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Cloth diapering an infant {BumGenius Elementals and Freetimes}

I need a break from housecleaning, so blogging it is. :) We have officially switched from covers and prefolds with baby #4 to our BumGenius Elementals and Freetimes. I decided to stick to all-in-one cloth diapers. Without getting in to a world of details, there are a lot of ways that you can cloth diaper. The most popular way is a pocket style diaper where you stuff a pocket inside a cover with absorbent inserts, such as the BumGenius 4.0. There are also systems like the Grovia Hybrids or Flip covers and inserts.... It just all felt like a lot. I have heard great things about those systems and people love them. I just really love the idea of all-in-ones; they work just like disposables.

While we do own 2 Freetime diapers, we mainly use Elementals. For our 4-month old, we have 9 Elemental diapers (11 diapers total and I'm going to buy Stellar and Jolly when they are released in December... only because I love their colors-- haha!). For nights we are still using Thirsties fitted diapers (now in size 2) and a Flip cover. I have 2 Thirsties fitted diapers and 1 Flip cover.

BumGenius Elementals

So what does an Elemental diaper look like? This is BumGenius's Elemental print Martin. The Elemental diaper has 2 layers of organic cotton attached inside a Flip cover. There is no stuffing in inserts or putting a cover over type. It is an all-in-one system and basically works like a disposable-- you take the whole thing off for each change (as compared to covers and prefolds). I love organic cotton. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it is so absorbent and I've had no issues with it on baby #4's skin. These are my favorite diapers. Why do I own Freetimes? Because Elemental diapers take a lot longer to hang dry-- almost a day and a half if you do not put them in the dryer at all. I usually let them do one run in the dryer so they come out damp, then I let them hang dry in the sun. This cuts down the drying time to about half a day.

BumGenius Freetimes
What does a Freetime diaper look like? This is BumGenius's Freetime print Sassy. The Freetime diaper has attached inserts that you fold over each other to put on the diaper; it doesn't matter which one you put down first-- works the same either way. The Freetimes are also an all-in-one system-- no stuffing of inserts, no putting on covers. They also work a lot like disposables-- you change the whole diaper at each diaper change.

