If you were wondering how to get on the right foot to cloth diaper success you are at the right place. With all the lingo out there you may feel overwhelmed with where to start. Take a breath my friend, I’ve gone before you and here are the nuggets of cloth-diapering gold to get you off on the right foot.
Whether you want to cloth diaper because it is more affordable, because it’s environmentally responsible or because it’s hip and was featured in Vogue Magazine – cloth has proven to me, to be the only way to diaper. At the moment you may be on the fence about cloth, or totally in! But before we get going I want to tell you, once you get the lingo and start doing it – cloth diapering is *not* hard. Whew – now you can relax about that!
Being environmentally conscience is a big deal to me, especially when we are talking about the very people we are leaving the planet to are our children. You probably know that it is estimated to take 500 years for one disposable diaper to biodegrade (is there really anything “bio” about that?) and that disposable diapers are one of the top 5 items that are filling up landfills in America. I’m sure you’ll nod with me in agreement – that is pretty irresponsible and unsustainable.
Ok, I’ll get off my soap box about that.
Below, I have created this guide for you to follow along. I’ve put this guide together in this fashion: where to learn, what we did and a pro tip for your consideration. You’ll want to venture off to my links and videos and come back here for the next step.
At the bottom of this article you’ll find FAQ and additional resources I used for things such as cloth creams, storage ideas, and a few other things we’ve learned along the way.
WHAT KIND of diapers, are right for you?
Where to learn: I have already blazed the trail and vetted out the good and bad information for you. Visit this video on the ObbsAndLala Channel from YouTube. Kayla, from ObbsAndLaLa, was the perfect resource for me to understand what I was getting myself in to and what questions to ask. She has a wealth of videos that are well laid out. Take the time. You will thank yourself. You can learn just about everything on her channel (minus your wash routine – see below).
What we did: We chose One Size (OS) pocket diapers because they can be pulled apart to dry fast and the absorbency is very customizable which means it can grow or shrink to your childs needs. I purchased 4 different pocket diaper brands including Bum Genius 4.0 (BG’s), Angelicware, Alvas and Kiawaii. For the sake of brevity, our 5 dollar diapers (Alvas) work just as well as our 17 dollar diapers (BG’s). We like the BG’s the most simply because the snaps are easier to line up during middle of the night diaper changes. We are VERY happy with the pocket diaper style.
Pro Tip: For the first two weeks until the cord falls off – we chose to use disposables and I would recommend that.Often, cloth mama’s will use disposables for the first few weeks while adjusting to life with a newborn. Once the cord falls off and the belly button is completely healed and dry – start with cloth. We used small (not newborn!) Green Mountain Diaper prefolds and covers for the remainder of the newborn stage because the prefolds can later be used as extra absorbency in the one size pockets. My advice, don’t get any “newborn” size cloth if saving money is your motivation – get the next size up, which is small. It will be a more versatile purchase for you.
HOW TO WASH your cloth diapers!
Where to learn: When people claim cloth diapering as “a disaster” or “hard” it’s usually because they didn’t get a wash routine specific to their washer. Just like you wash your delicate items different than your bulky items – there are different wash routines for each type of washer to get perfectly clean cloth diapers. So before you have your baby you need to know your water hardness, buy a cloth approved laundry detergent (not all detergents are cloth-safe!) and have a wash routine that is “cloth approved” as well. Click here to go to Fluff Love University and check out the cloth safe detergents and the appropriate routine for your washer. Or visit the group on Facebook here.
*note* this group has over 100K members, if you do not get a response in 1-2 days post again including the photo of your washer mentioning that you did not receive a response! Nobody is ignoring you – it’s just a huge group!
What we did: When I was about 32 weeks pregnant with my first, I made sure I had my cloth diaper stuff ready to go. I got on FaceBook to the fluff love and CD Science page posted a picture and description of my washer and asked for an admin approved wash routine. Once I got a routine, I took a screen shot of the directions and saved it to my desktop so I could find it fast.
