After becoming pregnant last year, all things baby suddenly caught my attention. Talking to seasoned parents and new fellow parents alike, a lot of the conversations involved the talk of poop and diapers. Not surprisingly though since newborns go through about ten diapers a day and have the amazing ability to pee or poo in newly changed diapers. After hearing about the number of diapers new parents need to buy, the words “cloth diaper” would come up. Usually said with fear or wistfulness, cloth diapering seems to often come with a negative connotation. But still, I was curious to learn more about how to prevent so much waste and was cloth diapering really THAT bad? When my single friend who actually cloth diapers asked “how do you really know unless you try?” and offered to lend me her newborn cloth diaper stash, I couldn’t say no- and thus began my cloth diapering journey!
Pros of Cloth Diapers
1. Less waste– For the first month of baby’s life, we were the overwhelmed new parents and decided to do disposables. It was no joke about those 10 diapers a day and the garbage can filled up quickly with not just dirty diapers, but also baby wipes and pee pads. After the first month I was ready for the new challenge and started cloth. We still bought some disposables to use during overnight trips and so far have only bought 2 boxes of (140 count) diapers in the last 6 months (still using box number 2). We also use cloth wipes and I use the cloth diapers as padding in case baby decides to take a potty break during diaper change.
2. Less cost– This was not a big factor for me but hey, I’m not complaining that I’m not spending hundreds of dollars on diapers, wipes, and pee pads!
3. Better for baby’s butt– cloth diapers are generally made with cotton or other natural materials such as wool or bamboo. These materials absorb moisture easier and are more breathable than disposables which often contain absorbent chemicals. This helps keeping diaper rashes at bay.
4. Better fit– Cloth diapers are more flexible and conform better to each baby’s unique waist, butt, and thigh size. This helps prevent more leaks and blow outs- a big help since my baby was a big pooper.
5. Helps with potty training (?)- I have yet to reach this stage myself but I’ve heard positive results (from friend mentioned earlier). The idea behind this is that they are able to tell easier with cloth diapers with the diaper is wet.
Cons of Cloth Diapers
1. One more load of laundry- Yup! That’s all it really is. Washing cloth diapers is broken down into two categories.
Washing cloth diapers with breastmilk poop
In this stage, change baby as usual and put diapers with both pee only and poop all in the same basket. Throw everything into your regular washing machine. Run a rinse cycle first, then a regular wash cycle. Dry in dryer and place in sun for stains.
Washing cloth diapers with Formula poop or when baby starts solids
In this stage, the baby’s poop is more solid instead of liquid so the poop is usually plopped/scraped/rinsed into toilet before poop diaper is thrown into dirty diaper basket.
Types of Cloth Diapers
There are different types of cloth diapers to suit your style and needs. Some are easier/faster to put on while others are easier/faster to wash and dry. You can also find the type of material that works best for you and baby based on if baby is a heavy wetter, if weather is cold, etc. Depending on the type of diaper you choose and baby’s physic, there are different folds you can do to get the diapers nice and snug and comfortable!
Prefolds– these look like a burp rag or an almost square thick cotton cloth. Fasten with a pin or Snappi and choose a cute diaper cover to keep all the moisture contained.
Fitted– These look like a diaper made of cloth which is exactly that. Fast and easy to put on (dad’s favorite). Keep it in place with a pin or Snappi and put on a cover. Takes a little longer to dry after wash since its fairly thick.
Flats– This is a large thin piece of cloth that you fold multiple times to create a thicker layer. Lots of different folding options and easy to wash and dry since the material is thinner. Does take a bit more time folding into desired diaper but this option also allows you to never have to buy different size cloth diapers as baby gets bigger.
All-in-ones– This option is best for babies that have start solids. It is essentially a reusable diaper that’s made of cloth on the inside and waterproof material on the outside. There is usually a cloth insert that you can clip in and out to change the diaper so you can use the diaper a couple of times before needing to wash the whole thing.
Other Cloth Diaper Related Products
Besides the actual cloth diaper itself, there are other products that are here to make your cloth diapering journey easier.
Cloth Diaper Covers– We love our Buttons and Thirsties diaper covers. They have tons of cute prints to choose from and are easy to use and clean. Diaper covers are needed to help keep moister from getting out and is essentially the waterproof protection part of the cloth diaper. The covers have lots of buttons to choose from to get the best fit for your baby as he or she grows.
Snappi– A Snappi is used to keep the cloth diaper in place. It is a replacement for pins and makes putting a cloth diaper on a wiggling baby fast and safe!
Diaper Sprayer– We use the Bumkins Cloth Diaper Sprayer to clean off some of the more solid poop before throwing it in the wash.
Reusable Swim Diaper– We love our reusable swim Diaper from Charlie Banana. Lots of cute patterns and easy to put on and take off.
Cloth Diaper Pail– We use a Dekor Diaper Pail that has the option of using for disposables or cloth diapers (comes with a waterproof bag). Either way we love how it keeps our dirty diapers from smelling up the whole room!
These are the basics of Cloth Diapering that I’ve picked up. There are a lot of personal preferences and things that you can do to make your Cloth Diapering Journey your own. A lot of people do a mix of cloth and disposables which is perfectly fine as well! There are a lot of resources online and Facebook groups that offer assistance as well. Hope this has opened your eyes to cloth diapering!