Cloth diapering has come a long way since our mother’s & grandmother’s days. There are so many options available now that it can make your head spin! Let me try to simplify things for those of you who are looking into the sometimes overwhelming world of cloth diapering.
The biggest reason why I decided to cloth diaper was the cost. We were forking out entirely too much every other week or so on disposables. Even though it does cost quite a bit to get a supply of diapers in the beginning (anywhere from a $200-$500, depending on how much you buy and where you buy them), it saves you SO much money in the long run, especially if you have more children. Disposables seem cheap, but check out these cost comparisons:
- Dollars & Sense: Cost Comparison
- Cloth Diapers vs. Disposables: Cost Comparison
- Cloth Diaper Savings Calculator
In the long run, you save a LOT by doing cloth!
The second reason I decided to do cloth was the environmental reasons. I know that disposables are bad for our environment and figured it was one small way I could personally do something to help the Earth and set a good example for my children. Plus, I had read a lot that told me about all the toxins in cloth diapers that are potentially harmful. For some eye-opening info on the risks and environmental factors of disposable diapers, check out this article: Cloth vs Disposable Diapers
Now, you’re probably thinking about the hassle of washing all those poopy diapers, right? Actually, I didn’t really find it to be all that much of a hassle. I had about 2 dozen diapers and only had to wash diapers about every 3 days or so (for an older baby/toddler…for newborns you’re washing everyday but its a short period of time like this). I never noticed a significant change in our electric bill, and since I didn’t do a wet pail, I didn’t have a gross, heavy bucket of poops to lug to the laundry room every few days. There are lots of different ways to do cloth, and just doing a search online for “cloth diapering” will bring you TONS of sites with all kinds of info. When I was researching this topic for myself, I read as much as I could and just tried the methods that sounded good to me. I knew I didn’t want to have to deal with a bucket of messy poopy water soaked diapers, and the dunking in the toilet method I only did once and learned I HATED that idea! So I went with the dry pail that I had read so many moms do. Now I did have to get any solid poops out of her diaper before putting the poopy diaper in my poopy pail (I had 2 diaper pails, one for poop, one for pee), and that sometimes could be gross…but ya gotta deal with poop no matter how you do diapers, that’s just being a mom!
Anyway, here’s some info on the ins & outs of cloth diaper washing.
There are many options in diapers out there…just to simplify a little, here’s the different kinds available:
- fitted (elastic around legs and waist, w/snaps, velcro or applix, needs cover)
- flat (needs cover & sometimes pins)
- all-in-one (no cover needed, fitted with elastic around waist/legs & snap, velcro or aplix closures)
And there’s lots of accessories to use with cloth diapers as well.
Cloth diapers also come in sizes like newborn / small / medium / large, and one-size, which has a bunch of snaps to fit infants from newborn through 30lbs or so.
I had a variety of all the above, since they all had their uses at different times. The all-in-ones (aios) were especially useful when out and about town, and fit nicely in diaper bags.
PUL (poly urethane laminate) Covers only need to be washed maybe weekly, or if they get poop on them. Otherwise, just rinse under running water and hang dry to use again. You can put them in the drier but it shortens their life span, as it does for diapers too. I did it anyway though because I hate having to hang all those diapers and covers…very time and space consuming!
My suggestion for buying diapers is to buy them used at one of the many used diaper sites and auctions out there. Just google “used cloth diapers” and you’ll find a lot of choices.
Here’s some popular brands of factory made (vs. WAHM-made) diapers/covers I’ve personally used:
Nowadays I’m sure there’s many more brands that are more popular, but this is a good start.
You can buy all but Motherease diapers on just about any cloth diaper website, since they sell them to online stores. But there’s also a lot of WAHM’s (work at home moms) that also make & sell their own diapers…Many of which are even better and way cuter than the manufactured kind! There’s HUNDREDS of sites on the net that sell cloth diapers, so just start surfin!
To go along with your cloth diapers, you’ll want cloth wipes (and believe me, you’ll never go back to disposable after you use these! They grab poop way better and they smell wonderful!) You can use baby washcloths, regular washcloths, or do what I did and cut up old receiving blankets & stitch around the edges so they don’t fray. Then you can use a wipes recipe, such as:
Or just use plain water. Either wet the wipes ahead of time and store in an old disposable wipe box or just keep a squirt bottle of water on hand to spray them fresh each time. This is the route I ended up having to take due to my children’s allergies to any solutions I put together. But water works just fine.
What I suggest is do your own research…read all you can, and then just buy a dozen or so diapers, preferably of a variety of different styles and brands…and just see what you like! Not every baby nor every mommy like the same kind of diapers.
And check out these other sites for cd resources: