Should you try cloth diapers? A mom weighs in
During my pregnancy, I went back and forth with my husband over whether or not we should use cloth diapers or disposable diapers. My husband, who had never changed a diaper in his life, didn’t really care what type of diaper we used, so he left that choice up to me. I decided to register for disposables, since I didn’t think that I could keep up with 2-4 extra loads of laundry a week.
Once Charlie was born, though, I was bothered by the obscene amount of disposable diapers that we used. I had met some “mom friends” at a breastfeeding support group, and a few of them cloth diapered. While nursing our babies, we would inevitably talk about poop catchers. Even though I had decided to use disposable diapers, I was still curious about cloth diapers.
One of my friends who was cloth diapering was taking on a serious challenge: she had twin girls and cloth diapered them both from birth! I figured that if she could handle it, I could, and after talking to her about cloth diapers, she offered to lend me some to try. Charlie was three months old at this point, so I was willing to make an attempt. It sounded gross, but she assured me that her diapers were clean and that it wasn’t gross.
I used her diapers, and I liked them enough to do more research. I found a brand that I thought would suit my needs, and I went to a cloth diaper swap and bought a few diapers that had only been prepped, but not ever used. I bought more diapers to complete my stash, and dove head first into the cloth diaper world.
What I gathered:
- 24 pocket diapers and 24 microfiber inserts.
- All Free and Clear laundry detergent
- 2 large hanging wet bags
- 2 coat hooks to hang the wet bag from
- 3 travel wet/dry bags
What I would later acquire:
Let’s start with my successes:
Since I was lucky enough to exclusively breastfeed my son, his poop as a newborn didn’t need to be rinsed out before washing (it is water soluble!). Once he started eating solids, we installed the diaper sprayer to our toilet, and used the sprayer and spray pal to rinse the solids off. Once that was done, the diaper went into our large hanging wet bag and waited for laundry day.
Once laundry day was upon us, the routine went like this:
First, I have always added two towels in with our diapers. Whether or not they are necessary, who knows – it’s just something I have always done. I unzip my wet bags, dump the diapers in, and then throw the wet bags in with everything else. I start with a quick wash cycle with the water setting on hot/cold, and set on heavily soiled. I add Tide to level 2 on the scoop, and let the machine do its thing. I set a timer on my phone to remind me to go back to my laundry room in 30 minutes. I add more Tide, level 3 this time. I set the washer to a normal load, hot/cold and heavily soiled. Once that cycle is done, I start separating everything.
My travel wet bags are all dryer safe, according to their wash tags, so those go in the dryer, as well as all of my inserts. My diaper shells and hanging wet bags all get hung to dry on these.
That’s it! It really is a simple wash routine that keeps my diapers super clean. The diapers that I use recommend adding bleach to the wash once a month, which I do if the diapers get a little funky or if my son ever ends up with a bad diaper rash.
Some of my failures:
- Overnight: Cloth diapering never worked for us overnight once my son started sleeping longer stretches. I do know people who swear by overnight cloth, but by the time it became an issue for us, I didn’t have the energy to test out diapers and see whether or not they held up overnight. I just started buying disposables, since it was only one a day.
- Diaper rashes! My son was prone to yeasty diaper rashes. I learned the hard way that normal diaper rash cream is no good for cloth diapers. Whenever his rashes got bad, we switched to disposables for a few days, let everything clear up, and then switched back to cloth (this is when I would do a bleach cycle with all my diapers even if they were clean!).
Why do I love cloth diapering?
- The savings. Although there is a huge up-front cost, the savings add up, especially if you can use the diapers for subsequent children.
- You don’t run out. You won’t ever be sending your significant other out to the pharmacy at 3 am because you ran out of diapers in middle of the night.
- Elastic at the back. It prevented poop explosions. This was a serious outfit saver!
- They are cute! Fluffy bums are the best types of bums.
A few more things to know
- Formula fed babies’ poop is different. It needs to be rinsed before washing!
- Different water types require different types of wash routines. Hard water usually needs a water softener added in!
- Cloth diapers have resale value. If you keep your diapers in good condition, you can resell them when you have finally potty trained!
- Breastfed baby poop can stain. If you find your diapers stained, instead of drying in the dryer, let the sun bleach out the stains. If you don’t have a yard to sun your diapers, you can put them on your car’s dash!
- Most diapers come in both snaps and hook and loop (Velcro) versions. This is personal preference: I chose snaps because if the hook and loop ever needed replacing, I cannot sew to save my life! If you’re crafty, hook and loop might work for you, though.
- My experience is mostly with pocket diapers with microfiber inserts. Natural fibers are cared for differently.
The best online resource I have found is Fluff Love University, who have helped me tremendously!
What do you think? Did you cloth diaper? What was your experience? Have any cloth diapering questions? Leave us a comment below!