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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Cloth Diapering, 5 Years In

As I stuffed our cloth diapers the other night, I was thinking to myself, 'I have been cloth diapering non stop for 5 years!'. And 18 of those months were with two babies in cloth diapers. That is a lot of poop, a lot of laundry, and a lot of cute fluffy bums. It's funny now that my youngest is almost 2, I feel so out of the loop on baby stuff. There are new gadgets, toys, and must haves, and those newborn days feel like eons ago so I have a hard time making recommendations to new mamas anymore. I am in the thick of toddler tantrums and preschool attitudes so I am your girl if you need encouragement there! Diapers are the one thing that I feel very versed on. The thought of not having anyone in diapers in the next 6 months (pleaseeee potty train easy Gideon!) is beyond me. I am sure we will potty train Gideon and decide it's time for another booty to wipe. SO. The point of this post is to tell you how the last 5 years have gone, what I've learned, what products I use, and how EASY cloth diapering can be.

Ford- 3 months old 

Lucy- 21 months old, Gideon- 3 months old

I am not a crunchy mama on today's standards but I do like trying natural approaches in addition to modern. There are a ton of reasons why cloth diapering is so great but I can't really give you one simple reason why we do. It saves a ton of money, it is better for the environment,  it is better for your baby's bottom (my kids have only had diaper rashes when they are on medication or in disposables/traveling), and cloth diapered babies often potty train earlier . Those are all awesome reasons but I just wanted to do it. It felt like a challenge that I wanted to face and when Jon said he was on board, I was all in. We started with our first baby so we don't know any different but we LOVE it. 5 years in and we still talk about how easy it is and how cute our kids look in the diapers. Hey... no one ever said "how cute is that baby running around in a soggy Huggies diaper!" but have you seen my babes in cloth?! Did you also know that they can double as swim diapers? We have a few Charlie Banana reusable swim diapers but our Bum Genius diapers have been swam in a ton of times!

Bum Genius 4.0 One Size Pocket Diapers
It looks like there is now a 5.0 edition but we have about 35 of the 4.0 diapers. I started out with 24 gender neutral diapers before I had Ford and that was plenty for one baby in diapers. I could have easily gotten away with 18-20 diapers but I wanted extras. I added 10-12 pink and purple diapers when Lucy was born because I couldn't help myself with the colors! I assumed we would have 2 in diapers with the 2 of them but Ford potty trained when Lucy was about a month old. I chose Bum Genius after reading reviews, blogs, and recommendations from other mamas. I've tried almost every style of cloth diaper and have gotten rid of everything but Bum Genius pockets. They are so easy to use and wash (more on that below) and they also look/work similarly to a disposable diaper (which is nice because we have a lot of babysitters/childcare at church/etc changing diapers).

Step Trash Can
We use a large white Sterlite trash can with a step lid as a diaper pail liner. I started out with a cute tin trash can from IKEA but had to get something bigger eventually. I keep it in a corner of the kids bathroom.

Cloth Diaper Pail Liner
We have 2 of these liners, one in use, one in the wash or backup. I wash diapers every 3 days (more below) and I was the liner with the diapers each time. There are many brands, I recommend reading reviews.

Diaper Sprayer
We are on our 2nd diaper sprayer in 5 years. Something broke/happened to our first one when we moved so we got a Bumkins one, highly rated on Amazon. I have it hooked up to the toilet in the kids bathroom and the diaper pail is nearby.

Wet Bag
We have 2 Itzy Ritzy wet bags. Like the liners, I keep a clean one in my diaper bag and then one for backup. I use the backup one a lot in the summer for swimsuits. We exclusively cloth diaper (as opposed to people only doing it when they are home) so I throw wet/dirty diapers in my wet bag and into my diaper bag when I am out and about. When I get home, I take them upstairs and put wet ones into the pail or spray dirty ones.

Coconut Oil
You cannot use traditional diaper rash ointment with cloth diapers because it ruins the absorbency of the insert. I keep a small mason jar of coconut oil on our changing table and use it at every change. Our kids have had very few rashes (usually when they are sick or on an antibiotic) and if it is bad, we will switch to disposables for a few days and use Dr. Smiths.

Drying Rack
We use this accordion drying rack to dry both the inserts and diaper shells. It stays in the closet next to our laundry room, more info on that below.

