Hi friends! Several of you who follow my personal Instagram have asked about our journey cloth diapering (CD). I figured I would write about our experience here and maybe inspire a few of you interested yet scared to commit folks to give it a try. It will also be helpful to have this documented for myself should we ever decide to have a second.
First, let me say, I had to do a lot of work to convince Mr. M into cloth diapers. One of his biggest concerns was the wash routine… and I get it! That’s something you don’t have to worry about with disposables (call them disposables not “regular” diapers. CDs are “regular” too.) So how did I convince him? By doing my research, having a plan, and “selling” him on all of the benefits.
What research did I do? Well, I talked to my friends who have CD before me. My sister in law has been the BEST resource so far along with my girlfriend Christie a CD mama of TWO! These two women have answered a ton of questions for me. NOTE: I learned throughout pregnancy to not Google things. There is just way too much conflicting information out there and it stressed this mama out hard. Instead, I talk to my mom friends. (I also take advice from my two doulas, my midwife, our pediatrician, and our FABULOUS lactation consultant) outside of that I limit my Google searches to cat videos and crock pot recipes. It saves my sanity! If you’re into Googling things.. have at it! There’s a shit ton of info on CD. Good luck! As for myself, it’s just too much. I really focus on keeping it simple. My sister in law shared a few really great YouTube videos and Christie invited me to a Cloth Diapering Facebook page! I use the Facebook page sparingly because it’s an overwhelmingly large amount of info. Once my research was done I decided on a CD brand, made some purchases, and got to work.
We decided on pocket cloth diapers. Another mama friend of mine, Brenna, did a ton of research and also decided on pocket diapers too and recommended the brand Alva due to the cost/benefit/reviews she read online. She did the research, I trust her advice! We got a combo of Alva diapers and Bumgenius brands. I stuck with all solid colors because that’s what I like. I also purchased packs that are “gender neutral” because… I’m FRUGAL! More on that to come!
I purchased 2 packs of Alva CDs from Amazon with money we were gifted from family and our Bumgenius CDs were gifted by some friends. I also purchased reusable wipes and bamboo inserts from Amazon. In total, we have about 20 pocket diapers.
Why pocket? Because they’re easy and budget friendly!
What do you do?
To prep: First, find the right size for the “rise”. We have the smallest setting for our gal right now and snap them up. You don’t need to unsnap the rise each time you wash. This is only done the first time and whenever the babe grows. Then, stuff an insert in the pocket. I took my SILs advice and do this at night while the babe is asleep. It’s brainless work and can be done while zoning out. Brings a new meaning to Netflix and Chill.
To put them on: I found a great YouTube video that helped me understand what to do. Baby is happy, so are mama and papa!
To change a soiled CD: We use reusable wipes too and this is the most important part. This might seem crazy but let me explain. Being able to throw everything in one rubbish bin at the end of a changing is HUGE. Having to sort out soiled wipes from the pile of crap sounds like no fun to me. How do we do the wipes? Simple. Spray bottle with water. Spray the wipe and take it to the bum! We spray right before every change sesh. That eliminates having to prep wipes, avoids moldy situations, and all around saves time. After the change all you do is remove the soiled insert and toss it all in the rubbish bin. Note: rubbish bin has a reusable insert. This is also key!
To wash: I dump all of the soiled diapers (exclusively breast fed poops) straight from the rubbish bin into the washing machine along with the bag. We wash on a rinse and spin cycle on hot water with a tiny bit of detergent. When that cycle is done I add in a bunch of other laundry.. anything I want! At this point, there’s no crap! I promise. Wash with a normal amount of detergent and a matching amount of OxyClean. I wash on cold for the second round because often times I’ve thrown in my own clothes. My clothes are exclusively cold wash. The shell (outer layer) gets hung to dry. Breast milk poop stains. The diapers ARE NOT dirty! It’s not bad, but it does stain. To remove the stain? Hang them in the sun to dry. Live in the PNW? Hang them in your laundry room and get over the stains! The inserts, bag, and wipes all go in the dryer.
How often do we plan to wash? About every 3 days.
Does it stink? Not when they’re in the rubbish bin.
