cloth diapers 101

when i was pregnant and told people we were planning to use cloth diapers the typical response i received was, “ya, right.” well, we’re 16 months into it and i’m happy to say we are still using cloth! once we were educated on the many benefits of cloth diapers it seemed like a no brainier, and we’ve never looked back. since we often get questions on what using cloth diapers is all about i thought i would go over the basics today. if you have any questions or are interested in learning more, contact me!

cloth diapesr 101 | pros and cons | on
the why
the idea of our baby sitting in chemicals all day, every day for years really alarmed us. in addition to that, the awareness that millions of poop filled diapers are sitting in landfills really grossed us out. and finally, cloth diapers can be a significant cost savings. if you launder them yourself, the cost over three years will be between $800 and $1100 {half as much as disposables}. and diapering a second child will only cost you the laundering (about $400 for three years). we’re not overly organic or crunchy people but cloth diapers intrigued us so we decided to learn more. we had a couple friends that used cloth and liked it. if they could do it we could too, right? so we visited the amazingly knowledgeable ladies at modern natural baby and got even more excited. we took one of their cloth diapering classes, asked a bunch of questions about what products we needed and how many and they were so patient with us! then we watched a bunch of youtube videos on how to fold them and put them on a baby and practiced on ken’s childhood bear herman while waiting for baby braga to make its appearance!
cloth diapesr 101 | pros and cons | on
the supplies
this is often referred to as your “stash”. if you’re new to cloth, you’ll need to purchase a few staple items in order to be successful. like anything, buying cloth diapers and accessories can get out of control quickly. here’s what our stash consists of:

prefolds – prefolds are the absorbent cotton layer you put on before the diaper cover. the type we have come in sizes, so we’ve had about 20 of each size since annabelle was a newborn {she is just about to outgrow the medium size at 16 months}. luckily, we received these as a hand me down from one of ken’s friends who no longer needed them, so it was a bit of a cost savings.

covers – covers are the waterproof outer layer that goes over your prefold {or any other type of diaper that doesn’t come with a cover built-in}. we like the blueberry brand the best but have a few others as well. covers are fun because they come in bright colors and fun patterns, so you can really express your personality through your diapers! we probably have about 6-8 covers total.

snappi fastener – this secures your prefold so it stays folded under the cover. it’s much safer than pins, which is what your parents might have used. we have 3 snappi’s.

all-in-ones – we have a variety of all-in-one diapers from different brands and i don’t really have a strong preference on which brand works best. i will say these are a total nice to have and we typically only use ours when we’re out and about or all of our covers are in the wash. they’re a bit slimmer under clothes than a prefold + cover and are moderately more convenient to use since like the name says, everything {absorbent layer + cover}  is all contained within one diaper. just like covers, they come in a ton of super cute patterns. they’re also more friendly for family members or friends who might be changing your baby’s diaper, since they go on the same way as a disposable. we have 8 all-in-one diapers.

overnight diapers – one of the great things about cloth diapers is that they’re made from natural materials so they’re much more gentle on your baby’s skin. but because they don’t contain any chemicals or other magic, they’re just not as absorbent as a disposable. we use a fitted diaper overnight for annabelle that has increased absorbency due to it’s bamboo/fleece material and extra inserts. paired with a cover these can last 12 hours and i would consider annabelle to be a heavy wetter. they’re pretty bulky under her pj’s, but still have to be more comfortable to sleep in than a disposable diaper. we have two fitted overnight diapers, but i think 3-4 would be a safer number because sometimes we’re scrambling before bedtime when the diapers are in the wash.

wet bags and pail liners – we have two diaper pails, one in annabelle’s room for pee diapers/covers, and one in the bathroom for poop diapers. the reason they’re separate is because now that she eats solid food we have to spray her poop off of the diaper {and into the toilet} before we can put it into the diaper pail. we have 3 liners so that we have a backup for when the other two are in the wash. a wet bag serves the same purpose as a pail liner but is for when you’re out of the house. we have 2-3 wet bags of varying sizes. now that annabelle is a bit older we typically only go through 1-2 diapers during an outing unless we’re out all day so our wet bags don’t have to hold many more diapers than that.

cloth wipes and spray – we made the decision early on that we were going to use cloth wipes along with our cloth diapers. they’re easy to use {and wash} and we never run out. you can buy the spray or make your own, we like this one. spray, wipe, done.
cloth diapesr 101 | pros and cons | on
cloth diapesr 101 | pros and cons | on
the washing 
this is one of the parts of the cloth diaper process that intimidates people but it’s really very easy! about every 2-3 days we do a load of diapers, which i’ve convinced myself has to be easier than running to target in the middle of the night to buy diapers! we empty both pail liners right into the washing machine, so no one is sifting through or sorting any soiled diapers. first we run a quick wash to rinse the diapers, with no soap. when that cycle ends we add regular old tide {the powder version} and run our machine’s bulky cycle using hot water. after that we do another rinse and then throw the diapers in the dryer for 90 minutes on low. voila, fresh diapers!
cloth diapesr 101 | pros and cons | on
the poop
so this is the most alarming part, right? honestly, it’s not that bad. if you have kids you already know that you’re going to be spending a lot of time changing diapers and that’s going to involve a lot of poop. it just is. the first 6 months are the real honeymoon period. if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, and not supplementing with any formula or solid food, the baby’s poop is water soluble and can go directly into the washing machine – no spraying or scraping required. it’s awesome. at that time we only had one diaper pail next to annabelle’s changing pad and life was sweet. at 6 months we started solids, so things got a little more real. we bought a diaper sprayer, which hooks onto the toilet in the bathroom next to annebelle’s room. we also added another diaper pail to that bathroom, so we didn’t have to walk very far with a wet diaper. when i say diaper pail i mean garbage can. we use this one. so annabelle poops. we change her diaper, and if the wipes aren’t too dirty we just throw them in the diaper pail in her room. then the diaper itself goes into the bathroom {after annabelle gets down from her changing table, we would never leave her unattended} and we spray the poop off of the diaper and into the toilet. the diaper goes into the pail and the poop gets flushed. because honestly that is what should happen with poop. it should get flushed down the toilet, i don’t care what type of diaper you use. the diaper pail doesn’t smell because the diapers are reasonably clean and i haven’t touched any more poop than i would with a disposable diaper. we’ve found cloth diapers cause fewer blowouts than disposables so really i’m probably touching less poop.
cloth diapesr 101 | pros and cons | on
the rest
that’s pretty much it! i’ve heard babies who wear cloth diapers are easier to potty train because they feel the wet, uncomfortable diaper more than they would in a disposable. i’ll keep you posted on that in a year or so. i also want to say that it’s not an all or nothing thing. annabelle’s daycare doesn’t use cloth diapers, so we buy disposables for them like all of the other parents. and sometimes we use disposables in our diaper bag, when we’re out and about. my personality tends to like to do something 100% or not at all but that’s just not realistic here. we love our cloth diapers and i don’t see that changing anytime soon. they were a bit of an investment up front but they last forever so it’s nice to know that we’ll be able to use them in the future if we have another child. and there is also a pretty good resale value for them, when we’re ready to be done with diapers. if you’re interested in trying cloth i definitely recommend finding a local baby store that sells them, because you’ll have a ton of questions and want to see the diapers in person before buying. if you’re in the metro detroit area i highly recommend modern natural baby!

have you ever thought about using cloth? do you think it’s something you’d try? i’d love to hear!

Cloth Diapers 101

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