Adventures in Cloth Diapering: Things I’ve Learned

Adventures in Cloth Diapering- Things I've Learned

 

Although we are still very much newbies in the cloth diapering world, I have learned quite a few things already:

  • Stay away from the prefolds that you can get at Babies R Us. They are cheap and don’t absorb well. They will make you want to forget you have ever heard about cloth diapering.
  • There are many different kinds of cloth diapers and systems. From AIO (all in ones) to prefolds/covers to snap-ins to FST (flour sack towels) to pockets and many more, you may have to experiment a bit to find what you like the best. And then when you think that you have figured it out, you hear about woolies for overnight and your mind explodes (in the good way, though).
  • The poop isn’t that scary. I promise you, the poop is much worse for infants/newborns than when you are changing solid-food-eating babies/toddlers. We easily pick it up with a wipe, dump it in our trash container, and then the diaper is ready to go into the wash. I know that we were convinced with CDing when we both changed our first poops, and it wasn’t bad at all.
  • The smell isn’t nearly as bad as with “sposies” (disposables). You know that smell that lets you know that you have a dirty diaper (whether pee or poop)? Yeah, you don’t have that with cloth! It’s actually quite amazing how much less it smells because we now don’t have those chemicals interacting with the waste matter.
  • Different materials absorb faster/slower than others. Now, I don’t know everything in regards to this, but I do know that there is a range of absorbency. The fastest absorbers are the synthetic fibers, microfleece, microfiber, and minky. Some of these shouldn’t go up against baby’s skin, though (scratchy or pulls too much moisture away), so check about this first.
  • Different materials absorb better than others. Again, we are still experimenting, but here is the guidance that we have received: the best absorbers are hemp, bamboo, cotton, microfiber, and minky.
  • Cleaning the diapers isn’t all that daunting. When you first get new diapers or materials, you will want to wash them thoroughly (we washed/dried our pre-folds 5 times while only needing to wash the liners once), but after that, it’s nothing more than just washing them at night. I thought I would be much more grossed out by the whole process, but it is really easy. Plus, when you come into trouble, you can rely on a CDing mama friend or an educational store (like Franklin Goose) to help you out.
  • You may have to change your detergent and definitely skip the fabric softener. We thought that our Tide Free and Clear pods would be perfect, but it turns out they are not ideal for using with cloth diapers. Also the fabric softener will actually make the material less absorbent, so it’s best to skip that step altogether.
  • You will have a couple bad days before you have some good days. You will want to give up completely, but just try adjusting your routine a bit. There is definitely a learning curve, but when you have good days, it is soooo worth it.
  • You may have to use “sposies” every now and then. When you are out and about or traveling, it might just be easier to use disposable diapers. That’s ok! Just think of all of the money you are saving normally by using cloth!
  • Find a few “pre-loved” diapers to try different styles. If you properly wash your diapers, it’s fine to use hand-me-down diapers until you figure out what you like. There is nothing worse than investing hundreds of dollars in one system only to discover that you don’t like it. Try a few and then make up your mind.
  • Diaper liners can make clean-up easier. While not necessary, diaper liners are cheap, sometimes disposable, and can even add a layer of fast absorption (to get the liquid away from baby’s skin faster). They are one layer of fabric that goes between the skin and diaper. Some people buy reusable liners, some make it out of fleece (just cut and done), and some use soft paper towels like Viva brand (plain, no design).
  • Don’t be scared of stains. While we haven’t tested this method, we will be sunning our diapers to help get rid of stains as soon as the sun decides to come out to play. I promise I’ll do a before/after!
  • Microfiber and hemp shouldn’t touch the skin. Microfiber pulls moisture away and hemp can be scratchy, so neither should touch the skin. You can wrap them in FST (flour sack towels) or prefolds or even put them in your pocket to help with absorption.
  • Fleece is great to touch the skin. There’s a reason why most of our pocket diapers have fleece inside. It pulls the moisture away quickly so that you don’t have a soggy bottom, quickly sending it to the pads or other absorbing material.
  • You will want to have a cover/diaper that is waterproof. There are some really cute “covers” that go over prefolds or inserts, but they are not waterproof. Make sure that the material has either a waterproof (PUL) side or is wool (and then treated properly).
  • Make sure to have a couple trustworthy CD communities. We have some friends who have given us great advice to get through the early hurdles of CDing, but we have also quickly come to be very reliant on Franklin Goose (yes, you will hear me talk about them over and over again), a local store that specializes in parenting education and has an incredible cloth diapering alcove. I am actually planning an entire post all about this store, because they have done so much to help us out throughout this adventure.
  • You will get a method very fast. We were terrified of the amount of laundry we would be doing or how we would clean and handle it all. It took maybe 1 or 2 days of really doing it to feel comfortable. Now, we are like pros! Plus, it helps that both Tim and I are on board with this, so we do this together, coaching each other with tips we have learned.
  • You also will stay caught up on laundry. This has always been a problem for us: we either don’t have enough clean clothes or they are all clean but haven’t been folded yet. Now, we are staying up on all of the laundry, so everything is clean! Now, if only we could get a magic elf to help us fold and hang up our clothes. But we have done a great job keeping up with the diaper laundry. After the twins go to bed, we put the diapers in the wash. Before we go to bed, they go in the dryer. In the morning, I take the basket to the playroom, and I fold and put away the diapers while Audrey and David race to put them back in the basket (their way of “helping”).
  • You will get hooked. It’s so much fun to find new, cute patterns and styles. It’s such a fun hobby for our family! When Tim changes diapers, he always picks coordinating or completely matching styles. When I change them, I go for the bright colors first. It’s actually FUN to change diapers because they get a “costume change” without having to change the entire outfit.
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Comments

  1. Great info! I’ve been looking at doing this if we decide to foster another baby to help keep the costs down. With four kids in the house right now, I’m not sure if that will happen, though I really want to! We have just used disposable since when our first was born 9 years ago, all these awesome options weren’t so available, but I love the idea of saving a ton of money 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!
    -Sara, uncommongrace.net

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