A few weeks ago, which ended up being a pretty stressful day, my friend Nicole taught me and my friend Kelly a TON about cloth diapering. At the time, I was apprehensive about it (for *these reasons*)
but by the time I left her house, I felt fully on board the cloth diaper train. It was so helpful to actually see how they worked, instead of just being confused by all of the online options.
Here are some of the things she taught us:
[I should have asked her to write this post for me because she’s an amazing resource, but maybe my once-clueless ways will help some CD curious friends]
What kinds of cloth diapers are there?
These are the types she showed us:
1) Pre-folds + covers
This is the most old-fashioned type, which she said she wasn’t the hugest fan of at first, but loves them now. They look like the softest, comfiest option and something I’m thinking of exploring for the newbown phase, since these will work with teeny tiny babies. [The all-in-ones and pocket diapers are often too big for newborns] I told my mom I was thinking about it, and she said that’s exactly what I wore when I was a baby and I never had a diaper rash.
These diapers include a pocket in the back, with you can stuff with an insert, and also layer an extra insert on top of it for extra absorbency if the baby is older and will be wearing it overnight. When you wash these diapers, you pull the insert out, rinse if needed, and toss the entire thing (outer part and insert) into the wet bag.
These diapers are the inserts and the actual waterproof outer portion combined into one. They’re the most convenient option, since they’re pretty much the cloth version of disposable diapers –no inserts or anything like that- but take a little longer to dry. I’ve heard that many people will just toss them into the clothes dryer, or lay them out in the sun to dry (which will naturally brighten the color of the diaper and take out any tiny stains)
and here’s a chart that breaks it down really well:
So how do I know what type to use?
You don’t at first. She recommended getting a variety of types because you won’t really know what brand or style will work best for your baby. For example: some diapers are great for tiny little legs, and others aren’t snug enough, and there are advantages for every style. The types that I like the most right now, which felt the softest and seem to work for many people are the FuzziBunz and Itti Bitti Tutto.
How much extra wash is it?
An extra load, every day and a half or so. From someone who loathes laundry –laundry and dishes are my least favorite- I can totally deal with this. One thing I really liked that she said is that seeing all the diapers all fluffy and clean is different than washing clothes. It seems more fun to me, too.
How gross is it?
You guys know that this was one of my main concerns. I wasn’t too excited about washing my clothes in the same washer as items that have, ahem, body functions soaked into them. I know the washer sanitizes everything, but the idea was still a little weird to me. The good news is that we still have our old washer, which works but leaks a tiny bit of water out the front, and will hook it up in the garage. Having an extra washer is absolutely not necessary since the washer will sanitize everything and you often run the diapers on two cycles or more [I’m thinking about doing one rinse cycle and then a hot/cold one to see how it goes]
If you use a wet bag to hold the diapers, just open the wet bag, toss the diapers into the washer and the wet bag along with it. Wet bags have a zipper, which helps seal everything inside (i.e. smells are less likely to escape than with a regular trash bag) and gets washed every time the diapers get washed.
The nursery will have a diaper pail, with some kind of baking soda freshener inside to keep smells at bay, and the wet bag, which I’ll toss diapers into.
As far as rinsing the diapers goes, I have heard that when you are breastfeeding, you don’t really need to since everything will easily wash off in the washer. When the baby is eating solid foods, you’ll plop the *goods* so to speak into the toilet, rinse the diaper, and toss it into the wetbag. There is a sprayer attachment you can attach to the toilet to make this easier:
We will probably go ahead and attach it now, and rinse the diapers anyway before putting them in the wetbag, just so they don’t stain.
They also have small wetbags available, which you can toss diapers into if you’re on-the-go. I might do this, or if we’re going to be out and about for a long amount of time, just roll with disposables for that time. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
It is really a financial savings or with the water usage, notsomuch?
This one is kind of up in the air. You are using extra water, but an extra load every day and a half isn’t terribly significant. I’d imagine that it will still cost less than using disposables, and I really like how much softer the cloth diapers are. The good news is that we’ll be able to use the same diapers for our next baby, too.
I wasn’t sure how Tom would feel about cloth diapers, or if he’d think it’s weird, but he’s 100% on board. I asked him if he’d be grossed out to rinse them off and he said “I’ve dealt with Bella’s disasters. I can definitely deal with a baby’s.” True point. The fact that he’s down with it, and that it’s what my family had used in the past, I’m hoping with their support and knowledge it shouldn’t be too bad.
Any other tips, cloth diapering masters?
Would you cloth diaper, or prefer to stick to disposables?