July 20, 2013

Cloth Diapering, What I've Learned And Love

The idea of cloth diapering has always appealed to me. 
The snuggly soft diaper. 
The idea of saving money. 
My first attempt was very meager and I couldn't have been less prepared or informed. 
Which made for a bad experience. 

What drove me to trying them again (and I'm so glad I did) was dealing with disposable diapers that my son hated and was ripping off every chance he got. Talk about expensive. We were going through 8 to 10 diapers a day. Not to mention the pee I was cleaning up on the floor because his diaper was hanging half way off. Every morning he was waking up wet. Clothes, sheets and all. It was beyond frustrating.

So when I decided to give it another go, I was determined to do this and find a better way. I dove into blog after blog and website after website about everything pertaining to cloth diapers. I know I drove my friends and family nuts with questions, but freeeek! There were sooo many questions. And holy hell there's a LOT of different options.
I felt completely overwhelmed at times. 
Now I joke that I have a masters in cloth diapering. Ask me anything
Whatever. I'm not an expert. But I realized that it's not difficult at all. Cloth diapering is just saturated in choices which can make it seem difficult and very expensive at first. But it doesn't have to be.

Although I'm very new at this and may tweak my system of diapering through out the years or even weeks, I thought I'd share my way of doing things. 
What I've learned, the best deals I've found, and the pros and cons of the poop world.
1) poop liners purchased here
2) snappi fasteners purchased here
(the cute vintage looking pins came with my diaper purchase. I have yet to use them. I'm scared to death I'm gonna poke myself or worse the baby)
3) flat diapers purchased here
4) Chinese prefolds (white) purchased here
5) Indian prefolds  (cream) purchased here

Poop Liners

I am a HUGE fan of these suckers!
They look like a dryer sheet and I thought they were a little bit of a bell or whistle in the cloth diapering world. I thought I'd give them a try because they were so cheap and I had heard good things about them, but that they were...I don't know, a little bit silly. 
I mean just poop in the diaper, who cares? Umm yeah. My first experience with the liner, I was impressed. The poop lifted out with the liner without leaving a trace of poop on the diaper. It was crazy. 
My first experience with a poop diaper without the liner was exactly how I pictured cloth diapering to be. messy. It was pretty gross. 
But that sprayer on the toilet makes it much easier. And for the few weeks I've been doing this, I've had to spray about 3 diapers total. To me that's totally worth it.

Flat diapers and Prefolds
Ok, so there really are a lot of systems of diapering and I am certainly not an expert on any one or all of these. I have found that just using prefolds (looks like a burp cloth, sewn and quilted after washings) and flat diapers (just a flat piece of material without any stitching, does not quilt after washings) with a cover are what's working best for me. They are by far the least expensive route, costing $1 and $2 each depending on size, brand and where you buy them. 
I think I'll like the prefolds better for a smaller baby but they still work great for my 2 year old.
I haven't been able to tell a difference between the Chinese or Indian prefolds yet. 
I happen to like the way the Indian prefolds look better than the bleached white Chinese ones. That's about it.
Prefold Pros
  • Not a whole lot of folding, you slap it on and put a snappi or pin it. Which is great for babysitters or husbands
  • Seems like it would be a perfect size for a smaller baby
Prefold Cons

  • seems a little small for older babies but still works really well
Flat Pros

  •  They are so big and can be folded every which away. There's plenty of fabric to wrap a good snug fit on my 2 year old. 
  • I love the natural color of these, they're beautifully woven. I saved a few out for my kitchen, they make awesome kitchen towels (ones that were never pee'd or poo'd on, gross people!)
Flat Cons
  • Might be a little overwhelming for newbies to cloth diapering like a sitter or a daddy (but he could learn)

cloth wipes purchased here
cloth wipe solution bits purchased here

Cloth wipes
I hadn't even considered these when tossing around the idea of cloth diapering but it made sense when I thought about it. If they can poop and pee in cloth diapers, why can't I wipe that same poop and pee off with cloth? Wipes are quite the expense as well. We can put a hurtin on a box of wipes. 
I don't know if that's typical for most families, but for us....a hurtin.

Wipe Solution Bits
As far as the wipe solution goes, it's not totally necessary. Some people just use water. I liked the idea of a fresher bum. I went for having a solution on the wipes so they're wet and ready to go in my wipey warmer. 
I'm really digging these little wipe solution bits. 
They smell really good. I chose bare bum with no added scent, but they also have a range of scent choices to choose from. All natural ingredients. The cheapest route I'm sure would be to make your own and have a container of it on hand. However these little solid bits come in handy for travel. 

I do a wipey solution batch once a week so it doesn't sit in there too long and start smelling funny.
I try to use my wipes fresh out of the washer, just fold when wet and add to the wipey warmer. 
It really is pretty effortless. And it feels so good not having to run to the store so often for wipes and dipes.
cloth diapers with inserts purchased here