Are we exclusively CD? Nope! That would be stressful! We have plenty of disposables on hand. Sometimes disposables make sense… like traveling. We like to say we’re a “hybrid” family. Keeps us grounded 😉 haha…
Why do we have 2 rubbish bins? One is for CD one for disposables. The disposable bin (the smaller one) has disposable liners. The CD bin has reusable liners.
Why bamboo inserts? Well, microfiber feels yucky on my hands when I’m stuffing them. Haha. Okay that’s not the only reason but it sure is true. Bamboo inserts have killer reviews for absorbency. We’ve used double stuffed microfiber (aka 2 microfiber in one shell) and bamboo (just 1). Both work for our lady. Even overnight. At this point we haven’t had any leaks with either microfiber or bamboo. Note: microfiber come with the shell. Bamboo is an additional cost kinda like an upgrade of heated seats in your car. In my opinion both bamboo inserts and heated seats are nonnegotiable upgrades. (I swear I’m frugal!! #balance)
What about butt cream? Yep! It matters. Has to be CD safe. We like what we call “bum chapstick“. Her butt was a red, tender, and rashy mess with disposables. After switching to CD not only has she not blown out of ONE single CD (a daily occurrence with disposables) but her bum looks clear and perfect!
What happens when she eats solids? We have a plan for that too. Check back in a few months!
Why hang the shell dry? Well I read it make the elastic last longer. Remember I’m cheap :-). I don’t want to buy more in the off chance that the dryer weathers them. I know a few families that dry the shell in the dryer. They recommend a low heat setting to prolong the life of the CD.
What do you do when you’re out and about for the day? Well, I have the diaper bag packed with disposables. M wears CDs out of the house and if she needs to be changed while we’re out we have a wet bag to store the dirty CD until we’re home. We also don’t scoff one bit about slapping a disposable on. It’s rare our day to day adventures are so ambitious that we have to do a diaper change anyway.
Cloth diaper overnight? Yep! No leaks yet.
What about fitting that fluff butt into clothes? Yep. Stuffed sausage. Just like her mama. If it bugs you, size up. Most often her clothes fit. Not sure if that’s just because our 7 week old chunky monkey is already in 3mo clothes? But 3mo clothes fit her fluff butt… some are just more sausage like than others.
When to start? I was planing on 3 months. That’s when the baby is big enough to fill out a CD and avoid the newborn sizing challenges and potential frustrations. It also saves from having to buy special newborn CDs. There was so much happening in the beginning (first 10 days really) I didn’t want to frustrate myself and end up giving up. After talking to a few mamas (and our LC) at our moms group I decided to start sooner than I anticipated (6 weeks) because our lady is a chunky monkey and size wise, was perfectly ready to start. I dedicated an entire week to figure out our CD routine and promised myself if it didn’t go well I wouldn’t throw in the towel right away. I expected a lot of trial and error. Turns out, it was an incredibly easy transition and we didn’t have any frustrations when we started a few days ago.
Is Mr. onboard? Yes! All it took was a little pep talk and figuring out all of the details and logistics myself so that I could teach him the ropes.
Why cloth diaper? For the most part.. it comes to finances! It’s so much cheaper even with the initial investment up front. I shopped for deals and found out what makes the most sense for our family. I limited my stash to solid neutral colors so we can use them with multiple children boys or girls. Note: let’s be honest I put black diapers on my baby girl and I’d most certainly put a lavender diaper on a baby boy. I have no shame in that game! There are other huge benefits with my decision to CD, it’s better for her bum, better for the environment and CD babes tend to potty train faster. CDs are also freakishly adorable NOT a driving factor but(t) it’s an added bonus. See what I did there?
I think that’s about it! At the end of the day, we made a choice and you can too! We love our CDs! We also know many families that love their disposables. That’s okay with us… and our decision too CD should be ok with you, too. With that said, if you’re even the slightest bit interested in cloth diapering, but intimidated by the amount of work it seems to be, I’m here to tell you… YOU CAN DO IT. I’d say, over the course of the week it adds maybe 30 extra minutes to our normal routine. That’s a few minutes here, a few minutes there with most of that time being spent stuffing the shell while chatting with the hub or watching Pioneer Woman. The laundry? We have to do it anyway… it’s really not bad. One load every 3 days? Totally manageable! If you’re interested, give it a try! You too can be a hybrid family. It will keep you grounded 😉