I decided to make a whole page dedicated to cloth diapering. I don’t know much, but what I do know, I’d like to share. I’ve had the opportunity to try lots of brands, there are two in my stash that are dirty right now, that I will add later. Bumgenius and Sunbaby.
Why We Chose Cloth: Number one reason was expense. Most people will spend $2500+ on disposables during the diaper wearing years, on one kid!
You can spend as little as $200 if you go with the cheaper Alva brand cloth diapers. That will get you over 30 diapers and inserts! The great thing with cloth is you can reuse them for each of your kids. If you are on a tight budget I suggest Alva Baby diapers. They won’t fit your little ones until they are about 10 lbs, but will fit until they are potty-trained. You can buy the solid colors for less than $5 a diaper!!! Sadly I don’t suggest Alva anymore. My diapers de-laminated after 6 months, and I almost always hang them to dry. With the PUL being de-laminated it cannot do it’s job and will no longer repel water, so I’m having to throw them away. I guess it was still cheaper than buying disposables, but I’m bummed (pun intended.) Secondly, cloth prevents diaper rash, blowouts, and other irritations. Disposables contain SO many dangerous chemicals and I don’t want them near my boy’s privates. I don’t want to take any chances.
I think I would recommend just getting all natural organic cotton prefolds and then some Thirsties covers. I find Everett’s bum to be sensitive to microfiber. A lot of diapers use microfiber as inserts, so a better alternative if you little is sensitive to synthetic materials would be: bamboo, cotton, and hemp.
Care and Cleaning: DIY Detergent for Cloth Diapers, I haven’t tried it with the epsom salt, but we do have hard water, so I think I will next time. I just use regular Oxi-Clean, I didn’t know there was a baby kind. I fill my washer with super hot water and add the detergent to dissolve first, so no particles damage your diapers. I wash mine with hot water, largest load, superwash, then I let them soak in the water for 30 minutes before I start the wash. I always hang my diapers outside or over the dining room chairs to dry. I dry my inserts on low heat in the dryer, NO FABRIC SOFTENER (it will cause a buildup on your diapers.) If my inserts or diapers have stains, I will dry them in the sun to bleach out the stains. Sometimes your diapers/inserts will still smell even after washing that means it’s time to strip them here is how. I’ve been using mine for 3 months, the only thing that I’ve ever smelled after washing was my microfiber inserts. They seem to hold stink. I have been making hemp/cotton inserts to replace all the microfiber. Hemp is the most absorbent and trimmest material you can use. It’s anti-microbial, breathable, and perfect for overnight and heavy wetters. Hemp is a lot more expensive, so I buy it by the yard and make my own inserts.
What to do with the Poo? When your baby is on solids and their poo is more solid, you just dump the poo in the toilet and then wash as normal. When they are little and it’s a liquid consistency, you are going to want to spray the diaper off in the toilet or outside. You can buy a diaper sprayer to attach to your toilet. Our plumbing is not the best and we have no pressure, so we choose to spray them off outside and then hang in the sun before we wash.
What About Wipes? Wipes contain lots of nasty chemicals too and can be very expensive. So, I make my own. Here is the tutorial. I add essential oils to make it smell nice! I also use Dr. Bronner’s baby soap. You can use wash rags and wet them if you want to, then you can just throw them in with the wash. I chose not to do this option, because when your baby is dirty and screaming, who has time to run to the sink and what for the water to get warm?
How Often Do You Do Laundry? This depends on how many diapers you have. If you are trying to save money you could go with about 12 diapers and wash every day. I have more in the 20 to 25 range and I wash every 2 or 3 days. As soon as E wets his diaper I put it in a plastic foot-pedal trash can in the bathroom. You can buy these for $13 at Walmart. They sit in there until it fills up 2 days? It doesn’t smell, because it has a lid. Then after I empty it in the wash I just spray it out with vinegar water.
Types of Diapers: There are tons of different kinds of diapers, from prefolds, fitteds, covers, pockets, all-in-ones and others. I’ve tried a lot and I want to pass my experiences without overwhelming you. I hope you are still hanging on. This will kinda be a long post.
Prefolds with Snappi
Here are 5 different ways to fold a prefold diaper. You can buy Snappi’s online to hold the diaper on, it’s a lot safer than a diaper pin. The prefold soaks up the mess, but it is not waterproof, so you will need a cover for it unless you want to get your clothes wet. This prefold is big on E and I have it folded down a lot in the front.