Cloth diapering isn't any harder than using disposables, it is just a tiny bit more work. Our diapers are one size and have adjustable snaps so your baby can wear them from 8lbs to potty trained. We started all of our babies in cloth diapers at 6 weeks old, after the continuous poops subside a bit! We cloth diaper exclusively and aren't scared to change cloth diapers in public. I change them just like you'd change a disposable but I put it in my wet bag when we are done. I empty the wet bag when we get home (usually 1-2 diapers because we aren't gone for more than 4 ish hours at a time, more diapers when they are younger). My biggest recommendation for cloth diapers is to change more often. It takes a while to figure out the correct snap sizes for your kiddos and since they are always growing and gaining weight, they can leak if you aren't making adjustments. Gideon is almost 2 so not peeing that much (and he pees on the potty throughout the day), but as babies, I changed my babies every 2 ish hours when we were home just to be safe. The boys were both heavy wetters so we used/use disposable overnight diapers (Target brand) after not being able to find a good cloth solution. The kids all slept 12 hours at 6 months so that is essentially being in a diaper for 13 hours, hard not to leak out!  When we travel, we use Target brand disposable diapers. We also keep a package or two on hand just in case. Gideon has to wear disposable diapers to Mother's Day Out (he just started last month) and uses about 4 a week. I put him in a cloth diaper right when we get home.

So.... you change the diaper, you remove the insert, and put it into the diaper pail. If the diaper is dirty, you spray it out in the toilet and put it into the pail.

I wash diapers every 3 days, sometimes 4 days now that Gideon doesn't use that many. When Lucy and Gideon were both in cloth, there were days where we went through so many diapers with blowouts so I washed more frequently. When I am ready to wash, I grab the pail liner and call it my Santa Sack, ha! I dump everything directly into the washer (remember, the poop has been sprayed into the toilet already so there isn't any solid waste in your washer). I add about 3/4 cup vinegar (I eyeball it so that is a guess), and put 1 TBSP Purex Free and Clear into my detergent dispenser. I did a lot of research on detergent and Purex is the only "normal" brand you can use on cloth diapers (versus cloth diaper specific brands that are incredibly expensive). It is important to use specific detergent because most mainstream detergents can strip your diapers of their absorbency. I switched over to using Purex Free and Clear on all of our laundry, easy easy! I wash everything on COLD and do a custom cycle. COLD RINSE, COLD WASH, COLD RINSE. Okay I lie, I don't do the last cold rinse anymore. I used to at the beginning of our cloth diapering days but my current routine is cold rinse then cold wash and it is done in an hour. Once they are done, I hang everything on an accordion drying rack. You can dry the inserts in the dryer but not the diaper shells, heat causes them to lose their elasticity. I use Grovia Mighty Bubbles on my diapers every few months to strip them of any build up or ammonia smell. They are tablets and really easy to use in your washing machine. I didn't start using these until after I had two in cloth but I recommend using them proactively. Once my diapers are dry (usually less than 24 hours), I load them up into my Santa Sack (also hang dry), and bring them upstairs to stuff. I can stuff 20 diapers in about 5 minutes and either do it in my room catching up on Jimmy Fallon or my audiobook, or in the playroom while the kids run around. We have a big wrought iron basket by Gideon's changing table that I keep the fresh diapers in.

  • I put a few drops of Young Living's Purification Essential Oil on a cotton ball and put it in the bottom of the diaper pail. It helps with the pee smell.
  • Every time I take the big bag of diapers out of the can to wash, I spray Thieves cleaner inside the can and on the outside too. I've always been terrified of Pink Eye and I know you catch it from fecal matter. It gets me in the cleaning mood and I usually spray the toilet seat, handle, diaper sprayer, and doorknobs in the bathroom while I am at it. 
Have additional cloth diaper questions? Send me an email


Allena said...

I'm almost done with cloth diapering after 9 years! Paige is potty-trained during the day and we mostly use disposables at night (I've been trying to figure out a way to use a cloth at night since she actually wakes up dry probably 4-5 days a week) - it is exciting to be almost done!! said...

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Kate said...

I also use cloth diapers and they are great! But how do you keep cloth diapers from leaking at night? I even started using special waterproof mattress pads ( in order to avoid replacing the mattress. Is there any other way to solve this problem?

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