When I first started looking into cloth diapers it was a whole new territory for me. I knew that I didn’t want to sink a bunch of money into one style or brand and actually took on the job of making a bunch myself. I have since bought some to add to my homemade stash and have fallen in love with cloth diapering. I get a lot of people that look at me weird or make comments about cloth diapering that I just don’t think are accurate. I’m here to set this straight with my own HONEST experience.
Try a variety.
You could spend a lot of time doing research, or you could just try a few different styles and see what works for you. Besides, if you really look into cloth diapers you will see that every cloth diapering mama out there has a different opinion on what works the best. The reason for this is that you child may need something different than someone else’s. I started with pockets. A pocket style is where there is a pocket in either the front or back (usually the back) and you stuff your insert(s) inside. Pockets are great because you can adjust the absorbency for your own needs. My hubby on the other hand didn’t like having to stuff the insert inside the diaper which led us to try AI2′s (All-in-twos). For these, the insert lays into the diaper and usually snaps in to keep it from moving around. Our little girl is a tummy sleeper though so these don’t work well for us at nighttime since the insert can bunch up between her legs. I also have some AIO’s (All-in-ones) where the diaper is all one piece with the insert sewn in. This style is the closest to a disposable diaper. Some of my AIO’s are fitted which aren’t waterproof and require a cover. I usually leave the cover off during the day and change my daughter more often while at home. I haven’t even gotten into the different styles of covers. There’s PUL, wool, and fleece just to name a few.
The laundry isn’t that hard.
When it comes to a wash routine you will find conflicting answers from different cloth diaper brands, websites and other mamas. there’s also going to be other contributing factors such as the sensitivity of your child’s skin, your water quality, and even your washing machine. We have a front loading HE machine and I have a serious love/hate relationship with it. It’s great that it saves us money but that little HE title means it uses less water which is the opposite of what you want for cloth diapering. How do I battle this? I just do an extra wash, that’s it! Our personal wash routine consists of a hot wash with a small amount of liquid tide and a half scoop of oxygen booster (think Oxi-Clean). I then follow it with an extra wash cycle and hang dry our diapers in our attached greenhouse addition. You’ll hear people say that you need to use a cloth diaper approved detergent but with our super hard water here in Idaho, it just wasn’t cutting it. when we did find one or two that worked great for the diapers and our water, my little girl had a reaction to it, thus we ended up with Tide and haven’t had a problem since!
Get a few helper supplies.
Okay, so they aren’t necessary and there’s certainly tons of mamas out there that don’t use them, but they have made my cloth diapering experience easier. I use a dry pail for diapers which is basically just a trash can with a lid that mostly seals. If you’re planning to wait a few days between washes it’s actually better to have less of a seal because any smell that accumulates is less potent. I also have a hanging wet bag so I can put the outer parts of my diapers in one and the inserts in the other. another amazing tool that we have is a diaper sprayer. We actually made ours but essentially they are all the same. they act as a little sprayer that attached to the water line on your toilet. No more swishing and dunking like you may have heard people do. Now you can just spray off any solids and toss straight into your diaper pail until laundry day. You can totally forgo the sprayer as the poop becomes more solid. These days I don’t really use it much. I shake off what I can (which is usually most of it at almost 20 months) and the rest goes into the laundry. Thank goodness for that extra wash, huh?
Don’t beat yourself up.
There are going to be times that you just want to give up. that time for me came when m little girl got a terrible rash that sprouted little sores. We changed detergents, I stripped the diapers, we tried creams, everything. Nothing seemed to help and there were times I wanted to put her in disposables for a while. If you come to that point, don’t beat yourself up if you have to take a break from cloth. Some creams can ruin your diapers if you don’t use a liner. I was able to keep my little girl in cloth even though her rash was off and on for two months. We did actually end up using disposable while she was coming out of her rash because we had a camping trip and I just plain didn’t want the extra diaper laundry on top of everything else (after returning from a week long trip away and leaving my hubby at home). Being honest, her rash actually got worse from the disposables. Eventually, we targeted her having acidic poop due to orange juice. there were even times while using the creams that we would put a fleece liner in the diaper (to protect it) and if she pooped I would just throw the whole liner away. Why make yourself feel like your “failing” when you’ve already accomplished something so great by using cloth already?
All in all, I can say we’ve never had a poop blowout with cloth. I remember going to Salt Lake City for my brother in law’s wedding and on the way back my poor little niece had the worst blowout ever in her disposables. My mother in law ended up throwing away the onesie when we stopped at the gas station and it took an insane amount of wipes to get that girl clean. It was funny though, but only because it wasn’t me cleaning it up. It’s always what we compare any other diapering incident to in our family. Nothing like a Salt Lake blowout, eh Jess?
We’ve had a few leaks during nighttime but it was easy to find something that works for us. My daughter is a heavy wetter and sleeps on her tummy–double whammy for nighttime cloth. We simply use a pocket style diaper such as a Kawaii or a BG 3.0 and stuff using a microfiber insert along with a Hemp Babies inserts that is about the size of a washcloth and folds in half. The key for us was making sure the microfiber was closest to her bum with the hemp underneath. I know, some of you may be thinking that you’d want to use all hemp or bamboo because they’re more absorbent. Well, as absorbent as they are, they don’t wick the moisture away as quickly as a microfiber. So to pair the two really did the trick for us and we don’t have leaks anymore. It makes me a pretty satisfied mama considering she sleeps 12 or so hours a night.