Cloth Diapers ...Getting Started

Work in progress...Updated Links And Resources July 2016

Update July 2016: I've had a lot of Mamas ask me for help with their Cloth Diapers (CD) or for a list of resources for CDing. I have yet to find a google search to yield a helpful site right off the bat. You know the kind that says "HERE YOU GO, DO THIS". Wishful thinking and really, Cloth diapering is so individual in preferences and what will work for your family...But I thought I'd give it a shot. I've been cloth diapering off and on since 2008. With Ziggy (baby #4) I decided I was not going to use cloth. It was too much work. My babies had so many issues with cloth. Chemical looking burns that left me feeling like an awful mother, and the stink! Washing and washing and stripping and all that wasted water and I still couldn't figure it out!! I wasn't doing it again. And then he got to be 6 months old and I had tried all the natural disposable diapers and they all leaked on this heavy wetter. I really didn't want him in gross mainstream disposables 24/7, what could I do? A friend directed me to Fluff Love Cloth Diaper Science and LIGHT BULB! I had always felt like the tiny little bit of detergent prescribed for cloth was ridiculous, this is poop we're talking about. How is it getting it clean? And how is all this rinsing and rinsing and washing better for the environment? I learned first hand that those methods not only don't work, but can cause serious health issues! Diapers are laundry and should be washed as such.

Where to start...
 I'm putting together this list. Unfortunately trial and error are involved in parenting and CDing is no exception. But I know that when I was interested in getting started it was just so overwhelming! What type would work for me? What would fit my baby best? And typing any thing on the subject into a search engine was just..TOO much! So I compiled a list of information from my last 2 years of "research" in the CD world...I hope it's helpful for those interested in CDing!
BENEFITS of Cloth Diapers (to name a few...)
1. no toxins next to sensitive skin (especially if you try to find a plant based/natural detergent that works with your water).
2. Cloth Diapers can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars, especially if you plan on more than one child.
3. No sposies in the land fills (and they apparently take HUNDREDS of years to break down, yipes)
4. Less mess, no seriously! I have NEVER had a blow out (you know where the poop goes up to the neck?)with a cloth diaper!
5. (my favorite) earlier potty learning.
I'm on my fourth little to cloth diaper. The older two cloth diapered at 24 and 19months. The baby I stopped Cloth diapering at 13 months because of skin and stink issues? She didn't potty train until she was 35months. Ancedotal? Possibly, it could just be her personality, she was also my longest to nurse (37 months) and my latest to talk. But with my first two and I gotta say, I l-o-v-e how easy it made potty learning! Now don't quote me on this, I only did it once. But it made the transition from diapers to underwear much easiser!!!

Now, we've also had problems with CDs. We have had our share of stink issues and leak problems.  Which led to a lot of research (and trial and error on this subject!)...Which has made me a great resource...I guess?

So I'll try to keep this simple...

This is what you will mainly need to decide:
  • How many you'll use each day (generally after the newborn stage around 8-10 diapers a day depending on the age of your little).
  • How often you'll be doing laundry (every day? every other day It's not recommended to go more than 3 days as that can just get gross. And also not reocmmended to wash more than 24 dipes in a full size washer as diapers don't get as clean when they are cramped)
  • What kind you'll use: cost factor vs. "cool" factor (keep in mind, more isn't always better!)
  • Where you'll keep them when they're dirty (an actual dry pail? Or a hanging dry bag?).
  • And choosing a detergent. (. Rundown on good laundry detergents HERE).

Getting Started....It's Not as Overwhelming as you think...Really!


HOW TO WASH (I have an updated rundown of our little washing routine below) I will add that it can seem a little overwhelming on the fluff love site, BUT there is a method to their madness. All you need to find out is
1. how hard your water is (I bought a water test strip kit for $6 at my local pet store, dipped and compared, when we use our water softening system we have soft water)
2. Find your washing machine in their washing machine index.
3. Decide what detergent you will use and put it all together to find out if you need to add a water softener (borax) to your wash routine to be sure your detergent is efficient and no minerals from hard water are building up in your diapers (it causes da stink).