Pro Tip: Before you have your baby, GET A WASH ROUTINE. Do not wait until your baby is here. You need to know well ahead of time before your snuggly little bundle arrives about your water hardness, cloth-safe detergent and wash routine if you are going to be successful with clothing. If you are a FaceBook user join the “Fluff Love and CD Science” group and ask for an “admin approved wash routine” Right now….Before you have your baby. 😀
I have to say, the only cloth purchase I regret is this thing….. MAJOR disappointment. It’s way to small, and you have to take the lid off everytime! Which sounds like it’s no big deal, but trust me, it is. I would highly suggest not wasting your money – get a trash can with a lid that opens when you step on the lever like this wonderful one! Oh, and you will need cloth diaper pail liners, I like these from Planet Wise. Get two.
Other Resources and Tips from my experience
I used these U shape floating shelves from Amazon to display my diapers
This cloth safe diaper cream Organic Awesome Baby Balm from a small shop in Boulder, Colorado is the shit!
These OsoCozy prefolds worked great for us, during the newborn stage
We also are using these microfiber cloth wipes pictured here:
^ We call this “spa baby”. I use two table spoons of coconut oil and warm water mixture and take the cut-in-half micro cloth, roll it up and dunk it, squeeze it then I put the stack of them in the wipe warmer. *note* you’ll only need to cut about 30 in half and you’ll want to wash them after cutting in half to rid them of loose fabric pieces. It works great! Although I have linked the wipe warmer, I do think there are other options that may be just as good or better. So bare in mind when you are selecting your own.
What do you do with the poop?
-As long as you are breast feeding your baby, you do not need to worry about “doing anything with the poop”. You will put all of your dirty diapers, just as they are, in to the washing machine to wash with your admin approved wash routine 🙂
If formula feeding, diapers will need to be rinsed first, or a liner like Viva paper towels can be used. Some mamas like to use fleece blankets from wal-mart cut up in to liner sizes – only the poops need to be thrown away – urine diapers can still go directly in to the washing machine.
Once solids start, solids will need to be knocked off before washing. Or, follow formula feeding instructions 🙂
What are the best cloth diaper brands?
This is a personal quest. Much like the California fish taco…. Nobody can really answer this for you. I would say figuring out if you expect a big or small baby is the best shot at deciding “which is the best”. My baby we almost 9 lbs, so the one size diapers fit pretty fast. However babies with smaller legs tend to do better in prefolds and covers till their legs fill out.
How can I check my water hardness?
You can order “water hardness test strips” which are essentially fish tank strips, or you can take your water in to the aquatics section of your local pet store and they will test it for you to let you know your water hardness level.
How often do I wash my diapers?
You shouldn’t let your diapers sit more than 5 days. With that said, it is good to wash them every 3-4 days.
How many diapers do I need?
For us, this number only needed to be enough to get us through 3-4 days. Which came to be 36 pocket style diapers for us. I begin my diaper laundry when I am down to 4-6 diapers.
I don’t have a lot of money to invest, I don’t want to spend a lot of money or can I purchase them second hand questions.
Second hand – Absolutely! Websites like offerup.com are a great place to find 2nd hand cloth. Be aware though, you will want to strip 2nd hand cloth to be sure it is absorbent and clean.
My stash was totally brand new, I have 36 pockets, roughly 12 prefolds, 2 covers. I bought all of my diapers, plus two pail liners, the expensive (waste of money) trash can and wipes for under $500. Getting involved with Co-ops can help save a lot of money, if you are making big purchases and have the time to wait on shipping.
Also, prefolds and covers are known to be the least expensive option for cloth. I’m not sure how this works out, as you will need more absorbency, but I believe you can get a prefold and cover stash that is 3-4 days for around 200-300 total investment.
Ok, so I’ve bought my diapers….What does the process look like?
Once a diaper has been soiled, you will put it in to a “wet bag” which can be washed with all the diaper laundry! It’s easy, instead of the diapers going in to a trash bag, they go in a wet bag and if your baby is EBF – the whole kit and kaboodle goes straight in the wash. If you are using pockets, you will want to make sure you separate the insert from the pocket cover.
I can’t stress how EASY this is once you get going. I never have to find a trash can, baby never gets diaper rash, and we almost never have a blow-out, pooped all over outfit. Which most of my disposable mamas seem to have daily. We haven’t had that happen in MONTHS!
Thanks so much for stopping by! I sure hope I’ve been of help. I do not make money off of the referenced links above I’m simply hoping to help heal the earth one person at a time (hugs tree).
Cheers, and happy clothing!