I’ve had a lot of ladies ask me about cloth diapers, so I thought I’d write out a little guide. If you’re not interested, please don’t read any more! It’ll be quite boring.
Tova started wearing newborn disposable diapers. We used the package given to us by the hospital until they were all gone. Then we had purchased some Seventh Generation newborn disposables to use until Tova’s umbilical cord fell off. Well, the Seventh Generation diapers fit terribly. They’re too small and don’t cover the area above the leg – just the tab goes over and cuts into the skin. So I don’t recommend those at all. When her cord fell off, we started using gDiapers. The size small is a good size for newborns. However, we found that gdiapers were too much trouble. If you want more info on why they’re too much trouble, just ask.
Then we started to use our cloth diapers. We had two FuzziBunz size small, two Happy Heinys one-size, and several bumGenius one-size diapers. The FuzziBunz and Happy Heinys both have too large of leg holes for a little one. Eventually, she’ll be able to use them, but I don’t recommend buying either because you’d have to buy something else to use until your kiddo’s legs get chunkier. We LOVE the bumGenius diapers and highly recommend them. They are one-size, which means you can use them from newborn until about 35 pounds. They have snaps on the front to decrease and increase the sizing. Here is an information page on them.
We chose to use cloth diapers for two reasons. 1: they’re cheaper than buying disposables. You’ll spend most of the money up front and then do laundry for the duration, but in the end, it’ll save you about a thousand dollars. 2: disposable diapers take an estimated 500 years to disintegrate. Here’s an interesting quote: "AGM [absorbent gelling materials – used in disposable diapers] is linked to an increase in childhood asthma and a decrease in sperm count among boys. Environmentally, these diapers require as much water, energy and fuel to produce as any other single-use diaper." They’re also made of chlorine, which you probably don’t want on your baby’s body 24/7, and plastic, which isn’t biodegradable.
Ok, to get started, you’ll need about 2 dozen bumGenius 3.0 one-size cloth diapers. We have 17 right now and plan to buy some more. 17 gets you about a day and a half before you have to do laundry. That means you’re doing a load every day. The best plan is to get enough to do laundry every other day and have a few left clean to hold you over until you get around to finishing the laundry load. You can get them HERE and HERE. They’re also available individually at Target stores sometimes – they’ll be at the end of one of the aisles in the baby section.
Cottonbabies.com is a great site and store. Their bumGenius product page is HERE. Their cloth diaper 411 page HERE.
You also want to buy cloth bottom wipes HERE. We have three dozen but we’re going to buy more when we buy more diapers. So I suggest 4 dozen. They also have new bamboo ones, and I tend to recommend bamboo. Bamboo fabric is light and strong, has excellent wicking properties, is to some extent antibacterial, is highly absorbent, and is a sustainable product.
You’ll want several bottles of the bumGenius bottom cleaner to use with your cloth wipes. Keep one in your diaper bag. Spray your baby’s bottom and use the wipes to get it nice and clean. I also find that this reduces diaper rash, because you don’t leave the bottom wet, like you do with disposable wipes. You can also just use water.
Your baby will still get diaper rash – and you can’t let diaper creams get directly onto the diapers. So you have to buy fleece stay-dry doublers. You don’t use it as an insert. You put it in between the bottom and the diaper. Not only does it allow you to use diaper rash creams, it keeps a lot of the wetness away from the skin. These are also good as your baby sleeps longer at night and needs extra absorbency.
Other items you’ll need:
-diaper pail liner
-13 gallon trash can with lid (and foot pedal)
-All Free and Clear laundry detergent (**your detergent can’t have any dyes, softeners, perfumes, etc.)
-Nellie’s Dryer Balls (**use these in the dryer – remember to not put any dryer sheets in the dryer!)
-Wet bags for your diaper bag (to put dirty diapers in until you get home)
We bought 6 extra newborn inserts, but I don’t think they’re necessary.
Now that you have everything, here’s what you do: wash and dry the diapers separately from the inserts with one-fourth the recommended detergent on any temperature setting. After you wash the diapers separately, you can wash them with other fabrics (the inserts and bottom wipes), so you’ll never have to separate them again. Wash the inserts (I just threw them in with Tova’s regular laundry).
When those are all clean, snap the diapers to the “small” size if they aren’t already. (You don’t need to unsnap these to launder.) Then put in the inserts. Store them by your changing table. Use the cloth wipes with either water or the bottom cleaner and put the used ones into the diaper pail (your 13 gallon trash can with the pail liner inside of it). For the diaper, you can spray it with an odor remover or not. We bought it, but won’t buy more when we’re out. We don’t think it’s terribly necessary. You’ll be doing laundry every other day, so there won’t be a strong odor. Then remove the insert and drop the diaper and insert in separately. I keep some antibacterial hand sanitizer at my changing table for after I pull out the insert. You won’t get very dirty, I promise. And if you think you will, save the diaper for later, when you can go to a sink to wash your hands.
Don’t put anything other than diapers, inserts, cloth wipes, and maybe odor remover spray into your diaper pail. No water or anything like that!
When your diaper pail is full and you’re running out, take the full pail liner to your washing machine. Put the opening into the washer and shake everything out, then flip the liner inside-out (it’ll be dirty inside, so be careful or wash your hands afterward) and put it in. 1: Use a quarter of the recommended amount of detergent for the load size and do a cold rinse. 2: Use a quarter of the recommended amount of detergent for the load size and do a HOT full wash. 3: Use no detergent and do a warm rinse. They should be sparkling clean. Then put them in the dryer on a warm cycle with the dryer balls or nothing at all. But you’ll have static if you don’t use the balls. (Hint: turn the pail liner right side out before you put it in the dryer. The dryer balls tend to get caught up with it.) Then just stuff the diapers with the inserts and start again.
It’s a great system and I hope you do it and stick with it! Let me know if you have any questions!