Monday, October 8, 2012

Cloth Diapering 101

When people hear about our recent choice to cloth diaper we get a LOT of questions! Everyone wants to know why we are doing it, how it works and if I am happy with my choice. So I decided to write a quick post answering all of those questions a little better. Let me just say that I could have never gotten to this point without the help of my friends Eden and Kim, and my friend Sal's wife, Cassie. They have answered so many questions for me and offered an encouraging word when I got confused during the research phase! Thanks ladies!

This is all but two of Elliot's diapers. She goes through about 7 or 8 diapers a day, so I don't have to do laundry everyday!

Why do we cloth diaper? This answer is simple, to save money!!! Some do it for the environment and that is all good and well but for me it is "a penny saved is a penny earned". There are a few different types of cloths diapers out there and MANY different brands, each with their own price tag. I picked "pocket" diapers for our family because they are very close to disposables, so it is easy for anyone willing to help out with diaper duty, and they are some of the least expensive. I currently have about $300 invested in my stash. This includes 2 days worth of diapers, plenty of wipes, prefold diapers ( I will explain these later) and gear. Given that our family can easily spend $75 to $100 a month on diapers and wipes, it pays for itself fairly quickly.

How does it work? Like I said earlier, the pocket diapers are very similar to disposable diapers. Their name pretty much tells it all, there is a pocket in the diaper that you stuff an insert into. All of my diapers came with a microfiber insert in them. Unfortunately, Elliot is a very heavy wetter so the microfiber does hold as much as we need it to. I remedied this with Maddux by double stuffing but this makes the diaper extremely large on Elliot, so I started using a regular prefold diaper from Babies R Us as the insert. A prefold is generally what you think of when you hear "cloth diapers", many people use them as burp cloths as well. We use the really thin, cheapo baby washcloths as our wipes. I keep them in a wipe warmer with a solution of 2 tablespoons of Johnson and Johnson baby wash, 2 tablespoons essential oil (right now I am using tea tree oil) and 2 cups warm water. When she has a wet/dirty diaper I simply take out the insert and put both in a wet bag until it is time to wash them. As she is breast fed, she doesn't have solid waste yet (sorry TMI), but when she does I will get a sprayer attachment for the toilette to rinse the diaper before washing. At laundry time, I dump the wet bag in the washer and run a rinse cycle with white vinegar, followed by a wash cycle with blue Dawn dish soap, and end it with an extra rinse cycle. This takes about an hour using my HE front loading washer. From there I hang dry the outer part and tumble dry the inserts. When everything has finished drying, I try to stuff the diapers and have them ready to go (we don't always get to this stage).

Am I glad I did it? I can say without a doubt 100%, I am happy with it! I feel like I spend such a small amount of time every other day doing laundry, it is totally worth not having to step foot in the baby section at the grocery store. And that is saying a lot coming from the woman who despises laundry! I never have to worry about running out of diapers because even if I realize I only have one clean one left, I have enough time between then and the next change to wash more. Even when I am out and about it is easy. I have two small wet bags that fit perfectly in my purse, so the only change is that instead of throwing the diaper in the trash I throw it in the wet bag and deal with it when I get home. The biggest inconvenience is that not all the workers in the nursery at church feel comfortable changing a cloth diaper. But I just make sure she is fresh when we go in and change her when we get out. I have only been called out of service once to change a diaper. Even my great aunt was able to figure it out when she was in town a few weekends ago. There is no crazy folding or anything, just snap and go!

My current stash is made up of 4 different brands ( all but one brand was purchased on sale at They are Sunbaby, Royal Fluff (they also made my small wet bags), Lotus Bumz and Jungle Roo. I am a sucker for new cute diapers so I will probably add a few more as we go along, but I have enough now that I don't HAVE to have more. I will give a review of the different brands in another post, but for now I have to get some sleep... Dr's orders!!!

1 comment:

Fonda said...

Honestly, when you said you were cloth diapering I thought, "Oh, no!"...because I never learned how to fold those things so that they didn't leak! But having seen her cloth diapers at work, they are great. Thanks for sharing this. I am sure it helps others when making that decision just as you were able to question friends who had decided to do so.