January 22, 2015

Cloth diapering Part 2 – We cheat

If you missed part 1 of my Cloth Diapering Basics, check it out here.

Cloth Diapering Essentials - www.bestofbabylady.com


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)

Cloth Diapering is Easy (A Basic Tutorial) www.bestofbabylady.com

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.

Cloth Diapering is Easy (A Basic Tutorial) www.bestofbabylady.com

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).

Cloth Diapering is Easy (A Basic Tutorial) www.bestofbabylady.com

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 Diapering is Easy (A Basic Tutorial) www.bestofbabylady.com

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).

Cloth Diapering is Easy (A Basic Tutorial) www.bestofbabylady.com

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.)

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:

  • diapers
  • 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)!

 Have any questions, leave me a comment and I’ll cover them in the next part of this series!


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Iulia is a former educator turned stay-at-home mama of a spunky toddler and a squishy infant. With a touch of sass and a good dose of self-deprecating humor, she has an ever-expanding repertoire of bloopers, insights, stories, and impassioned opinions to share. Iulia likes to think she has this parenting gig figured out, but her littles remind her daily just how far from the truth that is.

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  • noreply@blogger.com'
    Reply Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom January 22, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    I cloth diapered both my girls and I loved it!

    You have some wonderful tips here… many of which I used.

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  • noreply@blogger.com'
    Reply Amber January 22, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    We’re a gDiaper family but we absolutely cheat at night time too. I love cloth diapers because of the cost-savings and waste-reduction but at night time, the plastics go on with the pajamas. I love the line “Choose sleep”!
    Found you through the Shine blog hop,
    Amber at OurCharmedLife.net

  • juliekhood@yahoo.com'
    Reply Julie Hood January 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    this was such an insightful post! i love reading reviews (even if it’s for a product i don’t need…since we don’t have kids yet! but i’m coming back for these tips when we do!). i’m stopping by from the oak and oats’ linkup. 🙂

  • rchreviewlh@yahoo.com'
    Reply Lynda Hardy January 29, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing with Awesome Life Friday!

  • Reply Ashleigh January 29, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    My daughter is a cloth baby and the past three months I decided to let her sleep naked and I kid you not, she hasn’t wet the bed once!! When we first started I would immediately take her to the potty when we woke up (we cosleep) but now she can even wait about 5 -10 min after waking to go. Greatest night time training I’ve tried 😀 lol.

    • Reply Bestofbaby January 30, 2015 at 12:01 am

      ASHLEIGH – That’s amazing!! Man, my little guy has been potty trained for almost half a year now and I’m still not brave enough to let him sleep without a diaper at night. We might take the plunge and go diaper free at nap time this weekend though…mainly because we’ve run out of his nap time diapers and I don’t want to go to the store 😛

  • natalyechildress@gmail.com'
    Reply Natalye February 2, 2015 at 3:39 am

    I love this. We’re planning on cloth diapering too, and it always helps when people talk about how easy it is (husband wasn’t convinced until we received the first cloth diapers in the mail, and now he’s a bit more onboard).

  • Reply Kate D. February 3, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Thanks for posting these how-tos…we’re planning on cloth diapering with plenty of leeway for cheating so it’s great to hear how easy it is. If you have any recommendations on how many covers and inserts to keep on hand, that would be greatly appreciated!

    • Reply Anonymous February 3, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      I have 18 diapers and it has been comfortable for me with a 2-3 day wash schedule. I do “cheat” and use a disposable at night too.

  • njgoodwill@hotmail.com'
    Reply Jessica February 3, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    The link to part one does not work! Ah

  • jxberny@gmail.com'
    Reply bernadette March 7, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Hey IUlia, i’m prepping in advance for birth and i have a few questions
    – did you use cloth diapers right at birth or did you have to wait ? i’ve read some reviews that said that they used them after their baby was 10 pounds and more.
    – when you talk of changing diapers every 2/3 hours, do you mean the whole diaper or the liner only? That might help assess how many i’ll need
    – you talk about not buying disposable wipes, and that’s what i was planning, but my husband is talking about avoiding germs. im just little short of argument about that, besides chemicals
    – do you have disposable wipes without chemicals to recommend?

    THANKS a bunch 🙂

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 7, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      Hey Bernadette! I’ll reply here but also copy/paste this in an email just to make sure you get it 🙂

      1) Some diapers you can use right away…it really depends on the brand/type/size of your baby. Honestly though, we got quite a few disposable diapers as shower gifts and I was more than happy to use them the first few weeks. While cloth diapering is generally very easy, postpartum can be overwhelming enough and I really didn’t want to deal maintaining diapers. I don’t think we went by a weight limit…we just started cloth when we felt ready (and when they fit our babes)
      2) As far as changing the whole diaper vs. the liner, that also depends on the diaper. Our bumgenius ones had inserts that we stuffed inside the diaper, so if it was wet or soiled, the whole diaper had to go in the wash. The Flip diapers just had a liner with a cover, so with pees, we could just change out the liner (poops went everywhere so those had to go in the wash). I will say though, that we preferred to just throw the whole thing in the wash most of the time as the covers can get smelly after a while.
      3) Regarding germs, my understanding is that disposable wipes don’t actually kill germs. They’re not antibacterial in nature so all they really do is clean the poop and pee off, not actually killing germs. Because they’re wet and soapy (or whatever solution they use), they can make older poops come off easier (if you happen to miss a breast milk poop, it can become pretty sticky and dry), but you can just as easily do that with water or coconut oil. Also, there are TONS of recipes for home made diaper wipes solution that are a lot better for your baby than the chemically ones. I personally have never made any of them as in our 2.5 years of diapering, water + wipe has been mostly sufficient, but some people swear by them.
      4) I don’t have much experience with natural disposable wipes. We do keep a pack of regular disposable wipes on hand in case of a really messy poop if we’re out of the house, but we use them so rarely that I never actually bothered to get a natural kind. I have heard great thins about Honest Company products. I haven’t used their wipes, but I have some of their other products (lotions and hand sanitizer) and love them.

      Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m happy to answer 🙂

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