Let’s talk cloth. When I was given my first stash of cloth diapers 7 years ago, I wasn’t sure what my plans were. Then I added and dabbled in it and 4 kids later, I now have my own opinion on it. When Emma got pregnant she too thought she would try this method out. Here is our insight and what we have learned. Mal’s commentary is in Blue. Emma’s commentary is in Red.
WHEN DID YOU START CLOTH DIAPERS?
From our first child I had some prefolds and covers and after 3 months I started using them. I would use them a week or so and then stop for a few weeks then start back again. For our second I started after 6 months and used them more often. With our 3rd, I started after the first few weeks and used almost exclusively until her first birthday/ bad diaper rash. With our 4th I also started within the first few weeks and use 95% of the time.
I started using cloth diapers from about 3 weeks on with Little Mister. I had a few newborn diapers I would put on before then, but I was given so many newborn disposable diapers as shower gifts that I used those up first. It took awhile to get used to having a newborn and so throwing the need to be washing diapers on top of that seemed a daunting task with my first baby. Now that we have our system down though, I feel I could be more confident and starting right away at birth with our next ones.
WHAT KIND DO YOU USE?
After many random diapers, I have found that I like BumGenius the best. I also have a bunch of sized Fuzzibunz that I was given off of Craigslist( Thank you awesome lady!). The Fuzzibunz fit great but you do have to buy the different sizes. I like how versatile the BumGenius are…they grow with the baby and are VERY easy to use and wash. I feel to get the best bang for my buck the adjustable one sized cloth diapers are wonderful. If my husband can grab and use them just as easy as a disposable, it must be simple. I am discovering that now I am needing to replace some velcro but they have gone through at least 2 kids.
I primarily use BumGenius brand diapers with a few Fuzzibunz and Imagine brand diapers thrown in the mix. The majority of my diapers are pocket style diapers where you have inserts that you stuff inside the diaper shells. I like these because the drying time is a lot faster than an all-in-one style diaper. Also, most of mine are one size diapers that have adjustable snaps that grow with your baby. I love that they had fit my one month old and will still fit even when he’s ready to be done with diapers. The other styles I have less of and still like are all-in-one diapers and a few sized diapers. I really like the fit of an all-in-one sized diaper but they only last for that one size so you would have to buy a TON more diapers every time they grow out of them. When picking out snaps vs velcro I leaned towards snaps. The snaps seem to last longer and don’t need to be replaced like the velcro. The velcro is quicker to put on but be warned- they are just as easy to take off. I’m learning this from my 9 month old who seems to find it entertaining to undo my handy work immediately after putting on his diaper. I haven’t run into this issue with my snap diapers. Also there’s no worrying about laundry tabs coming undone while washing and sticking to other diapers.
DO YOU USE THEM ALL THE TIME?
I use disposables at night and when we travel. My kids are super soakers and sleep a good 11 hours so I don’t chance it. When we travel I have enough stuff for 6 people so I choose not to add a bag of thick diapers, detergent and wet bags. Most often I do put on disposables for church nursery as well.
I’m with Mal here. I pretty much do cloth diapers all the time, except as of late my son has become a crazy heavy wetter at night. He also sleeps about 11-12 hours at night, but not if he’s wet. I’ve used the BumGenius Freestyles at night which work most nights, but since he’s now drinking more water out of a sippy cup during the day he’s wet through those at night too. We really liked using them at night for the months leading up until recently. They have two attached layers built-in the shell. I would recommend if you are going to do cloth at night to give them a try. Disposables have been used at night since he’s become a super soaker. We will use cloth often when we travel depending on the length of stay. If it’s just a weekend back home to our parents we will use cloth, but if it’s a week-long stay out-of-state we use disposables.
WHERE DO YOU BUY YOUR DIAPERS AND SUPPLIES?
I have been blessed twice with garbage bags full of used, free diapers. Otherwise I buy my rolls of liner, diapers and detergent from an amazing local kid store called Peapods. I have also ordered random things from the internet.
I’m a huge bargain hunter. When I was pregnant I decided I was going to build my stash of cloth diapers slowly so it wasn’t a crazy one time up front cost. For me it was a more gradual process. I have gotten many of my diapers new and used from Craigslist, eBay, nickisdiapers.com and clothdiapertrader.com. I will warn you that you need to make sure when buying used that the previous owners have only used cloth diaper safe detergent and creams on the diapers. I made sure to buy only great used condition or better so I know there will be lots of life in them for all my kiddos. My dear sister Mal borrowed me some fitted diapers right away when he was in smalls and that also helped. My detergent I am still using is from shower gifts and the rolls of flushable diaper liners I scored at a garage sale(which I only use if I’m anticipating a poopy diaper. He’s to the point where he poops once a day and usually right away in the morning so I make sure to use them in the beginning of the day. Once he poops, I don’t bother to use them the rest of the day). My cloth diaper safe bum cream (here) I got through Target.com or amazon.com. Also after much hesitation and reluctance I’ve also started using cloth wipes when we are at home. If I’m already washing diapers- what’s a few more wipes gonna be to throw in the wash too? My stash consists of baby washcloths I was given as a gift and also some Grovia brand cloth wipes (here). Thank you Kara for shedding some light on cloth wipes and showing me it wasn’t such a scary thing. I also continue to make my own wipes to use on the go as seen in our previous post.
HOW DO YOU WASH AND STORE YOURS?
