If you’ve ever considered cloth diapering, you know there is a lot to consider. What type? What brand? What size? How many? How to clean? Thankfully there are several websites that provide excellent information. I recommend Green Mountain Diapers and the Real Diaper Association’s site for general information, and the Diaper Pin for product reviews.
What I want to share today is my own experience because I think it’s helpful in offering insight into what cloth diapering entails and whether it’s a good fit for your family.
Subject #1: Jack Landry
Cloth diaper wearer: 1 week – 2 1/4 years. Jack’s thoughts on cloth diapers: Only positive things to say: “could wear them anywhere!” “so comfortable, I forgot I had them on!”
Cloth diaper wearer: 3 days – present (4 months). Cora’s thoughts on the matter: “Love the variety of colors and patterns – they can match any outfit!”
Why did we cloth diaper?
The idea got into my head through an article emailed to me before I was ever pregnant. While pregnant, I did further research and was sold. My husband was equally on board. Our primary motivation was the environmental friendliness of cloth, followed by its cost savings, followed by (on my part) the cuteness and uniqueness factors. I like to be different!
What brand/type do we use?
With Jack, we used Bum Genius one-size-fits-all pocket diapers. We included these on our Target and Amazon baby registries and received nearly a full supply prior to Jack being born. (Now THAT is cost effectiveness!) With Cora, we use Bum Genius all-in-one organic diapers. We also have an assortment of other types (FuzziBunz, Thirsties covers and prefolds) that we’ve picked up on sale.
How many cloth diapers does a baby need?
This depends on your washing routine. We wash every other day and the 20 diapers we have is just enough to make this work. The one-size-fits-all diapers fit well from about 10 lbs. on, so prior to this weight, you would need smaller diapers. (My mother-in-law found brand new FuzziBunz newborn diapers at Goodwill for 50 cents each. ZukaBaby has a great newborn diaper rental program to cover you for this time frame if you don’t happen upon such a great steal!)
How much “work” are cloth diapers?
I see cloth diapers less as work and more as just part of our parenting routines. With the all-in-ones (the cover and liners are sewn together, so it’s just one piece), there is no stuffing or folding, so the work is just the cleaning. To me, having a rhythm makes things more seamless, so every other night, I start the 3-part washing cycle:
- Express wash on cold-cold, no soap (the general recommendation is to start with a cold rinse, but I don’t have a rinse only cycle)
- Sanitize cycle with a tiny bit of Charlie’s Soap (I start this cycle before I go to sleep)
- Express wash again on cold-cold, no soap (I frequently do this in the middle of the night when I’m up with Cora – efficiency!)
This has the diapers ready for drying in the morning. We have clotheslines hung on the back porch because the sun naturally bleaches and because the all-in-ones are especially thick and would take several dryer cycles. I take them off the line in the afternoon/early evening just as I’m running low on diapers.
How much do you think you’ve saved?
I can count on two hands the packs of diapers I’ve bought (for long trips). We also received 75% of our diapers as shower/baby gifts. We also use cloth wipes about half the time (with a homemade spray) so that cuts costs as well. It’s super easy to use cloth wipes since you are already washing!
What is the hardest part of cloth diapering?
I struggled with the best way to wash Jack’s diapers. We did not have a great washer and I think I used too much detergent initially. The combination left us with mineral buildup that made the diapers hard to get clean. Jack’s diapers had microfiber inserts which I’ve read are harder to get clean over time. We had to throw these out after his 2nd birthday which motivated us to switch to the organic Bum Genius all-in-ones for Cora, for which so far, we have 100% positive reviews!
But what about the poop?
I’m not squeamish about poop (my husband very much is), but let’s be honest, you have to deal with poop no matter the type of diaper! I do swish a poopy diaper in the toilet before putting it in my diaper pail (regular pail with a cloth liner). If this isn’t for you, you can buy a diaper sprayer to avoid the dunk!
What’s the best part of cloth diapering?
Pretty much everything! They’re environmentally friendly, easy (I mean how hard is it to press buttons on the washing machine), save us money, and they’re cute!
What is the best local resource for cloth diapering?
Hands down, ZukaBaby at 2122 Magazine St. ZukaBaby carries the largest in-store selection of cloth diapers in Louisiana and stocks everything you need from diapers to accessories to succeed with cloth. They have knowledgeable staff, cloth 101 classes, newborn diaper rental, a 21 day trial, gift registries, a diaper exchange to buy and sell used cloth diapers, and a great return policy! They are my one stop shop, which works especially well because Jack plays contentedly in their toy area while I shop.