All About Cloth Diapers

When Jim and I decided we were going to use cloth diapers, we received lots of comments, chuckles and “good luck with that” remarks.  Little did these folks know that if and when you doubt us, we will work that much harder to prove you wrong.  Stubborn is what we know best :) 

I guess I should tell you why we decided to go the route of cloth.  For us it’s two fold… First up, the financial aspect.  Believe it or not, the cost of cloth diapering a child is far less than using disposables.  There is an awesome breakdown featured on this page of Diaper Decisions which basically boils down to this…

Disposables = approximately $2,600 over the course of the average child’s time in diapers
Reusables (aka: cloth diapers) = between approximately $400-$1,600 (strictly dependent upon the cloth diaper system you choose to use) over the course of the average child’s time in diapers

Right there, you’re looking at at least a $1,000 savings for your first child.  And if you plan to have a second or third, the diapers are able to be used for those kids as well meaning an even greater savings. 

Our out of pocket expense to cloth diaper Paige has been minimal for the sole reason that we utilized Amazon.com’s Universal Registry for one of our baby registries and were able to add a bunch of cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories to our registry.  Our very generous friends (who also cloth diaper their little ones!) gifted us with most of our stash and we couldn’t have been more grateful!

Our second reason is that it is obviously more Earth friendly.  Every now and then Jim and I get a little tree hugger-esq and this is one of those times.  If you use disposable diapers, you’re creating a half a ton of diaper garbage per year, per child.  And do you have any idea how long it takes for a disposable diaper to break down in a landfill? Up to 500 years.  Yes… FIVE HUNDRED.  That just seems insane to me.  This means that the very first disposable diaper that was created 40 years ago is still sitting happily balled up in the landfill under the heaps of other disposable diapers that are added to the pile every day. It will decompose by the time your great great great great great great great great great great great great grandchildren are born.

Ok… off my soap box.  Now to the fun stuff… CUTE cloth diapers :) Gone are the days of rubber pants and sticking your baby in the side with safety pins in an attempt to diaper them fast enough to contain poo-splosions. Modern day cloth diapers come in a range of styles, colors, and fits ensuring that there is a system out there for everyone who wants to give cloth diapering a go.  

In our house, we use a combination of Pocket style diapers and All In One style diapers.  We chose these two styles for their ease of use.  They are on the higher end of the price scale for cloth diapering but we wanted to make sure that the diaper we chose were simple to use for both us and our family (who will be watching Paige on occasion when mommy & Daddy want a date night!). As we get deeper into cloth diapering, we are finding that we prefer the All in One style just slightly over the Pocket style for no other reason that it helps us to avoid stuffing diapers, which is a time saver.

I’ve taken the liberty of photographing our storage of our diapers and accessories as well as each type we have in our stash.  If this post convinces just one person to give cloth diapering a try, I’ll feel successful :) On with the picture explosion! 

We have a long dresser that we use as Paige’s changing table and the top two drawers are dedicated to our diapers and accessories.  

The left drawer houses [from left to right]: 

Joey Bunz Hemp Doublers – hemp is a super absorbent fabric so we use these for overnight since little miss sleeps 12 uninterrupted glorious hours :)
Planet Wise Pail Liners – used to hold the dirty diapers inside a small trash can that sits on the floor beside the dresser
529 Baby Wet Bags + Itzy Ritzy Wet Bags – wet bags are great even if you aren’t planning to use cloth.  We use them for putting dirty diapers in when we’re out and about and don’t have access to our diaper pail but I also keep a spare in my diaper bag to use for soiled clothing, bathing suits, etc.  
Clothes pins – these were made by a friend of mine for my baby shower and come in very handy for line drying our diapers. Cute & functional!

The right drawer houses our cloth diaper stash! Look at all the pretty colors :)  


The top of the dresser has the changing pad on the left and on the right, sits a basket that is full of supplies needed for diaper changes as well and clean up in general.



Not only do we use cloth diapers, we use cloth wipes as well.  It really was a natural choice for us since it didn’t make sense to have two separate pails in the nursery; one for dirty cloth diapers with a pail liner and one for just dirty disposable wipes.  The cloth wipes are much more effective at cleaning the super dirty diapers and are awesome to have on hand to clean up a messy spit up faced baby too! To use, we spray a cloth wipe with water from the spray bottle in the basket and wipe away.  Easy peasy! I ordered my cloth wipes from etsy seller GreenLittleNest and have been pleased with them.

 

Lets explore the rest of that basket… I obviously keep the stack of cloth wipes and water bottle filled with room temp water (plain tap water, in case you were wondering). I also keep a bottle of California Baby Lotion, a tube of Aquaphor, a pack of Mustela Face Wipes, and a container of Boogie Wipes on hand.  The Aquaphor is not a cloth diaper safe diaper cream but works awesome on Paige’s spit up rash that she gets under her chin.  The Mustela Face Wipes are great for a mid day clean up and Boogie Wipes… well, they’re for wiping up boogers. Duh.  