The top of the insert is a sueded material that pulls moisture down towards the microfiber underneath the insert. Because of these microfiber inserts, the diaper dries super fast after washing. If I take it out of the washer in the morning, it will be dry by the afternoon without any time in the dryer. I keep 2 Freetimes because of how quickly they dry. I don't want to get stuck without diapers!!!
On the outside, the Elemental and the Freetime looks a lot the same. Another reason why I favor Elementals over Freetimes is that they do not have a "fluffy butt" like Freetimes do, especially on our 4-month old. I feel like it might be less "fluffy" when he gets older, but, for now, Elementals are a much trimmer fit.
Adjustable size
BumGenius advertises on their diapers that they work from 7 to 35 lbs. They have a fancy snap system on the front to adjust to your baby's size. The gal at my favorite local store said that covers and prefolds work a little better for the newborn stage, that these are a little bulky for the newborn babies. After comparing covers and prefolds with the all-in-ones, I agree.
{Check out my blog post: "Week 2 of cloth-diapering a newborn."}
The snaps on the front of the Elementals and Freetimes are the same. This is how I snap up the diapers for our 15-pound 4-month old. These are the snaps that I snap up to adjust the diaper to his size. Once I have them snapped, I do not unsnap them for washing or anything. They stay snapped, so this is a one-time thing-- no complicated snapping at each diaper change.
I snap the very bottom snap up to the top snap to make it smaller to fit him and do the same all along the row. This is the diaper with the first snap snapped up....
...the second snap snapped up...
...and the third snap snapped up.
And that is how I adjust each new diaper that I buy for baby #4. As I said, I only do this once. The diaper stays snapped up for the washing and wearing. To fasten the diaper on our baby, our baby doesn't need the flaps brought all the way across. I leave 2 snaps in the middle. I love how adjustable the diaper is to the baby's size making a personal, no-leak fit. This is a picture of how I snap the diaper to fit our baby during wear.
Diapering an Elemental
Now that we have gone over the differences between Elemental and Freetime all-in-ones, I'll show you why I love all-in-one diapers. They are so easy to change and work essentially like a disposable diaper. Starting with the Elemental {my favorite}, I lay the diaper on the changing table, the side with the closure snaps goes in the back.
I bring the front of the diaper up and snap one side close. I count up 4 snaps on each side.
I snap the other side closed, counting 4 snaps on this side too. This leaves 2 snaps in the middle, just like I pictured above, which is how the diaper best fits our baby.
Just like with other cloth diapers, it is important that the inserts are tucked into the cover. Since the insert is what absorbs all the moisture, if it is poking out, it will saturate baby's clothing.
I just do a check to make sure the inserts are all tucked in. Rarely does an insert poke out when I put on the diaper-- they are very easy to put on-- but I like to check to make sure.
I am still using the exact same wipe system as I did with covers and prefolds-- cloth wipes at home and disposable wipes out of the house. To see pictures of how I use our wipes, check out my blog post "Week 2 of cloth-diapering a newborn." To change the Elemental diaper, I change as usual then throw the entire soiled diaper and cloth wipes in the diaper pail.
Diapering a Freetime
To put a Freetime diaper on, I fold the inserts into the diaper as pictured above {where I show what a Freetime diaper looks like}. It does not matter which insert is on top or bottom when you fold them into the diaper. I lay the diaper on the changing table with the snaps in the back.
I fold the front of the front of the diaper up...
...count 4 snaps on one side and snap closed...
...then count 4 snaps on the other side and snap closed. This leaves 2 snaps in the middle which is how the diaper best fits our baby. Just like with the other diapers, it is important to check and make sure the inserts are all tucked inside the diaper.
To change the diaper, I throw the entire soiled diaper in the diaper pail.
Baby #4 is still exclusively breastfed. As I talked about in "Cloth diapering a newborn {logistics}," breastmilk stool is water soluble. I throw the entire soiled diaper in our diaper pail without rinsing. This brings me to my next topic: laundry.
Laundry: washing Elementals and Freetimes
I wash our diapers first thing in the morning, right after I change his night diaper. I know many people that wash their diapers at the end of the day, but, for us, it works best to do our diaper load first thing in the morning. That way, right after breakfast, the diapers have washed and I can hang them to dry. When I change our baby, I throw his clothing laundry into our diaper pail as well. I wash our Planet Wise pail liner roughly every other day or as needed.
I put the contents of our diaper pail in the washer and run a rinse cycle. After that cycle has run, if the load is sparse, I throw in our toddlers' clothes hamper contents as well. Then I wash the diapers on heavy duty, which is a hot cycle, with our cloth diaper detergent.
I have heard that detergents leave a build up in your washer and can affect absorbency for cloth diapering. I do use a cloth diaper detergent when washing a load of diapers. For our regular household laundry sans diapers, I use our homemade laundry detergent. I have read conflicting information as to whether Borax is cloth diaper safe or not. However, because of the other ingredients, I do not worry about this detergent building up in our washer and affecting the absorbency of our cloth diapers.
Side note: If you read my blog post "Homemade household cleaners," you know that we have switched to all homemade and biodegradable household cleaners. The cloth diaper detergent is the only household cleaner that I buy. Since bleach is not biodegradable, I have not used it on my diapers yet. I know that we have only recently switched to Elementals and Freetimes and that baby #4 is only 4-months old and exclusively breastfed... I'm not sure if/when or why I would pour bleach in with our diapers. I figure if we start having problems with absorbency {or maybe bleach is for a smell in the cloth diapers?} I'll start troubleshooting our wash routine. For now, I make sure to give our diapers a lot of sun time to kill any bacteria that may be on the diapers which hasn't been a problem for us here in South Carolina-- lots of sunshine!
BumGenius prints on their tag that Elemental diapers are safe to go in the dryer. I'm a little skeptical on drying the all-in-ones, but for the sake of expediency, I do throw the entire load into the dryer, pulling out the Freetimes. I run the Elementals in the dryer once. The rest of the load dries fine, but the Elementals are never dry after one pass through the dryer. With them slightly damp, I hang them on our drying rack.
This is how I hang dry our Freetimes. This way...
...or this way.
This is how I hang dry our Elementals.
As breastfeeding mommas know, breastmilk stool stains. I like to sun bleach our diapers on sunny days regardless of whether they are stained or not {kills any bacteria on the diapers}. If I have a stained diaper, I position it so it can absorb the most rays possible. Every breastmilk stool stain that I've had on our Elemental diapers has come out with just a few good hours in the sun.
Laundry: prepping Elementals and Freetimes
While we are on the subject of laundry, I'll discuss prepping the diapers. Prepping the Thirsties fitted diapers, the Flip covers, and the Freetimes is easy-- wash once. I just throw the new diapers in with a load of our regular household laundry. Prepping the Elemental diapers is a little different because their inserts are made with organic cotton. When you wash the organic cotton, it will release its natural oils. If these oils get on your other synthetic diaper fabrics, like microfiber, they will make them unabsorbent-- not cool for a diaper. I wash our Elemental diapers 5-7 times before wear. If I only wash the diaper 5 times before I put it on our baby, I make sure to change that diaper about an hour after he's worn it. Organic cotton becomes more absorbent the more it is washed. Before the diaper has been washed 7 times on high heat, I make sure to wash it separately from our Thirsties fitted diaper and our Freetimes. Since we have 6 people in our house, finding loads of laundry isn't a challenge for us. I keep the new diaper in the laundry room and throw it in when I do a load of laundry for our boys or when I'm washing a load of diapers without any of the aforementioned types. After I have washed an Elemental diaper 7 times, I throw all our diapers-- Elementals, Freetimes, Thirsties fitted, and Flip covers-- in our diaper pail after changing and wash them all together as I described previously. I cannot emphasize enough how much more absorbent organic cotton is than other types of materials. I love it. Since I don't know the science behind why organic cotton is that much more absorbent, it stands as a magical mystery to me.
Our night diaper routine is exactly the same as described in "Cloth diapering a newborn {logistics}." I have pictures in that blog post of the Thirsties fitted diaper and the Flip cover. The only difference now is that we have a Thirsties size 2 fitted diaper instead of a size 1.
Out and about with cloth diapers
In "Week 2 of cloth-diapering a newborn," I discuss getting out of the house with cloth diapers. The only difference to that routine is that now I make sure I have 2 clean all-in-ones with me for normal excursions with the kids. If I'm going to be out of the house for a longer amount of time, I might pack 3. I also like to put baby #4 in a fresh diaper before we leave the house.
Available prints
And now for an adorable cloth diaper picture. :)
Baby #4 in Marie
Here are the prints available in Elementals, Freetimes, and Flip covers. My favorites are Hummingbird, Sassy, and Martin. Our boys always pick out Spence {aka "pirate booty"} for baby #4, which we have in Elemental and Freetime. For some of the older out of stock prints, like the Chelsea Perry Artist Prints or Jules, check out Facebook BumGenius buy/sell/trade pages.
To view all my posts on cloth diapering baby #4, check out my Popular Posts tab and scroll down to "Kimber's Posts on Cloth Diapering."
Do you cloth diaper? What would you add to this post? I love to hear from you!


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