I’ve gotten some emails with questions about cloth diapering so I’ve finally gotten around to putting together a
little post about it. In my daily life people ask me about cloth diapering all of the time and I’m always encouraging others to try it out because it’s not nearly as hard as I imagined it would be + I LOVE it. Also, cloth diapers are really, really cute. Am I right or am I right? Answer: I am right. Also, that’s always the answer.
I had my doubts (or, well, JEFF had doubts because I can’t manage to do laundry more than once every six years) but it’s been a pretty simple process and saved us a ton of money. Jeff likes that last part.
What I have learned is that everyone does this differently. People prefer different brands and types and styles and fits. I have a very, very skinny baby so my routine has mostly developed from wanting to have the best fit AND the least amount of work for myself. Let’s be realistic here. I AM TERRIBLE HOUSEKEEPER. Setting up a plan to keep cloth diapering from becoming overwhelming was totally essential to me being successful at it. Our routine is a bit different in that we use both pocket cloth diapers and flat cloth diapers with an assortment of covers.
So here is a look at how one totally undomestic mom manages her cloth diapers, a peek into my stash + routine and the answers to some frequently asked questions about cloth diapering. A couple of my pregnant friends are planning on CDing so I told them I’d get this all typed up for them before they deliver. I’m making good on that promise with like two weeks to go. I’m very dependable.
Minus the few we’ve already used today that is. I use an assortment of pocket diapers and diaper covers with inserts and flats. Inserts just get laid inside the diaper cover, whereas flat cloth diapers are like super-old fashioned where you wrap the cloth around the baby’s bottom and pin them on. Except I don’t use pins, I use Snappis fasteners. Despite being named “safety” pins, I think we can all agree that there is massive potential for unsafeness there. Like my run in with so-called “safety clippers.“ So I just stick to the Snappis.
(This is really, really long and detailed because I am afflicted with a disorder called OVERSHARING so click CONTINUE READING if you’d like to see how we do it. (This is how we do it…a brand new dance now) If cloth diaper information totally bores you, scroll down to see cute pictures of my baby instead. A cute baby and diaper info, that’s all I’ve got goin’ for me right now people.)
The Flip and Thirsties diaper covers aren’t lined, so if Scarlette is just wet I can wipe them down, put a fresh insert/flat in and use them again. The Thirsties covers are my favorite, because they have an extra elastic seam around the legs that make a good seal on Scarlette’s skinny legs. Plus, they come in really cute patterns. I’m not a huge fan of the Flip covers and I think that is because of the fact that my girl is a skinny minnie.
The Charlie Banana and BumGenius cloth diapers are pocket diapers, so they have a soft layer of fabric that you stuff your diaper inserts inside. These are excellent for babies with very sensitive skin, in the beginning we had Scarlette in these all of the time. If pocket diapers are what you are after (and most people are) I highly recommend these.
Here is what my stash consists of:
- (3) BumGenius One Size Snap Closure 4.0 Cloth Diapers
- (2) Charlie Banana 2 in 1 Cloth Diapers
- (3) Flip One Size Snap Closure Cloth Diaper Covers
- (4) Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap Cloth Diaper Covers
- (12) OsoCozy Birdseye Flat Unbleached Diapers
- (6) OsoCozy 6 pack Prefold Cloth Diapers
- (1) Snappi Cloth Diaper Fasteners (set of three)
- (1) OsoCozy Flushable Diaper Liners (100 sheets)
- (1) Kissa Pail Liner
Total Cost: $274
(that’s the total for all of it on amazon.com at the moment, I received some as gifts/via gift cards so I spent about half of that out of pocket. The Thirsties covers I use come in two sizes and Scarlette is just about to outgrow the ones we have so I’ll need to replace them with the second size soon. At $12.95 apiece I’ll spend another fifty dollars on diapers bringing my total to right around $300. Still way affordable.)
Here is my cloth diapering routine:
Scarlette typically wears flats with a diaper cover during the daytime. I use flats because they are the most economical way to cloth diaper and I just have a personal preference for them. They don’t LOOK like they could hold anything but I have never had a leak while using a flat diaper. They hold a ton. I typically use the triangle fold or the origami fold when I use flats and I often put a prefold in the center. You can see some great examples here + step by step photos on how to fold your flats.
During the night time or if we are going out somewhere I put her in a pocket diaper. At night I use inserts + a prefold in a BumGenius pocket diaper and so far we’ve had no leaks.
I also use disposable, bio-degradable liners now that Scarlette is eating solid foods. I know many people use a diaper sprayer but I just felt that it wasn’t necessary for us. Without telling you all about my baby’s bathroom habits lest she one day hate me as a teenager, I’ll just say that it’s been no problem for me to just empty the liner/bm into the toilet. There’s rarely anything left on the diaper for me to even rinse. And on the very rare occasions that I’ve needed to, we have a removable showerhead in the bath that reaches right over to the potty
The ones I have were too wide so I cut them in half and stored them in an old wipe box. That made 100 become 200 and I haven’t run out yet so they’ve lasted us a long time.
I have one of those step-trash cans in Scarlette’s room lined with this wetbag pail liner. I just throw the diapers in there. If they are dirty I empty them in the bathroom and then toss the diaper in the can. I put these baking soda fresheners in the trash can (and in my diaper bag!) and my wetbag has a place to pour essential oil so I put a few drops of lavender oil in it. I’ve seriously never experienced a problem with smell, until Scarlette got old enough to figure out how to step on the trash can and make it pop open. She’s a little stinker, no pun intended. But when the lid is closed, no problems.