Wet Pail? Gross. Dry Pail? The New Deal with dirty dipes!

 A good Run Down on The Different Types.
Run Down on All The Types (video under 7min)

Considering Prefolds? No Pins Necessary! Introducing the Snappi!! (video 30 seconds)


If I had to do it over what I wish I could tell myself:...
1. Take your time. Start with understanding the different kinds.There are lots of awesome youtube videos and cloth diaper fb groups to help!
2. Just because it's new and innovative doesn't make it better...Or easier. This is big!
3. It's okay to try a few different kinds, order a variety and try them.
4. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. If only cloth diapering a diaper or three a day is all you can handle, do it! It's that much less yuck on your baby's bum and some thing is better than nothing. If there is any thing I've learned as a Mom of 4 is that trying is worth some thing. That's where I am right now, I use 3-5 cloth dipes a day on Ziggy and use disposables at night and when we're out and about.
5. It's okay if it's not for you. If there is any thing I've learned as a Mom of 4 it's okay to say No. :D

 (keep in mind I was cloth diapering 2 littles for a several months)
10 Bum Genius 3.0 (generally run around $18 if you buy them individual...The more you buy in a bundle the more you save) Onesize pocket Diaper fit babies 7-35lbs. Pocket diaper with insert. They are nice for the hubby, he isn't overwhelmed by them...But care has been difficult for us. We have hard water so we've had a lot of stink issues and soap build up cuasing leak problems. So initially the felt like the "easiest" option but the laundry has been a pain in the neck!
12 Thirsties Fab Fitted Dipes ($14.50 each but again, buy in a bundle and save money!) They come in several sizes. We have size Medium which fits 16lbs-28lbs...But fits my babies 10-25+lbs) AWESOME! Though do take slightly longer to dry than pockets/inserts or prefolds. I've never had a leak problem with them when used with a good wrap cover.
3 Thirsties covers (I don't have the ones in the link but these are better and I have friends who use them and have great success with them. I have the old school. They're "ok" my back up covers)
3 Wonder Wraps fit babies 10-40lbs AWESOME!!! Have never had a leak or issue with these covers in the year that I've been using them. I loved them because as I was diapering two littles I could just adjust the snaps to fit the bigger or smaller baby. I've been looking around and it seems these aren't selling on my usual store any more (UGH!) THESE also look comparable.
24 Prefolds (looove prefolds: we just use Gerber) with 2 snappi fasteners
3 newborn wool soakers (home made) Wool is AWESOME! It is so soft and keeps my babies dry and you can find such cute home made ones! I wish I had larger soakers! The great thing about wool is that it's antimicrobial it only needs to be washed once or twice a month and rinsed by hand every few days... It is awesome stuff.
2 AIO Thirsties: not a fan they are definitely "back up" dipes. Living in a damp climate this is NOT the best kind of diaper to use as it's very hard to get them clean (and keep them clean)...Dry climates they aren't as big of a deal. Read about that HERE.
DRY BAGS: We have 2 dry pail liners Like THIS...We just use a normal trash can that we got at target and it works great! They also sell kinds that hang on door knobs like THIS- very cool just wasn't practical for us.

On the go I have two small wet bags like THIS: awesome for when we go to the "splash park" too as I can pop wet bathing suits in!

WIPES: Well you have two options continuing with disposable or cloth wipes. I vote cloth wipes! What comes naturally when you're wiping a poopy bum? Popping the wipe into the diaper...When you're using disposable (wipes) and you do that you end up forgetting to throw them away and they go through the wash. If you're using any kind of velcro in your stash those disposable wipes immediately get all stuck in the velcro and can shorten the life of the velcro on your dipes.

