess to you that I am a cheater.  I have not always been a cheater, but my child is just kind of awesome.  One day, a couple months after arriving home, Rhet was in the bathtub and almost...well, you know.  So I whisked her out of the tub and put her on the toilet, pretty much as a reflex.  Not only did she take care of business, she has continued to request to sit on the potty to #2 ever since.

PRE-cheating...I really loved gDiapers' paper liners that come in a little square box--I stored them with the other supplies.  They are really thin and lay right over the top of the gCloth.  When the diaper is dirty, everything slides right into the toilet.  (I'm sorry, I know that's gross but this is the gross part of the run-down.  And ultimately, using the paper liners is LESS gross, because you make the grossness go away.)  Yes, grossness got on the cloth, too.  It just washed right out so it never concerned me much.

And now...well, yes.  I'm a cheater and I only have to wash wet cloth diapers.

Our wetbag is right by the door (and entrance to the bathroom)
When I change a gDiaper at home, I most often dump the insert into a wetbag that zips at the top.  It is cloth on the outside and waterproof on the inside.  It is Leslie's Boutique brand and it does an amazing job of keeping in the stink.  I do not rinse my diapers, wet or dirty.

If the diaper has gotten wet/dirty on the liner and/or the outer pant, I unsnap the liner and close the velcro all the way over and throw everything into the wetbag.

When we're out and about when Rhet is wearing cloth diapers, I keep a spare in a quart-sized zip-top plastic bag.  I switch it out with the dirty after it's changed (trying to remember to unsnap the liner and fasten the velcro on the outer pant), and dump it in the wetbag when I get home.

We own:
- 6 gPants (most often they can be reused before washing)
- A bunch of gLiners (too many, really--usually if the liner is wet/dirty, I just wash the pants too...we have all the liners that came with the gPants and then I think I purchased an extra package of gLiners)
- 24 gCloths
(I rarely use the disposable inserts.  They are handy, but I end up using disposable diapers altogether when we go out for long periods of time.  Also, we use disposable diapers at night--I spare no expense when it comes to getting my child to sleep the maximum amount of time possible!)

(We brought Rhet home when she was about 17 months old, so keep in mind a younger child would use more diapers per day.)

This is the part that most often keeps people from trying CD'ing (too gross/too much work) or drives people to quit CD'ing (can't figure out the right soap, right balance of soap, what type of water they have, how to work with their washer, how to keep diapers from smelling or staining, etc etc).

I had the sheer luck of doing what worked perfectly for us the first time.  In fact, I changed soaps later on, and it ended up messing everything up--I had to strip the diapers of the new soap and go back to my old brand.  I would say this is the most time-consuming part of CD'ing--not the actual cleaning but FIGURING OUT how to clean them so that everything works right.  You have to figure out what temperature you water should be and how much soap is just enough.  You want to make sure your soap is not too strong (irritation) but not too weak (staining).  You have to figure out whether you need to soak your diapers and for how long.  You don't want any soap residue left in your diapers, so you have to figure out how many extra cycles to rinse.

I will put a plug in for my favorite soap: Rockin' Green.  Again, I found a recommendation for it on gDiapers site (among a few other soaps), and after reading the extensive FAQ's on their website, I decided to give them a whirl.  Their customer service is wonderful, and the soap has never done me wrong.

So here is how I clean my diapers  (it may work for you, it may not):
Again, I do not rinse the diapers before storing them in the wetbag.  (I try to touch them as little as possible, actually.  Icky.)  I wait until the wetbag gets full, which takes 2-4 days, depending on how often I've been "supplementing" with disposable diapers.

1. I dump the contents of the wetbag into the washer and then toss the wetbag in too.

2. Depending on how stinky the diapers are, sometimes I give them a good soak.  In the old days, I would soak them in my Classic Rock soap for an hour or so with hot water.  These days, the diapers usually have an ammonia smell if they've been in the bag long enough (particularly because there are only wet diapers in there), so my usually method is to dump them in, fill up with hot water, and add some Funk Rock for about an hour.

3. Then I run the contents through the rinse cycle.  (I have a super simple/cheap washer & dryer, so I just turn the dial to the end to force it into the rinse cycle.)  If the diapers are not extra-stinky, I start with this step, filling with hot water for the rinse.

4. After rinsing, I start the wash cycle over again (with hot water) and add my Classic Rock soap.  I let the washer run through the whole cycle.

5. After the complete cycle has finished, I force one rinse cycle with cold water again.  The end.

6. DO NOT WASH OR DRY YOUR CLOTH DIAPERS WITH FABRIC SOFTENER.  (It will royally mess them up--it basically keeps them from absorbing anything.)  I throw everything into the dryer (sans liners, which I lay out on top of the dryer) WITHOUT any type of dryer sheet (I use the Bounce dryer bar right now, so I slide it out of the dryer when I'm washing CD's and towels) and I run a regular drying cycle.  I used to hang the gPants to dry (to preserve their bright colors and extend their life), but then I got lazy and ended up preferring the way the drying them makes them softer.

So that's it.  I attribute our success with CD'ing to finding a great brand (gDiapers), finding a great soap (Rockin' Green), making sure that I use the minimum amount of soap needed specially created for the type of water we have, making sure I rinsing/pre-rinsing enough to help with odors and residue.

(Also, make sure to clean out your washer regularly as well!)

gDiapers comes in various sizes.  Rhet was a "medium" when she first came home, and she has since graduated to a "large," where she will most likely stay until she doesn't need them anymore.

Although the supplies are a big investment (and it does MAJOR help to add them in your registry!), disposable diapers are so stinkin' expensive.  Pun intended.  Hope I helped you do a little homework to take the plunge and save yourself some long-term expenses!  


Jane said...

Well this is fascinating! Do you do house shows? :) I have been thinking about diapers and what I want to do. I like helping the earth and saving money - especially since I'll be a stay-at-homer too. And I can also handle gross...I'm just thinking about time and such. I'm going to have to research these. Since you've done all the work already, I'll start with g. (how in the world do you know what kind of water you have???)

Nishta said...

I'm so glad you posted this! Leslie Jerkins introduced me to your blog--my partner & I are waiting for a domestic adoption match--we are planning to use g diapers for our little girl or boy and this will be very helpful when it's time to set things up!

also, love your "now you know" post about adoption language, etc. we went to a training in November and I have a whole new sense of respect for the importance of sensitive language. I'm sure I will feel even more fierce about it when there is a baby in my arms!

Adopting Rhet: Click on the timeline above to read more