Everything Cloth Diapering 101

NOTE: This post is information heavy and long, but people LOVE it. These are caregivers that are looking to learn, so that’s okay. We can pepper a good freebie throughout, but be careful editing too much out for the sake of brevity.

Cloth diapering is one of the smartest choices we made for our family, our finances, our little ones, and our beautiful planet. So if that is the choice you want to make, then look no further!

I am going to walk you through our decision, the system we used, and the benefits we have seen. I'll even include the links you need, just in case you’re ready to make purchases.  This post will be easy but thorough— a one stop shop!  PLUS if you want our tips for washing the diapers, keeping the house poo-free, and other pro-tips.

OUR DECISION

Deciding to cloth diaper was easy for us - it felt more inevitable than optional. I am not a hoarder, but when it comes to trash I feel pretty bad about my contribution to landfills (think Wall-E). This is especially true when the thing I am throwing away could reasonably by recycled or re-purposed. My guilt goes a touch further than simply "feeling bad." I would actually call it "conviction" in the good ole fashioned churchy sense of the word. Environmental stewardship is just one of those pain points for me.

Treating the earth with respect and appreciation feels kind of like a prayer to me – a thanksgiving for all I have been given. Is that weird? Hah! Oh, well. It is true.

WHATS SO WILD ABOUT DISPOSABLES?

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Listen, according to the EPA 90-95% of American babies produce 27.4 billion single use, plastic diapers a year which comes to roughly 7,600,000,000 pounds of garbage (that is enough waste to fill the Yankee's stadium 15x over)....every year! Each baby creates about 2000 pounds of diaper garbage in 2 years. 

Also, each diaper takes approximately 450 years to disintegrate in the ocean, and well over 500 years in landfills! So, let me break that down for you:

  • If Martin Luther had written his 95 Theses on a Pamper before he nailed it to that door, it would still be hanging there
  • Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and John Calvin's Pampers would still be with us 
  • If Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn had put Elizabeth I in Pampers, we would still have her fecal matter sprinkled about the English countryside (Move over Prince George, the Tudor's are back).

Cloth diapering, for us, is a way for our daughter - even at her wee little baby-age - to respond, in action, to God. It is how we, as a family unit, are choosing to be faithful to God's tenderness toward all living creatures. It is how Daniel and I communicate to Lo that we take environmental stewardship seriously. And in a year or so, when her language skills improve we will tell her, as we strap on that big pink cloth diaper, that those recycle bins (and her undergarments) are one way that her daddy and I choose to respond in love to God's goodness.

ADDED PERKS

On top of all this - cloth diapers are more gentle on a babies skin (she hasn't had one - not one - tiny bit of diaper rash). They are comfortable, adorable, and Lo can't tell when they are wet. They are easier than I would have imagined, and way cheaper....to the tune of $2000 cheaper. Did I mention they are cute? SO CUTE

OUR SYSTEM

There are several different kinds of cloth diapers out there. They have come a pretty long way since the days of pins and pre-folds.

If you want to see a break down of the kinds of diaper options out there check out these informative little pages - BabyCenter and Kelly's Closet . But basically there are:

  • Pre-folds
  • Hybrids
  • All-in-Ones
  • Pocket Diapers

You can check out reviews of different brands of each at Babble Blog. We chose pocket diapers because they were highly recommended and are super easy. In fact, we chose a mix of Fuzzibunz and BumGenius 4.0. Although I think I prefer the BumGenius, the Fuzzibunz come with excellent customer service and a lifetime warranty, which is why wen ended up choosing them. I have had to contact them on more than one occasion with a question about how to size them or how to wash them, and they have been more than helpful. I also think the adjustable leg and waste elastics make the diapers fit younger babies. Want to know when we started using them and how we took the plunge? Download my Pro-Tips (I can’t fit all the good stuff in one post. It would be too long and too awesome).

Here is a breakdown of what a pocket diaper is and how they work:  

You might not be able to tell from the pictures, but pocket diapers are as close as you can get to the structure of a disposable diaper, with the convenience of quick and easy cleaning.

HOW TO WASH A CLOTH DIAPERS

Let me be clear: I NEVER TOUCH POO. There is no mess, I am not elbow deep in fecal matter every time I do laundry. The polyester fibers of the pocket diapers above let go of the poo pretty easily and the sun does wonders for sanitizing and bleaching. I even use cloth wipes so even the part where you have to clean her tush is easy and poo-touch free. If you want to know exactly what my process is to stay fecal free, make sure you download my cloth diapering pro tips.

And if you have help in and out regularly, here is the note I put on the washer so that my nanny, my manny, or my mother can help if she ever feels so inclined. One of my pro tips is obviously, make it easy for folks to help you:

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SHOPPING LIST

Here is a list, with affiliate links to everything you need to get started cloth diapering. (Affiliate link means that I get some dollars when you buy through my site. KaChing!) I recommend buying a couple different kinds and seeing what you prefer. I didn't do this, but I know its probably wise to do so. I just went by word of mouth and dove in. If you want to see my changing nook and how I made all of this work together easily, I can send you my PRO TIPS. I put the number of each item that you will need in parenthesis.

Diapers - BumGenius or Fuzzibunz. There are several good places to get diapers including Ebay, Amazon, and direct from the maker. In fact, I might recommend getting Fuzzi's straight from the retailer to be sure that you're getting the newest model as there have been some recent improvements. There is a cool consignment-ish option called Diaper Swappers if you want to go that route. If you're a member of Zulily, they have some cute smaller brands available every once in a while. Tell them I sent you! (15-20)

Wipes and Wipes Warmer - I use the Grovia wipes because they are nice and thick. The warmer is Prince Lionheart. Not a necessity, but if you use cloth wipes then you don't have to have a trashcan AND a diaper pail by your changing station. Also, you can make your own wipe solution, they are great at cleaning baby, and babies usually love them. Lo can be screaming on the table, but when I pull out her wipe (she knows the smell at this point) she gets very quiet and readies herself for the comfort. I mean, she is AMPED for that warm wipe.  (12-15)

Magic Stick  - We use Grovia stick, because its therapeutic for the bum but safe for cloth diapers. We really don't need it, but we use it when we put her in the biosoaker inserts. 

Disposable Inserts - These biosoakers are great to have when you are going to have a long day away from the house. We take the insert out and lay the disposable (which is biodegradable and free of harsh chemicals) right on top of her diaper. They have stickies to keep the diaper in place, but we find them unnecessary. We are also afraid the sticker might leave residue.

Why a biosoaker? It’s obvious. Check my pro-tips.

Extra Inserts for those big night time pees - I put a bamboo insert in her night diaper. along with the insert that comes with the diaper. We call it "big brown" (the diaper is brown) and she loves big brown because she stays dry all night. A big accomplishment since she sleeps 12 hours at a time. (10)

Diaper Sprayer - for when those big poos start happening, you can just flush them down the toilet. We bought the BumGenius one.

Wet Bags - Planet Wise makes some cute ones that you can keep in your diaper and just throw in the wash when you get back home. Wet bags are another very easy thing to find on Zulily. (2)

Wipe Solution - I make a little water based solution to put on my wipes before I put them in the warmer. Download my pro-tips for the recipe I use.

Pail Liners – These are what goes in the garbage can. They are ESSENTIAL to staying fecal free. Made by Planet Wise. (2) 

And that pretty much covers it! Do you use cloth diapers? What works for you? What are your most necessary items. Let me know in the comments section. Also feel free to drop a question and I'll get back to you. Good luck and happy diapering!

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