Click here to see Cloth Diapers: Part I, which is basically a summary of all the research I did on cloth diapering, the diapers I ordered and why.
This post will be wayyyy more fun, telling you how I use them, how I wash them (ok, that part is not fun) and how I store them!
1. This post contains poop! Don’t read if poop bothers you. I did do my best to make sure that this post does not show baby bottom….but it might contain some of that, too. :/
2. I am not a cloth diaper expert. I’ve only been using cloth diapers on ONE child for 5 WEEKS. I might do some things different, I might even do some things wrong. I recommend that you talk to several people who cloth before truly diving into this adventure. This is just my experience so far!
First off: Why use cloth diapers?
Theo and I decided that it would be best for our family if I stayed home instead of working. However, this means that the finances are a little bit tighter. I want to do my best to save money where I can. Cloth diapering is much cheaper in the long run, although it does require a large start-up cost (over $300, and that was buying the cheapest kind).
Since I am a stay at home Mom, I also knew that I could afford to dedicate the extra time that it takes to cloth diaper. The actually diapering part doesn’t take more time, but the washing part certainly does.
I’m not really an environmentalist, but it truly does save a ton of waste to use cloth. We use disposable diapers at night and when we go out, and that alone fills one (large) trash bag a week.
Another good reason to use cloth diapers is that the stash of diapers should last for more than one child. So, you are going to be saving money if you cloth diaper only one child…but if you have more than one…you are saving A LOT. And it can be easier to just have ONE diaper to use on all your children, only having to snap or unsnap it to re-adjust. But some people might find that is more work…
A final reason we use cloth is that it is CUTE! I mean… just look at this darling.
(Note: If you use cloth, your child will probably be in bottoms a size up from what they are in tops/when they use disposables. Just something to keep in mind!)
As I mentioned in the last post, I bought 15 covers and 25 inserts. This makes me a “full-time” cloth diapering mama! I have enough diapers to go 2-3 days without washing. We usually use 6-10 diapers a day (and then have her in disposable at night).
Using them is super easy. The insert just needs to be put on the cover during a diaper change. Note: There are other kinds of cloth diapers, and this is the part that works very differently with each one.
Step 1: Cute, poopy baby on the changing pad. Notice I have a new, clean diaper ready before I even take off her clothes
Step 2: Remove poopy diaper from cute, poopy baby.
Step 3: Remove insert from diaper. And look! We didn’t get any poop on the cover!
Step 4: Wipe out the cover, since we can just re-use it!
Step 6: Insert clean insert (takes about 3 seconds). Yes, I actually put the clean insert into the dark green diaper, but lets not get all critical here…you get the picture, right?)
Step 7: Put clean diaper on cute, clean baby!
Washing cloth diapers is most certainly the hardest part about the whole deal. This is the only part about cloth diapers that is NOT fun. And whoever told you that newborn poop smells good has clearly never washed diapers full of newborn poop.
I throw my dirty diapers (covers and inserts!) into an empty 5 gallon bucket. I just leave them there until it’s time to wash them (every 2-3 days). The night before I’m going to do the laundry, I fill the bucket up with water and a fragrance/dye free detergent (don’t get stingy on that- it is a MUST for cloth diapers!), and let the diapers soak overnight.
Then, the real fun begins. I take each diaper and rinse it in the water. I take both ends of the insert and rub them together until most of the poop is gone. This is pretty gross (and it only gets worse as the child gets older!). Once the baby is starting to eat solids, this step will be completely different, but for now the whole flushing in the toilet thing does nothing to newborn poops. I wring them out, put them in a laundry basket and take them down to the washing machine.
(I’ve also heard of people just putting the poopy-newborn diapers straight into a rinse cycle in the machine. Whatever floats your boat, but I would prefer to rinse diapers by hand than clean poop out of my washing machine, or paying someone to have to clean poop out of my washing machine).
This is where things get a little fuzzy for me, as I’ve heard so many different things, and I don’t know squat about washing machines and all the different cycles/temperatures. I just throw all those inserts in, add some fragrance/dye free detergent, and run that washing machine just like if I was washing a load of regular clothes. Once or twice, I have opened the washer after it’s finished and still smelled some stink, so I run it again- either the entire wash cycle or just a rinse cycle.
Usually, on diaper days I just wash the inserts. I just throw the covers in with my regular laundry. The covers that I bought are all very colorful and WILL bleed the first few washes, if not continually. Since the inserts are white (and wayyyyy more poopy than the covers), I just want to keep them separate.
(Inserts are in the washer, covers are chilling out on this laundry basket until I do a load of regular clothes.)
Drying the diapers is a whole different story, too! I either hang the diapers (inserts and covers) out on the line, or I throw the inserts into the dryer. I CANNOT throw the covers into the dryer, though, or it will ruin them. The best option for both the covers and the inserts is to hang them out on the line. The sun naturally bleaches away any poop stains!
Lots of people have fancy systems for storing their cloth diapers. In case you haven’t noticed…I’m not a fancy person. One piece of advice that I will give to any Mom in general (cloth diapering or not) is to have lots of different diaper ‘stations’ around your house. I didn’t buy a changing table because I figured I would never use it (and so far I haven’t wanted one). Instead, I have a changing station in the living room and in our bedroom. At each station I have a basket with changing supplies- diapers, wipes, rash cream, an extra onesie and a changing pad that can be folded up to fit in the basket. In these basket I also put several cloth diaper covers and inserts.
My diaper station in our bedroom..the top right cubby is all my diaper stuff.
And this is the basket…as you can see, the inserts don’t fit into the basket, but they do fit perfectly in the cubby next to the basket!
And my living room storage:
The diapers and supplies are in the middle right cubby.
(Just keeping it real, I didn’t clean my living room for this picture.)
And that is that! What questions do you have about cloth diapering? What comments or suggestions do you have for me about cloth diapering?