If you missed part 1 of my Cloth Diapering Basics, check it out here.
Now on to part two…the details of what we do. If you look at the big picture, there are really only a few things you need in order to successfully cloth diaper: diapers, ointment, and storage containers (and obviously detergent and a washer, but I’ll talk about that in Part 3)
You can find all sorts of diaper styles — from cloths that you fold and fasten together, to ones that are virtually identical to disposable diapers…and everything in between. Basically, it comes down to this: the less they cost, the more involved they are, and vice versa. When deciding what you want, consider how much time you want to spend on your diapers in relation to how much money you want to spend. (How many you get depends on how often you want to do laundry, but plan on changing a diaper every 2-3 hours.)
For us, we knew we didn’t want to have to do anything too involved when it was diaper time, so it was worth spending a little extra money on the more convenient diapers. And I’m glad we did..have I mentioned how easy I find cloth diapering? Ultimately, we decided to go with Flip and Bumgenius diapers, both brands sold by Cottonbabies. Are these the best cloth diapers out there? Who knows. Honestly, we bought them because Cottonbabies was having a great sale, and I’m a sucker for a good deal. Thankfully, we like them! They essentially consist of a waterproof cover and an absorbent insert. We used to pre-stuff them, but now we don’t even bother…we just grab them off the drying rack when we need them and stuff them on the fly. Just about as easy as trying to pry a disposable out of its packaging.
Now, I need to mention that we don’t cloth diaper at night. We tried it (and with several different inserts), but once our son started sleeping long stretches, he always peed out and it just wasn’t worth it. Call us cheaters, but a wise momma friend once told me “Always choose sleep!” so we use disposables at night.
Diaper ointment is tricky because most of the stuff in stores is a big no-no with cloth diapers (it causes buildup and ruins the absorbancy). You know what is cloth friendly? Coconut oil. And not only is it ok with cloth, but it’s also cheaper, way more effective (seriously, we never have diaper rashes), and smells soooo good. Make sure you get the organic kind though, because the other stuff is worth beans as diaper ointment (it just doesn’t work).
GARBAGE CAN & WET BAG
I’ll talk more about storage in Part 3, but a good storage system is crucial to a pleasant cloth diapering experience, otherwise cloth diapering stinks. Literally. At home, we store our dirty diapers in a stainless steel garbage can lined with a pail liner. When we go out, I bring a little wet bag with us to hold any dirty cloth diapers. It’s waterproof so I don’t have to worry about leaks or smells.
CLOTH WIPES – OPTIONAL
You definitely don’t need cloth wipes to diaper, but they’re so easy I figured I’d mention them too. After reading about the ingredients in disposable wipes (seriously, parabens on a baby?), I decided I wanted to avoid using them when possible. Rather than buy pricey pre-made ones, I went to the thrift store and bought a couple of used baby blankets. I cut them up, sewed the edges (so they wouldn’t fray), and voila! (You can also just cut up an old t-shirt, but I apparently had a lot of time on my hands my first pregnancy).
Our changing station is close to our bathroom, so anytime we change a diaper, we just grab a wipe and wet it at the sink…yep, just water. I figured, we don’t wipe our bottoms with soap, so why should I do that for my baby? There are a whole lot of great homemade recipes for wipes solution, but my goal was to keep things as simple as possible…and water works just fine for us.
(Note: we only use cloth wipes at home…if we go anywhere, I don’t want to deal with them so I just use disposable wipes, preferably ones with the least amount of chemicals in them. I know, more cheating.)
DIAPER SPRAYER – OPTIONAL
Some people use diaper sprayers to clean off their diapers before putting them in the pail. We have one, but we honestly never use it. Like I said, breast milk poop is really water soluble, so I don’t even bother. Once they start eating solids, their poop eventually gets to the point where I can just shake it off in the toilet.
So let’s recap what you need:
- cloth safe ointment, like coconut oil
- storage system, like a garbage can and pail liner
- optional: cloth wipes and diaper sprayer
(Not mentioned is a washer and detergent, but I’ll talk about that next time)
Pretty simple, right? Now we just need to cover the basic care process…coming soon in Part 3 (the last part)!