Burpies & Wipies

Well, as promised, I’m giving you my burp cloth talk. And since it has taken me so long to round up photos and get to it, I’m throwing in wipies.

So, first things first. A “burpie” is a burp cloth. A “wipie” is a cloth wipe/mini burp cloth/cloth Kleenex- you get the point.

Now, how do you make them? Here are the dimensions:

Burpie- 10″ x 18″

Wipie- 10″ x 6″

So, the wipie is about a third of the size of the buttie.

To make a burpie or wipie, simply cut two rectangles of fabric (we’ll discuss fabric selection in a minute) and sew them together with right sides together, leaving a hole to turn the item right side out.

(You can see the hole in the above photo on the upper edge.) Clip the corners so when you turn your item right side out, you’ll have corners rather than rounds.

Flip right side out, pushing the corners out. Sew around the edge again, all the way around. Sew close to the edge to close the hole. Overlap your stitches where you began.

(This entire process is very simply termed “turned and topstitched” or “T&T.” When you see this, you know the whole process is sew, flip, sew.)

Now, let’s discuss the arduous task of choosing fabric! So, you can clearly use whatever you want, but I have tried several things and used them personally, so I really do know what works.

The best option based on absorbency is woven cotton on one side (quilting cotton) and terry cloth on the other side. You can buy the terry cloth by the yard, but the best absorbency is to buy cheap towels from the mega mart which shall remain unnamed. (No joke, I only go to the MegaloMart – name changed- for these cheap towels!) You go to MegaloMart and buy their cheapest towels. (They cost $2.50 a towel and you can make at least 4 burpies out of one towel!) Cut the end strips off (unless you like that line across your burpie) and cut them into appropriate sized rectangles. I have tried both terry by the yard and cheap towels and I can tell you that cheap towels make fluffier, more absorbent burpies. (And you’ll have a broader range of colors.) Burpies made out of cotton and terry are cute and functional. They catch the biggest messes from the biggest spitters! They are awesome! The drawback is the bulk. They are pretty hefty and don’t fold up very small, which makes them boogers to stick a few in your diaper bag. There are also limited colors available. Yes, towels come in many colors, but you may have trouble finding exact matches.

The next best option is flannel. You can use a woven cotton (quilting cotton) on one side and flannel on the other, or you can do both sides in flannel. Flannel is soft, thin, and absorbent. Flannel/flannel make awesome wipies! They are the best wipies in the world. (Well, flannel/bamboo velour make some super awesome wipes- but that can be expensive!) Solid flannel comes in more colors that terry and even more than towels. Cotton/flannel burp cloths are perfect for stashing several in your diaper bag for emergency use. They also work well if you have a frequent spitter that doesn’t spit a lot each time. They fold down so easily. You can also use flannel on one side and terry on the other side, if you are so inclined. Flannel is much softer than the terry.  Flannel is also really cheap! (I buy mine when JoAnn’s has it on sale for $2.49 a yard!)

You can also use a cotton knit in place of woven cotton. I tend to use woven cotton because it comes in so many prints and patterns. I can find so many cute fabrics. Knit on one side and terry on the other do make some awesome wipies, though they can be a little rough (especially on little noses), but can clean poo off little butts like nobody’s business. You can also use knit on both sides, but they are hard to sew and are not my favorite. But if you have some old tees and need wipies, go ahead and use them! (If you have a serger, you can just serge two layers of knits together instead of T&T.)

You can use whatever you like, but there are a few things that I thought might be nice, but really suck when made into something you need to actually function! Don’t use minky. It sounds like a nice idea. A burp cloth with cotton on one side in an adorable pattern and super soft minky on the other. Well, it is gross when a kid pukes on the minky and it isn’t absorbed at all! It just sits there and you touch it and it is cold, then the baby rubs his face in it and he has puke all over his cute little face because minky does not absorb! Yes, the burp cloth is cute as can be. Yes, before the baby is born you run your hand over it and feel the softness and you get all mommy-eyed thinking about your soft, sweet baby cuddling up on your shoulder with this divine burpie. Then you use it once, have puke smeared everywhere on you and adorable baby, and you never pick that burp cloth again. Until your mother-in-law visits. *laughing* (That was a joke. I am not at all responsible for mothers-in-law getting covered in icky baby puke from a non-absorbent burp cloth!)

The next fabric not to use is fleece. It seems like it’d be a nice choice. Many baby things are fleece. Fleece is soft and fluffy. Fleece comes in bazillions of colors. But let me inform you. Fleece repels water. That is not a good feature for a burpie or a wipie. (If you need liners for cloth diapers to keep diaper rash cream, bacitracin, or petroleum jelly off your diapers, fleece makes a good liner. Other than that, keep away from the fleece!)

