The Basics of Cloth Diapering are easier than you’d think. When I first considered the possibility of cloth diapering, I was on my second baby. I mentioned the idea to friends and family and was immediately brushed off as crazy. It’s too much work. You’ll get tired of it. You’ll want to quit.
But the more I researched, the more I realized there was an army of moms out there already doing this, even domestically challenged ones, like me. And everything I read promised that it was easier than I thought. They were right! I’ve now finished using cloth from 2 months old to Potty with my second child, and am currently using cloth diapers from birth with Littlest.
Why do I cloth diaper? Available in scores of patterns, prints and colours, cloth diapers will totally amp up your baby’s cuteness- more than disposables ever could! And, they are good for the environment. You can’t go wrong there! When you look at the facts at realdiapers.org you can see some frightening statistics about the amount of diapers going into our landfills.
Cloth Diapers really aren’t that much more work than the proper use of disposables.
If you are following the instructions for disposable diapers, you should already be scraping the poop into the toilet before throwing out the diaper (fun fact, human waste isn’t good for landfills). Cloth diapers just go into the washing machine after you flush the poop!
Here’s what you need to cloth diaper your baby
- A great Wash Routine
- Enough Diapers
- Dirty Diaper Storage
- A few great accessories
A Great Wash Routine from the Start
Before you start, you need to make a plan for how you intend to wash your cloth diapers. For most, this means establishing the right wash routine for your home Washing Machine. If you don’t have a washer and dryer at home, you do have other alternatives. Either way, you need to know exactly what to do beforehand so that you are not overwhelmed once you get that first batch of dirty diapers. Incorrect washing or unsuitable detergents can leave you with problems such as Stink and Repelling.
- Step One: Use this handy washing machine index from Fluff Love University to find the right wash cycles for your specific machine.
- Step Two: Choose a detergent that works for you. FYI, Tide Original Powder is perfect for diapers AND regular laundry!
- Step Three: Decide whether you want to Tumble dry on medium heat, or hang to dry on a rack or line.
- Step Four: Write it all down on our handy Printable Wash Routine sheet and hang it on your laundry room wall!
How Many Diapers is Enough and what kind should I buy?
If you are diapering from birth, you’ll need at least 12 diapers a day- and they have to be small enough to fit a newborn. Many moms choose disposables, or affordable Newborn Prefolds and Covers for the newborn stage, and invest their money primarily in a One Size stash for later.
By 8-10lbs your baby will fit in a one size diaper and will go through about 8-10 diapers a day. As they grow, you get down to 6 changes a day (every 2 daytime-hours). The number decreases because you eventually aren’t changing overnight.
The magical number of cloth diapers is 28, so that you can wash every 2 days in the beginning, and stretch to 3 days as baby gets older. If you buy more, you can wash less frequently, and your diapers will not show wear as fast. But even with my giant stash of well over 100 diapers, I wash twice a week at minimum. This keeps my diapers from sitting soiled for too many days.
There are many types of cloth diapers to choose from. Our Components of Cloth Blog Series helps explain cloth diaper anatomy to help you choose which features you might want to look for in a cloth diaper. You can also check out the diapers we have reviewed on this blog. I’m in the process of developing a shopping guide based on your cloth diapering goals, so subscribe to my mailing list to hear when it’s ready!
Dirty Diaper Storage
The minute your remove a wet diaper, you put it into a Wetbag. That’s the fancy cloth diapering term for “a bag that is made out of laminated fabric to keep wetness in.” Keep a large wetbag near your change table, and smaller ones in your diaper bag or around the house. Hanging pails work great!
If baby poops, you have one of two potential actions. If your baby is only eating breastmilk, and nothing else, their poop is water soluble and you don’t have to do anything. Throw the diaper straight in your wetbag! As soon as your baby begins eating Solids, it’s time to scrape the poop off. Use a diaper sprayer, or flushable diaper liners, or a good old fashioned spatula. I personally just dunk and swish in the toilet.
On laundry day, empty all the dirty diapers into the washing machine and turn the wetbags inside out. Throw the bags in the wash with the diapers. Done!
A Few Great Accessories
We talked about the wetbags, but there are a few other accessories I use daily.
- Cloth Wipes, to wipe baby’s bum.
- A Spray bottle with wipe solution or warm water, to spray on the bum while wiping.
- Cloth Safe diaper cream for rashes and rash prevention. Use vaseline with care.
- Cloth Diaper Boosters to increase absorbency during naps and overnight.
Whenever you get stuck, just reach out. There are literally thousands of cloth diapering moms online and we are all ready and eager to help you. Especially bloggers! Use my contact form, or drop me a message on Facebook anytime! We also have a Facebook Group where you can ask questions and get advice from myself and other cloth diapering caregivers or bloggers.