Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cloth Diapering

Back when I was pregnant, we had some friends who were already having a baby and the wife had decided to cloth diaper. The husband was complaining to Papa Bear about it at work one day. Papa Bear came home and we both looked at each other with disgusted eyes and said we would NEVER do that! I mean, eww!!

Baby Bear is here now. And the thought of cloth diapers hadn’t really crossed my mind. Until I was at work and one of my little patients had the cutest little “bloomers”! I started talking to the parents who said they were actually cloth diaper and that they loved them!

Now, six months later, I started looking into this whole new world. We use the Honest brand diapers for Baby Bear because his little bum is super sensitive and he breaks out into rashes with other brands I have tried. The problem is, they are just so darn expensive! Cloth diapers are expensive up front, but if you plan to use them for a while, or with multiple children, the cost is really very reasonable.

So what does a mama do in 2019? I posed the question to my Facebook community! 

Turns out, quite a few of my mama friends have “part time” cloth diapered, which was the situation that I thought would fit our family the best. I guess I never really realized that it didn’t have to be all or nothing. Many people use disposables at night, or for trips away from the house, but use cloth when they are home or near home. Sounds like a great set up!

One mama on Facebook actually offered to lend some cloth diapers for me to try before I committed. I tried them out for about a week, and I was hooked! The laundry really wasn’t that bad. I have gotten into the habit of doing a load of clothes every day or every other day anyway, so a little more didn’t bug me. I would usually start them at night when I put Baby Bear into the bath, and then before we went to sleep I would hang them up to dry (which, I learned, helps to save the elastic and the waterproof coating).

This kind mama also shared an email with LOTS of great information about cloth diapers, brands, and care. Unfortunately, it has been passed around the mama-world many times, and I am not sure how to give credit to the original author. So, she will remain, the nebulous “Ro”.

If you are even THINKING about cloth diapering, this email really covers it all. I can now say that I have been using cloth diapers for Baby Bear for about a month and I LOVE it! 

Cloth diapers

Did you ever use cloth diapers with your little ones? Are you thinking about it now? I’d love help you out or steer you in the right direction. Shoot me a message or leave a comment below!!

Hi mama!

So you’re interested in cloth diapering. Yay! Ok, so I’m going to walk you through different types of diapers to spell out your options, and then I’ll tell you how I decided to do things for my little tushy. Deal? Deal. Put your feet up, this is going to be a novel…

“Modern” Styles

All-in-ones (AIOs)

Waterproof cover with absorbency sewn in. Comes in aplex (aka Velcro) or snaps.

Pros: super easy. Like, a no brainer diaper– especially good with aplex for babysitters/grandparents/people weary of cloth. With aplex these go on exactly like a disposable so they’re not intimidating at all. Also great for diaper bags because of the easiness factor.

Cons: take longer to dry. Can’t adjust absorbency, so you’re limited in how long these can stay on the tush without leaking.

Ro’s favs:

All-in-twos (AI2s)

Waterproof cover, absorbency snaps in. Comes in aplex or snaps.

Pros: Pretty easy, absorbency can be adjusted by adding more inserts (more on that later).

Cons: insert should be unsnapped before going in the laundry so the diaper doesn’t get tangled and start to pull apart at the seams, so you may be touching poop/pee to unsnap.

Ro’s favs:

  • Grovia AI2 (in my experience works best with non-chunky babies)
  • Doodle Dypes (another work-at-home-mom. These suckers are amazing but very, very difficult to get your hands on– limited quantities)
  • Little Cheeks (new work-at-home mom start up. Diapers are amazing. Both mamas are Lil Mamas!)

Pocket Diapers

Waterproof cover with a layer of micro fleece that creates a “pocket” where you stuff absorbent inserts.

Pros: pretty easy, absorbency is adjustable depending on type and number of inserts you stuff in.

Cons: you have to stuff the diapers, which just takes some time because it has to lie perfectly in the pocket or you’ll get leaks. Also, insert has to be removed from the pocket before going in the wash, so you’re touching a dirty insert. Stuffing is no big deal, but I’d probably go insane if my entire stash was pockets– that is a ton of stuffing.

