Cloth Diapering: All The Dirty DetailsEmily Malone
So many of you have commented and emailed asking about the details of our cloth diapers, so now that I’ve been doing it for about two weeks, I figured I owe you guys an update. Here is more than you ever wanted to know about diapers!
Prepping and Washing
I was not one of those smart pregnant women who prepped all her diapers ahead of time so that they would be ready to go when the baby arrived. Nope, I avoided them and left them all in their packaging for months and months. I knew that having a baby was going to be a MAJOR life change, and I didn’t want to make things more complicated at the beginning than necessary. For the first 10 or so weeks, Cullen wore Seventh Generation disposables, which worked out great for us.
Finally after 2.5 months, I pulled them all out and got them ready. To prep them for use, I washed all the diapers and liners in cold water for 6 or 7 cycles (and extra rinses). Then I hung them all to dry on our drying rack, before folding them and getting them ready for action.
Now that they are in use, I do a load of diaper laundry pretty much every day. I’m planning to buy a few more diapers to hopefully stretch this out to every other day (I currently have 16). When the dirty diapers come off his little bum, they go into one of my two hanging wet/dry bags. This system is working out fine for now, but I may consider doing a trashcan lined with a bag down the road, since the bag isn’t always easy to get into with one hand. I don’t do any spraying or rinsing yet since breast milk poop isn’t actually very smelly or gross. (Once he starts on solids and the poop becomes more substantial, we will rinse and dump solids in the toilet before washing.)
Once the bag is starting to get full, or I looks like I’m going to run out of diapers soon, I take the whole bag and shake it out into the washing machine. Then I toss the empty bag right in with the laundry. It’s nice to not have to touch any of the dirty diapers! I do two washes — one on cold, and then one on hot — and I have been using the same detergent we use for our regular laundry, either Seventh Generation or Biokleen.
Once the diapers are washed, I toss them into the dryer for one round on low heat. This tends to be enough to dry most of them. If any are still slightly damp, I’ll hang them on his crib to dry for a few hours before putting them away. Once they are dried, I dump the whole load into Cullen’s crib, and he hangs out and usually stares at his mobile or watches me while I put them all together again.
It takes about ten minutes to stuff the inserts back into the diapers and fold them up to go in the drawers. While the cloth diapers do tend to take a bit more pre-planning and time than disposables, I find that the extra tasks don’t bother me. Folding laundry is kind of therapeutic sometimes. Once they are folded, they go into three stacks in his dresser/changing table, and the extra inserts are piled on the sides.
What Diapers Are We Using?
When I first decided to do cloth diapering, I felt really overwhelmed by all the different options and recommendations. Ultimately, I ended up getting 3 different brands and figured I would see what worked best for us. I have actually really liked having 3 different options because I tend to use different ones for different times of day.
I bought six of these because they came so highly recommended and all of the reviews I read were good.
Pros: Easy to snap and put on. Option of thin daytime or thicker nighttime inserts. Thin diapers dry the fastest. Pretty colors.
Cons: For some reason these are Casey’s least favorite — he thinks the snaps are bulky. They tend to leak out the front at night now that Cullen has decided he is a stomach sleeper, but they are great during the day.
I received six of these as a gift from my big sister, since these are her personal favorites (she cloth diapers too!). They are a UK brand and not as easily available online, but I really love these!
Pros: Adorable patterns (see above). Velcro is MUCH faster to put on, more adjustable, and easier to size. Also, the inserts are attached, so you don’t have to remove the wet or poopy insert before putting into the wet/dry bags (HUGE pro). In the wash, the insert comes out automatically. Rebecca has been using these for 7 months and says the velcro is still holding up very well.
Cons: Inserts are a bit thicker, and since they are attached they take a bit longer to dry. Hopefully velcro continues to hold up over time — some people using other brands have said velcro doesn’t last as long.
These are my favorite diapers to use at nighttime, because the velcro is easiest when it’s dark and I’m tired and don’t want to mess with lining up snaps. I’m planning on ordering a few more of these!
I received six of these from the company in exchange for a reviews and giveaway (going on now make sure to click over!). After receiving a few to sample, I have since ordered six more regular diapers, and a SWIM diaper for our upcoming vacation!
Pros: These are by far the softest and coziest of the three. The diapers are lined in a super soft fleece, and they seem like the gentlest fabric to be up against Cullen’s tiny little bum. The inserts are also fairly thick, which allows for maximum absorption and no leaks (so far!). Cute colors and patterns available too — always a plus! They are also an eco-friendly company that uses all green materials and no chemicals.
Cons: My only gripe with these is that the insert pocket is in the front of the diaper instead of the rear. Sometimes I think this makes the front a little bulky. Also the thicker pads (which are a pro!) take a bit longer to dry.
The Bottom Line
Even though it seemed overwhelming at first, once I started actually putting the diapers in action it became quite easy. I explained it to Casey once in about ten minutes, and he was on board from day one — very simple. I am glad we waited to start using them though, as I think I would have found the additional laundry and folding to be too much when I was still adjusting to an itty bitty newborn. Plus, they fit him better now anyway.
All three brands are very comparable in price, with diapers running $18-$20 each. It’s a decent investment upfront, but will more than pay for itself over the course of Cullen’s pre-potty-training days. I’m hoping we can use them for any future kids that may come as well!
They also have a much lower environmental impact than disposables. The detergent and water used to wash each load is pretty minimal.
The only thing that surprised me at first was how bulky they are at the beginning, and how much room they take up in his little clothing. He’s just three months old now, but with the cloth diapers, he’s already pushing the limits on some of his 3-6 onesies!
Overall, I’m really glad we decided to switch to the cloth diapers. Since I’m home all day, it just made sense to give it a shot. So far so good, and I’ll be sure to share any additional tips and tricks I may learn along the way!