(3 wipies made with cotton/terry on left next to 3 wipies made with cotton/flannel. All are folded in thirds- my usual way of folding things- and the terry ones were pushed down so they’d stay for the 2 seconds it took to snap a picture!)

So, go sew! Go ahead! Make burpies and wipies for yourself, your friends, your neighbors, that person across the country that you don’t know but paid you to do so!

Need burpies and/or wipies but don’t have the time/energy/resources to make them? Let me know! I take custom orders! (Visit MooseandWormy or contact me any other way you know how!)

Which Diaper System Should I Choose?

There are so many kinds of cloth diapers out there, it can be difficult to choose which system will work best for your family. You research and research and finally decide, Yes! I will cloth diaper my children. Then, you are faced with which diapers to buy! It can be overwhelming trying to figure out the pros and cons of each system, especially since you’ll be pulling from individual diaper reviews and diaper sites. I often get asked why I chose what I chose, why I like my diapers, and would I choose again the same way if I had to do it all over again. Well, here is an overview of different styles of cloth diapers and what I think is nice about them and what I think is awful about them.

Prefolds (or flats) & Covers

+ They are the cheapest system available.

+ They provide a level of excitement, providing the daily challenge of achieving that perfect fold.

+ Dry quickly.

– They are the most intimidating system, especially to husbands and child care providers.

– Pins or snappis are usually required. (I have a personal aversion to pins and snappis.)

– Can be difficult to get the absorbency just right.

– Often bulky.

– Can be difficult to get on a squirmy baby or toddler.

– Sizes are usually needed. (There are a few kinds that offer one size covers. Econobum is the main one that comes to mind.)

Fitteds and Covers


+ Cute and often trim.

+ Great for containing messes. (Really great fro holding in newborn poo!)

+ Very absorbent and usually require little “fiddling” to get absorbency right.

+ Easier to use.

+ Can easily use all natural fibers only.

+ Can make yourself or buy from a work at home mom.

+/- Can be the most expensive system or a very affordable system depending on your personal choices.

– The most addictive cloth diapering system. (Yes, cloth diapers can be addictive.)

– More difficult to adjust absorbency if the absorbency isn’t right for your little one from the start.

– Take more time to dry.

– Usually need various sizes. (There are a few brands that offer a One Size fitted diaper and you can find One Size covers.)

Pocket Diapers


+ Easy to use.

+ Most common type of One Size diapers.

+ Dry quickly.

+ Easy to adjust absorbency.

+ Only require one diaper “layer.” No extra cover is needed.

– Require “assembly” of diapers after each wash.

– Usually made of man made fibers.

– Can be expensive, depending on the diaper you choose.

All-In-One Diapers


+ Easy to use. Easy for you. Easy for husbands. Easy for child care providers.

+ No assembly required. Ready straight from the wash.

+ Only one diaper “layer” is needed. No extra cover necessary.

– Can take quite a while to dry.

– More difficult to adjust absorbency if you need to.

– Can be quite expensive.

All-In-Two Diapers


+ Fairly easy to use.

+ Dry faster than all-in-ones.

+ Theoretically, you can reuse the outer cover, meaning you’ll have less diaper laundry and less cost.

– Not a good system for babies with loose poo. (The poo contaminates the cover, eliminating the chance of reusing it.)

– Require “assembly” before use.

What to do with all this information?

Well, I looked at everything and narrowed down the most important for me. I knew I would be drying my diapers in my dryer, so I’d want something that dried quickly. I knew I needed something that would work immediately without a lot of trial and error. The Pastor was barely on board with cloth diapering, so I needed it to work and be easy for him. I wanted a one size solution, since I have multiple children in diapers at one time, I didn’t want to have to separate and keep several different sizes out all the time. I just needed one stash for all the children I was diapering (except newborns). I did not want to use snappis or pins.

So, with all that information, I chose to buy one size pocket diapers. They worked without any playing around with them. They were easy to use. The only real downside for my family is that I have to assemble them when they come out of the dryer and that takes time.

I have since used every other system, except prefolds. I can say, I can find things I like and don’t like about them all. If I had to do it over again, I would have bought less variety and tried to stick with one brand. (Having a bazillion brands makes it difficult when you are assembling your diapers. It also makes it difficult on care providers to switch from one brand to another, when they aren’t really comfortable with my diapers to begin with.) I love fitteds and covers for the newborn stage! I really dislike all-in-twos.

So, what should I choose?

That is up to you. You shouldn’t feel like you have to choose just one system. I knew that in the beginning, it would make it easier for The Pastor if I only had one system. But many families use on system at home and one system while out. Or one system during the day and another at night. Choosing an easier system at first will make your transition into cloth easier. (Some people find prefolds very frustrating and quit cloth diapering because of these frustrations.) It is up to you!

