I have no explanation, but in recent months I’ve developed an addiction to cloth diapering. I had tried cloth diapering our daughter some time ago, but had rash issues and eventually quit. This time I’ve done more research, I happen to have access to a different washing machine, and I’m more addicted to the idea. All these factors have helped us find success. And I love not buying diapers nearly as much (I still use disposables at night)!
So here is my “shortcut” post for any mothers who are interested in cloth diapering but don’t have the time to research it.
There are MANY kinds of cloth diapers and ways of cloth diapering. Here are three of the ones I’m familiar with or have used:
- An old fashioned prefold diaper with a diaper cover over it. This option has come a long way in the past few decades. Now there are alternatives to safety pins (one is called a Snappi), lots of quality prefolds to choose from, and very cute and convenient covers. I use primarily Osocozy prefolds with Thirsties Duo Wraps (snaps or hook & loop). I found a Blueberry Coverall at a consignment store, and it does have some advantages over the Thirsties, but not enough for me to pay the extra money for it new.
- A pocket diaper. I know the least about this option, but lots of people use them. The concept has never made sense to me, since every diaper change would require a new diaper and pulling out the wet or soiled insert out of the pocket (to rinse out if soiled). In short, it’s always sounded messy and not incredibly cost effective, but there are probably aspects I’m missing.
- All-In-One (AIO) diapers. This is a diaper cover that has the insert or actual diaper part sewn right into it. I never tried these the first time around, but they have made cloth diapering much more feasible when someone besides me needs to be the diaper changer (husband, grandmother, etc.), thus reducing our reversions to disposables. AIOs are almost as easy to put on as disposables, the only differences being that the inserts must be folded in (if applicable), and there might be snaps to fasten instead of sticky strips (if it’s a hook & loop [Velcro] closure, it’s that much easier). I’ve bought four of these to have when our daughter is being babysat, and also when we are away from the house. Putting on a single-piece cloth diaper is easier on a public changing table or in the back of the car than having multiple parts to deal with. I have Bumgenius Freetime AIO, mostly in hook & loop closures. There are two “inserts” in these that fold out for washing. So far they seem to get very clean (no ammonia smell). They line-dry, so that part does take a little while. If you do go with the hook & loop closure on these or on basic covers, make SURE they are fastened in on themselves before washing. I forgot once and they wreaked havoc on the inserts of an AIO.
A few more details: Some people use regular laundry detergent for cloth diapers. With the rash issues I faced, I ended up with Rockin Green. Besides being an effective detergent, they have cloth diaper experts on staff who will e-mail with you to troubleshoot any problems you might run into. I’ve noticed that many people used Charlie’s Soap, so I may try that eventually.
In addition to the actual diapers, there are a few “accessories” you will (or might) need. 1) Diaper liners. These are helpful in containing and cleaning up soiled diapers. Some are flushable, although I don’t go there with an old plumbing system. Liners also provide a thin barrier between baby’s bottom and the diaper, helping prevent rashes. 2) A wet/dry bag for diaper changes when not at home. There are two pockets – one for clean diapers and one for wet/soiled. The bag can then be washed right with your diapers. 3) An alternative diaper cream. Traditional diaper creams will build up on cloth diapers causing them to repel moisture eventually (so I’m told, but this seems to be universal knowledge in the cloth diapering world). A simple mixture of coconut oil and cornstarch works as an alternative, or there are lots of recipes online for more elaborate creams. And of course there are plenty for sale. 4) As mentioned before, if you are using prefold and covers, you will need something to secure the prefold before putting the cover on. Snappis are very easy to use. I think there is at least one other safety pin alternative, but I’ve never tried it. 5) A different diaper or diapering strategy for nighttime. I haven’t ventured into this realm yet, but may with our next baby. For now I use a disposable at night. 6) Cloth wipes. Another area into which I’ve never gone, but it would be much easier to toss cloth wipes into the cloth diaper bin to be washed along with everything else than to have to throw away disposable wipes. But what about for soiled diaper changes? That just seems a little rough to me.
To all who are looking into this new and addictive mode of diapering, best wishes!