Why do you cloth diaper your kids?
I first decided that cloth might be a better option when I found out I was pregnant for the third time in less than three years. My 2 1/2 year old at the time was just barely potty trained, and I knew my 11 month old would still be in diapers when we had a newborn in the house again.
When I was using disposables and diapering my first two kids, I spent about $100 per month just on diapers and wipes, and by the time #3 came around, I really was just sick of spending that much money on something we throw away.
I also really like to simplify things. You may think, “well, if cloth diapering is not as convenient as disposables, then how is this simplifying?” It’s simpler because it saves us money and because there are no more emergency trips to the grocery store for diapers. Plus, cloth diapers are so super cute, and I love the look and feel of them.
How do I know which type of cloth diaper is right for me?
When I first started cloth diapering, I purchased several different types and figured out just by using them which ones I liked best. For more information on types of cloth diapers and how to get started, visit Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Getting Started.
Isn’t cloth diapering really gross?
Yes. At times, it is really gross, but disposable diapers are gross, too. You get used to it.
You can cut down on the gross factor by purchasing a diaper sprayer, which attaches to your toilet and sprays a jet of clean water on your soiled diapers to knock the excess poo off. Otherwise, you’ll have to swish soiled diapers in the toilet (unless your child is exclusively breastfed) – which is what I’ve been doing for the past two years because I’m too cheap to purchase a $50 sprayer.
Plus, when your child starts eating more and more solid foods, the poo becomes more solid and kind of peels off into the toilet after a few shakes. Make sure your child gets a healthy, balanced diet–it makes for less-gross diapers.
You think you can’t handle it the first time, but after that, you just get used to it.
Isn’t cloth diapering hard and inconvenient?
Sometimes. It can be inconvenient when on vacation, but if I’m gone for the day, I can bring a little wet bag for the diaper bag and it’s as easy as disposables–maybe easier because I never have to find a trash can. My husband and babysitters have learned to stuff pocket diapers and put the dirty ones in the wet bag. The only real inconvenience factor is the wash routine, but even that’s negligible if you have your own washer and dryer at home.
I do use disposables from time to time if we are going to be out all day, or if V. gets diaper rash, or if I’m just not keeping up on laundry.
So yes, it takes a bit of extra effort, but it’s not so bad.
Cloth diapers are expensive! Is it really worth all that cash?
Yes, cloth diapers are expensive, but they can save you money and stress in the long run. I never ever have to worry about running out of diapers and having to send the hubby to Wal-Mart late at night while trying to comfort a tired baby who just wants a clean diaper.
As far as costs go, companies like Bumgenius and FuzziBunz offer starter packages that run between $300 and $500. This seems like a crazy amount to spend on diapers, and this is one of the more expensive routes to go if you are cloth diapering. However, these nice name-brand diapers will last through more than one child, and using disposables for ONE KID from birth to age 2 (and most kids aren’t fully potty trained by the time they turn two!) is around $1,600*!!
You can also find good deals when a new version of a diaper comes out – I bought six Bumgenius 3.0 pocket diapers for under $10 apiece on clearance right after the 4.0 version came out, and two years later they still look brand new!
Don’t be afraid to try an “off-brand”. A lot of cloth diaper forums will tell you they just aren’t worth it because they aren’t as sturdy as the more expensive ones, and that is true to some extent. As long as they aren’t filled with polyester, I’ve had reasonably good luck with the less expensive brands I can find online, such as Kawaii and Nubunz. Many moms also make a living by sewing diapers and selling them online, so you may have good luck with some of those and support a fellow mom as well. One thing to note – I find that even though my cheaper diapers aren’t my favorites and may stain or look worn out more quickly, they still do the job just fine.
How many cloth diapers will I need?
If you are cloth diapering a newborn, the bare minimum is about 24 if you want to do laundry every day and a half. If you are starting cloth diapers when the baby is a bit older (2 months and up) a good choice is the one-size diaper that will last until potty training, and 24 should be enough to do laundry every two days.
If you are just wanting to try cloth diapering, buy one or two diapers and some samples of cloth-friendly detergent, just to see if you like it.
What if my baby gets a diaper rash?
Most zinc oxide based and lanolin based diaper rash creams (such as Desitin or A&D Ointment) will ruin cloth diapers. Okay, maybe not ruin them altogether, but you’ll have stains and a super tough time getting it out, so the “normal” diaper rash creams are not recommended for use with cloth diapers at all. If your baby does develop a bit of a rash, coconut oil works wonders. It comes in solid form, usually in a jar, and you can get it at some health food sections in grocery stores or online.
It’s also important to figure out why your baby got the diaper rash. Sometimes it may be due to something they ate, and sometimes they just need to be changed more often to keep moisture away from the skin. On occasion, your baby may be having a reaction to your cloth diaper detergent or to the wipes you are using. Check Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: The Wash Routine for more information on cloth-safe detergents.
Where do I put soiled cloth diapers before I’m ready to wash them?
You can use a wet bag or a wastebasket with an easily washable cloth liner. I prefer using a wet bag because it takes up less space and has a handle so I can just hang it in the bathroom.
When you are on the go, you can use a small travel wet bag to keep the stink and wetness away from everything else in your diaper bag.
What is this “wet bag” you speak of?
It’s called a wet bag, but the bag part is actually dry. It’s a layer of PUL (the waterproof material) on the inside and covered with a layer of fabric on the outside so it’s pretty. It’s where you store your dirty diapers before you wash them. Mine has a handle, so I hang it in my little laundry room and it zips to keep the stink out of my nose.
The “old way” to do it is to fill a bucket with water and put dirty diapers there to soak, but I’m not about to have a disgusting bucket of poop water hanging out in my bathroom, so I use the wet bag method.
Won’t poop get inside my washer?
Uh… yeah. But washers are made to clean things. With enough water to swish around, you’d be surprised that your washer can clean the diapers so well and itself be sparkling clean after all those rinses. Be sure to check out my wash routine for tips on washing cloth diapers.
Don’t cloth diapers leak?
No! Modern day cloth diapers actually hold leaks much better than any disposable I’ve tried, especially for those up-the-back poops in the newborn days. There are many different types of cloth diapers, and all have waterproof covers that hold in leaks very well. Just make sure whatever is soaking up the pee is very absorbent–Chinese or Indian cotton diapers or microfiber soakers have always worked well for me.
**Gerber cloth diapers from Wal-Mart or where ever WILL NOT work as well because they have a polyester core, not cotton. These are not even worth the small amount you’ll pay for them.
If I’m using cloth diapers, should I use cloth wipes too?
Sure, it’s no harder than using disposable wipes because you just throw everything into the wet bag and then into the washer with your cloth diapers. I never bought the expensive super-soft cloth wipes that they sell at all the cloth diaper stores online. I just bought a bunch of baby wash cloths from Wal-Mart and Big Lots and used water with them. I also still use disposable wipes as well.
What about using cloth at the babysitter’s or at daycare?
Most daycare facilities will use whatever you bring. As I mentioned before, it’s not much different than using disposables except the dirty diapers go in the wet bag instead of the trash.
You’ll have to check to see how comfortable a babysitter or in-home daycare provider is with cloth diapers. Chances are, if you show them how easy it is, they’ll quickly adapt too.
My kids only go to babysitters on occasion, and a lot of times I’ll just use disposables with babysitters, especially with teenagers or when they have a lot of young children to look after.
What other questions do you have about using cloth diapers?
If you would like your question added to this list, please comment below or contact me here.
*According to http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php