Our cloth diaper experience

Hey, Y’all! First off, I haven’t written in a long time so if you keep up with my posts the I am so sorry (do such people actually exist? Let me know, I’m curious, haha!) I am working from home now and just finished the training process. Pretty much every time Carlos was home I had him take care of O so I could work and the small amount of free time I had I spent with my family. So that’s where I’ve been!

I took a twitter poll (@vegmamaKay) and the masses have spoken, all 10 of you, and this was the winning topic for this week! CLOTH DIAPERING! We have been cloth diapering since Odin could fit in them so I feel pretty experienced by now. I’m no expert by any means but we have a decent system so I’m going to share that with you all today!

First off, I want to acknowledge how awesome it is that cloth is making a comeback! I usually get one of the two following responses when someone spots his fluff butt

  1. “What the heck is that?? They still make those? Is it gross????”
  2. “US TOO!” Then we instantly become best friends and join the Sisterhood of the Traveling Nappies.

Just two weeks ago I was out with FOUR mamas and we ALL cloth diapered. We were sitting in a little circle talking about diapies while breastfeeding shamelessly in public. How cool is that?! Every time I think about it, it warms my heart. I love being part of motherhood!

Why cloth? 

This is such a common question I get so I want to address it. The first reason for us was environmental. The Union of Concerned Scientists (how funny is that name?!) has estimated about 18 billion diapers are thrown into landfills every year (source). That is a lot of poopy diapers sitting in landfills! We didn’t want to contribute any more waste than necessary so it was important for us to not use disposibles. Next was convenience. We never run out of diapers and have to make a mad dash to the store in the middle of the night when we run out of diapers, which brings me to cost. You buy cloth once and maybe update your supply here and there, but other than that you never have to buy diapers! It can be really inexpensive, especially if you buy used! PLUS you can use them for the next kiddo(s).  And lastly, they are super cute! Ask any cloth mom, we’re all obsessed!

Where the heck do I start?

AIO? Pockets? Prefolds? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN????? I was so overwhelmed when looking into cloth initially because there are so many different options, brands, and systems. Luckily, I had a lot of time on my hands while pregnant so I could obsessively look into it. For us, it came down to two main factors: simplicity and cost. We wanted a system that was simple and wouldn’t make us go broke. You can take to YouTube to do your own research, but if you’re like me and want a straightforward, non-ridiculous system, then I’ve already done the work for you and you’re in luck! But to answer the question about where to start, you can check out this website for a rundown of the different systems available.

Our cloth diapering system:

We decided to just pick one system and try it. If it didn’t work, we would modify along the way. For sanity sake I definitely recommend this. We decided to use covers and prefolds. That means we have a piece of cloth (prefold) that goes on the baby and a waterproof diaper cover that goes over top that. We bought 12 Flip covers and 3 of these 10-pack Gerber Birdseye 3-Ply Prefold Cloth Diapers. We bought these because they’re super cheap and we figured we wouldn’t be out too much money if they didn’t work out. After Odin was born and we tried the diapers on him, I was discouraged by how bulky they were. The poor thing could barely move his little legs! So I decided we needed to make them trimmer.

That’s when we learned how to fold! I used this video to learn how to fold a diaper and we still use the jelly roll fold 8 months later. I secure the diaper with a Snappi Cloth Diaper Fastener  then put the cover on. It’s super simple and works really well!

Like I said, with time you discover what you need and don’t need. We decided we needed something more absorbent for night time because O pees a lot at night. We introduced Flip Stay-Dry Inserts but we knew we needed a little something extra to absorb everything throughout the night, so we paired the stay dry inserts with these flour sack towels from Target. I cut the towels in half, fold them in thirds, and place them in the cover with a Stay Dry on top. This works so well! It’s super absorbent and pretty trim too!

We wanted to try some all-in-one diapers (abbreviated AIOs) because we thought they might be good for night time as well. These BumGenius All In One Cloth Diapers are very popular and as close to a disposable as you can get. I mostly wanted these for when people other than Carlos and I watch Odin so they don’t have to deal with a prefold, but we also wanted to use them at night. We bought one, used it at night and loved it. Since then, they’ve been meh. Sometimes they hold, sometimes they don’t. I don’t like waking up in baby pee, so lately I’ve been preferring my original system of a Stay Dry + a flour sack towel.