These are usually made of cotton and have leg elastic and sometimes velcro or snaps to keep them on. They are still not waterproof and need a cover. A lot of work at home moms make these or you can easily make them. This one was given to me. This is my favorite pattern.
***update. So I’m REALLY into fitteds. I’ve actually started sewing my own and LOVE them! I can customize the fit, fabric, pattern, soakers, etc. Fitteds are great because they are oh so soft and very breathable. With all other diapers you are going to deal with PUL which is a plastic. It can get warm and moist in there quick which can lead to diaper rash…in comes fitteds. I make mine out of a cotton print, poly fleece hidden layer, and then an organic bamboo fleece inside next to baby’s skin. They are soooo soft. The above fitted is by Lucky Stars Diapers. She sent me this awesome tester, and the rest is history! I LOVE FITTEDS! They are so customizable. Anyways, around the house this is what E has been wearing. You can put a lot of inserts/soakers in them (they usually lay, snap, or are sewn it), and they absorb a lot of liquid. If you are running out of the house you can just put your PUL cover over it and go (same at night). I totally recommend a few of these for nighttime. 🙂
This one is Kawaii baby, and as you can tell it is really big. I think it’s a one size. Everett is 12lbs and it still doesn’t fit him. It feels really cheap, so I never use it.
This is the Charlie Banana training or swim pant. I only bought it because target had them on sale for $4. I like it and think it would make a great swim diaper.
This is a size 1 Thirsties cover. I LOVE it. They are affordable and fit newborns well. You have to make sure your fitted or prefold is tucked in the cover all the way around or you will have leaks.
This is a Bummis Super Snap diaper cover for newborns. I loved this when he was a newborn, no leaks! See how it is a low rise so it doesn’t touch the umbilical cord? These are only $13 on Amazon.
***Update. We are loving Rumparooz and Best Bottoms covers nowadays. We buy them on Amazon and they fit perfectly over prefolds or bulky fitteds. They have super cute prints, and these covers hold everything in! Remember as long as there is no poo or stink, you can reuse your cover over and over. Do NOT wash after each use.
Wool soakers are awesome. Wool is a natural fiber, it’s anti-bacterial, absorbent, breathable and easy to care for. Because wool covers can absorb up to 30% of their weight and they allow for air circulation, they are an ideal cover for heavy wetters and babies with sensitive skin. You can air-dry the covers between uses if wet, but you must lanolize the covers about once a month with regular use to restore wool’s natural water resistant properties. If the cover gets soiled, you can wash it with a gentle olive oil bar soap. Otherwise, they can be used for about 1-2 weeks between washes. How to lanolize.
This one I knitted, but you can make them out of old wool sweaters from the thrift store! Here is a link, but you can just google DIY wool soaker from sweater. I haven’t made any wool ones from a sweater yet, but I’ve made fleece ones that are similar.
They are super easy and if you have basic sewing skills you can make these. The great thing with fleece is you can keep using them unless they get poo on the or start to smell like pee. I would wash mine after 3 or 4 uses, you just pull them up over the fitted or prefold. Fleece keeps the pee in just like other covers, plus they are super cute and can be made to look like shorts! These are great for older children, so you don’t have to deal with snaps or velcro and them pulling their diapers off.
Pockets are probably my favorite and the most used around here. As you can see you stuff your insert into the back of the diaper. After the diaper is soiled you pull the insert out and wash/dry them separately. This makes the drying time a lot faster than and all in one diaper.
These are the Alva Baby diapers. Super cheap and work well during the day. For overnight I insert a hemp insert right next to baby’s skin so there are no leaks. These are big on baby until about 10 lbs. I love that they have an adjustable rise so they are a one size diaper. I also love that the front snaps snap over each other, for when your baby has a skinny waist. *update* My diapers have now started de-laminating, which means they won’t be waterproof. It’s been only 6 months using them.
These are Fuzzibunz, I like these because as you can see in the above picture, the first snap is down lower on the diaper. This means that the diaper can be adjusted to be tighter around the thigh. It has has adjustable elastic around the legs on the inside. What I don’t like is that it doesn’t have the snap over flaps in the front, so the waist is big on a smaller baby.
These Grovia diapers are my favorite! I love them an they are so easy to use. The ONLY negative is the aplix (velcro) gets fuzz caught in it. You want to make sure to unsnap the insert when you wash. The great thing about this diaper is that you can reuse the cover and just snap in a new insert, bec/ this insert has PUL on the back. PUL is what makes things waterproof, so most of the time pee doesn’t go through the insert onto the cover.
