Using cloth diapers has been a wonderful adventure the last 14 months. I started when Beckett was about 6 weeks old. His bum rash was all it took for me to switch over. There wasn’t a single disposable diaper that didn’t give him a horrible red rash all over his sweet little bottom.
To be honest, I didn’t even know that ‘modern cloth diapers’ even existed. Until my mom suggested to find some and try them out, I would have never seen them as an option. While I was pregnant with B, I realized how much I didn’t know about babies, breast feeding, sleeping, cribs, bed-sharing/co-sleeping, etc. There is so much that comes along with a new baby!
I have been wanting to write this article for a while, seeing that B is over a year now and cloth diapering keeps getting easier and easier. I hope that you are able to benefit from my experiences and have the strength to start or continue cloth diapering!
Just like breastfeeding, some people decide to cloth diaper and some decide not to. Some people, like myself, didn’t even know about it!
My brother was living with us since B was about 3 months old. Only having one room for us and B was sometimes a challenge. It was really fun for B to have his uncle to play with and create an everlasting bond. In our bedroom, we had a shelf that I used bins to organize his clothing on. One big white bin stored his cloth diapers after I stuffed and prepped them for use. I also had another bin where I kept extra inserts, disposable liners, and covers.
Now that B has his own ‘toy’ room (he still sleeps with us!), I have moved all of his belongings except some blankets and overnight diapers out of our room. Someday I shall try to get him to sleep in his own room. Anyways, we have this awesome organizer in his closet that makes life so easy. As you can see I use one cube to store his diapers. It is a little tight, so I have an extra bin in the top of the closet that I use for the extras.
It doesn’t matter too much where you store your diapers. As long as they have air to breath and aren’t packed tight into a non-breathable space, they will be just fine. You don’t have to stuff them ahead of time either; I do think it is easier to do it right when your diapers come out of the dryer. Then you aren’t scrambling to find things when diaper change time comes.
Soiled Diaper Pail
We don’t want stinky diapers stopping us from doing cloth! Using a wet bag or wet pail will keep the smell away. Of course, every time I open our pail I get a nice whiff of stinky diapers. Other than that, the wet bag liner and the lid keep the smell inside. For the first 5 months I used a medium sized wet bag to store dirty diapers until laundry day. It was the only wet bag I had, so once it was full I would do a load, or I would use a plastic bag for more storage. I then found a good deal on some second hand diapers and a pail on kijiji. Ever since, I have done laundry about every 2-3 days. By then, there are several poopy diapers and the bin is about full.
I also use cloth diapers when we go out to church, my mom’s house, trips to my mother-in-laws, activities around town, etc. Wet bags are perfect for this. I have 3 that I can alternate between in case they get dirty. If the diapers are only in there for a couple hours I just wipe out the wet bag with a warm soapy cloth and let it dry. They don’t need to be washed as often.
We moved into the house we live in right now when B was 3 months old. In our last place we had a regular sized washer and dryer and the wash routine was simple for the cloth diapers. Since moving, we have sadly had to suffice with an apartment sized washer and dryer. Now, some people hand wash their diapers, so really I should not be complaining at all ha-ha!
Whether you use a regular size, apartment size, or you hand wash your diapers, you first need to pre-wash your diapers. This helps clean out the pee and poop before the wash cycle. After you do a cold or warm rinse, a full HOT wash and cold or warm rinse is needed. On my washer I only have a hot/cold, warm/warm, or cold selections. I use a cold rinse cycle, and a hot/cold for my wash cycle.
When the diapers are done in the washer I have a habit of smelling them to make sure they smell nice and clean! If there is any hint of stink, I run a rinse cycle on HOT with some tea tree oil and some detergent. I don’t agree with using homemade detergent or baking soda in-place of detergent. You are washing human feces off of diapers… You need to be using detergent. Make sure it is cloth diaper safe, of course. I always use Tide, unless we can’t afford it.
Well, we can’t forget about the poop. If there isn’t a disposable liner in his diaper, I either shake the poop off into the toilet or dunk and swish. Yup. It is gross. No one likes doing it. But it has to be done. I get kinda lazy about remembering to put the disposable liners in his diapers. I am for sure grateful when I do!
If your baby is still exclusively breast fed, you can just throw the diapers in your wet bag/pail and they can go through the wash with all the other diapers. No extra cleaning. Once your baby starts to eat anything besides breast milk, the poop has to be cleaned off and disposed of in the toilet.
Diapers and Inserts
In my previous articles I did reviews on some of my favorite diapers! I absolutely love AlvaBaby and Kawaii. These diapers are great from the newborn stage all the way to potty training time. Although I started cloth at 6 weeks old, these diapers are adjustable and can be made to fit a tiny 8 lbs baby. If you are interested in learning more about using cloth diapers overnight, check out my article about overnight cloth diapering solutions.
I won’t repeat myself here, but I will tell you that it is possible to use cloth diapers overnight. Even if your baby is a heavy wetter. There were months on end where B would pee through his diaper half way through the night. Which means he and I are both wet. He hates having a cold and wet diaper throughout the night, so I normally would change him once in the night after one of his feeds. This last week, he has been peeing a lot less overnight! Although, he still feeds as often as a newborn.
As for inserts, I love my bamboo inserts. I have bamboo, microfiber/bamboo and some cotton pre-folds that I use paired with a microfiber insert. Each day diaper has 2 inserts, and overnight diapers have a mixture of all of the inserts to have maximum absorbency.
Accessories and Disposable Liners
As for accessories… Some days I wish I had a diaper sprayer! But honestly, using disposable liners is cheaper and easier. B will ‘hopefully’ only have peanut butter poop for a few more months. The more food baby eats, the more solid the poop. If you can, try to tough it out with disposable liners and occasionally having to dunk and swish. A diaper sprayer would be handy, but they can be expensive. Since I know we will be having more babies and using cloth diapers, investing in one would actually be a good idea. So maybe round 2 we will look into it more.
Wet bags are fantastic! They make cloth diapering so easy when you are out and around town. Church, library time, swimming, wherever it is you go wet bags contain it all. I have 3 small that I alternate between. I also have an older medium sized one that my mom used for us when we were in diapers. They last forever if you take care of them.
I have tried AlvaBaby and Bumkins disposable liners. I love the AlvaBaby liners because they are long enough to cover from front to back. Sometimes I put 2 liners in because they aren’t as wide as the Bumkins. The Bumkins liners fold over and become wider, but they are a few inches shorter than the AlvaBaby liners.
A Day In The Life...
Cloth diapers are awesome. They can be hard work for sure, but I think the benefits are worth it. I know that B is comfortable all day and all night. There aren’t chemicals that cause rashes, or tabs that can irritate skin. Honestly, I don’t mind doing the laundry. It is one extra load every couple of days. I love stuffing the diapers and sorting and organizing them. Strangely it is a way for me to relax!
Occasionally B will get a little rash although it doesn’t last more than a day or two. I use 4-5 diapers a day and 1-2 overnight. If we have disposables, then I just use 1 overnight unless it leaks. Using cloth diapers for over a year now has taught me a lot. I have learned some valuable lessons about saving money, having patience, how to persevere, and why people can’t stay away from buying cute patterns!! We will definitely use cloth with all our babies. I’m hoping my stash right now can at least last for another baby or two.