Cloth diaper, like Google, is a verb. Cloth diapering is a philosophy, a value and even has its own online cult-like community. But I don’t cloth diaper for those reasons. I do it because it’s surprisingly easy, saves me loads of money and is healthier for my boys.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of cloth diapering, but too overwhelmed by the thought of dirty diaper laundry, touching poop and choosing which kind to buy, read on. I’ll link you to my favorite and most informative cloth diaper gurus while sharing what convinced me to make the switch from disposables to cloth.
#1 Using Cloth Diapering is Easy Peasy
I’m not kidding. The cloth diapers of today are just as easy to use as disposables in many ways. Not only are they a breeze to put on your baby, but with the right accessories and a little bit of practice, washing them is a walk in the park.
So Many Options
The array of cloth diaper styles and materials almost guarantees that you’ll find the best one for you and your baby. Because there are some great on-line resources out there explaining the different types of diapers, I’m simply going to link you to them vs. rehashing the info:
Dirty Diaper Laundry. After reading the descriptions above, click on over to Dirty Diaper Laundry where Kim Rosas has the BEST collection of cloth diaper related videos. If you live in a rural community like I do, a good video is the next best thing to seeing the diaper in person before buying online. In her Intro to Cloth Diaper Series, she demos most, if not all, of the cloth diaper styles out there. Then check out the Cloth Diaper Finder, where after specifying the characteristics you are looking for, it spits out the best diapers for you. It also includes reviews and videos for most of the search results — this can save you oodles of time (and money) when researching CD styles.
Go ahead, surf around those blogs because they are chocked full of cloth diaper wisdom and are my go-to sources when I have questions about anything cloth diaper related.
My Favorite Styles and Brands
I’ve tried several different styles and brands, and these are my favorites because they are reasonably priced (lots of brands are super expensive), easy to find (some you literally have to stalk your computer during stocking times to purchase) and are a good fit on Jax.
Pockets Diapers. I like pockets (a water proof shell with soft liner that have a pocket in which you stuff an absorbent insert) because they dry quickly, are easy to use, and are generally one-sized (are adjustable for growing babies). My favorite brands are bumGenius 4.0 or 3.0 (I find little difference between them) and Charlie Banana.
All-In-Ones. With a waterproof shell and built-in absorbent liners, these are most like disposables. Buy them with aplix (Velcro) closures instead of snaps, and you really have a disposable stand-in. I offer them to babysitters and grandparents — they are pretty foolproof for CD novices. Again, my favorite brand is bumGenius.
All-In-Twos. This diaper simply has two parts: a shell and a snap-in liner. These are by far the cheapest of the easy cloth diaper options (classic flat diapers are probably less expensive, but I’m not a fan). Like all-in-one’s, these are really easy for dads and others who might feel intimidated by cloth. These are my husband’s go-to diaper. Our favorite is the Best Bottom system.
#2 I Don’t Have to Touch Poop
Honestly. With the right accessories, rinsing and washing diapers can be easy and relatively mess-free.
Handling Messing Diapers
Two must-have contraptions relieve the dread that comes with handling poopy diapers: A diaper sprayer and a Spray Pal. Diaper sprayers attach to your toilet. Just plop the Spray Pal in your commode, clip the diaper in and spray the mess away. The Spray Pal contains the overspray – because poop particles on your feet and floor are gross.
Doing the Laundry
While I love cloth diaper blogs for their wealth of info, reading about laundry issues can be down-right scary. I’ve had very few laundry problems, and the ones I did have were solved fairly painlessly. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Do a Pre-Soak. I have a HE washer, which makes soaking diapers tricky because it uses the least amount of water possible, and lots of water helps get your diapers clean. I also have hard water which can increase your risk of diaper stank — well, we have a water softener, but it only works if you remember to add salt. But that’s a different story. So, I simply soak the diapers in my utility sink. I find that an hour soak in Rocking Green Funk Rock before the wash keeps the stink away. Dumping the soaking wet diapers into your HE washer tricks it into using more water for the wash — which makes your CDs happy.
