If you are considering cloth diapering but haven't made the plunge yet, do it. Seriously, you won't regret it. The cloth diapers on the market today aren't your grandma's nappies. They are cute, absorbent, and (in the long run) very affordable. I know they sound like a lot of work, but once it's part of your routine you'll hardly even notice the laundering. And you'll never have to run out to the store just for a box of diapers again!
There is a wealth of information around the web on cloth diapering, and I don't really have anything new or profound to add to it, but I do feel that sometimes a glimpse into another person's life and routine can be helpful. So here it goes...
If you are confused by all the different types of cloth diapers available, here is a great article detailing the pros and cons of each.
We use mostly Charlie Banana One-Size Pocket Diapers. They are adjustable in the leg gusset, so we are able to use the same diapers on our 3 month old as we do on our 20 month old twins. They don't require a diaper cover and are easy enough for babysitters and nursery workers to figure out.
We also have Bummis Organic Pre-folds that we use with some adorable diaper covers from this etsy shop.
For my three kids in diapers I have a total of about 30 pocket diapers plus 6 diaper covers and some pre-folds.
Once you are washing diapers anyways, there is little point buying disposable wipes. Our cloth wipes are mostly just unhemmed squares of flannel from extra receiving blankets.
When we originally started using cloth wipes we had a spray bottle of homemade wipe solution and a basket of wipes at the changing table, but now we just keep a basket of cloth wipes in the bathroom and wet one when we're on our way to change a bum. Plain water works great and doesn't cost a penny!
The only down side to cloth wipes is that I always forget to take some with us in the diaper bag. I keep meaning to buy a pack of disposable ones just for the diaper bag, but I always seem to forget!
Diaper Rash Creams
Most diaper rash creams aren't recommended for cloth diapers because they will destroy the absorbency of the diaper. I now use a small amount of coconut oil to treat diaper rashes and have found it to work quite well without destroying the diapers. Plus, it smells great and is a safe, natural choice!
When I change a diaper I immediately flush any solids down the toilet and place it in a giant wetbag that hangs on hooks behind the bathroom door (I bought it from this etsy store.)
Originally we hung the wetbag on the bathroom doorknob, but that broke the doorknob. You'll want to screw your hooks into wall studs, the bag gets quite heavy once filled with wet diapers!
We don't own a diaper sprayer. I know some people swear by their diaper sprayer, but we manage fine without one. Once, when my grandmother was visiting, she saw me struggling to shake some stuck-on solids off of a cloth diaper and she took it from my hand, plunged the thing into the toilet water and flushed. The swirling water took away the mess easily and quickly.
I wash our diapers almost every day, but not always at the same time of day so it really kind of works out to every day and a half. I wash them in 3 basic steps:
- Rinse Cycle: Dump the contents of the wetbag (and the wetbag itself too if it's starting to smell funky!) into the washing machine and run it through a cold rinse.
- Hot Wash. Wash everything in a hot wash cycle with half the regular amount of laundry detergent (I use Nature Clean detergent). I know a lot of instructions say to wash in cold, and if that works for you it will certainly prolong the life of your diapers, but ours just weren't getting clean enough without the hot water. Make sure that the water level is set to it's highest setting so that there is lots of water to wash the suds away.
- Dry. If the weather is nice I hang everything out on the laundry line to dry. If it's raining or below freezing I hang all of the covers and pocket diapers on my indoor drying rack and put the liners for the pocket diapers,the pre-folds and the wipes in the dryer. Occasionally, if I'm in a real hurry I dry everything in the dryer. And then I slap my own hand and promise to never do that again....until next time.
Also, on Saturdays I run the diapers through a second hot wash, without soap, after the regular hot wash cycle is done. This is to make sure that I'm not collecting a soap build-up in the diapers.
I love my cloth diapers! If you have any questions about cloth diapering that I didn't address, please ask them in the comments below.
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