I was very skeptical of cloth diapering for a number of reasons. The number one reason being that I hate doing laundry and Lee was not interested in doing a diaper service but he travels a lot which meant I would be doing the laundry more often than not. In the end, it’s not that bad. In fact, it’s quite easy once you figure out all the tricks and I feel a lot better not buying all those landfill diapers! So here it is, in great yet hopefully concise detail!
We were lucky enough to inherit Fuzzibuns sized diapersfrom Lee’s sister. Thanks Mara!! However, when Bailey was born he was a skinny 6lbs 3 oz and essentially pooped right out the legs of the small Fuzzibuns. Foothills Community hospital in Boulder only does prefold cloth diapers in the postpartum ward, which meant we got to learn how to diaper and practice with prefold cloth diapers before we even got home. And it was easy! So, we started with a three month rental service from a local cloth diaper shop. They offered us waterproof diaper covers as well as prefolds cloth diapers. It was nice to rent all the materials because once we outgrew them; we could just return them to the store and move on to the inherited diapers.
If you do “prefolds”, I recommend starting with:
If I was buying my own prefolds/covers set up, I would probably go with the Econobums package to start with.
Prefold diaper tips:
- The prefold diaper folds into the waterproof cover.
- The Snappi helps you get the prefold snugly around baby.
- The waterproof cover snaps or velcros over the prefold.
- It is essential to make sure the prefold is completely covered by the cover, otherwise pee will wick straight up out of the cover and on to baby’s onesie.
- Once you have your technique down, your covers can last weeks because, everything is contained in the prefold part. I think we did diaper laundry once a week back then.
I really loved using prefolds. I felt like you had more flexibility to wrap the diaper snugly around the baby’s upper thigh. They seemed less messy in general. With prefold covers, you can get sized covers or one sized covers that supposedly fit from birth to potty training. The theoretical benefit of the one size covers is that you obviously need less diapers overall. However, the one one-size diaper that I tried was too big early on, so it really depends on your baby. It’s best to try out different brands and styles before committing to buying a lot of diapers.
Once Bailey grew into the Fuzzibuns small diapers, we switched over to those. Personally, I like them a little less. They are called pocket diapers which means you have to stuff an insert into the diaper and then pull the insert out after the diaper has been used. With prefolds, you can reuse the cover multiple times before washing it. With the pocket diaper, you have to wash both the insert and the cover after each use. The pocket diapers are super cute and less bulky though. As Bailey grew out of the small Fuzzibuns, he clearly did not fit into the medium ones, so we bought six one size fuzzibuns which I liked a lot and supposedly they will keep expanding through the rest of his diaper career. We still use the one size diapers as his night diapers because we can control the elastic at both the waist and the leg.
Pocket Diaper basics –we have:
- 25 of each sized diaper + 6 one size diapers
- 6 additional hemp inserts that we add for night time diapering. My fav is the thirsties insert
How we diaper with Fuzzibuns
- Daytime diapering – we use the regular insert that came with each Fuzzibun. Change diaper every 2-3 hours unless we know he’s pooped and then obviously we change it sooner.
- Nighttime diapering – we double stuff with a regular insert and a thirsties insert. He has never leaked through since we started doing that and he is in that diaper for about 12 hours.
- We wash diapers twice a week mostly because you don’t want the diapers to sit in pee and poo for much longer.
The Diapering station: His diapering station is on the bathroom counter by his room. We have:
- a loose waterproof pad on top of
- a foam changing pad (which also has a waterproof cover).
- Several prefold cotton diapers that we use under his bottom in case things get messy, you can also use them on top to prevent accidental pee fountains! Whatever you do, don’t get one of those silly peepee teepee things – they just deflect the pee back down on to the baby which still makes a mess of his clothes.
- Little washcloths to clean him
- Diaper ointment. I alternate between 100% shea butter and Honest healing balm
- Maalox. Yep, that’s right! It works great if baby has diarrhea and gets a really icky diaper rash. Just dab it on.
- Five gallon bucket with lid (see below for why)
- Borax – still not sure what it is exactly but boy does it do a lot of different things!
Where we keep dirty diapers
- We keep a five gallon bucket on the floor filled up a third of the way with water and a ½ cup of Borax. Each dirty diaper goes into the bucket. Close the lid and move on. This method works so much better than a wet bag or diaper pail. There is absolutely no smelly bathroom if you do this method. The borax and water are not critical until around month 4 or 5 when baby’s urine starts to smell more like ammonia. It also really minimizes stains and poo smell (once baby starts to eat solids).
Washing cloth diapers
- Every Thursday and Sunday, we empty the bucket into the washing machine to wash the diapers.
- Set the washing machine to largest load – you want all that water to get all the dirties out of the diapers!
- Run one with no detergent (preferably cold)
- Add 1 tablespoon of detergent of choice and run a hot/cold wash, heavy load. Yes, it’s important to use less detergent so that your diapers don’t get detergent build up.
- If the diapers still smell, run another rinse cycle and then consider adding more detergent or trying another brand of detergent. Just remember that diapers really don’t need much detergent.
- Throw diapers into dryer on low for a long drying cycle – the night inserts take an especially long time to dry. You can also put the diapers outside in the sun to dry. The sun naturally bleaches out the poop stains, though it is important that the diapers are pretty wet when you put them out in the sun.
I’ve tried Charlie’s soap – diapers didn’t smell clean; Tide original powder – recommended by dozens of CDing moms, but was too harsh for Bailey; Seventh Generation – again diapers didn’t seem clean; and finally, we tried All Free & Clear liquid – and it was just right for us – diapers smell clean, have almost no staining and we haven’t had to strip the diapers since we started using it. You’ve just got to experiment, since your machine and water is different than the next cloth diapering mama…
If your diapers don’t seem to be working…
- If your diapers are brand new, did you remember to break them in to get them to absorb the best that they can? If not, you can wash them several times using a hot water cycle. You can also just boil the inserts in a pot on the stove for 10 minutes – that’s what I do.
- If your diapers don’t seem to be soaking up liquid after you’ve been using them awhile, your diapers may have detergent build up.
- Detergent build up requires that you strip your diapers. This is how I strip diapers: Put clean diapers in your washing machine and 1 tablespoon of Original Dawn dishwashing liquid and run a hot cycle, super-sized setting. Run a minimum of two more cycles to get the Dawn completely out of the diapers. If you see soap bubbles, you need to run another cycle. Once you are confident that the Dawn is gone, dry the diapers on low. Your diapers should start working better immediately.
That’s it for now. We’re just starting solids, so I’ll have an update in a few months about using sprayers and flushable inserts…til then!
One last comment about disposable diapers.
I’ve always heard that Huggies are for girls and Pampers are for boys. Are you a mama? What do you think? We use Pampers swaddlers in a pinch and they work great, they just aren’t biodegradable. I’m not really a fan of seventh generation diapers. They don’t really biodegrade either. My favorite ‘sposies are Honest diapers –super cute, biodegradable and work really well.