Tot Tuesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a special kids activity, frugal recipe for kids, kids tutorial, etc.
Today we’re going to talk about diapers. Specifically cloth diapers. Now you may or may not know that I cloth diapered both my children for a period of time. We didn’t start cloth diapering Noah until he was about 9 months old, and cloth diapered him exclusively until my daughter was born when he was 22 months old.
We cloth diapered my daughter and my son off and on from that point, but eventually decided to stop. Mainly because it was a lot of laundry and I’m quite lazy 😉 . However, I loved our experience cloth diapering and if we had a third child, most likely we’d cloth diaper that child at least part time as well.
Why Would Anyone Cloth Diaper? It’s 2011!
Cloth diapering is actually becoming “trendy” nowadays, but when I first started cloth diapering my son, it was just beginning to catch on once again. There were a few reasons we decided to cloth diaper:
- We thought it would be cheaper
- We thought it was better for the environment
- I’m not going to lie…fluffy bottoms are cute (I mean look at this?!)
Those were our primary reasons for cloth diapering. From an economical standpoint, if you have multiple children wear the same cloth diapers, you will definitely save money. From an environmental standpoint, well the jury is still out on that one.
I’m not here to convince you one way or another though. If you do decide to cloth diaper your child(ren) though, I wanted to give you some info to get started!
Kinds of Cloth Diapers
There are 4 basic cloth diaper styles available right now. Here is a bit of info on each kind:
All In One– All in One diapers are exactly what they sound like. You put it on, and you take it off all in one piece. You throw it in the wash and the dryer as is. We never used All in One diapers. I was concerned they would take too long to dry. Plus they are pretty pricey. This diaper usually fastens with hook & loop (velcro) or snaps. It has a waterproof outer layer.
Pockets– Pockets were probably my favorite cloth diapers. We preferred the Bum Genius and Fuzzi Bunz brands. Pocket diapers require some sort of insert into the “pocket” to become a true absorbent diaper. Some popular fillers for pocket diapers are microfiber and hemp inserts. I personally loved the pocket inserts that came with the Bum Genius diapers. They were extra long and could be folded over to double up in an area that usually had to account for more wetness. I would often combine a long Bum Genius insert with a shorter Fuzzi Bunz insert in a pocket diaper once my son started sleeping through the night.
Prefolds w/ covers– Prefolds are the diapers that most of us think of when we first think of cloth diapers. The best prefolds are typically made of cotton or hemp. Standard styles are bleached or unbleached (we used unbleached). You must place a waterproof cover over prefold diapers (we enjoyed Bumpkins covers). You might also need a snappi or pins to secure the prefold diaper. Here is a tutorial of different folds for prefold diapers. Prefolds were not my favorite with my son, but they worked great for my daughter! NOTE: Don’t try and use cheap Gerber prefold diapers for anything other then rocking burp cloths. Trust me on this.
Fitted w/ covers- I had one fitted diaper in my entire cloth diapering career. I honestly didn’t really like it that much. It was kind of like a prefold/pocket combined. Basically it’s a whole diaper that is usually secured with snaps and it needs to be covered in a waterproof diaper cover.
I often get asked how many cloth diapers you really need? Honestly it depends on quite a few details:
- Will you be exclusively cloth diapering? If so, make sure you have enough diapers to take you through at least a day or two. Remember, if you buy only 4 diapers…you will have to wash diapers every 2 diapers to make sure you always have clean diapers on hand!
- If you use a diaper that uses a cover, keep in mind you can re-use covers several times (provided they only get wet and not soiled) between washings. So you can purchase less covers then prefolds, fitteds, all in ones or pockets.
- If you send your child to a sitter or daycare, first of all make sure they allow cloth diapers. Secondly, you might need to allow for more diapers so you can leave a few there in case of accidents. If you use prefolds or fitted diapers at home, you might consider getting some easier all in ones or pockets for the sitter.
Cloth Diapering Accessories
Most of these items are not necessary, but they will make cloth diapering easier. Really all you need are the diapers and a good washer.
- Diaper Pail and/or Wet Bags-Typically just a pail with a lid will work well. You can add some tea tree oil to cut down on the smell. Some people use wet bags instead. Basically a waterproof bag that can easily be washed. These range wildly in size. If you intend to cloth diaper on the go, you’ll need a small wet bag for your diaper bag for when you change a diaper when you are out and about.
- Snappis or Pins– If you use prefolds, you will need snappis or pins. I used snappis. Pins scared me!
- Diaper Sprayer– Attaches to your toilet and helps with #2 removal once baby gets old enough to eat solids. We didn’t have one of these and got by just fine.
- Cloth wipes & wipe solution– Again, this is optional. I never could get on board with cloth wipes, but I understand the convenience. It was always a pain to throw away dirty disposable wipes. Would have been much easier to just throw the cloth wipe into the diaper to be washed. Still, not something I wanted/needed.
- I’m sure there’s more….a lot more….but those are the ones that you *might* want/need.
How to Clean Cloth Diapers?
Part of me feels like I shouldn’t touch this area with a 10 foot pole. There’s a lot of back and forth about how to best clean cloth diapers. I’ll just give you some general basic tips:
- Get rid of any waste by flushing it down the toilet right as it happens.
- When it’s time to wash, rinse the diapers first through a cycle of cold water
- Use a detergent (VERY LITTLE detergent) that is free of perfumes and dyes and run the diapers through the hottest cycle until there are no more bubbles left in the water. It might take a few cycles.
- Dry or hang dry your diapers. If you are using a diaper or diaper cover that has PUL, be sure to run the diaper through the dryer every once in a while. It kind of reactivates the PUL.
Where to Buy Cloth Diapers
I primarily purchased my cloth diapers from CottonBabies.com. They have fantastic customer service and I always got what I paid for in a timely manner. However, you can get cloth diapers just about everywhere nowadays! Amazon has a pretty large selection of cloth diapers, and so does Target!
There are also several forums (DiaperSwappers, Pregnancy.org, Cafe Mom, etc) where you can purchase diapers both new and used. Of course there’s also always Etsy for work at home mom made cloth diapers!
Personally, we don’t use cloth diapers any longer. It’s a lot of laundry and keeping up with this site is a full time job. In addition to being a full time mom and a full time wife and a full time housekeeper and on and on and on. Cloth diapering was something I needed to cut out. I’m okay with that. I will say that I think cloth diapering is wonderful and I loved my experience.
I think it varies from family to family whether cloth diapering is truly a cheaper choice, but I do know that cloth diapering really helped us through some very lean times. I was very thankful that I did not have to worry about buying diapers, because all I had to do was wash some!
If you know someone that would benefit from this information, I’d love if you shared this article on Facebook, Twitter or if you are feeling extra generous, you could stumble it!
Did you cloth diaper your children? Are you currently? Are you planning on it? Tell me about it in the comments section!