Cloth Diapering for Beginners
This post contains affiliate links, your purchase through them supports my work, at no cost to you! 🙂 feel free to check out my disclaimer here
Feeling a bit overwhelmed starting cloth with your your kiddo? There is a lot of "cloth-lingo" out there. I remember feeling completely LOST when I started learning about it all! I created Cloth Diapering for Beginners - this blog is rich in resources - book mark it now, so you can find it as you go along. Or save it to Pinterest so you can read it later.
Whether you want to cloth diaper because it is more affordable, environmentally responsible, or because it’s all the rage over at Vogue Magazine – it is certainly a great choice. Check out even more reasons over at realdiapers.org
Did you know that it takes 9 gallons of water to make ONE disposable diaper? Did you know that disposables are in the top FIVE items filling up our landfills in America? How about that it is estimated to take 500 years for ONE disposable diaper to biodegrade. That's a pretty hefty cost to the very generation we are diapering and leaving the planet to. Probably the most relate-able aspect that's astonishing about "disposables" is that you are supposed to dispose of the poop before throwing the "disposable" in the trash! Seriously. It's printed on the side of every box sold. Most people choose disposables because they don't think they have to do anything with the poop - just wrap up all the mess and toss it. Nope. Not true! More reasons to cloth! Check out more info over at realdiapers.org
To make this easy to read, the list of all products mentioned in this blog are right here at the beginning. Scroll to "Resources" to learn more. Lets get started.
LINKS TO ALL THE PRODUCTS MENTIONED
U shape floating shelves from Amazon I use these to display my diaper stash over the changing table.
Organic Awesome Baby Balm from a small shop in Boulder, Colorado is luxurious!
The Grovia Stick, is awesome for your diaper bag.
3 pack of snappys for the prefolds - you need them for the prefolds.
Diaper Pail Liners. Get two.
CLOTH DIAPER STYLES
Learn here: Kayla, from ObbsAndLaLa on youtube has a well laid out cloth video series. She has a wealth of videos so visit this video on the ObbsAndLala Channel from YouTube. You can learn just about everything on her channel.
What we did: We chose one size pocket diapers because they can be pulled apart to dry fast and the absorbency is very customizable which means it can grow or shrink to your childs needs. I purchased a couple different pocket diaper brands including Bum Genius 5.0 (BG’s) and Alvas. For the sake of brevity, our Alvas work just as well as our Bum Genius, but we do prefer the BG's. They just feel nicer and the snaps line up better. But keep in mind, Bum Genius holds their value well, making it a great option too for resale. Side note, One of my girlfriends was obsessed with her Grovia All In Ones, which you can throw in the wash without separating the pocket liner first.
Pro Tip: For the first two weeks until the cord falls off – we chose to use disposables and I would recommend that. Once the cord falls off and the belly button is completely healed and dry, that's when it's a good time to start with cloth. We really liked prefolds and double gusset covers for the remainder of the newborn stage because the prefolds can later be used as extra absorbency in the one size pockets, and you only need 2 double gusset covers which keeps expenses low. I personally would avoid any "newborn" size cloth - I feel it's not worth the money.
I have a stack of cloth wipes that I just wet down as I go with my peri-bottle from the hospital. It is filled with 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm water + 4-6 drops Young Living lavender EO - which I sell, so contact me on my contact page if you're interested. You can use old recieving blankets cut up to be economical, or I bought these cloth wipes and we even bought another stack to used as "unpaper towels" in the kitchen. LOVE THEM!
WASH & WATER
Where to learn: When people claim cloth diapering as “a disaster” or “hard” it’s usually because they didn’t get a wash routine specific to their washer. There are different wash routines for each type of washer to get perfectly clean cloth diapers. So ideally, before you have your baby you want to know your water hardness, buy a cloth approved laundry detergent (not all detergents are cloth-safe!) and have a wash routine that is “cloth approved” as well. Click here to go to Fluff Love University and check out the cloth safe detergents and the appropriate routine for your washer. Or visit the group on Facebook, here. *note* the Fluff Love University group has over 100K members, if you do not get a response in 1-2 days, just post again including the photo of your washer mentioning that you did not receive a response! The Admins encourage it.
What we did: When I was about 32 weeks pregnant with my first, I made sure I had my cloth diaper stuff ready to go. I got on FaceBook to the fluff love and CD Science page posted a picture and description of my washer and asked for an admin to suggest a wash routine. Once I got a routine, I took a screen shot of the directions and saved it to my desktop so I could find it fast after birth. You're welcome.
Pro Tip: It's definitely going to benefit you to get a wash routine from the group above before you have your baby. I encourage you to be proactive about this 🙂 Seriously, you will have enough to worry about and figure out. Do yourself a favor, you don't want to be figuring out your water hardness, what cloth-safe detergent you need and wash routine when you have a newborn to soak in. If you are a FaceBook user join the “Fluff Love and CD Science” group, upload a photo of your washer panel and ask for a wash routine recommendation 🙂
You can order “water hardness strips” which are essentially fish tank strips, or you can take your water in to the aquatics section of your local pet store and they will test it for you to let you know your water hardness level.
You shouldn’t let your diapers sit soiled more than 5 days. With that said, it is good to wash them every 3-4 days.
WHAT ABOUT THE.....POOP! AH!
As long as you are breast feeding your baby, you do not need to worry about “doing anything with the poop”. You will put all of your dirty diapers, just as they are, in to the washing machine. Once you start solids (6 months or later) you will need to knock off solids in the toilet first.
If formula feeding, diapers will need to be rinsed first, or a liner like these chlorine free bamboo diaper liners can be used. Some mamas like to use fleece blankets cut up in to liner sizes – only the pooped in liners need to be thrown away – urine liners can still go directly in to the washing machine.
This is a personal quest. Much like the California fish taco…. Nobody can really answer this for you. I would say figuring out if you expect a big or small baby is the best shot at deciding “which is the best”. My baby we almost 9 lbs, so the one size diapers fit pretty fast. However babies with smaller legs tend to do better in prefolds and covers till their legs fill out, and in general I recommend prefolds and double gusset covers for the newborn stage after the cord falls off.
For us, this number only needed to be enough to get us through 3-4 days. Which came to be 36 pocket one size diapers for us. I begin my diaper laundry when I am down to 4-6 diapers and get them done in a day.
Second hand – Absolutely! Websites like offerup.com or the facebook market place are a great place to find 2nd hand cloth.
My stash was totally brand new, I have 36 one size diapers, roughly 12 prefolds, 2 covers. I bought all of my diapers, plus two pail liners, my trash can and wipes for under $500. Check out more info on cost over at realdiapers.org. It's worth the google!
Also, prefolds and covers are known to be the least expensive option for cloth. I’m not sure how this works out, as you will need more absorbency, but I believe you can get a prefold and cover stash that is 3-4 days for around 200-300 total investment.
Once a diaper has been soiled, you will put it in to a “wet bag” which can be thrown in, inside out, with all the diaper laundry! It’s easy, instead of the diapers going in to a trash bag, they go in a wet bag and if your baby is EBF – the whole kit-and-kaboodle goes straight in the wash. If you are using pockets, you will want to make sure you separate the insert from the pocket cover prior to washing.
I can’t stress how EASY this is once you get going. I never have to find a trash can, baby never gets diaper rash, and we almost never have a blow-out.