I asked my Facebook family and friends a few months ago to pick my brain about cloth diapers. They asked a lot of good questions and I hope to answer them on here!
1) When and why did we decide to use cloth?
Sebastian and I were married on December 27th, 2011. Twenty-eight to thirty days later, I had a positive pregnancy test. Newly weds and under the age of 20, we had to make a budget, and disposable diapers just couldn’t fit. Cloth diapers were our decision completely out of cost. I bought 100 baby city brand off of eBay for $100 and they served us well for 8 months. I would never recommend that brand for a family who plans to cloth diaper multiple children, but they did what I needed them to do. I researched more about cloth diapering, what materials were used, how to care for them, what the benefits were besides financial, and how I could make my own.
2) What is my washing routine/do I use special detergent/how often do I wash?
There are many types of cloth diapers. Prefold with covers (old fashioned), fitted, all-in-one (AIO), all-in-two (AI2), pocket, and hybrid are pretty common. Pockets are my favorite and what we use in our home, they’re easy to prep and easy for family and friends.
I have 54 pockets for Salem and 42 pockets for Maebel. I know that’s a lot, but I do laundry every 3-5 days! Three if I’m on top of my schedule, five if I’m running behind and cutting it close!
Both kids use 10-12 diapers a day. Sometimes Maebel starts wearing Salem’s size…
I wash my diapers on hot with an extra rinse, and 1/4 amount deterent for load size. I line dry. I use Dreft detergent with a small amount of oxiclean if we had a stinky week.
Do you have to use that detergent? No way. I know women that use tide, some only use homemade, and others swear by rockin green. Use what you know works on your diapers and what makes them feel and smell clean!
I advise avoiding chlorinated bleach on any cloth diaper except prefolds, and even then, cautiously. There are ways to use it, but it’s risky business and can cause a lot of harm.
Do you have to use my washing routine? Nope! Again, do what works. Washing with hot water makes me feel like I’m killing germs, line drying is how I preserve my PUL (outer fabric on pockets). If you want to save power and use less, wash on cold. If you don’t have the space to line dry or the time to hang up and take down, dry on low heat.
I wash my diapers with their inserts and cloth wipes, but I try to avoid washing the kids clothes, blankets, or any other fabrics. More for sanitary reasons than other.
5) What about stinky diapers? When to buy the diaper sprayer.
This is the gross part. Poopy diapers are bad enough, but now I’m asking you to wait a few days to wash one?
I’m unfamiliar with formula fed babies, but breast fed babies usually go without a poop for 1-3 days. On days Maebel poops, laundry is done. Breast fed baby poo is also water soluble, meaning I don’t need to spray her diapers before a wash, nor do I need to line it.
Unfortunately, formula fed baby poop is not water soluble. In this instance, a diaper sprayer is necessary early on. Or! You have the option of disposable liners. Public service announcement: Some say flush able, however, if you don’t mind tossing them in the trash, it’s actually easier on the environment than flushing. Just because they say flush able, doesn’t mean they will disintegrate.. If you plan on cloth diapering for the savings, liners cut into the savings.
When baby starts solids, you’ll have to line or spray.
Toddler poo is usually solid enough to shimmy on out. Sometimes it’s not, but it’s never anything our diaper sprayer can’t handle. (We have never used disposable liners in Salem’s diapers, and I don’t feel the need to start.)
Salem’s diapers rarely have residue, and Maebel’s are usually washed same day. So, no, you don’t have to have poopy diapers stewing around your home. There will be days, but it’s no different than a dirty disposable in the trash bin.
6) Materials used:
Prefold and fitted diapers are usually a cotton blend. You’ll use a fastening tool, snaps, Velcro, or snappis, and they have the option of a wool, fleece,
or PUL cover to allow a water proof effect.
AIO, AI2, and hybrid have a PUL or fleece outer (water locking/water proof) and an insert, usually a bamboo, cotton, hemp, or microflece, or a blend of a few. There fabrics vary from very absorbent to stay-dry, or wick the moisture away. Snaps or Velcro are usually the fastening tool.
Pockets have an inner layer, an insert that you manually insert and remove, and outer. The diapers I make usually have a stay-dry or wicking inner layer (minky, jersey, suede cloth), my inserts are a bamboo blend from Alva diapers, and my outer layer is PUL (polyurethane laminate). Snaps or Velcro are usually the fastening tool.
7) Additional benefits besides savings:
* Cloth diapered babies tend to be more aware of their eliminating needs, allowing for earlier potty training. Disposables pull moisture away quickly, so children tend to forget their early instincts. Cloth only has so much capability to wick away moisture, meaning children feel the wetness. This also means more frequent diaper changes (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!)
* Cloth is less wasteful. There have been arguments that the utilities that are used to wash and dry diapers are equally as wasteful as throwing away disposables. But there is no way the energy used to create and dispose of disposables comes close to energy usage, especially if you have efficient machines and/or line dry.
* Disposable diapers have chemicals. That’s the hard fact. Sure, they’re deemed safe. No, I don’t think less of you for using them and I don’t think you’re endangering your child. However, that is an argument for cloth. Exposing your child, especially a young infant, to fewer chemical and synthetic compounds is good. It’s not better. No mother is better than another. This is especially good for mamas with sensitive skin babies. Cloth will help.
* No more midnight store runs. Using cloth makes you very aware of the amount of diapers you have left. If you realize you’re on the last diaper, starting a load and using the dryer means you’ll have fresh fluff 1-2 hours later, usually when the next diaper change occurs!
This isn’t even close to all of the information on cloth. It’s an intimidating world, but a rewarding one! There are so many brands and styles to choose from, cloth can really be apart of your life! even part time! Don’t let the number of choices, the variety of wash routines, and the cluster of confusing information overwhelm you. Find someone to ask for help along the way and dive in! And feel free to contact me with any questions you might have!