Washing: I take my dry trash can to the washer (this is where I store my dirty diapers). I have a garbage bag and separate out the wipes and big chucks of poop. I take out my inserts and throw them in the wash with the shells. I wash every 2-3 days. If it has gone 3 days I will run a cold rinse cycle, manly to get some of the poop off. With my high efficiency wash machine I use the white cycle with an extra wash and extra rinse. Every month or so I have started to put in a little bleach and double rinse. To be honest, with all the stripping techniques that I have used, none of them can get out the smell that bleach does. In the short MN summers, I always put my diapers in the sun for some natural bleaching. I also switch detergents regularily.Right now I am using Rockin’ Green, but before then I was using BumGenius. For drying I hang the shells from a hanging rack found at IKEA (here). Then I only throw the inserts in the dryer on a high heat.
Storage: I used to use a diaper hanger similar to the one Emma uses, but my stash is around 35 diapers so I now use 2 drawer stand that I got from Ikea. It is nice to have all of them in one place.
Washing: First, I unstuff all my pocket liners from their shells so they are separate in the wash (kind of a no-brainer but still it’s best to be thorough). If they are all-in-ones you can simply throw them right in. I also throw in my cloth wipes in the wash along with the diapers too. I run the rinse and spin cycle which uses cold water and takes roughly 25 minutes first. Then I pump up the water temp to the hottest setting and run a wash cycle with an added extra rinse cycle at the end. This takes a little over an hour to run. I use only Rockin’ Green or BumGenius cloth diaper detergent on my diapers. Like Mal, I wash my diapers every 2-3 days. Then for drying- I hang the shells and all-in-ones from a hanging drying rack (here). Because we don’t have a place to hang things in our actual laundry room I clip this drying rack around my shower head in our spare shower and let them dry. Bonus being they are out of sight behind the shower curtain. The liners and wipes I throw in the dryer. As Mal mentioned during the summer months I also “sun” my stained shells and liners outside. The sun is your cloth diaper friend! I read on a blog once that a lady would send the diapers along with her husband to work so they could “sun” on the car’s dash all day long. That’s pretty dedicated. Since I’m home- they do well on my outside clothes line.
Storage: I store my stuffed and ready to use diapers in a hanging diaper stacker I had registered for. I have it hanging on the back of the door because it’s right next to our changing table and within reach. Also I have no place to hang it from on my table since I’m using an vintage dresser for my changing table. When the diapers are soiled and dirty I put them in a large hanging zipped diaper pail (here). I love this bag and can’t say enough good things about it. It holds roughly 16-20 diapers in it. It does an amazing job of trapping in the smell while it’s zipped. I also love taking this along with us when we travel for the weekend. I hang it from the closet door knob in the nursery.
WHATS YOUR FAVORITE THING & LEAST FAVORITE THING WITH CLOTH?
Least Favorite: Getting into the groove of using cloth. I also don’t like the bulk, if they are too tight the poor kid can’t move or crawl so I usually end up putting the kids in the next size for pants. I honestly think deep down the reason I wait to cloth when they are just born is the fact I love their tiny little bottoms!
Favorite: I just like not spending the money on disposables. I obviously have gotten my moneys worth with 4 kids so now it just kills me to spend $20 on a box of diapers. I also love knowing that I am not filling up landfills with all those diapers. Now I am not judging anyone…to each is own.
Least Favorite: My son’s pants have to go up a size a lot of the time to accommodate the extra padding. This truly is just a minor disappointment. It’s also adorable to see his big cloth diaper butt stick out. Also, initial set up can be overwhelming and a lot. I felt I had to research a ton, but you eventually get your supply and routine in place. It’s also not a bad thing to be informed and gather up as much knowledge as you can before trying it. It can just feel like so much to think about, but I encourage you to stick it out! Favorite: It is not that much extra work compared to disposables. If you go into it with a conquering attitude of “I can do this” you CAN! Even my husband would say it’s not that big of a deal. It’s an investment, but I personally think it’s worth it. I love how I’m not just wasting our money on something that’ll just be thrown in the garbage. Seriously it kills me to think that every time I use a disposable it’s $0.14-$0.50 being tossed in the trash. These diapers should last through all my kiddos we have. If they are properly maintained there’s no reason I won’t be able to turn around at the end and sell them used and get some of my investment money back too.
HAS IT BEEN WORTH IT?
For us it has been. Especially since we were given some for free and I got some used from a friend. We have saved tons of money since there has been at least 1-2 kids in diapers at the same time throughout the past 7 years and I’m sure we have a few more years to come. I would love to know just how much money we have saved. No joke-I am sure it is passed 4 digits.
I would say 95% YES. I cringe when I have to go buy disposables at the store and to see how expensive they are for such a little supply ( and I buy target brand diapers and they still cost plenty!). I don’t mind the little extra work it takes to wash them every 2-3 days because I’m doing laundry anyways. I also like that these diapers will last through however many kids we have. That’s priceless to me as a single-income family.
We encourage anyone who has tossed the idea around to give it a shot. Borrow from one of us or find a good price on some used ones and give it a chance. You never know just how easy it may be. Also, we can’t stress enough how much we enjoy hearing from you or answering questions. If you have any questions-PLEASE feel free to leave them in the comments below!
Housewives Mal & Emma
PS: It was really fun to read this entire post once it was complete. We each wrote our answers first and then compiled it into the post. It’s funny to see just how similar many things ended up being.
DISCLAIMER: We have not been paid or asked to write about any of the companies or stores listed in this post. This is purely findings that we have tried and tested over the years and are choosing to share and pass along our personal findings.