Cloth Diapers 101

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When I was pregnant with Isabelle, I met a cloth-diapering mommy. I had never even considered cloth diapers and thought she must be crazy for doing it.  Frankly, the idea of cleaning poopy diapers completely grossed me out.  Why would someone choose to do that when there was a simpler option?

However, after that wise mommy taught me her cloth diapering ways, I saw the light and took the plunge. I bought a small stash of diapers and came up with a plan.

After Isabelle passed away, the cloth diapers sat unused in her closet for months. When I became pregnant again, I tentatively decided to use them with Mark.

When Mark was 2 months old, I officially became a cloth-diapering mommy. For the sake of full disclosure, I do put Mark in a disposable diaper overnight and when we are traveling. Some cloth diapering enthusiasts would cringe at this idea. As with all things parenting, though, I find that there is often a degree of compromise when it comes to pursuing a certain school of thought. It is what works for our family.

I will be the first to admit that cloth diapers and I have a love-hate relationship.  There are certainly both positive and negative aspects to it. Despite a couple of negatives, I am still glad that we chose to cloth diaper Mark.

 

7 Things That I Absolutely Love About Cloth Diapers:

1.) Cost effective 
Once you invest in your initial stash, they are very cost effective. I received several of our cloth diapers as baby shower gifts, which also helped to offset the cost. They become even more cost effective when used for multiple children.

2.) Better for the environment
I love the idea that I am not filling our landfills with a massive amount of disposable diapers that will take an absurd amount of time to decompose.

3.) Washing is Simple
Washing them is actually fairly simple once you come up with a routine that works for your family.

4.) No blowouts
I don’t have issues with leaks or blowouts when Mark wears cloth diapers. Cloth diapers have an awesome elastic band around the waste and legs that has saved me from cleaning his car seat a few times. Of course, all diapers, cloth or disposable, will leak if you don’t change them soon enough.

5.) Very few diaper rashes
For the most part, the only time Mark gets a diaper rash is when he is on antibiotics or if we are traveling, and he is in disposables.  Cloth diapers are so much better for their little bums.

6.) Easier potty training?
Rumor has it that cloth diaper babies potty train faster since they can more easily tell when they are wet. I have no personal experience with this one yet, but I will be sure to keep you posted!

7.) Super Cute
They are seriously so cute! During the summer, I often just throw a t-shirt on Mark with his diaper, and he looks adorable.

 

3 Cloth Diapering Challenges:

1.) Clothing issues
Cloth diapers can make wearing pants and onesies a bit more challenging. Mark primarily wears sweat pants one size larger because they stretch. Typically, wearing onesies isn’t a big deal with cloth diapers. I found a nifty onesie extender that provides a bit more room around the bum.  You can also just buy one size up. If he isn’t wearing sweat pants, I look for pants that have an elastic band around the waste and then buy one size larger.

2.) Cleaning them
You do have to clean cloth diapers, and it does involve more time than simply throwing away a disposable diaper.  However, after I found a routine that worked for us, I realized that it wasn’t as time consuming as I thought it would be.

We have a sprayer that we use to spray the contents of his diaper into the toilet and then just throw the diaper into the pail. Once he started solids, this process became much less messy and a lot faster. (As a side note – dumping the “contents” of a disposable diaper into the toilet before throwing it away really helps with trashcan odor.) :)

I wash Mark’s diapers every three days. Rotating them through the wash and hanging them to dry takes surprisingly little effort. However, there are very specific guidelines for how to wash them.  Be sure to read the labels and use the correct detergent. (We use Ecos Free & Clear for diapers and our regular laundry.)  Once the diapers are dry, it does take me about 10 minutes to stuff or set them up depending on the type.

3.) Cloth diapers must be changed more often
This isn’t actually true all the time. I know many people who cloth diaper over night. It really depends on what type of cloth diapers you use and how you stuff them.  Based on Mark’s schedule, I tend to routinely change his diaper at certain points during the day such as before meals, snacks, and naps, so this has never been an issue for us.

Thinking about cloth diapering? There are dozens of diaper types from which to choose, so with a bit of research you can certainly find a style that works for your family!  I highly recommend, if possible, letting a cloth-diaper mommy show you her stash and routine. Seeing it first hand was what convinced me.

For those interested, these are the cloth diapers that we use:

BumGenius Freetime All in One (We have 2.)

BumGenius Pocket Diapers (10) 

*The red plaid material is a piece of fleece

Flip Cover (7) + Alva Baby Bamboo Inserts (12)

*The red plaid material is a piece of fleece

AppleCheeks Bamboo Booster (4)

*A booster is used in addition to what you normally use with the diaper.  I recently purchased these so that Mark’s diaper would last longer during nap time and when we are out of the house.  They are thin but very absorbent.  I’ve been really happy with them so far.

Use of fleece

Fleece was a game changer when I first considered cloth diapering. Not only does it repel moisture, in my opinion, it makes cleanup so much easier.  Also, when applying diaper creams and Vaseline on baby’s bum, you need a barrier so that you don’t ruin the cloth diaper.  Fleece is a simple and very inexpensive solution.  I purchased ours from the clearance fabric section for a couple of dollars.

Storage

There are many ways to store cloth diapers.  Our storage system has evolved as Mark has gotten older.  I used to keep them in a neatly organized box that just sat on our coffee table.

As Mark began to pull up on things and then walk, it was clear we needed a better system.  We now have a small dresser in our living room that I use for the diapers and other things.

I’ve learned a lot during my first year of cloth diapering and am glad that I chose to go that route.

What is your favorite part about cloth diapers?


4 comments

  1. JoAnna says:

    I used cloth diapers while on maternity leave with my daughter 23 years ago. Using a diaper service that picked up the dirty diapers once a week from the front porch and left a supply of clean ones was still less expensive than buying disposables which I resorted to when I went back to the job. Besides the environmental benefits, cloth diapers felt soft instead of crinkly like disposables of 1993. Maybe they’re better now. Good for you for going with cloth!

    • Sarah says:

      There are definitely days in which I wish we had a diaper service! Apparently there are a few new companies that provide that service now since cloth diapers are making a comeback.

  2. kmkersting says:

    I love cloth diapers! Also, the BG Freetimes are some of our favorites, too. I love the environmental factor and the cuteness factor. I was super intimidated by cloth diapers at first but after getting started they are really nothing to be scared of! I printed up the washing instructions and put them in the laundry room for ease. So fun to see your post!

    • Sarah says:

      I was really intimidated at first as well but its amazing how fast you figure it out. I did the exact same thing and hung the instructions in the laundry room! haha :)

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