Cloth diapering comes off as a daunting practice to those who have never done it before. As a first time Mom, I had no idea what I was getting into when it came to all things baby, but I knew I wanted to cloth diaper no matter how much of a chore it would be. What I didn't know is that it’s not really a chore at all! Not only is it an easy task to keep up with, but it’s eco-friendly, a huge money saver, and it’s the healthiest option for my baby.
I purchased four different brands of diapers before my son arrived. Mama Koala, Nora’s Nursery, Alva Baby, and Lil Helpers. All are pocket diapers with the exception of Lil’ Helpers, which is an all in one. I followed all of the instructions on pre-washing my diapers, dried them, folded them, and put their cute little selves on display in my nursery.
There’s several types of cloth diapers on the market. My advice is to buy a few of each kind before you invest in a bunch of one specific brand or type. Personally, I love my Alva Baby’s during the day because the shells are stretchier and thinner, so they don’t appear bulky under clothes. At night time I’m partial to Lil Helpers all in one with the charcoal inserts. Those bad boys can last all night through several feedings without a leak. I have a friend who loves Nora’s Nursery, while I think the snaps on them are hard to button. And Mama Koala’s have the absolute cutest prints! My point is, every diaper is different and every baby is different, so try a few brands before you stock up entirely.
The first few weeks home from the hospital we were pushed into using disposables. I wasn’t happy about this, but every time I used a cloth diaper it would irritate my son’s healing belly button. With the disposables I was able to fold the front down and prevent the diaper from rubbing it. But that certainly came with a price. Several naps were interrupted with a soaked back caused by a leaky diaper and my son’s poor butt was getting raw off and on from diaper rashes. On top of the physical issues, I realized how much money I spent in those two weeks on disposable diapers - $45.00 to be exact. That money would have easily afforded 6 cloth diapers that I could reuse for years. Once his belly button healed, I happily transitioned over to the cloth diapers.
Something I was not aware of concerning baby poop was that while exclusively breast feeding, there’s no need to worry about removing the poop from the diaper before I wash it. I was worried about the amount of poop going into my washer and wondered if I’d be able to get it out of the cloth diapers. Breastfed baby poop is runny and doesn’t have a lot of solid matter to it. Therefore, it doesn’t need to be removed before washing the cloth diapers in the washing machine. But the day we introduce solids will be a game changer and when it arrives I will be ready with my handy dandy toilet sprayer. My husband installed this thing in a matter of minutes and it’s pretty amazing. Not only does it have incredible pressure, but it conveniently attaches to the side of our toilet so that I can just spray the poop into the toilet and flush it. I’d say this is a cloth diaper essential, but not a necessity until around 6 months when your baby starts eating solid food.
I have about 24 diapers and I wash my diapers once every two days, which works for me since I am a stay at home. I go through almost all 24 diapers in those two days, so if you plan to only be able to do laundry once every 3 days, I would purchase at least 36 cloth diapers to have in your stash. I wouldn't let your diapers sit longer than three days before washing them as all sorts of fun smells and stains could start to develop. We keep a diaper pail in our nursery to store our dirty cloth diapers and once it’s full, I take the washable liner out, carry it to the laundry room and pull each diaper out of the bag individually, making sure to separate the pocket inserts from the diaper shells. I wash everything including the washable liner with warm water and an extra rinse. I was using a detergent I found on amazon, Rockin’ Green, but then I discovered the Detergent Index at Fluff Love University and switched to plain old Tide.
If your cloth diaper inserts begin to develop stains, which they definitely can, letting them sit in the sun for a few minutes takes the stains right out. It’s pretty amazing! The only condition is they must be wet in order for this to work, so when you take them out of the washer, instead of drying them, stick them outside in the hot sun and watch with amazement as the stains literally disappear.
I was sure this whole cloth diapering thing was going to be so much harder than it is, but I was completely wrong. I find it to be rewarding knowing I’m not throwing anything extra into landfills or exposing my son to cancer causing ingredients. If it’s something you’re interested in, don’t over think it - just go for it. And know that your baby’s bum is going to be much happier for it.