Diaper Covers or 2/1
These are hands down the least expensive diaper/cover I have found. Alva diapers are awesome. Their website is a little frustrating but after a little reading you get it. Their diapers are like 4 and 5 bucks! Thats with the insert! It's crazy! And they have some really cute diapers. I'm a huge fan and will be ordering more for sure. 
I thought I would like the bamboo better because it is more absorbent and it's a natural fiber. Let me just warn you, they take way longer to dry. They are very soft. But I'm not as big a fan as I thought I'd be. You have to find what works for you though. 
And although these covers are super cute and so easy to clean and use, I am in love with the wool soakers. It is amazing how well they work. I bought my first one from Disana. Their website will tell you all about the benefits of using wool and how to take care of it as well. But I will list just a few things that totally sold me on them.
  • Wool is incredibly absorbent 
  • Wool is actually great for summer and winter (it's breathable folks. I know you think hot and itchy but I promise you it's not)
  • You can use wool multiple times before having to wash them. Simply air them out if they feel damp/wet and reuse for at least a week or two. There's no pee smell. Something about it converts the pee to salt water. It's all hocus pocus and voo doo. Total craziness that's awesome!
  • I love the way they look. It's old school (me like vintage? shocking) appeal is to die for!
  • They're all natural fiber 
  • Less laundry
  • You can actually sew your own from old wool sweaters. There are a ton of adorable ones to choose from on Etsy as well. (you're welcome to peruse my pins on pinterest with all of my favorite woolie soakers)

wool soaker/pull on purchased here
lanolin purchased here
wool wash bits purchased here
folding drying rack purchased here
natural laundry soap purchased here
in another container because I have to put everything in a cute container. even my laundry soap. 
It's the little things people.
diaper bin/can purchased here (other cute colors available too)
diaper can liner purchased here
there's also this liner available with a draw string instead of elastic, it's much cheaper. purchased here
  (I of course found these after I had purchased mine, but I think I like the idea of elastic better than a draw string anyways. But it may not be worth the extra money to you, so you decide)

I really like having 2 liners so while one is in the wash you just throw the new one in the can.
I also really like the open lid method. 
It seems like it would make the whole room/house reek of dirty nappies. But I promise you there is not a hint of a smell. One day my son put the lid on it without me knowing and when I opened it, a wave of butt hit me in the face. 

Closed lid= stank
Open lid=odorless

I just put the pee diapers in without any type of rinse and for the poop diapers usually the poop liners will keep most of it if not all of the poop off of the diaper itself, so there's no need to rinse them in the toilet. But occasionally I forget the liner or it's just an epic poop and rinsing needs to be done. So I use my toilet sprayer to get it as clean as I can and ring the rest out and drop in the pail. I don't have extra water (a wet pail) in the bottom of my can. But apparently that is an option. I guess it acts as a good soak before you wash. Seems like a lot of work to empty that water and refill (gross)

Also, I know a lot of other people purchase large tall cans with pop up lids. For one thing, I found them to be a little pricey. And second, I thought this can from Ikea looked better. And from what I hear this liner doesn't fit those other cans very well. The elastic is not taut around the rim. But it happens to fit this Ikea can perfectly. It's kind of short and squatty like the bag, not tall and thin.  But I do see where it might pose a problem with little ones playing in dirty dipes if you're not careful. Our set up happens to allow us to have this changing room separate from kids play area, so it hasn't been a problem....yet. We're hopeful.

For on the go you'll need what's called a wet bag
wet bag for the diaper bag purchased here

Wet bags are just for those dirty/wet diapers while you're out and about. It's made of the same material of the bag kept in the diaper bin. These are also great for swim suits or gym clothes. 

I keep little zipper pouches for my extra snappis and poop liners. It's a good idea to keep those snappi's seperate, because they will snag the crap out of some fabrics. 

Diaper Sprayer purchased here
I originally saw a blog showing a step by step DIY diaper sprayer for your toilet (i have it pinned on pinterest if you're interested, read further before you get excited)
These things are about $40 to $50 online  (you can find used ones for much less if you're lucky, I wasn't so lucky) 
so I thought a DIY one sounded really good. It was too good to be true.
By the time I bought all of the things necessary at Home Depot it was maybe $5 to $10 less, (im gonna be honest) it looked homemade, it didn't have the water adjustment on the handle like this fancy one does (which after using a few times I found is definitely handy) And this one has a handy hook to hang it on the side of the tank. The other I guess would lay on the floor. That would bother the crap out of me.
So in my humble opinion, buy the thing already made. They're quite nice. And your husband will thank you for not making him do some hippy pinterest assembly craft on the toilet. That sounded...nevermind.
I use a free standing kitchen piece from Ikea found here as my changing table. I've used this thing for everything through out my house and now it's in the nursery. I know it's a little different, but I freakin love it! It's the perfect height, I don't have to lean over at all while changing dipes! Which is really great post labor. It has plenty of room to organize all of the diapering doo dads. I love having plenty of space up top for all of my lotions, baskets, lamps...knick knacks like my fuzzy deer. 
( I need to get some more cute dipes to fill those shelves though! It looks a little bare)
Each drawer keeps everything I need in its own space, organized, out of site and easily accessible. 

If you're thinking about going full on hippie and doing some cloth diapers, I send a mental high five and say good choice. It's been such a good experience for me and my family. I don't know if I just had an awful picture in my head of how inconvenient or gross it would be, but it has been surprisingly pleasant. In fact every blog I've read says, "give it time, you will adjust". And maybe I'm painting too pretty of a picture and the opposite will happen and you'll expect rainbows and butterflies and send me hateful emails when you splatter poop water while washing dipes. I mean, there is poop involved still, there's not many ways to make that pleasant. But we are quite happy with the change and highly recommend it. 
If you have any great tips or tricks you've learned along the way or have any questions, I'd love to hear em! My last word of advice would be to go all In! Don't half ass it. That could also make for a not so good experience. You're gonna either do it or not, but when you don't have things you need or enough of them it can be frustrating. So get the set up and go for it! Good luck!


  1. My clever girl.
    I always used cloth diapers but surely didn't have all of these options.

    1. And seriously, kudos to that whole generation. I'm not sure I'd survive without the "extras"offered these days.