Monday, September 13, 2010

Cloth Diapering

I read about cloth diapering long before we had kids, and decided that I wanted to do it. It seems intimidating at first, but in retrospect, I'm not sure why. Really, it's easy. And I'm no supermom. I'm lucky if I get the laundry washed most weeks, let alone folded. The biggest thing for me was it seemed like such a learning curve to figure out what kind of diapers to buy. I put it off for months because it seemed so overwhelming with all the options out there these days! I was concerned that I would buy something that didn't work for us, and I didn't have the money to waste. But really, it's not that big of a deal.

We ended up finding an online merchant who lives locally here in Roanoke, and I was able to go and see what all the different diapers are like. I also have a cousin who is loaning me her stash because she is unable to use cloth right now. Both of those things helped me get a feel for what kind of diapers I finally wanted to settle on. I also made the decision to use cloth wipes. I figure if we are going to do it, we might as well really do it.

I had people say to me, "Just be prepared that it might not work for you. It might be too much of a hassle." From the beginning, Joshua and I decided that cloth was our only option. We just don't want to spend the money on disposables. Environmental concerns are important to us as well. So perhaps it was our resolve from the very beginning that makes it work for us. It just isn't an option to quit. We aren't doing it for convenience. But even if we were, its easy. Really. If you are hesitant to try it because it seems a little daunting, let me encourage you. It is so simple. The only challenge is remembering to put a load in the washer. Even prepping the diapers to be worn is no big deal. About half the time I "fold" the diapers and put them in a basket ready to be used. The other half, they stay in the laundry basket and I stuff them one at a time as they are being used. Either way is easy, but if I can manage to get the basket folded, it's preferable.

Someone gave me some great advice when Malachi was just a couple of weeks old and still wearing disposables. She said to ease into it. Transition to cloth at home during the day, then add in nights, and finally, outings. I decided to do that because it sounded like a great way to ease into it. But I found that for me, it was easier to just jump in and do it. I am a creature of habit, so its much easier for me to just get into a routine and do the same thing every time than to constantly be switching between two systems. We started using cloth when Malachi was one month old, and other than the first few days, we've done cloth almost exclusively, even when we go out.

So we decided that for our big Labor Day trip, we were going to do cloth the whole time. And it was easy. (Are you starting to see a theme here?) We had to take all of our diapers, and then cart the dirty ones home, but since we have a truck, we had plenty of room.
Malachi camping in his BumGenius One Size

My favorite part of CD'ing is actually the cloth wipes. They are so thick that I never have to use more than one, even for the worst diapers. And I make a simple wipe solution that smells and feels great on the skin. I also love how cute he looks in them. The diapers are so cute and colorful that its sort of like he's wearing shorts.

Our system is a dry bucket with a liner and a lid that goes in the bathroom. All the diapers go in there when they are soiled. I pull out the inserts at that time, and the wipes go in the bucket too. Once it's full / most of the diapers are used I dump the whole thing in the wash. How easy is that? Most of our diapers are used Bumgenius 3.0. I love them. Love them. I got two brand new as a shower gift, and the remainder were bought on The rest are a random assortment from my cousins stash that include Fuzzibunz, Thirsties, and an assortment of prefolds and covers. In all we have twenty-four diapers, and that has always been enough for 2-3 days, even when Malachi was only a month old. After the wash they are stuffed and put in a basket to be used, or if I am short on time, they just stay in the laundry basket and are stuffed one at a time as they are used.

So if you are on the fence, I recommend that you go ahead and try it! Find a friend who uses cloth and have her give you a little lesson. Or find a local shop where you can see the options firsthand. Also, don't let your baby's age stop you. Whether they are a little baby or a big baby, it's never too late to start using cloth. Let me know how it goes!


  1. I'm thinking about CD'ing w/ my next child, since hopefully we will have laundering facilities in our next residence...but my question is how is the smell? And do the diapers stain? I borrowed cloth diapers for Elijah when he was a newborn and I found that I couldn't get the poop stain out. Maybe I was just not washing it right?

  2. YAY! I love cloth diapering too! I borrowed my sister's stash and then bought some FuzziBunz that were on sale. I love it! I love not throwing them away. I also started doing cloth wipes with a tea tree oil solution and that too, is awesome.
    For the comment above, you can hang the diapers out in the sun for an afternoon and the sun will "bleach" the stains out. I've heard of lots of people doing it.
    Anyway, I feel like now, it's the only option for us too. It's stupid easy and we're not adding hundreds of years of pollution to the earth. Win-win.

  3. nichole, i've heard the same thing about sun-bleaching them. i've never done it, so my diapers are stained, but it's really not that bad. at least when they are just on breastmilk. of course, we have a fancy washing machine that will do an extra pre-wash and agitate longer for extra-dirty stuff. at first i was disappointed that they weren't white after every wash, but i got over it after about a week.

    the odor is not bad at all. use a trashcan w/ a lid (i got mine from target for $10) and put a wet bag in it. then when you are ready to do the load, you don't even have to touch the diapers, just dump the bag into the washer.

  4. Nichole, I sun-bleach my diapers too. They're not white-white like new, but they're fine. :-) You can also buy a diaper sprayer that attaches to your toilet and spray down the poopy ones. That will help. Though, with exclusive BF babies, you shouldn't need to spray (I never did).

    I agree that the odor isn't bad at all, especially if you're spraying down the poopy ones before throwing them in the pail. I wash them every 2 or 3 days. My biggest issue with cloth diapers is nailing down a good laundry routine. I was trying to wash them only once, but I kept having stink issues. So now I put them through the washer twice before hanging them out to dry (or putting them in the dryer). I am told that HE front loaders aren't ideal washing machines for cloth, because they just don't use enough water. I wish I'd known that, because I bought mine while pregnant, in anticipation of cloth diapering.