We have 16ish Thirsties Velour wipes (given as gifts) You can see all the options HERE I also recieved about 20 extra baby wash cloths our baby shower...WAAY too many. But all those adorable little Gerber baby wash cloths make AWESOME cloth wipes!!! And you can always make your own with some flannel. Also I got some (polyester but they work!) baby wipes at the $1 store!! it was liek 6 for a dollar, can't beat that! So check yout your Local Dollar Tree. You might be surprised wtih what you find.

They also sell wipe solutions which I don't use. I just use good old fashion plain water on my wipes... It gets my girls clean just fine, and keeps the cost down.

LINERS:So if the poop factor is still really wiggin you out you can check out THESE. Disposable liners that you just dump into the toilet and flush all the poopies away...We've used the Kushies. My hubby especially prefers them...But not necessary

What I WISH I had in my stash (instead?).
1.I wish I had invested in some good prefolds (the cloth-eez ones). and some SHERPA ones. I'd skip the newborn as we don't CD in the first 2 or 3 weeks and at both my babies 2 wk appointments they were over 10lbs so not exactly in the "newborn" sizes any more.
2. I would get 2 wool soakers for every size (except the largest ones, I'd wait to be sure we don't potty learn early)
3.I'd just use the wonder wraps for the rest of the covers or another one-size cover. That way when cloth diapering 2 you don't have a ton of different sizes to sort through or keep organized.
4. I'd still invest in 5 or 6 fitted diapers because they are great for night times doubled with a prefold or another BG insert: no leaks and my baby is a HEAVY wetter at night.
5. I'd skip pocket diapers and AIO's completely.

UPDATE July 2016:
What I have now:

24 Medium (Red edge) Green Mountain Prefolds
5  One size (fits sizes 7-30lbs)cloth Diapers (Grovia, FLIP, and Thirsties)
4 Hemp Doublers
4 Thirsties Cotton velour doublers
40 flannel wipes I made myself ( hemmed with the serger)
A few wool soakers I made (I use for naps, but Ziggy is a chunka- almost 26lbs at 10months and they don't fit up his legs so much these days.
A small plastic laundry basket from the Dollar Store
A Few Snappies (I mostly just fold the diaper into the cover though, my guys a chunker and the mediums don't fit around his thighs).

In Closing
Here's the readers digest of what diaper care looks like for us.
Open diaper,  remove. Wipe baby clean toss dirty wipe and diaper in dry pail  basket... Put new diaper on. When pail gets full (usually every 3 days. I take the laundry and dump the whole thing into the washer. Run a cold rinse (it is some times recommended to wash your dry pail liner seperately as it can collect water and cause detergent build up issues. Throw it in with some towels in the next load). Come back 20 min later and let the washer fill up with hot water, when it starts agitating (I leave the top open so the cycle can't move on if I forget) add the detergent (remember ONLY 1/4 of the recommended amount, especially if you have hard water!) run it on a HOT cycle with 2 cold rinses and you're ready to either throw it in the dryer ON LOW or hang it out in the sunshine (lovely and is great for the diapers, takes out any extra stains and disinfects them!)
1. I use a cap of Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus (with enzymes) laundry detergent to line 2, I dump it on the laundry.
2. Close my Cabrio Whirlpool Washing machine and set it to casual: 37 minute wash cycle. This washes out all the stuff.
3. Add baby clothes and small laundry items, fluff up all of the load and add 10 lines worth of detergent.  Wash on Heavy Duty on HOT.

All done.

(I just want to mention I am not being paid or any thing for all the fluff love links... Also, the reviews on that site are mixed...Some are adamantly against it....But I have to say their philosophy that diapers are not special snowflakes but laundry and their demand that cloth diaper companies get with it is refreshing! There are a few companies who are aligning themselves with the Fluff Love philosophy and I have to say...Follow the money. If a cloth diaper company is pushing a specific detergent, research the detergent. Read up on your options. Read what Fluff Love has to say about Charlies Soap (which was our experience)

Enjoy the process, fluffy bums are a lot of fun!!!

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