I have to confess… for everything else I do that is natural and organic, I was late on getting on the cloth diapering bandwagon… and I’m kicking myself for it now.
For our first two children, I used disposables and didn’t think anything of it. I thought cloth diapering was a thing that our mothers and grandmothers did because they didn’t have a choice, and the horror stories of wringing out diapers in the toilet and endless loads of laundry had no appeal to me!
A couple years and a couple kids later, I decided to revisit the diapering subject, at the suggestion of some close friends (thanks ladies!).
I quickly found out that:
- There are now MUCH better options for cloth diapering that when our mothers and grandmothers were doing it
- There are a LOT of chemicals in traditional diapers (what… you think that magic gel stuff that absorbs 100 times its weight in urine is natural?)
- Cloth diapers (even the top of the line ones) save money, especially if you have more than one child.
- Cloth diapering can actually be easy!
- The new cloth diapers are CUTE!
- They actually leak much less than disposables. I’ve only had a couple of leaks in the 7 months I’ve been cloth diapering our youngest, and no outfits ruined by yellow baby poop!
- There are a lot of brands of diapers that can fit baby from birth to potty training, so it saves space too!
- They hold their value, so you can actually sell them when you are done with them if you take good care of them.
Somewhat hesitantly, I decided to try cloth diapering and quickly found that I LOVE it!
I’m certainly not an expert (though maybe some of my friends who are vetrans will offer some advice in the comments section) but I’ve found a few tips that have helped along the way. If you haven’t considered cloth diapering, I’d definitely recommend looking into it!
From a financial perspective, I’ve read that each child costs about $2,000 to diaper and can contribute about 600,000 diapers to the landfills. You can get a couple dozen really high quality (even organic) cloth diapers for under $500 and they can last through several children if you take care of them.
If money is really tight, it is even possible to completely cloth diaper from birth to potty training for around $100 (some people spend that a month for disposables!)
Another huge benefit that I’ve noticed is that my kids who I’ve cloth diapered have gotten NO diaper rashes, which even with a good diet, were a regular thing with disposables. With my first baby, I found within a week that Huggies diapers created an awful rash, and most generic brands did too… Pampers were ok, but of course, more expensive.
One downside is that you can’t use diaper cream (unless you make it yourself) with cloth diapers, but I haven’t needed it!
For my 7 month old, I can put double liners in her diaper and she can go all night without it leaking and without it irritating her skin…
Another benefit is that children often potty train earlier in cloth diapers because (a) they are more aware of the wetness and connect the sensation faster and (b) mom gets tired of washing out the diapers and is more motivated to potty train (ahem…).
For all the benefits, the one thing that actually convinced me to cloth diaper, was this…
See, as much as I understood the benefits and how much healthier cloth diaper are… I knew that about the time that the poop really started to get nasty and needed to be washed out in the toilet… I’d probably be pregnant.
And morning sickness combined with sticking my hands in the toilet to wring out diaper…. not happening.
This diaper sprayer is what actually convinced me to cloth diaper. Basically, it is a sprayer that hooks into the clean water supply on your toilet (before it goes into the toilet!) and uses a high powered stream of water to clean the diaper without you touching any poop.
I also found out that if you are exclusively breastfeeding, you don’t even have to wash out the diapers (even poop!) at all until you start giving baby solids.
The biggest benefit, in my opinion, is that you are reducing baby’s exposure to chemicals. Disposables are plastic and contain chlorine, polyacrylate, and other chemicals that haven’t been proven safe for use on anyone, especially babies!
There is also a growing movement back to cloth diapering and a ton of support. If you don’t have local friends who are cloth diapering and can lend support like I do, there are online support communities like Diaper Pin and others, where you can find reviews, laundry help, special offers, and even people selling their gently used cloth diapers.
There are as many ways to cloth diaper as there are types of cloth diapers.
We have a mix of bumGenius, Fuzzibunz and GroBabys (aren’t those names cute too?). I love the simplicity of the GroBabys but they leak a lot more. Over all, I prefer the bumGenius and Fuzzibunz, and have about 2 dozen, which is enough for 2 kids if I wash every other day (which i highly recommend!)
I use a plain plastic trash can for the wet/dirty diapers. Sometimes I use an old pillowcase as a liner (it gets washed with the diapers) and sometimes I just put them directly in.
I don’t cover the trash can, or put any kind of liquid in it, though many people have special covers or a liquid method. I’ve never had much trouble with smell this way, but it definitely is a matter or personal taste.
I use homemade disposable wipes (omit the almond/olive oil) or use my homemade wipe solution on cloth baby wipes (baby washcloths work great and you can usually find them at garage or consignment sales).
To launder: I use a 1/2 cup baking soda in a cold pre-wash cycle that I let soak for 30 minutes. I then use a natural detergent like Rockin Green or Charlie’s soap, or my own soap (alternate) to wash. Occasionally, I use Dr. Bronners Sal Suds to strip the diapers.
Typically, I run another cool rinse cycle at the end to make sure all the detergent is out.
I run the liners through the dryer and hang the covers (outside in the summer, inside in the winter) to extend the life of the elastic.
For stains, the sun (summer especially) is great at bleaching! As soon as our dog isn’t quite so much of a teething puppy, I’ll be hanging them outside again.
Then, I just store the diapers in my little wooden crate (see above) and use like regular diapers. They work just like disposables, and are so much cuter! There are even artist series “designer” diapers and some are on sale right now.
If you are considering cloth diapering, I’d encourage you to do your own research and find out what kind of diapers work best for your family.
I have a couple dozen that are mostly bumGenius and some Fuzzibunz (and a few Grobabys, which are now GroVias). You can buy them by the dozen and save a lot of money. You can even find organic all in-one diapers which are extremely easy to use and wash, and which will fit baby from birth to potty training!
I also really highly suggest a diaper sprayer since it will save you time and gross factor!
Some diapers even have flushable liners, so you can just dump them in the toilet and they are ready to wash.
If you haven’t considered cloth diapering, please at least look into it. It’s so much better for baby’s skin and isn’t really much extra work for you. I’m still new at it too, but we can learn together
What do you think? Ever tried it? Any veteran cloth diapering moms or dads out there? Please leave your advice and tips below!