Ro’s favs:

Fitteds

Non-waterproof, highly absorbent diaper.

Pros: ridiculously absorbent and amazing fit.

Cons: needs a cover (see below) in order to be truly waterproof.

Ro’s favs:

  • Twinkie Tush (most epic fitteds ever. Their night time diapers – called Night Nights – are leak proof even for heavy wetters)
  • Sloomb (cheaper alternative)

Hybrids

Cloth outer, disposable inner.

Pros: easy, great for travel

Cons: prone to leaks, not as Eco friendly as 100% cloth, inserts are $

Ro’s favs:

“Old School” Style

Prefolds

Old school diapers, aka what you know of as burp cloths

Pros: cheeeeeeeap

Cons: intimidating and hard to contort over a wriggly babies

Ro’s favs:

Contours

Prefolds cut into a diaper pattern, some also refer to a contour diaper as a fitted without snaps

Pros: cheap and easier than prefolds

Cons: still a little intimidating

Ro’s favs:

PUL covers

Aka polyurethane laminate covers. Used over fitteds, prefolds, or contours to make them waterproof. Can have snaps or aplex.

Ro’s favs:

Wool

Wool is a magical material in the cloth diaper world. When paired with fitteds, prefolds, or contours, it’s a natural, breathable, highly absorbent fiber, that, when lanolized (I’ll explain) needs only to AIR dry between uses. Yes, you read that correctly. Unless poop gets on the wool cover, you just lay it flat to dry if it gets a little damp. The urine hits the lanolin and creates a natural soap, thus keeping urine stink out. Amazing. Lanolin is the shit you put on your nips. You only need to re-lanolize and wash the wool every few weeks if it remains poop-free. Totally brill. And they make wool covers (same as PUL covers), shorts, pants, skirts… Amazing. To prepare a wool cover, watch this simple tutorial…

How To Wash and Lanolize Your Wool Diaper Covers

Ro’s favs:

Accessories

Snappies

Pins?! No way! Voila...

Fleece liners

Great after you introduce solids until poop starts getting ploppable (it is peanut butter-ish in the beginning— vomit). Lift off liner, plop poop in toilet, throw liner in with diaper laundry. Until then, they’re not necessary UNLESS you have a diaper rash and must use a non-cloth friendly diaper cream (like A&D ointment). Then put the liners in the diaper to prevent diaper cream build up in the diapers, as build up affects diaper absorbency. If you forget, don’t worry- you didn’t ruin your diapers. Text me and we’ll fix them.

Inserts

There are a gazillion different kinds– microfiber, hemp, cotton, bamboo. All have varying degrees of absorbency, hemp and bamboo being most absorbent.

Aplex v. Snaps

It’s really personal preference- there are pluses and minuses to both. I have some of each for various situations.

Aplex: (also called hook and loop by some brands)

Pro: easy, most like a disposable.

Con: if you forget to push the Velcro onto the designated tabs before laundering, they’ll pill the fabric of your diapers and wear out the Velcro sooner.

Snaps

Pro: great fit, harder for babies to escape from as they get smarter.

Cons: learning curve on fit, tough to do at that 4am diaper change when you’re exhausted.

Cloth wipes

I mean, since you’re doing laundry, why not switch to cloth wipes too? They’re Eco friendly and they grip the poop waaaaay better than sh*tty disposable wipes. I use a wipes warmer by Prince Lionheart and make my own wipe solution (I told you I was crunchy lol) with lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus oil, witch hazel, baby soap, coconut oil, and water. I even fill a small squirt bottle with the same solution for my diaper bag. Squirt the bum or wipe and it works so much better than disposable wipes! Plus I can get through a nighttime diaper change without waking him because the warm wipes don’t jolt him awake like the cold ones.  

Cloth diaper friendly butt cream

So not all diaper cream is cloth diaper friendly. In fact, most of it isn’t. Popular cloth diaper friendly brands are California Baby, Earth Mama Angel Baby, and CJs Butt Butter. I use Earth Mama, but I just bought a CJs stick for my diaper bag. Very happy with both– never had a diaper rash.

