To the newcomer, the world of cloth-diapering is terrifyingly confusing and somewhat odd. The choices, brands, methods, & styles are incredibly overwhelming. At least, this is how I felt at first. But, once you do a tad bit of research, the stormy skies whisk away and all is clear...
Since having our baby & diving head-first into the cloth-world, we've yet to consider turning back. Does that mean that we use cloth 100% of the time? Absolutely not. I'll explain this later in the post and how/when we find ourselves using disposables over cloth. For 90% of my readers, this post is of absolutely zero interest to you. Fair enough! But, if you're considering using cloth, I can't tell you how helpful I found it to read how other mamas made it work. So, here we go....
Disclaimer: There are many ways to do cloth. This is just 'how we do' and what we use. As an amazon associate, links are included to products we use and recommend. I only share items that I use on a regular basis and love.
Products we use:
We use the "Pocket-Style" of cloth diaper. Meaning, a micro-fiber insert slips into and out of the diaper cover. We primarily use fuzzibuns. I'm sure there are other great brands out there, but we've been happy with fuzzibunz so far.
Our Oxo wipes dispenser houses our cloth wipes. It's been one of my favorite baby-gear purchases. You can read more about why I love this item and others here.
We primarily use cloth wipes & have found these flannel wipes to be perfect.
Earth Mama Bottom Balm is safe for both your baby and your cloth diapers. We use this quite often more as a preventative ointment just in case!
We use 4 different wet bags. All different brands. I have so many because I like to cycle through them. One for the nursery, one in the car, always one in the diaper bag. Another seems to always be in the wash... You get the picture. I recommend having a few & at least one larger sized one for the nursery!
Arm & Hammer Free was on the approved list for our cloth diapers. I always recommend checking the manufacturer's recommendations. But, I've heard that Tide free and arm & hammer free are safe and won't ruin the diapers like most other detergents will.
**********So, it's time to change a diaper...
1. Remove the dirty diaper just like a disposable.
2. Place the entire diaper in the wet bag. No need to separate out the insert and cover, the washing machine does that for you!
3. Wipe & clean bum. We also "fan" off her bum to help prevent diaper rash from any excess wetness! (we literally use a hand fan- see in below photo).
4. Place already prepared clean cloth diaper on bum.
Ta da! All done! Just like a disposable.
//Once the baby starts eating real food and getting more clumpy, adult-like stools, you must place/rinse clumps into toilet or some other receptacle. Otherwise, breastfed baby's stools are liquid-like & clean up very easily! We have yet to get to that poop-clump hurdle.//
1. Unzip wet bag & dump all dirty cloth diapers + empty bag into washer
2. Cold rinse cycle
3. Hot wash cycle with detergent
4. Cold rinse cycle
5. Place all inserts in dryer & place covers on rack to hang dry
6. Once dry, "stuff" pocket diaper covers with microfiber insert & you're ready to go!
**********Trouble shooting & tid-bits
-The scariest part for me was the washing part of cloth diapering. I wanted to be sure that the diapers were getting properly cleaned and that my baby's bum was staying protected. Once we figured out the perfect system (cold rinse, hot wash, cold rinse), it's been no problem! Of note, you must have a decent washer and dryer, as you will obviously be doing loads a few times/week.
-A dirty diaper shouldn't sit more than 2 days at the most in order to prevent ammonia build-up. We usually do a load every other day, but sometimes wash daily.
-We have about 22 diapers and find this to be the perfect amount for now.
-I've never been more on top of laundry in my life and actually enjoy the process of "stuffing" the cloth diapers. It's what takes the most time but is easy to do (might take me 10 minutes/day).
-No fabric softener/dreft can mix with diapers and really shouldn't be used in washing machine at all if using cloth.
-We always wash diapers separate from clothes but will dry the inserts with a load of clothes to save energy & time.
-Bonnie should be able to use these diapers until potty-trained. They can then be re-used for future babies.
-I make a large "batch" of wipe solution and keep the extra in a glass tupperware. I re-fill our squirt bottle to use with the cloth wipes. I found that if I pre-wet the wipes and don't get to using all of them, they can mold with the moisture. So- the wipes stay dry, and the solution stays in the squirt bottle until diaper changing time. I normally will squirt her skin directly & wipe with the dry cloth wipe. Then, I place both the wipes and dirty diaper into the 'wet bag' for later washing. Solution recipes found here! She laughs when I squirt her...
-Yes, baby's bum does look larger with the cloth and she often wears larger sized pants to fit. This is one reason we like dresses & leggings. As Bonnie gets larger, she's growing into her cloth diapers. They used to consume her but now look a little more normal.
-There are occasional leaks if I don't get the diaper quite properly placed. I don't mind this too much as it just means she gets to wear more of her cute clothes! Leaks happen with disposables too...
-It helps to have all care-givers on board! Andrew has been supportive from the beginning and loves using cloth. He has no problem doing the diaper changes & willingly does the laundry cycles. He leaves the "stuffing" for me- which I certainly don't mind.
************ We don't use cloth 100% of the time
-If traveling, we use disposables.
-For night sleep, we use the "night-time" larger-sized disposables.
-So, unless traveling, we normally use 1 disposable diaper per day, and the rest cloth. There are rather busy days out and about when I don't feel like lugging around the wet bag and extra cloth diapers all day & revert to using disposables. That definitely happens on occasion.
I won't go into the pros of using cloth diapers, as each family makes a decision that is best for them. We may come to a time where we use mostly disposables... who knows. But, for now, we sure love using cloth and I highly recommend it to anyone remotely interested! We've been using this method for about 16 weeks now. I'm sure other mamas have different washing methods or routines, but this is what has worked for us.
Happy cloth diapering to you!
PS- any of you mamas use cloth & have hints/tips/new info to share!??