Here is the insert that snaps in. Ignore the stain. Since these are 100% organic cotton they seem to stain more. There are two layers and the bottom layer has the PUL on the outside. These hold a lot of pee. The outside part of the diaper is around $17 and the insert is about $17 too, but you get two in a pack, so these are a little more expensive, but have the versatility of being able to reuse the cover, that way you wash less…which is always good!
This is another AI2 made by Grovia, but is a side snap. I like it because it can be adjusted tightly around the legs and the sides are really stretchy.
Hemp, cotton, bamboo, and other natural materials can lay right next to baby’s skin inside the diaper, but NEVER put a microfiber insert next to babies skin. It’s not natural or breathable and will wick the moisture out of their skin and irritate them.
Then we have Bonnibuns. I wasn’t a fan of this diaper until E got a little older. It seemed kinda big and I thought it leaked, come to find out it did around the legs when he’d sleep on his side. Plus, his legs were kinda skinny.
I always love when diapers snap over themselves, it gives you the best fit. These look sorta bulky in the crotch. These are pretty expensive and made in Australia, sometimes you can find them being resold in America online shops. This is suppose to be a quick dry diaper and the insert is suedecloth and bamboo. It’s trifold and snaps in and out with one snap. It doesn’t stain, but you do have to wash the whole diaper with every use.
Wetbags are essential if you plan on cloth diapering. I keep one or two in my diaper bag at all times. I will usually store my dry diapers in one and my soiled diapers in another, or if we are short of space I’ll just grab one. These bags are made with PUL on the inside so the wet diapers do not leak through the bag and into your diaper bag. This is a large one I made and can fit 10 or so diapers. I have an extra large one for when we are traveling and I can’t do laundry and a small one that fits 2 or 3 diapers for quick trips out. I don’t wash these every time I use them, because the PUL will eventually breakdown. I just pull the PUL out (there is an inner bag and an outer made of cotton), spray it with vinegar water and let it air out. If it gets anything on it then just wash it with your diapers and dry it on low heat. Tons of sites and work at home moms make these, but beware the cheaper they are, the cheaper the materials being used.
I hope I didn’t scare you with too much information! I just had to search a lot of sites to find all this information when I got started. I wanted to have a one stop place for you to go, and hopefully answer any/all questions. If you have any more please don’t hesitate to comment.
So here is what I suggest to get you started:
- 12 to 20 cloth diapers (pockets, AI1 or AI2) or 20 prefolds with 5 covers
- 2 wet bags, one large, one medium
- bucket to put wet diapers in before washed
- diaper sprayer or waterhose to clean off poo
- flannel homemade wipes or diy papertowel wipes
- diy cloth diaper detergent or buy detergent specifically for cloth diapers
I honestly LOVE to cloth diaper. I don’t even let Jeff change Everett, because I get to him so fast. The patterns and prints are so cute, the diapers are so soft on E’s bum, he never has rashes or blowouts! It’s a win win for everyone!
***Update***I was having a hard time at night keeping my sheets dry. Everett slept on his belly as a baby and leaked almost every night. Now that his legs are fatter and he sleeps on his back I don’t have as much of an issue. I have found that if I use a pocket diaper and add a hemp insert, plus a wool cover over the diaper I have NO leaks in the morning. I am currently knitting a couple of wool longies to keep his legs warm at night. I have also bought a few used diapers online that were made by stay-at-home moms. I love the funky prints! ChunkabuTT diapers is the only one I know the name of. You can find her shop online. You can get special monogrammed diapers and customize them however you want: snaps, PUL, minky, etc. These are splurge diapers for me. My Harry Potter diaper put me back $22 plus $2 shipping. It was for Christmas and I’m so happy I got it! My only complaint is there are no leg snaps, just a hip snap and two front snaps. I like to have a lower snap to get it snug on his legs.
* Baby Legs are amazing when you have cute diapers and don’t want to cover them up. They keep baby’s legs warm and you don’t have to take them off each diaper change. I knitted these for him to go with his Harry Potter diaper, but you can just google and find them lots of places. We bought some off Zulily.
The Diaper Addict was having a destash of her son’s used diapers and I scored these three on there for $5 and $8! She also makes custom diapers. These are my three favorites, I just love the fabric on the outside!