When I found out that I was pregnant, one of the first things I knew was that I wanted to cloth diaper. Thanks to Pinterest and many Blogs, there is a ton of great information available on cloth diapering and lots of helpful tips and tricks. I’ve had several friends ask me how we go about it, so I will describe what has worked for our family!
First, why I love cloth diapering:
Convenience. Savings. Environmental impact. Cuteness. There are a lot of reasons. Because we live in a small rural town, the fact that we never run out of diapers (or have to go buy more) is key for us. Stores close at 8:00pm. When we are low on diapers, we just throw a load in the wash, 2 hours later, viola! Clean diapers. So simple. Also, the idea of putting them out in garbage is stressful for me in so many ways. We don’t have to feel guilty about tossing them in the landfill. We never have to deal with the gross-factor of having dirty diapers inside of containers in our home. Not to mention in the bin outside of our home for animals to break into, tear apart and ultimately disperse all over the lawn – the “downside” of living so close to nature. I’m too weak in the stomach to handle that. They are also brilliant because they are so much less expensive. My husband’s thoughtful friends threw him a Diaper Party so we’ve ended up with tons of adorable cloth diapers and we only spent about 400$ total on our entire stash. We spend 27$ on the diaper detergent and have to buy that every few months (when she was 7 months old we had gone through 1.5 packages). There’s lots of different research out there on how much it actually costs to use disposable diapers, I’m sure it varies per kid, on average it’s around 3,000$ or more per child. That’s very costly compared to what we’ve spent, not to mention we can use them for our future children as well. It’s not just about the money though. It costs much more than this in environmental costs and health risks to our babies and the planet. This is something that I could go on and on about. It’s a massive problem that desperately needs to be addressed. However, because you are reading this, you are already thinking about cloth diapering, so let’s get down to what worked for our family.
1. Rent Newborn Sized Diapers as a Trial Run.
My husband wasn’t 100% sold on the cloth diapering thing at first and it’s true that it’s not for everyone (although I think it should be!). So, I didn’t go out and buy a bunch of diapers right away. I had read again and again that to try a few types and brands and pick what works best for you and your baby. With that in mind, before Audrey arrived I rented the newborn sized BumGenius cloth diapers from a maternity store in town called Glow. What a great decision! Not only did we love them but it was affordable (50$) and gave us a couple of months to figure it out! That meant we could also try a few different types and brands of one-size-fits-all as she grew. Also, since some babies are only wearing newborn size for a week or two, it’s a great option instead of buying cloth newborn size.
2. Bum Wipes.
I hadn’t thought the bum wipe thing through. I bought a ton of little organic baby wash cloths and planned on using them as bum wipes. Those actually ended up being used as spit up rags and face cloths for baths and cleaning up messy meal times, they weren’t ideal for my intended purpose. A thoughtful friend of mine brought over some flannel reusable cloths as a gift when Audrey was 3 days old. They have been so perfect. The recipe we use for our wipes includes baby mild Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, organic olive oil, tea tree essential oil and lavender essential oil. Audrey absolutely loves these wipes and they are so easy. You just throw them in the bin/wash with the diapers. So simple. Making them takes less then a minute. I make them in a mason jar. My husband opted for the bum wipe warmer even though I was against it. I must say, our baby LOVES it. Great for the colder months up here in Canada. Good job dad.
3. Choosing a style/brand.
After all of the reading I did I was sure that our family would be getting mostly hybrid/2-in-ones as opposed to pocket diapers or all-in-ones. It seemed like it would make the most sense. I’m glad that most blogs out there suggest to try a few styles of diapers before you buy. It was very good advice. We ended up choosing the all-in-one BumGenius diapers that we were gifted at the diaper party to make up the majority of our stash. They are the closest to disposables and therefore the least amount of work which was key not only for me but to make sure that the system would work for my husband as well. I found that while I would take apart the pocket diapers and 2-in-ones to throw them in the laundry bin, my husband would not and they would go through the wash that way. While we still had the little newborn BumGenius diapers we began to try out a few different styles that were gifted to us: Flip, Funky Fluff, Lil Helper, Fuzzi Buns, and BumGenius FreeTimes. Like I said, the BumGenius ended up winning for our family, but we do use the 2-in-ones with extra thick “night time” inserts as well, we just don’t need nearly as many of them. We have about 30 BumGenius Freetimes and a variety of about 10 other types of cloth diapers. This is probably way more then necessary. We will never run out of clean diapers that’s for sure.
We were lucky to get a new washing machine as a gift when we got married. It’s pretty fancy in my opinion. Since we were figuring out the cloth diapering thing during my post-pardom weeks, my husband saved the day (again). He figured it all out and the system is perfect. Our washing machine has a “My Cycle” setting and he researched the diaper website, the detergent website and the washing machine website to find out exactly what to do. The cycle is a cold pre-rinse, hot cycle, steam, then cold extra rinse. The steam setting is not necessary but we have it to help get the “stank” out according to Jay. All I do is press the button and put in the Rockin’ Green laundry detergent in and away it goes. It takes about 2 hours and the diapers come out practically dry. They only need to be on the drying rack for a short period of time. To freshen them up we use the Rockin’ Green ‘Funk Rock’ in the precycle, and some vinegar in the spot that’s meant to release fabric softener. Every once and a while we strip them altogether using the instructions on the Funk Rock container. We also have the BumGenius Diaper Sprayer on the side of the toilet. Definitely necessary when the baby starts solid foods in my opinion! One tip I read about on the internet that totally works is using an laundry bin without a lid for the dirty diapers. When they are in a closed bin, they start to stink, this is not a problem without the lid! We wash the diapers every 2-3 days. It’s super fast and easy!
So, that’s it! I hope you find some of these tips helpful. Happy Cloth Diapering!