Why I chose this system 

I chose covers and prefolds because it fit my cheap and simple requirements. The covers are half the price of an AIO at about $14 a pop, and its around $12 for a 10 pack of prefolds. We had diapers on our registry and pretty much every time my in-laws went out they stopped by BuyBuy Baby and bought us a cover 🙂 We bought baby items slowly so we bought 1-2 covers per paycheck until we had enough. 12 has worked for us so far! We spent about $220, not all from our pockets, on our initial stash. We also use Flannel Baby Wipes and California Baby Diaper Area Wash  in our bum cleaning routine. Baby wipes are so wasteful and this works just as great! Once we take a dirty diaper off, we place it in a Planet Wise Hanging Wet/Dry Diaper Tote Bag if we’re at home, or a smaller Cute Travel Baby Wet and Dry Cloth Diaper Bag if we’re out. Some people use trash cans with garbage bags but I’m trying to produce the least waste possible so using plastic bags seems counterproductive.

The cover and prefold system made the most sense for me because I don’t have to place the whole diaper in the wet bag when the baby pees. I just toss the prefold in the wet bag and let the cover dry for use next time. With AIO diapers you have to wash the whole thing, which means you need more diapers and that can be more expensive (unless you buy used). I prefer to just have a few covers and wash the inner parts 🙂

Doesn’t cloth diapering mean more laundry and higher water/ energy bills? 

No! We compared our bills from prior to him being born to when we started using cloth. For 9/19/2016 our bill was $133.94 and for 11/16/2016 our bill was $74.84  and he was born on 9/21/2016. Also, the laundry doesn’t bother me. I do it every 2 days and I have 2 of the large wet bags so while one is washing I have another one to put the dirty diapers in.

Our wash routine 

I got advice from some expert cloth moms in a Facebook group (which I would definitely recommend doing) because I wasn’t really sure how to wash mine. Your wash routine will depend on your water hardness and machine type so when I move I may have to change mine. I use Tide Free & Gentle and Calgon Water Softener in my wash tourine which is as follows:

  • Wash 1: whites extra light w/ hot rinse + 1/2 cap of Tide and 1 cap of Calgon
  • Wash 2: whites heavy w/ hot rinse +1 cap of Tide and 1 cap of Calgon
  • Dry inserts/ prefolds and hang to dry the covers.

Thats it! Its really simple as long as you know what you’re doing. Definitely join a cloth diaper Facebook group if you’re considering cloth diapering as they have a lot of women that can help with any problems you might face.

Potential issues: leaks? blowouts? Diaper rashes?!

These are other big concerns for moms considering cloth and I can attest that these are not issues with cloth.

Before I consulted the gurus, I did not use a water softener and Odin kept getting diaper rashes. I realized that my water was so hard it was leaving mineral deposits in the diapers which were giving O a rash. Now that I have my wash figured out Odin seldom gets a rash. If he does, its usually because his diaper was soaked and we didn’t change him quickly enough, but that rarely happens and we have a cloth safe cream for when it does.

When Odin was going through the rash phase, I would have him wear disposables until the rash resolved. In comparison, cloth diapers prevent WAY more blowouts than disposables. When he wore disposables, I had to change his clothes 2-3 times a day due to him peeing or pooping through the diaper. With cloth we have blowouts very infrequently and occasional leaks, usually due to us not putting the cover on correctly.

Those are really the only issues we’ve had. 95% of the time their great and not any more difficult to use.

Traveling 

Everyone does traveling with cloth differently. We will use cloth while traveling if the trip is less than 4 days. I can hold off doing laundry for 3 days but 4 or more days is too long and the diapers begin to stink. We haven’t gone on a longer trip yet, but when we do we will either use disposible insers or Honest Co. disposable diapers. The reason is because we don’t want to have to do laundry on our trip, especially not knowing the water hardness or worrying about having the right detergent. Its easier to not worry about it at all and just get the most eco-friendly diapers possible.

POOP

Poop wasn’t a big concern for us going into it but in my research I realized that it is for a lot of people. For the first 6 months when babies eat only breastmilk, they have very watery poos that actually water soluble so you can toss them right in the wash without worrying. With solid poos, we just rinse the diaper off in the shower and put the diaper into the wet back as we normally would. Thats pretty much it, nothing too crazy.

Overall, we’ve had a great experience with cloth diapering. Its no more difficult than disposables to me and both my husband and I feel strongly about it. If you have any questions about cloth diapering please feel free to ask! 

cloth diaper

Thanks for reading ❤

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