What to do with Dirties

Wet Pails

LOVE Simple Human trash cans. Lids seal tight and smell is contained. Plus, this is reusable as an awesome trash can post-babies. Highly recommend. Don’t waste money on the sensor ones, they crap out on you. Simple step can is all you need.

Pail liners

Now that you’re going 100% cloth, you’ll need a way to store dirty diapers. I bought a foot pedal trash can (by Simple Human) and you use a pail liner like a trash bag– but it’s waterproof and reusable. I rec getting 2-3. You wash the dirty liner with the diapers and replace it with a clean one. Easy peasy.

Wet bags

Aka your pail liner on the go for your diaper bag. I rec getting four: 2 in small, 2 in medium. I use the small bags for quick trips and the medium if I’m going to be out all day.

The real deal about sh*t.

Poop. You become a parent and it gets everywhere and you talk about it A LOT. For those preggos that think this is gross, let’s talk after you become a mom. HA! So, when your babe is new, there is no need to do anything special with their shit. If you exclusively breastfeed, poop is water soluble. So, just throw in the laundry and follow the routine above. Easy, peasy. Things get slightly more complicated once you start introducing food other than boob juice to your babe. When that happens, you’re going to need to get most of the shit off the diaper before putting it in the laundry. To do this, I recommend…

How to wash CDs

Very simple 3 step process.

  • Step 1: Throw diapers in, run a full cold wash, no detergent.
  • Step 2: Run a full wash on hot with detergent.
  • Step 3: Run a rinse cycle on cold.

You can line dry or machine dry on low heat. If you’re going to machine dry, I rec getting some wool dryer balls– it speeds up the drying process.

Diapers come out with poop stains? Normal. Don’t worry, they’re clean and sanitary. It’s known as shadow staining. Wet the stained diaper and put it out in the sun for the afternoon. Boom. Stains gone. This is known as “sunning” your diapers.

CD friendly detergent

So like diaper cream, not all detergent is CD friendly. For a breakdown, this is the best resource ever. I use Planet HE and Rocking Green, but we have hard water here in NYC.

Newborns

Ok, so here’s the deal. Lots of diapers call themselves “one size.” They lie. They’re not. Diapers that are labeled “one size” will not fit most babies until about 12lbs (give or take a pound or so). So what do you do for newborns? Well, a few options.

  • Option one: If you’re in a money crunch, you can go old school and use prefolds (see above). Intimidating? Yes. Hard to use? Not really. But intimidating and there is a definite learning curve.
  • Option two: contours. Reasonably cheap, take some of the guess work out.
  • Option three: diaper trial. Some online diaper “stores” offer newborn trials for a 6 week fee.
  • Option four: buy a newborn stash of diapers. This becomes cost effective if you’re having more than one babe, or if you have like-minded girlfriends to swap around. Option five: go disposables until your kid fits into one size diapers. 

Great newborn options:

What Ro does

Ok, clearly I’m a cloth diaper freak, so I have a bunch of everything I’ve described above.

AIOs/AI2s/pockets are great daytime diapers. They’re easy to throw in the diaper bag, come in cute colors/prints, and the aplex is great for on the go. 

I use fitteds (Twinkie Tush Night Nights) for nighttime paired with their wool and I’ve never had a diaper blow out EVER. I get 12 hours out of them. They’re worth the cost and I recommend buying 3 if you can get your hands on them.

Since I’m a freak, I also buy specialty hard to get work at home mom diapers, but unless you’re interested in becoming an addicted lunatic, just stick to the still awesome, bigger brands. I’m a lunatic. I’ll bring you down a dark road where diaper packages (aka fluffy mail) will come to your door daily, and you’ll straight up lie to your husband that you didn’t just spend $50 on ONE Beatles print poop catcher. But if you want to kiss your sanity, free time, and disposable income goodbye, we’ll talk about the Birkin like poop catchers that I buy. I wish I were kidding. Hello my name is Ro, and I’m addicted to cloth diapers. Admittance is the first step, right?

Ok, so questions? 

Welcome to the dark side, momma

xoxo.

Ro

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