Let's Talk Cloth Diapers
EVERY DAY, I CHOOSE CLOTH BECAUSE IT IS BETTER FOR MY CHILD, BETTER FOR MY WALLET & BETTER FOR THE WORLD.
We have been a cloth diapering family since Jackson was 1 week old. Yes, we brought him home in a disposable but switched to cloth as soon as we could, which was when his belly button had naturally dried up & fallen off (the cloth diapers came up REALLY high on him).
We have every intention to cloth diaper Miles just as we did Jackson. However, it has crossed my mind that I will have less energy & patience to diaper 2 babes but we're also hoping J will be potty trained soon after Miles makes his appearance (fingers crossed the entry is a pleasant one).
WHAT ARE CLOTH DIAPERS?
When we started with J, my Dad broke it down like this “It’s pretty much underwear for babies. With adults, we buy underwear, wear them, wash them then continue to reuse them. It’s the same concept for babies?” then Matt added “that you expect them to also poop in them.” Makes sense, right? You don’t throw away your own underwear each time you use them. Why do that for your nugget? Long story short, it's a reusable diaper made from fabric. You dump & flush poop, take apart the diaper & wash it like standard underwear. They don't have any chemicals that soak up the bodily fluids (I know you don't think there's nothing in disposables).
HOW DO WE USE THEM?
It'll be nice this time around because we won't have such a learning curve & the combined preoccupied mind of leaving the house with cloth.
Alright, let's address the elephant in the room. Up front, cloth is more expensive. Yes, you're right. But let's break it down, shall we?
For a newborn, say you change 15 diapers a day (on a good day)
15 diapers x 7 days in a week = 105 diapers changed in a week
105 diapers per week is roughly 420 diapers a month & 5040 diapers a year! DIAPERS! That would be about 40 giant packs of Pampers mentioned above & about $1400 spent on disposable diapers a year!
That’s the breakdown. Now if you want to include some bad days when it doesn’t seem like there’s enough diapers in the world, it could average out to about $2000 a year on disposable diapers & contribute I don’t even know to landfills! You can easily buy a couple dozen quality cloth diapers for under $500 & they’ll last you through a couple kids (if that’s what you’re aiming for) if you take care of them! Understand the savings aspect, yet?
This is the next step in our cloth diapering journey with Jackson. I've been told of parents not attempting to potty train their kids until they're a little older & have better communication (which we are also working on) but it can't hurt to see what he's capable of. In theory, cloth diapering is supposed to help with that transition. Reasons being babes are more aware of being wet from the get-go & connect the sensation. Again, no chemicals that soak up the pee immediately until it literally can't hold anymore.
SAVE THE EARTH
You've heard the term 'crunchy' or 'granola'? Well this is where it comes into play. It may not be my biggest reasoning for choosing cloth (honestly, it's the money saving) but knowing I'm helping the environment with each diaper change is pretty cool too - I can honestly know I'm not contributing to any landfills. REDUCE. REUSE. RECYCLE. GET IT?
Plus the fluff butt is just ADORABLE.
Because it was our first try at them, we went for a starter kit with Lil Bums (came with a number of pocket diapers, inserts, a travel wet bag, a large hamper wet bag & an eBook!). I actually just ordered some more because they are ridiculously soft & super durable - the 6 we got before J was born still look brand new & they're almost 2 years old. WORTH IT.
When we started our cloth diapering journey, we did purchase a starter kit of 6 brand new cloth diapers but because of the price & us still making up our minds if this was something we really wanted, we bought from friends or buy/sell/trade sites for cheaper. At the time, I didn't have any specifications or loyalties to brands. I just wanted them to work which they did. I ended up collecting a bunch of different brands that had been through a couple kids so they did have some obvious wear & tear to them but again, just needed them to work & I was still learning.
I always prewash anything I buy - brand new or from a friend. It's up to you as a person but I definitely recommend to strip your diapers because the pockets & inserts come in contact with your babes sensitive skin. We learned we HAVE to wash J's diapers in a hypoallergenic, unscented wash or else he gets the most wicked rash. How did we learn this? Old fashion trail & error. There is no cheat sheet.
PREPARE YOURSELF TO TOUCH POOP. There's no avoiding it. It's gonna happen & accept it now.
Nothing extravagant. Because we've built up a solid amount of diapers (30+), I'm able to wash a load of diapers every other day. We have a trash can with a completely closable lid & large laundry wet bag inside that we throw his dirty diapers in. & I mean throw the entire thing in. If it's a poopy one, it just gets folded together & thrown in (hence the can with a lid!). I know some Moms flush the poop immediately but I don't always have the time for that. Once wash day comes, I take the entire wet bag out. I separate the inserts from the pockets & throw them directly into the machine - no pre rinse or soak. When I come across a poopy one, I dump the poop in the toilet, separate them & into the wash. If there is a lot of residual, I spray it off into the toilet with connecting hose. Like I said above, we use a hypoallergenic, unscented wash for J's diapers & now all our clothes - just easier that way. Once clean, into the dryer they go like normal clothes. I do have a specific way I like to stuff my diapers & I won't get into that here because it's slightly OCD but you can figure your own way out :)
I've only done this a few times but those few times have been pretty awesome. Sun bleaching is meant to help get rid of the set in stains your babes have created in these reusable cloth diapers. & it's hella easy. Wash them normally then fresh out the washer, lay them out flat on a SUNNY day & stain side up. Leave them out for a few hours & you're done! You can do this as many times as you'd like although I wouldn't recommend it every wash. Maybe every month? Only necessary if you have some deep stains. No stains? No problems.
These are the zipping, waterproof, washable bags that you take with any cloth diapers. Rather than throwing the stinky diaper away, you throw it in this bag, put that in your diaper bag/car & continue on. They come in all different sizes too. We have 4 large (for our laundry baskets) & 2 medium (for our diaper bag & day trips). You need to own some if you plan on cloth diapering.
Let me address the concept of a swim diaper - it doesn't hold EVERYTHING. Much like a disposable swim, it's meant to get wet & hold the solids. We used Alva Reusable Swim Diapers & they're amazing. So far this Summer, we've realized they DO hold a little liquid that enters, whether it's water from the pool or pee. But they also hold his solids like a champ (keep in mind, J has been on solids for over a year so it's not common for him to have non-solid poops anymore). Same concept as a
So there you have it! There is PLENTY more to go further into; detailed wash routines, differences between pockets, AIOs, etc. But this was just our history with cloth diapering in the past 2 years, reasons why we decided to & will continue to use.
Feel free to comment any questions you have & I'll do my best to answer to my best knowledge.