The honest truth is, I enjoy cloth diapering.
Here are two solid reasons (pun intended):
1. I thought I would kind of loathe them BUT the bottom line savings was so big that I kind of felt like we had to do it. Turns out IT IS SO EASY and NO BIG DEAL AT ALL. A pleasant surprise.
2. They really have saved us a ton of money. There were some weeks that money was reaaaaaaaal tight. And I would pull our cloth diapers out of the dryer and think to myself, "thank God we don't have to buy diapers. Thank God we have these."
So I have recently been asked a few questions about the whole cloth diapering thing and so I wanted to explain how we do it:
How many diapers do you really need?
I'd get 20. You will use that many in about 2.5 days. You'll have like 2 left over while you are washing & drying the rest of the bunch. I know what you are thinking...why not buy more and do washing less? Because you really shouldn't let those bad boys sit too long before you clean them. Stains can set and smells get intense up in there.
Also - Register for them! When someone who wants to buy you something useful asks, "Hey what do you really need?" Tell them cloth diapers. My mother-in-law got us 12 of ours!
We bought all BumGenius 4.0 One Size diapers with the snap closures.
I like things to be simple. I'm not the type that wants to try a bunch out and buy a bunch of different sizes and blah blah. Just tell me what the best friggen' ones are and I'll get those. Everyone I talked to said BumGenius 4.0. I can tell you they were right. I was given a few other brands and the only ones that came close were fuzzibunz, but they still lost big time because you had to buy all different sizes as your babe grows. For some reason this overwhelms me, so no thanks. Keep it simple.
So these diapers come with the actual diaper and then two inserts. One biggie and one shorter one that they call an infant insert. The diaper has a pocket sewn into it that you stuff the inserts into. We stuff the biggie one in the dipe for daytime wear and the biggie and little one (double-stuffed) for nap-time wear. We put a Target diaper on him at night. We have tried it and he can sleep through the night in a double-stuffed cloth dipe - but we both just agreed to do a disposable because it gave us peace of mind while sleep training.
I specifically mention Target diapers because they are the best disposables out there. We used disposables for the first 3 months of Westley's life. Why? Because for awhile he was too small for our cloth dipes and then for awhile I was still too nervous because I had never done cloth diapering before. Turns out its a cake walk but I had to find out for myself and ease into it. So anyway Target diapers are cheap cheap cheap and also so so good. Just trust me on this one. Or buy every brand out there and then end up giving them away and buying the cheapie goodies like we did.
Oh and get the snap closures for sheez. Why? Because babies can't take them off. And that is all I need to say about that.
I was straight up grossed out at the thought of putting a used dipe in my washing machine. And I'm here to tell you it's no big deal. Truly. Why? I don't know why. It just isn't. It's your baby's poop and pee. It's just not as gross as your poop and pee or other babies poop and pee. When you have the baby you'll know what I'm sayin'.
So here is how cleaning happens:
If you want to do things the way we do things you'll need:
- A plastic trash can. Get one with a pedal that opens the lid for you when you step on it.
- A large wet bag. We got this one. It's awesome and cheap.
- A small wet bag for your diaper bag if you decide to use cloth on the go. We got ours as a gift. It was from an etsy shop. I am not going to recommend it because you couldn't dry the thing. We dried it and the rubber inner part got all wonk and we can't use it anymore so just make sure you read the fine print and get one you can throw in the dryer because one day you'll forget and throw it in the dryer and it will be sad.
- A diaper sprayer. We got this one. It is one of the more expensive ones but I didn't want to be spraying shat off a diaper and have it break on me so I decided to go for it. It works great.
- A washer and dryer. I don't have high efficiency ones so I can't so much about how that works with cloth diapers. We just the standard cheapest ones they have at Home Depot pair. But they serve us well.
Okay now that you've heard about the supplies here is the process:
1st step: From butt to pail:
For a pee dipe:
You just take the inserts out of the pocket and throw them in the wet bag that is inside of the plastic trash can (which you can call a diaper pail). I have tried just throwing the whole dipe in there without removing the inserts and they don't dry evenly in the dryer, so we take them out.
For a poop dipe:
Depends on the poop my friend.
A crazy mush poop calls for diaper spraying. With the liner still in the diaper put it as far down in the bowl as you can and angle the sprayer down and away and spraaaaaaaaay the poop off. We literally only have used the sprayer for the month or two when Westley was starting food and his poops were becoming more solid. It was crazy, but it didn't last long.
A solid poop you can just roll right off into your toilet bowl. No biggie. That is how all of Westley's poops are now-a-days.
Then you remove the insert(s) and throw everything in your wet bag that is in the diaper pail.
And then for goodness sakes wash your hands.
2nd step: From pail to butt:
So all your dipes are dirty in the diaper pail and it's time to wash em'.
1. Take the wet bag out of the diaper pail.
2. Haul it to your laundry room.
3. Dump the entire contents in the washer and then throw the wet bag on top.
4. Do a cold rinse and spin with no soap.
5. When the rinse is done do a regular wash with hot water and one scoop of Charlie's Soap. Once a month I throw a couple capfuls of bleach in there too.
6. Transfer to dryer. We dry on regular heat.
7. Transfer to laundry basket.
8. Stuff those puppies.
9. Return clean dipes to basket near changing table and wet bag to diaper pail.
10. Put on baby butt.
What about wipes and rash creams?
Wipes: We use unscented gentle wipes. We just wipe his bum and throw them in a little trash can by his changing table. We were thinking of doing cloth wipes but it just never caught on in our house.
Rash Cream: If you are using cloth dipes chances are you won't need rash cream. Westley has gotten three diaper rashes ever in 11 months and they were directly related to getting teeth. They lasted for the couple days he got the teeth and then went away. So during that time we just used disposables because diaper rash cream in pretty much a no no with cloth diapers. And like I said, you basically don't need it anyway because the cloth is so gentle and breaths better than disposables.
Diaper Liners: We registered for and received these. They are supposed to be helpful when your baby poops because you can just pick up the liner, throw it in the toilet and flush. It is just as easy to turn the diaper over and roll the poop into the toilet so for us they were kind of a waste.
But will my baby's butt look really big and poofy in cloth?
Yes. It's adorable.
So here is when we don't use cloth diapers.
- Long outings away from the house. Like vacations or zoo trips.
- Overnight (I already mentioned this)
My Dad has this saying that he throws out whenever we are moving someone and carrying large awkward furniture up or down stairs. "Don't try and be a hero!" What he means is, take a break when you need to and don't feel bad about it. Same goes for cloth. Yeah, I think it's a piece of cake, but you may hate it, and who cares. You aren't bad for that. You aren't lesser. You aren't losing. You are awesome and different than me and hooray for whatever you think is a piece of cake that I am like "Good God I hate doing this let me have a stress cry and call it quits." You know what I mean?
So did I cover all the bases? If you have more questions let me know and I will either answer them in the comments or do a follow up post.
And thanks for asking! It's fun in some weird way to share how we handle poop around here. Don't worry I will make this blog private before Westley is old enough to be completely embarrassed by this post.
And that is all.
**Update on April 18th - I forgot to mention that for as long as you exclusively breastfeed you can just throw the whole poopy diaper into the washer, no spraying necessary. But it is only if you are only breastfeeding your baby. Breastmilk poop is water soluble and completely breaks down and washes away. Magical.