A note about one size diapers: I often find that I would have probably liked sized diapers, too. There are several brands of one size diapers that require internal adjustment of either the diaper or the insert, that defeat my “one stash” goal. Also, diapers don’t last forever, so with one size diapers now on their third bum, I find they get very worn out. It might have been just the same to buy the various sizes and end up with more diapers, lasting longer. As it is, I must replace my diapers when they’ve had enough. I once thought one size diapers would save me money, and if I had one child, they would. But since I’ve now cloth diapered 3, I find that I would have spent the same, either way.

Happy Diapering!!! (You can check out my reviews of each of my diapers in the “Off The Bum” category.)

You do what?

I am frequently asked many, many questions about cloth diapering. I know I had the same questions before I chose to make the switch to cloth. I figured I would make a list and answer the common cloth diapering questions I get. (This will not cover certain laundry specific questions, that is another post entirely!)

Do you REALLY save money cloth diapering?

Oh my, yes! I save a lot of money! Here is the actual breakdown:

Disposables: $10.99/pack (We used Seventh Generation Diapers before we switched to cloth because of my kid’s sensitivities to the chemicals in disposable diapers.) We used about 2 packs every week. So, that is $1,142. 96 per year (before tax) on diapers alone. (or $95.25 per month.) Add the $16 a month for a box of wipes and that is $1334.96 a year. (or $111.25 a month.) Add the $5 a month for the diaper genie refill. So, your grand total for disposables comes to $1394.96 a year. ($116.25 a month)

Cloth Diapers: The average price of a cloth diaper is $18, so I will use that number as my estimate. (Some diapers are more, some are less. I have quiet the mix.) So, based on that figure, I’d have 24 diapers for the same 2 kids in disposables we talked about above. That would be $432 in diapers. (My own personal diaper stash actually cost me less than $300.) And lets say you buy wipes (I made mine from flannel scraps for FREE), that would be $21 for 30. So, now our total is up to $453. Now, let’s also say you decided to buy wipe solution. That would add $21. (I buy mine for $3.50 a container and if I used a lot of it, I’d use one container every 2 months. As it is, I actually use one container about every 3 or 4 months.) Now our total is up to $474. Add two diaper pail liners at $33 for 2 and our total is now $507. (I made mine for FREE from some leftover home decor fabric I had lying around.

So, not attempting to be economical in both situations, you would save $886.96 by switching to cloth in one year. (And note that beyond that year, you continue to save more money! Your only continuing expense with cloth in this scenario is wipes solution.

What do you do when they poop?

Well, first I run in circles screaming before throwing all their clothes in the fireplace and burning them! Okay, so not really. But what do you do when your kid poops? Let’s see… you change their diaper? Wow? Really?! Me, too!

First off, let me clear the air. You are NOT SUPPOSED to roll your child’s poop up in their diaper and toss it in the trash. Human excrement is not a substance that should go to a landfill. You are SUPPOSED to dump their poop into the toilet and flush it, then throw away the soiled diaper. That said, I don’t know of anyone that uses disposable diapers that does not throw away poop! But in case you ever wondered, you are not supposed to do that!

There is a huge misconception out there that you must rinse or swirl dirty cloth diapers in the toilet or place them in some vat of magic poop erasing solution to clean them. You don’t. There are some people out there that still choose to rinse diapers or use a “wet pail” system for whatever reason, but that is not the norm. (It is usually only for people that use prefolds or flats, though some people like rinsing.) Most cloth diapering families simply dump the poop in the toilet (as everyone SHOULD- just teasing you) and then place the dirty diaper in their diaper pail. With exclusively breastfed babies, you don’t even have to dump the poop! WHAT?! Yes, the poop in water soluble and in easily rinsed off in the washer. A cold water rinse in the washing machine prior to your wash cycle.

An added note on poop, flushing all poop down the toilet teaches your kid a very important life lesson. Poop always ends up in the toilet. It makes it easier to associate poop with toilets when they ALWAYS see poop going into the toilet. (And as young as 12 months, they can begin flushing their own poop down. Allowing you to introduce them to the potty in a non-threatening and non-expecting kind of way.) The toilet is never a “new” thing since it has always been part of the diapering process.

What do you do when you go out?

We all go commando. No, really? What do YOU do when YOU go out? You change your babies diaper. If there is no trash to illegally toss that poop in, then what do you do? You put your diaper in a bag and toss it when you can (or when you get home). That is not far from what I do. If there is a toilet, I dump the poop before putting the diaper in a bag to take it home. No toilet? I put the diaper, poop and all, into a bag and dump the poop when I get home. Yes, that can be gross. But I think about that $886.96 while I’m doing it. (I once wiped butts for a living, so clearly poop & money go hand in hand for me.) I don’t find it difficult to cloth diaper ALL the time. Some families do choose to cloth diaper at home and use disposables when out.

What do you do on vacation?

