Any mom who has successfully cloth diapered will tell you 2 things:
1. it’s addicting
2. it’s easy
But there are other more important reasons why cloth diapering is beneficial: it saves money, it reduces waste and protects your babies bum!
Because I wanted to know exactly what I talk about when I write these posts, I decided to start cloth diapering myself. Crazy to think I would be able to do it since I have 2 toddlers, and I admit it seemed very very hard, but I decided to commit. 3 months later I am loving it. Like everything it has it’s hard days (a day with multiple bowl movements), but for the most part it’s as easy as using a disposable diaper.
The first thing you need to know is the types of diapers:
-Prefolds= these are the diapers that our grandmas mostly used. They have 3 sides with a thicker center. It gets folded and secured with a snappy and a cover goes on top of it.
-AIO (All in One)= this is the type of diaper that is all together, the cover and the absorbent liner are sown in.
-Pocket= this diaper has a pocket where you insert one or multiple inserts (microfiber or bamboo are great) for absorbency.
-Hybrid= a diaper with different ways of using it.
After the type of diaper you need to know the different accessories:
-Snappy. Snappies are used in place of safety pins. They are used to secure the prefold diapers.
-Diaper cover= this is just a waterproof cover to put over the prefolds
-Wet bag= a place to put your dirty items in
-Liners= these can be placed on top of the diapers so that when stool is solid you can just pick up the liner and toss it in the toilet.
-Wipes= cloth wipes make sense to use with cloth diapers. They come in different materials like hemp, cotton or fleece.
-Wipe solution= you can make it yourself, just add water to a spray bottle and wet the wipe, or you can buy some solutions.
-Diaper sprayer= this is a spray hose that you can hook up to the toilet and rinse your diapers on the toilet. I haven’t found this to be of any use, but some people LOVE their sprayer.
The second thing is preparing. You need to know how many diapers you need, get detergent, prepare your diapers for usage. So on.
*When choosing which diaper to use (AIO, hybrid, pocket or prefolds). I recommend getting a couple of each. This is really a very personal choice. Some people love the easiness of AIO, while others like the versatility of hybrids. Trial and error is the way to go. But if you want start with pockets. Think about choosing between Pampers, Huggies or Luvs!
For a newborn you will need between 15-24 diapers. This really depends on how much your baby soils their diaper. (With my baby I started with 15).
For infants and toddlers, you can decide how many diapers you need based on the amount of times they need to get changed and also how often you want to do laundry. If you are going to do laundry every other day then you’ll never need more than 24 diapers, but if you are taking an extra day and plan on doing laundry every 2 days then you might run out of clean diapers. For example: my daughter is 3.5 months, she uses about 4 diapers a day and I do laundry every other night so I never really use more than 10 diapers before I do laundry.
For the detergent, you need to make sure that it is safe for cloth diapers, since you will be washing these quite often, you need to make sure that the detergent doesn’t strip the absorbency of the diaper. Here is a great chart on different detergents.
Once you pick a detergent (I have been using Charlies Soap-great with stains) and get your diapers you need to get them ready to use. This process is called “stripping”. This basically means to get rid of any chemicals that might be on the diaper. You can follow the manufacturers instructions or you can wash your diapers about 4-5 times some with cold water and some with hot.
The you are ready to begin!!!
To take care of the diapers just take the diaper of the baby, and toss it in the diaper pail If your baby has more solid stool then you’ll probably rinse it with the sprayer and then toss it in the pail. (You can get a diaper liner- which is a huge wet bag!). I just use a hanging wet bag in the bathroom. When you are ready to do the laundry follow these steps:
~Take the insert out (if you are using a pocket).
~Toss everything in the machine, including the wet bags
~Run a cold cycle in the machine
~Add detergent and run a hot cycle
~Rinse in cold water
~Hang to dry. I don’t have a line outside so I hang them to dry in a drying rack in the hallway. If you have a line take use of it. The sun is a great tool to keep the diapers stain free. I like to hang everything to dry, but you can choose to hang the covers and dry the inserts in the dryer. This is what I use to hang my diapers
After they dry I get them ready to go, by either stuffing the inserts or folding them the right way. There are many ways to store the diapers, mine are in a drawer.
Here is a list of super helpful websites were you can not only get diapers, you can also score pretty good deals. Get detergent, tips and other specials.
Have fun… Let us know how you cloth diaper!!