I’ve had this post in my head for awhile but finally had a chance to sit down and get some thoughts down. We have used cloth diapers for Molly since she was about 6 weeks old and I wanted to write up what has worked really well for us, what are some awesome cloth diaper products and what it really looks like to use cloth diapers for your little one. I think a lot of people misunderstand how much work is involved so I wanted to shed a little light on what is really is like. So here’s my thoughts and experiences on cloth diapering….
First the diapers that I use are BumGenius 4.0 pocket diapers and BumGenius Freetime diapers. I really love the BumGenius brand and started using them because back in St. Louis Cotton Babies has two brick and mortar stores and were great with helping a clueless pregnant soon to be mom get started. These two diapers are really similar but with the 4.0’s there is an insert that gets removed before washing and stuffed back in before using with the Freetimes it’s all built in together. There’s pros and cons to both but I really like have a combination of both. We also have about 26 diapers which is enough that I can wash diapers every third day which is two extra loads of laundry a week, that’s it. I also made a commitment to myself that I would buy only as many diapers that I need. I wanted to use cloth diapers to save money and if you are constantly buying more diapers because they are cute you really aren’t saving, so that’s what I’m sticking too. Maybe if we have another baby in the future I will splurge on some new diapers. Some other products that we use daily or almost daily are Plant Wise large wet bags (I have two so one is always available when the other is in the laundry), a Planet Wise medium size wet bag that I keep in the diaper bag. I also use a Prince Lionheart cloth wipe wipe warmer, and cloth wipes. The decision to use cloth wipes was a fairly easy one since I would be washing anyway it was easy to use cloth wipes and wash those along with diapers. Also when needed we use California Baby diaper rash cream because it is cloth diaper safe and no liner or anything is necessary. At nighttime Molly wears one of her Freetime diapers but we include a hemp insert so additional absorbency overnight. Finally I wash my diapers with BumGenius detergent and I have the dryer balls that Target sells. There are so many other cloth diaper accessories but again my thought is always been to try an save money so these are the essentials that we use. Some of those other things could certainly make life easier but this is what we have worked with.
Day to day I don’t think cloth diapering is really much different than using disposables especially in the beginning if your baby is exclusively breastfed. This is going to sound a little crazy but baby poop of a completely breastfed baby is water soluble and completely washes away and is safe in your washing machine. I know sounds nuts but it is absolutely is true. So for us before Molly started on solid food we simply changed her diaper and instead of putting it in the trash it went into the wet bag and then twice a week I would wash and dry. Also when I use a 4.0 diaper I remove the insert before putting it in the wet bag so that when it is time to wash I just dump everything into the washer wet bag too and wash. After starting solids things get a little more interesting with the poo. No longer could I just put her diapers in the wet bag, the poo needed to be dealt with. And this is when I bought my first convenience product. I got Bummi’s diaper liners which are just a really thin liner that goes on top of the diaper to catch the poo. Now these aren’t a perfect solution but they work well enough and make clean up so much quicker. Are they totally necessary no and there are plenty of times Molly has had a dirty diaper and I didn’t have a liner in the diaper and it’s fine, but it takes a lot longer to dunk the diaper in the toilet and swish it around to get the poo off. The liners make it so I can just take the liner and poo with it and flush it down the toilet. Sometimes a little dunking and swishing is still necessary but it’s pretty easy. I have heard of a lot of people installing a diaper sprayer and if we owned the home we are living in I would totally invest in one of these. Seems like it makes poo clean up much easier.
So when it comes to washing there are just a couple of steps….First the diapers get a rinse without soap, and then a complete hot cycle with detergent, and finally one more additional rinse. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries to figure out if you need more rinses or anything but if you have a traditional top loading washing machine your wash routine will look very similar to that. It gets a little more tricky if you have a front loader, not impossible but you have to sometimes trick your washer into thinking you have more in it so that you get enough water. Luckily there is a wealth of information online and when in doubt I have called Cotton Babies customer service line and always gotten great help. Once my diapers are clean the outer shells, Freetimes, and wet bag get hung up and set outside to dry in the sun, and all my inserts and cloth wipes go into the dryer with dryer balls to dry. I love drying in the sun because it will get out most of your stains. It’s pretty amazing. After everything is dry (and lets be totally honest here often clean dry diapers sit for a day or two on the drying rack) inserts get stuff, all diapers get folded and back into the drawer to be used once again.
That’s basically what we have and what we do. I absolutely love cloth diapering and I think the benefits completely out weigh the additional loads of laundry. It is such a convenience to never run out of diapers, no late night trips to the store when you realize you are out of diapers. I also love that I’m not constantly throwing diapers out. Babies go through so many diapers and it feels really good that Molly’s dirty diapers aren’t just sitting in a landfill somewhere, we just keep washing and using again. And I think that a cloth diapered booty is about the cutest thing ever. There are so many colors and prints so freakin cute, but also a little bit of a danger zone.
Finally I’ll leave you with just a couple of things to consider if you are thinking about using cloth diapers…not exactly cons but just things to consider. First the upfront cost of cloth is more than just buying a jumbo box of disposables, but since once you buy your diapers you are done so you end up saving tons of money over time initially it is a bit of an invest. I spaced out this cost by buying 6 diapers at a time and each time I got them I purchased when they were on sale for Buy 5 get one free. I also purchased one size diapers with snaps that way Molly is using the same diapers from day one they grow with her, and everything I read is that the snap closures hold up better over time. So far I would agree our diapers are still in great shape. Another thing is a cloth diapered booty is a little fluffier than a disposable one, so pants are going to fit a little different. Typically Molly wears pants a size bigger than she does shirts. There is a brand of jeans called Project Pamona that has jeans designed to fit a cloth diapered baby and they are awesome.
I think that just about covers it….we love love love our cloth diapers don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about cloth.