As far as a cloth diaper friendly diaper cream, we use CJ’s BUTTer.  It’s an all natural ointment that smells amazing and does a great job at keeping baby’s skin smooth and clear. We use it for not just her bottom but for our own dry skin too.  The scents available are amazing (Jim’s favorite is Monkey Farts just because the word fart is in it… men!) and it will last you forever.  Even if you don’t cloth diaper, I’d highly recommend picking up some to keep on hand for that super dry wintery skin that we all get.

As I mentioned earlier, we use a regular old small lidded trash can as our diaper pail.  It sits next to the dresser with a bottle of Bac Out on it.  The Bac Out is a great stain remover and we use it on spit up or poop stained clothes (Which, might I add, are practically nonexistent with cloth diapers! No blow outs make momma happy!).  Works super well. 
 

As for our diaper stash, we have a total of 32 diapers; 23 Pockets and 9 All in One’s. I feel like we have a good number, as we are able to wash every other day and have plenty to spare.  The largest chunk of our stash comes from bumGenius.  We have both their 4.0 Pocket style as well as their Freetime All in One style. Both are good, quality diaper and the brand is one of the most popular for this type of diaper.

Our stash of bumGenius 4.0 Pockets:
 

Our stash of bumGenius Freetime All in Ones: 
 

I’d have to say that my next favorite diaper after the bumGenius are the Swaddlebee’s Simplex All in One diapers.  These diapers are cute, trim, and require zero stuffing.  They also provide the versatility to add absorbency with having a pocket that the all in One liner slides into.  I can see this being helpful as Paige gets older. 
 

Because little miss sleeps 12 uninterrupted hours, we needed an overnight diaper that would contain her wetness for the duration.  We’re loving the Blueberry Pocket diapers with the one size insert.  They are a bit bulky on her but since she’s just snoozing, it’s not a big deal for us.   We sometimes add a hemp doubler to it but have yet to have to do this consistently.  
 

Another diaper I really like is by Rumparooz.  We have their Pocket style diaper and they’re the only one we have that has an inner gusset which, in my opinion, is an awesome way to help contain any poop.  And as a side note, I never thought I’d be writing an entire blog post dedicated to how I take care of my kids poop ;)
 

My least favorite All in One diaper would have to be my Thirstie’s Duo if for no other reason than the drying time.  Because of the thick, absorbent center fabric, it takes longer than any other diaper to dry.  Not the end of the world but I tend to use these last because of this.


The last style of diaper in our stash is a Pocket diaper by Oh Katy.  This manufacturer has recently announced that they’re going to be closing up shop and while I’m sad to see this happen, I’m not heartbroken.  They’re an okay diaper but I wouldn’t want them as my entire stash.  One thing I really like about these is that the front of the diaper is where the pocket opening is located.  This means that when you’re pulling the insert out of your cloth diaper, you’re less likely to bring poop with it.  Here I go again, talking about poop… 


I guess the last thing to cover would be washing and drying these bad boys.   I’ve finally settled into a wash routine that works for us and I never knew I’d be so happy to do laundry – cloth diaper laundry is FUN. 

We have a HE Front Loader by Maytag and our wash routine is as follows:
- Every other day we grab the pail liner out of the diaper and pail and take it downstairs, full of dirty diapers
- Open the door of the washer, dump the contents of the pail liner into the drum, turn the pail liner inside out and toss in.  Close the door.  Yes, I just closed the door on the poopy and wet diapers.  Know why?  Both breast milk and formula poop is water soluble meaning there is no prep before washing.  All the ickies get washed away in the washing machine.  Told ya it was easy!  (Once we add solids and purees into the mix, there will be some poo removal before washing but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it). 
- Run a cold wash/ cold rinse, max extract load with no soap.
- Come back downstairs when the cold/ cold wash is done (approximately 45 minutes on our machine) and add a scoop of Rockin’ Green Laundry Soap to the little bin on top. Turn on a hot wash/ cold rinse with an extra rinse cycle on max extract.  This takes approximately 90 minutes on my machine. (Please note – just like with diaper safe cream, you MUST use a diaper safe laundry detergent.  Diaper Jungle has an awesome chart that breaks down what is safe and what isn’t).
- After the second wash cycle is done, I pull out all the Pocket diaper shells & All In One diapers and hang to dry in the basement or outside on the line (because these are lined with PUL to keep them waterproof, it isn’t advised that you use a machine to dry them).  The Pocket diaper inserts and cloth wipes can go into the dryer but if it’s a nice day, I take everything upstairs and hang them outside on my portable clothes line

I think that about covers it.  If you’ve made it to the end of this post, I applaud you.  And if you’re considering giving cloth a try, please let me know! I’m not an expert (yet!) but I feel like I have a good handle on how to use cloth diapers successfully.

One Response to All About Cloth Diapers

  1. Gwe says:

    I just wanted to thank you for writing this post….an awesome breakdown of information doesn’t make it seem like such an overwhelming process.

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