Use a Cloth Diaper Safe Detergent and an Extra Rinse. Respect your diapers’ need for special treatment by using detergent that is softener and enzyme free. Use PinStripes and PolkaDots’ Detergent Chart to find the best one for you. I use Planet brand because I can order it via Amazon Prime and it’s cheap enough that I can justify using it for all my laundry. Set your washer to do a hot wash and an extra cold rinse to be sure you’ve gotten all the soap out (a culprit for leaky diapers ).
Keeping the Stains Away. Sun, Bac-Out and diapers liners are all you need to keep your cloth stain-free. I cut my own liners out of fleece into the shape of a long oval and lay them between the diaper and Jax’s bum. They serve several purposes: 1) They keep diaper cream off my diapers (which can affect their absorbency), 2) They are super soft for Jax’s skin, 3) They keep solid messes from sitting on the diaper itself which can lead to stains. You can also buy disposable liners that you simply, well, dispose of. But, I find them a bit scratchy and personally wouldn’t want them in my underwear. I imagine Jax might feel the same way.
When solids and the diaper do meet, I spray a little Bac-Out, rub it in, soak and wash. That usually does the trick. But even the most stubborn stains are rarely a problem for the sun’s bleaching ability. Hang them on the line or lie them by a sunny window and, wahlah, you’ll have a stain-free diaper a few hours later.
#3 Cloth Diapers Save Us Oodles of Money
The average family spends $1600 each year on disposable diapers. And because I would buy more expensive, environmentally-friendly diapers, my cost would be more like $2,277. In the 23 months I’ve been cloth diapering, I spent $813 on cloth diapers and supplies:
$260 on diapers (I don’t buy expensive high-end diapers — I’ve never spent more than $19/diaper, and I often buy gently used)
$12 on fleece material for liners
$348 on Bac-Out and Funk Rock
$38 on a diaper sprayer
$20 on a Spray Pal
$135 on Seventh Generation disposable diapers (I use them when we travel on longer trips and over night).
I’ll take the $1,464 in savings any day. And my twins were potty trained at 24 months, so if Jax follows in their footsteps, I will won’t be spending much more. And, for a family who has more children, they can use the diapers for subsequent kiddos — cha ching!
I’m Bettering My Chances of Having Grandchildren Some Day
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that all our children are IVF babies. While I seem to be pretty darn fertile, we struggle with male-factor infertility. Because information makes me feel in-control, I researched the hypothesized causes for our country’s marked increase in infertility issues. A likely culprit is the use of disposable diapers. You see, little boy parts overheat when in conventional disposable diapers for a long time. This exposure to high temps harms the testicular cooling mechanism that supports sperm production. (This is why doctors tell men to avoid tight undies, hot tubs and prolonged exercise when trying to conceive.) Apparently, this can cause long-term damage to the ability to create lots of strong sperm that swim straight and for their target.
Because my husband and I know first-hand the emotional, financial and physical pain that accompanies infertility issues and treatment, we want to do everything we can to prevent our boys from these same struggles.
There are plenty of other health-related reasons to go cloth. The fact that disposable diapers contain dioxin — a known carcinogen listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals, and banned in most countries (except the U.S. of course) is one of several. For more information on the health risks of disposables, visit The Real Diaper Association.
There are other reasons to use cloth, but these are mine. In addition to the money saved and potential for grandbabies, I really think cloth
diapering is more convenient. I always have diapers, always. I’ve never been in a pinch and found myself without a diaper because I stay on top of my laundry routine. I don’t have to run to the store because I ran out of diapers. And I’m a control freak — I know exactly what’s touching my baby’s skin, and I control any chemicals that are used to clean them
And really, have you seen how cute they are? All the fun colors and patterns? Even if you do it just for the aesthetics, cloth diapered babies’ fluffy bottoms are just so much cuter than crunchy paper covered ones.
There’s lots more to say about cloth diapering. Post your questions — I’d be happy to answer them.