Wash diapers. Seriously. When we visit family, it is easy. You just wash in their washing machines for a few days. When we went to the beach last year, we stayed in a condo that had a washing machine and dryer. Easy. If we are staying in a hotel, I will see if I can go the entire time without washing (if it is only one or two nights it is no problem at all). If I don’t make it, I then try to find a laundromat. (Disposable diapers can always be purchased if all else fails.) I have not found it to be a big deal at all. The main concern when we are heading out of town is to make sure all my diapers are washed and ready to go the moment we need to leave.

How do you sanitize them?

First, I think you think too highly of your chemical filled disposables. (Yeah, I know, a little harsh.) But seriously, you are wondering now what is lurking in my cloth diapers, so let’s imagine what chemicals are lurking in yours. (Think about the bleaches, fragrances, creepy gel filling stuff, etc.) Now, let’s talk about mine. My diapers are washed in HOT water. That plus the detergent takes care of most everything. I then dry my diapers on low heat, but after removing the PUL parts, I dry the inserts (the absorbent parts of my diapers) on high heat. That kills any bacteria that could be lurking about. Some people use a BacOut solution to get rid of harmful stuff. I think hot water and high heat are enough. (When you kids begin to potty train, what do you do if they wet the bed, their clothes, etc? You wash and dry it. If it is enough for your towels, it is enough for your diapers.)

Isn’t it gross?

Well, having kids is a fairly messy ordeal in and of itself. Changing diapers is never a CLEAN event. Kids poop. And they vomit and snot and spit all over, too, but that is beside the point. But washing diapers is no more gross than having to take out the diaper genie trash. It is also no different having a diaper pail full of cloth diapers next to your changing table than it is to have a disposable diaper pail there. You reuse your undies. Your toddlers reuse their undies. You don’t have to personally grab poop with your bare hands. You aren’t tossing dirty diapers around your house like mini time bombs. I’m not sure what is so “gross” about the concept. It is kind of funny to me that most men ask this. As if men are THAT clean? I mean, really. Your underwear are 10 years old and you’ve got rock hard pit stains on your under shirt and you think washing and using a diaper again is gross. Okay, dude.

Isn’t cloth diapering difficult?

Can you use your washing machine? Oh, you can? Well, then you won’t find cloth diapering difficult at all.

What about wasting water? Isn’t that as bad as filling up a landfill with poop?

Well, cloth diapering adds one extra load of wash a day to every other day (or every third day for some). You are going to add one toilet flush a day per child you cloth diaper. (For children eating solids and having solid poops.) That isn’t really THAT much. (Especially since that toilet flush shouldn’t really be EXTRA.) Believe me, teenagers do more water wasting than cloth diapering. (Unless it is a teenage boy in that “no bathing” stage they hit before they realize girls like clean boys.) To be honest, our water bill has not changed due to cloth diapering. If you live in an extremely dry place on SEVERE water restrictions, you probably would prefer to use disposables. But let’s all be clear and realize we are seriously talking about one medium load of laundry a day. You have to decide what makes sense for you and your community.

Don’t you have to change their diapers more often?

So, I know YOU wouldn’t ask this, but SOMEONE has. No, with cloth you cannot let a child sit in their urine all day without changing them. Yes, that creepy gel stuff in disposables does allow you to hold off for 8 hours until the gel part starts leaking down their legs. So, if you are accustomed to using 2 or 3 diapers a DAY for you child because you would hate to WASTE a diaper, then cloth diapering will seriously increase your diaper changes. You may even have to check on their diaper every 2 or 3 hours! Gasp! However, if you usually don’t like to let your child sit in urine, and change their diaper 6 to 8 times a day, cloth diapering will not increase the diaper changes you do.

On that note, cloth diapering can be very reassuring to a breastfeeding mom (especially if it is her first bay). With disposables, sometimes you wonder if it is really wet or not (especially on little babies) because that creepy gel stuff absorbs so much! If it is not OVERLY full, you wonder and worry. With cloth, you can clearly see if they are wet. You can feel the insert (or diaper) and easily see that, yes, they are wet. No wonder. No Worry.

Don’t cloth diapers leak a lot?

Well, if I left them for hours upon hours , then yes, they eventually leak. However, I have had far fewer poop leaks with cloth than with disposables. (Want to talk about gross? Newborn poo in their hair! That is gross!) Cloth diapers hold poop in much better than disposable diapers do. Like disposables, when babies get mobile, sometimes they shimmy their diaper into a weird position and will leak. It is true, cloth diapers do not hold as much liquid as the creepy gel in disposables. However, most parents do not use the full maximum absorbency that a disposable diaper has. (Except for those that throw dirty Huggies in the Wal-Mart parking lot. THOSE parents use that absorbency to the MAX!)

Won’t cloth diapers turn your child into a Democrat?

Not that I am aware. I’ll get back to you in 15 years when my oldest registers to vote.