Here is my cloth diaper laundering routine:
I wash every 2-3 days. I can’t stay on top of my OWN laundry but the cloth diaper laundry, I got that. It’s really not that much more work because babies make a lot of extra laundry anyhow. Also, my husband does all of his own laundry (I know, right?!) so that helps me not to feel like I’m drowning in it.
I just throw all the diapers + the wetbag in the wash. I do a cold cycle with detergent, a HOT heavy cycle with detergent and then a warm rinse.
I’ve been using Tiny Bubbles detergent – it gets the diapers really clean and is good for Scarlette’s sensitive skin. I’m about to try out a few new brands so I’ll update this later
I typically line dry my diapers but don’t tell my HOA because technically we’re not supposed to have outdoor clotheslines. And technically we don’t. I tie it to the porch on the days I line dry and remove it right after so there is no evidence. Also, you can’t see our back porch from the street and we have nice neighbors, meaning I baked them brownies and was all “please don’t tell on my clothesline.” Just kidding. I didn’t bribe anyone, don’t sue me.
None of my diapers are stained y’all. Drying in the sun is the way to go. But I do throw them in the dryer if it’s raining or I forget to wash the diapers until 11:45 pm. Which never happens because I’m really responsible and stuff. Except that I’m not.
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions I get about cloth diapering
When should I start cloth diapering?
I had planned on cloth diapering before I gave birth but I only knew one person who actually did it. Then when Scarlette came along 15 weeks early she wore tiny little Pampers that were the size of a credit card. FOLDED IN HALF. Some days I’m totally emotional about my baby y’all. So in the NICU she just wore regular diapers, but developed a perpetual rash.
We learned that micro-preemies, since they aren’t fully developed, have incredibly sensitive nerve endings. So as soon as we could make the switch to cloth diapers for her comfort, we did. We were given some Happy Heinys Minis and newborn BumGenius fitted cloth diapers (that are no longer in production or I’d link them for you) from some very generous friends and so we cloth diapered as soon as she came home from the NICU. If you don’t have this issue though, wait until your baby is about 10-12 pounds.
The 10-12 pound weight limit is where most pocket diapers start and honestly? The newborn stage is exhausting. You’ll like cloth diapering more if you give yourself time to get into the swing of life with a new baby before you start. I kind of hated cloth diapers back when I was only getting two hours of sleep a day.
Aren’t flats totally intimidating?
Yes, but only in your head. Once you actually do them it’s way easy. Probably when you were little you used scraps of cloth to diaper your baby dolls and it’s pretty much the same thing so you already know how to do it. Unless you were born the generation after me and your baby dolls actually came with fake baby-doll sized diapers so you didn’t have to raid your mom’s fabric stash to whip one up. Seriously, I find them really easy to use.
Isn’t it hard to change a cloth diaper when you’re out in public?
Surprisingly it really isn’t! I was super nervous about this and totally avoided it early on. I would put her in disposables if we went out somewhere or if someone else was keeping her. Honestly in our case that wasn’t often because of quarantine. But as she’s gotten older and I’ve grown more comfortable I just take her out in her cloth diapers now. It’s actually better because I’ve never had a blowout in public all over me while she was wearing a cloth diaper :/ I do think that the pocket diapers are easier to change in public because Scarlette is squirmy so if we go out I normally pack those pre-stuffed so I can change her quickly before she wrangles herself off a changing table.
How often do you use disposables now?
In the beginning we used them at night because we were up often changing out her feeding tubes and typically she wanted a new diaper when she was up. And we used them when we went places with her. Now we only use them when we go to the doctor, if all of the cloth diapers are in the wash, or if someone else is keeping her.
Doesn’t your baby have fluffy cloth diaper butt?
Yes. But that works in our favor because Scarlette is so skinny, the bulk of the cloth diapers actually help her clothes stay on. For serious. Personally, I think the flats are a little less bulky if that is something you are worried about. But honestly, fluffy diaper butt is cute. It just is.
How many cloth diapers should I have?
This is really personal preference. I get by with 12 but I can re-use my covers by wiping them down and putting in another flat. If you only are going to use pocket diapers or all-in-ones I would say about 15 but I know some people who have 12 and some people who have 20. I would start with a dozen and see how it goes for you and what you need from there.
What about swim diapers?
We have this rash guard infant swimsuit for Scarlette that came with the cloth swim diaper as the bottoms. They work great but I quickly learned that just one cloth swim diaper totally doesn’t cut it. Because you know, she uses it but she’s not done playing in the pool. So I picked up some disposable little swimmers (sale + coupons!) because we spend so much time in the water.
How do you build your cloth diaper stash?
Honestly, I just added cloth diapers to our registry. I picked out a few different types to see what would work best for us. I also use my swagbucks to earn amazon.com gift cards and then I use those to buy diaper supplies. (Here is a post on how to use swagbucks if you’re new to it) You can also buy cloth diapers second hand online. I’d also ask around to see if anyone wants to offload theirs. I’ll be passing on some of ours to a friend to help build their stash.
Here are some other good cloth diapering resources:
cottonbabies | my friend darcy’s post on cloth diapers | how to fold flats | how to fold flats + prefolds | young house love’s cloth diaper post | cloth diaper sales and announcements | a visual look at my stash | cloth diaper calculator | diaper detergent chart | cloth diaper savings chart | cloth diaper terminology (also if you are like me and all “how do these things even work?! you can totally find lots of CD tutorials on youtube)
Thanks so much for reading and sharing! If you have any other questions for me, I’m totally happy to answer them – just leave them in the comments! I’ll reply there so everyone can see the answer but you’ll get an email with my response so you don’t have to keep checking back.