For many moms, just the words "cloth diaper" are terrifying! My husband and I were both the same way (my husband is still slightly terrified of them) when we were new parents. I use to say I would NEVER cloth diaper because it was so disgusting! 14 months after we became parents, I bought our first cloth diaper. We wanted to save more money, and started looking at little ways we could cut costs. Diapers was one of our big expenses and so we decided to give cloth a try.
Now, I can confidently say it is NOT SCARY! I have never gagged, Oliver has never had a blow out, and my house does not smell disgusting! I am going to walk you through how to get started, and some tricks I have learned along the way.
Does it really save you money?
I only have three cloth diapers. I use all three every day and wash them at night. The average diaper is $.21 a piece. If I use 3 diapers a day for 365, I would save $230 a year. Plus, I have found cloth diapers to be way more absorbent than disposable diapers, so I have to change Oliver less often. This means less wipes used. On a good day, I only use 1 disposable diaper in an entire day. 1 diaper a day at $.21 a piece is only $77.
What Do I Need?
1. Cloth Diapers
There are tons of cloth diaper brands and most of them are SUPER expensive. I didn't want to spend $30 on a diaper and find out that cloth diapering wasn't going to work for us. All three of our diapers are from Amazon and are a brand called Alva. They are $6-$8 a piece and each comes with two bamboo cloth inserts. Everytime I bought one I had a Amazon store credit, so technically I haven't spent any money on cloth diapers! Some babies may be more sensitive and may need the more expensive diapers, but we have never had any probably with Alva and they are great quality.
*hint= make sure you get an Alva diaper that has Amazon Prime (if you are a prime user), otherwise it will take about a month to reach you.
Inserts: If you have never used cloth diapers, you probably are like me when I started and don't know what inserts are. The diapers I have are called pocket diapers and the diaper itself is essentially just a cover. There is a slit in the top in which you insert an absorbent piece of cloth into the diaper to hold the urine. That piece of cloth is the insert. You can do double or single inserts depending on how much your child urinates. I do double inserts at night and single during the day
*Be aware that double inserts make your babies butt look ginormous! Don't freak out when they look like a queen bee. I only do that at night because it looks too silly to do doubles in regular clothes.
2. A Wet Bag
Getting a wet bag was a HUGE game changer for me. A wet bag is a water proof lined bag that can hold your diapers until you are ready to wash them. Before I got a wet bag, I was hand washing each diaper and its inserts every time I took them off and putting them outside to dry. I couldn't justify washing one diaper in the washing machine or running the dryer, but I didn't want the house to stink while I waited for all three diapers to be used. Now I just quickly rinse them out and throw them in the wet bag until I am ready to wash them. A wet bag is also important if you want to be out and about with cloth diapers on. When you take them off, just seal it up in the bag until you get home.
My bag is from Willowee and I won't buy them from anywhere else. Their patterns are adorable and the water proof liner is so thick and solid. It is machine washable, so I just throw it in every time I wash my diapers. If you are in the market for a wet bag they should be your first stop.
3. A Good Detergent
Since the diapers were going directly on Oliver's skin, I use a nice sensitive detergent. I started out using Tide Pods and he started breaking out, but hasn't had any issues since we switched to Seventh Generation. I found this in the diaper section of Target so it is specifically for babies.
How Do You Wash Them?
Ok, this is the biggest thing that scares people away from cloth diapering. If you read about washing cloth diapers you get 147 steps to follow and all of these big long words that seem to take a lot of time! I pretty much ignored all of those and found something that worked for us. My diapers don't smell, they are very absorbent, they don't have stains, and my method is quick and easy. Here are my steps.
1. Quickly rinse diaper and inserts in warm water in the sink and ring out the urine.
If there is BM in the diaper I shake it over the toilet to remove the big pieces and flush that. Then I lay the diaper inside down in the toilet and flush again. The suction of the water being pulled down removes most of the BM. Then I rinse it in hot water to remove all of the BM and scrub it together to remove as much stain as possible. This takes about a minute.
*hint: I also have some flushable liners that you can put between the baby and the diaper. These catch the solid but let the liquid pass. This makes it easy to just flush the liner and BM at the same time. I only use these when I KNOW he is about to do a BM. I got a roll of 100 for $6. However, they are definitely not a necessity.
2. Put in the wet bag until all of your diapers are ready to wash.
3. Set your wash to "Small Load (as small as it goes), Hot, and Regular Soil". Your settings may look different, but the key is hot and small.
4. Run a prewash cycle with no detergent.
5. Run a Handwashing cycle with 1-2 Tablespoons of detergent.
6. Wash in the dyer with no dryer sheet. I want to get a wool ball to put in the dryer but I haven't tried that yet.
I will usually throw some other small items in the wash with the diapers to make it about 1/5 of the way full. Socks, underwear, baby clothes, and rags are perfect. Nothing big like towels or jeans and nothing with hooks (bras) or buttons.
This system has worked perfectly for me for a month now so anyone that wants to complain about my washing cycle can email me privately and we can discuss it.
And that is it! If you are interested in trying cloth diapering, try starting with 1 diaper and use it every few days. I started using 1 at night because I knew Oliver never pooped at night, so I didn't have to worry about that mess! Start slow, and replace more disposable changes as you get confident.
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I am 25 years old with a 2 year old son and a wicked handsome husband living in Birmingham, Alabama.