“How to cloth diaper” was searched a half a million times when I first decided I had an inkling to do it. I studied and studied and truly felt a calling to do so. Though, I’m not certain anyone really took me seriously. If you’re looking to see if cloth diapering is for you, check out this quick guide to cloth diapering your baby. It isn’t too difficult to get started and to do so even while being a working parent. Here’s how to cloth diaper your baby.
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Step One: Picking out the Easiest Cloth Diaper!
The Bum Genius One-size pocket diaper has worked for us tried and true for each child. It is easy for us to wash, put together, store, put on, etc. etc. etc. Again, if you’re planning on having more than one kid, go for the gender neutral colors so you’re not wasting any money.
How Many Cloth Diaper Do I Need?
We can get by with just one day’s worth of diapers, but I will suggest you get two days’ worth because sometimes you’re sick and don’t feel like washing diapers, or sometimes baby is sick and is going through diapers faster than usual. The point is, life happens and though I don’t generally have extra of anything, I do two days’ worth of diapers.
So, how many is two days’ worth of cloth diapers? Well, when baby is smaller we were told twelve diapers per day and that’s fairly accurate, though I’d say you could get by with ten. So to answer the question you’ll need 20-25 diapers.
***Snaps are best because Velcro gets a little… well… messy!
Figure Out Any Added Cost to Cloth Diapering
Cost is a major factor when you first start growing your family and cloth diapers are not cheap, but they do last a LONG time (we are getting to use ours on our 5th child). My opinion is they’re worth it, but you should know there are a few more things you’ll need if you’re going to cloth diaper.
The first thing I’ll mention is the diaper sprayer. Technically you don’t need it, but I wouldn’t have continued to cloth diaper without it. With the diaper sprayer I could spray off all the nasty #2 business near the point of not even seeing it’s presence on the diaper. Best part is, I’m not putting my hands in the poopy toilet water.
The second thing I’ll mention is a Wet/Dry bag. Basically you need something to put your soiled diapers in as they wait to be washed. We use a trash can lined with a Wet/Dry bag, but you can use a 5 gallon bucket or some other container but you’ll want a Wet/Dry liner. I suggest getting two
The last thing I’ll mention is yet another Wet/Dry bag, but this one is for when you’re on the go. This one will carry your soiled cloth diapers you’ve changed while out running errands and such. You can throw it in your diaper bag and you won’t smell any stench, and your other diaper bag essentials will not get wet.
We use disposable wipes because this suits us for traveling. I don’t have to worry about bringing water to make the cloth wipe wet or wetting the cloth wipes before we leave, or running out of wipes in case of an explosion. My suggestion is to use disposable wipes if you’re constantly on the go.
How to Conquer Cloth Diapering
Okay, I’ll make this as simple as possible, because I don’t have much time to waste throughout my days as a mother because the biggest part of being a parent is actually spending time with our kids.
- Take the soiled cloth diaper off the baby
- If diaper is wet only then graciously take the insert(s) out of the pocket diaper and place both items in the bin lined with the wet/dry liner.
- If diaper is poopy, clean baby’s bum just like any typical diaper wearing baby.
- Throw the soiled wipes away and take the poopy diaper to the bathroom.
- With the diaper sprayer attached to your toilet, turn it on and spray the “mess” off the diaper. (Note: this step gets easier as you get used to your sprayer. I suggest starting with the sprayer on a lower sprayer setting instead of full blast or you’ll be cleaning your bathroom every time you wash a diaper. Be patient with this step and you’ll have it figured out in no time at all.)
- Wring the diaper out by touching only the outside of the diaper no need to put your hands on the areas that were dirty.
- Take the insert(s) out of the pocket diaper and place both items in the bin lined with the wet/dry liner.
- Done until time to wash!
On the Go:
- Take the soiled diaper off the baby.
- Place the whole diaper in the wet/dry bag.
- Zip the bag.
- Toss the bag with soiled diaper inside into your diaper bag, stroller, or wherever you choose.
- When you return home take each diaper out and follow the at home instructions above.
- Toss the wet/dry travel bag into the pail as well to be washed later.
Time to Wash
A friend of mine borrowed a diaper from me once, and she commented on how clean and white they looked. She couldn’t understand… I told her I just use Tide.
The cloth diapering world will tell you to only use Free & Clear soaps on them or to use special cloth diapering detergents. I haven’t used either in my 5+ years with my four kids and one on the way. I haven’t had an issue because I always do an added rinse.
Washing cloth diapers is actually easy, because you just take the wet/dry liner full of all your soiled diapers and toss the whole thing into the wash. I literally take the liner out of the can and place the opening into the washing machine and dump the diapers in. Then I toss in the liner at the end. My hands never get dirty.
Like I said, I use Tide detergent. Depending on how dirty the diapers are I most likely will not put a full load’s worth of detergent in. I don’t want to leave detergent on the diapers. Once someone else washed my diapers and when I sprayed the diaper later… soap suds emerged… and a lot of them. So this is why I always do an added rinse cycle.
Wash on hot. I usually just do a Permanent Press cycle. and an extra rinse.
Drying the Diapers
EVERYONE says not to dry your diapers in the dryer. They’ll tell you to line dry them. I don’t! I dry my diapers in the dryer on low for 40 minutes. Remember, I’m still using my same diapers I’ve used since the beginning… 4 kids ago… nearly 6 years later.
Just don’t use dryer sheets! They will leave a film on your inserts that won’t allow them to soak up the mess as well. I use wool dryer balls on all our clothes instead of dryer sheets anyway. You can find some here if you don’t already have them: https://amzn.to/2T1gsjf
It’s Okay to be Lazy!
This isn’t really lazy as it is more practical. My children wouldn’t sleep through the night in their cloth diapers. They’ve all been heavy wetters so they would wake up soaked through the cloth diapers, through their pajamas, and on to their sheets. At night we use paper diapers.
You CANNOT use most diaper rash creams with your cloth diapers because they will ruin them in the very first use! Trust me! I had a babysitter ruin 5 of ours in one day and I couldn’t have been more sad. The pee will just roll right off the diaper and out of the leg… never making it to the cloth insert. So, if baby has a raw bum (which won’t happen often using cloth diapers) just use disposable diapers.
Even though we still use some paper diapers and the disposable wipes, we’ve saved a TON of money buy using cloth diapers.
We didn’t cloth diaper until baby was around 4-6 weeks old. This was dependent on when baby’s legs were chunky enough to fit the leg holes. You can buy newborn cloth diapers, but we just didn’t because we felt it would be a waste. If baby’s legs don’t fill the leg holes of the cloth diapers then you’ll notice some leakage and that’s frustrating.
Make it Routine
Make it a routine to wash your diapers every night after baby goes to bed and you can fold them in the morning if you must. This way your diapers stay clean and you stay ahead of the game.
How to Store the Diapers
We first stored our diapers in the bottom drawer of my daughter’s dresser. As we decided to have more kids and our kids shared a dresser we moved the diapers to an old hanging cloth diaper organizer that was my parents’. I can’t find these anywhere, so I’m working on a DIY sewing tutorial for you, because it’s very convenient. You can use one of these too if you wish, but honestly a dresser draw works great!
You job as a parent is hard enough, so don’t make it harder. If you decide to take paper diapers with you on an overnight trip, no one cares. I love the fact I’m helping the environment by using cloth diapers, but my sanity is important to me and there have even been times when I’m at home when I choose to use paper diapers instead. Make parenthood fit you and your spouse’s sanity! Being sane is probably top priority when you become a parent…. wouldn’t you agree?