Despite not having read The Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh, or doing any Internet research at all, we practice part-time elimination communication with the Bee. She's in exclusively cloth diapers the rest of the time. Does this sound like a huge pain in the ass? Well, it's actually not bad at all, and while it might not be right for each family, it works perfectly for us.
Where do we buy our diapers?
Abby's Lane. I could not be more impressed with that site, seriously. Stephanie, the woman who runs it, has PHENOMENAL customer service! Clearly, I'm not the only one who thinks so, 'cause check out her Diaper Pin feedback. She's amazing. And a damn fast shipper - once I ordered on a Tuesday evening, and my stuff was shipped Wednesday morning. AND SHE HAD A WEEK-OLD BABY and two other kids. Any time I've e-mailed her with a concern, she's e-mailed me back promptly. One time, a $200 package of diapers I purchased got lost in the mail despite the USPS (they hate me) marking it as delivered. I e-mailed Stephanie immediately and she shipped out a brand-new package for me the next business day, and the items I bought which weren't in stock anymore and weren't going to be restocked got a prompt refund. She also called me that time, as well as another time that I was afraid my package got lost (we had horrible luck with mail in our old apartment), and she was just so... sweet. Heh. Plus, she has awesome deals that I haven't found on other sites, especially if you're buying several diapers by one brand. And, if you sign up for her Yahoo group, you enjoy a discount. Oh, I could go on and on, but I love her and highly recommend her.
What diapers do we currently use?
When Bumblebee was a newborn, my mom had made her some fitted and contour diapers, and I can share more info about how she made them later - they were awesome! But she's got tendonitis and neck/shoulder pain, so she stopped making and I started buying. So, we have:
-5 Kissaluvs fitted diapers (Bee's in size 2, at 28.25 inches and 17ish lbs)
-12 Kissaluvs contour diapers (size M/L) Note: The contours were bought from the Kissaluvs outlet store.
-10 Snappis (we didn't need this many!)
-4 Thirsties covers (medium)
-24 Indian unbleached prefolds (size Regular) that we almost never even use, even though they're quite nice!
-7 Happy Heiny's one-size pocket diapers, and each comes with two micro-fiber inserts
-4 BabyKicks Hemparoo fleece prefolds in medium (we could easily get by on 3, and probably even on 2)
This... is too many, lol. We don't need those 2 dozen prefolds. Everything else is great, though, and gets us through 2-3 days before we have to do laundry. We have two Swaddlebees diaper pail liners that we hang from a hook near the changing table, and dirty diapers get tossed in there. On laundry day, the diapers and the bag get tossed into the wash together.
When we go out, we use a Wahmies wet bag to store dirty diapers in, and we generally use Kushies flushable diaper liners as well, just to make any potential poop clean-up easier. I highly recommend these over the Imse Vimse or Bummis liners - those melt at the sight of poop, in my experience. Then when we get home, the wet bag and the diapers inside get thrown into the hanging pail liner.
When do we use what?
During the day, we use either the KL fitteds or contours under a Thirsties cover. We secure the contours with a Snappi. You cannot beat Thirsties. Seriously. I have never had a single leak with these covers, ever, whether it was a ton of pee or a blow-out poop. On days when our laundry situation is getting dire, we use the Indian unbleached prefolds with a Snappi and a Thirsties, but that's actually pretty rare. I should sell those prefolds... Anyway. At night, we use a Happy Heiny's pocket stuffed with its two micro-fiber inserts and a hemp prefold. We put this on her around 7 pm and change her sometime between 6:30 and 8:30 am, depending on when she gets up for the day. No leaks!
When we go out, we take along the Happy Heiny's one-size pockets with two inserts. One insert would be fine if you don't have a super pee-er like Bee. She holds her pee and then lets it all out at once, so extra absorbency is nice for us - that's why her diaper is stuffed so big at night.
What do we do on laundry day?
Since we don't have washer/dryer hook-ups, we got a Sears portable washer and dryer set off Craigslist. I wash the diapers on hot with Purex Free & Clear. A lot of people don't like free & clear detergents for cloth diapers, but it works well for us. Your mileage may vary. We also throw in 2-3 drops of tea tree oil for its antiseptic properties. We dry on high heat. Never use a dryer sheet or fabric softener - these make your diapers less absorbent!
As for cleaning poop out of the diapers? When she was exclusively breastfed, I just rinsed the diapers out in the sink. I blasted them with hot water. It took about 30 seconds and the poop melted off, and then I'd toss the diaper into the pail liner. A lot of parents of exclusively breastfed babies do not rinse at all. But we did. We started ECing before she was on solids, and so we don't really have to rinse out poopy diapers anymore. On days where she's refused the potty, we use the Kushies diaper liners and they take most of the mess out of it.
What about EC?
Every morning, we put her on her Ikea potty (ours is green, though the black looks cool, huh?) and cue her. How do we cue her? Well, um, we make the straining/grunty noise that she makes when she's pooping. Usually it takes a few minutes and she taps her legs and plays happily, and then she'll grunt and poop. Usually. She doesn't always poop. Sometimes she gets mad and screams as soon as we sit her down. So we just pick her right back up again, put a diaper liner in her diaper, and we're off. We don't want the potty to be associated with anything negative. During the day, if she ever seems like she's straining to poop, we immediately put her on the potty. It really doesn't take much extra time. In the morning, it takes around 5-10 minutes before she does her business, and generally guarantees that I don't have to change a poopy diaper that day. If she doesn't go, then it takes 5-10 minutes whenever she strains. She will pee in there as well, and I bet if I put her on the potty every couple hours I could be doing full-time EC, but... I don't.
Every so often, she gets mad and refuses to sit on the potty all day, and poops in her diaper, but that's fine! I really don't care. Basically, pooping in the diaper ain't no thang, and pooping in the potty is a bonus. Which we get to enjoy about 9 poops out of 10.
And that's what we do!
Update 9/6/08: We've been slowly transitioning towards full-time ECing. Read mroe about it here!