How to Cloth Diaper in a Way that Doesn't Suck
I cloth diaper my son and will do so with my soon to be second baby boy. When people ask me why I have chosen this route, my answer is: It's cheap and easy!
The responses I get highlight the misinformation out there about cloth diapering. I've heard so many parents say they wanted to cloth diaper, but their research showed them it wouldn't be worth it and would be way too much work anyways. Soooo...let's debunk all of that!
Cloth Diaper Truth 1: It's NOT too expensive and DOES NOT require a massive up front investment.
It's true. Ignore brand names and go for the cheapest diapers you can find. Yes, I know this majorly goes against the insanely large amount of articles and reviews out there, but there's just no need to spend upwards of $20 on one diaper! No wonder parents shy away from this!
The major brands are nice because they offer customer service and support, which is great, but you'll have to decide if the cost is that worth it to you. These diapers I've linked above cost me around $4.5/$5 a piece. I've gotten some for about $2 from other random sources, as I see them. Brand name diapers can be anywhere from $15-$25 a piece!
Including the inserts, each diaper has cost me no more than $7 a piece, at most, but most of my diapers cost around $4 total!
The brand names market things like gussets, newborn sizing and cord fold down diapers (for the early days of watching for the umbilical cord to fall off). Truth is, you don't need gussets - cloth diapers hold in the most explosive poo just fine, assuming they fit decently, which is very easy to see when you look at baby. Newborn size cloth diapers are a great way to spend $20 on one diaper that won't last very long for some babies. All cloth diapers size up and down very well. And, the cord fold down isn't very important for the same reason as above. It's very easy to fold down these diapers because of how well they size up and down.
Cloth Diaper Truth 2:
You don't have to buy them used!
This piggy backs off point #1. Some parents have told me they bought a used set of diapers so they could afford to cloth diaper, without the upfront cost. Again, if you buy generic brands, you can get brand new diapers for probably cheaper than a used brand name diaper.
Cloth Diaper Truth 3:
Cloth diapers come in the cutest patterns!
This might not seem like a big deal, but every once in awhile, parents will spend extra money on the patterned disposable diapers because it's so cute to see your sweet baby in something other than plain white material. Every time you see these adorable diapers, you'll feel that spark of joy which is so worth it, on top of the breath-taking fun and wonder of having your baby!
Cloth Diaper Truth 4:
You will NOT be adding a bunch of laundry to your routine.
This is what boggles my mind more than any other piece of cloth diaper misinformation out there. I have used cloth diapers for 2.5 years now. My son is a rambunctious, active dude with a healthy digestive system. The truth is, with a new baby, you're already doing a TON more laundry than you're used to doing. Cloth diapers are super easy because you just toss them in and they require no folding so just take them out and shove them in a drawer...or just leave them on top of the dryer, in the dryer, the kitchen counter...or wait, that's just what I do.
Cloth Diaper Truth 5:
You DON'T have to strip diapers or do other weird things and you DON'T have to have some complicated wash routine!
So here's the deal with diapers: Kids go through pH changes. That affects the smell of diapers and most moms assume it's the diaper that needs to be dealt with. The misinformation out there really convolutes a mom's regular wash routine, causing the diapers to lose absorbency and start to stink, which leads to multiple strips which affects absorbency and the cycle begins.
The truth: You need to find a wash routine that works for you, and here's how you'll know it's working for you:
1. The detergent is affordable or easily sustainable to purchase/make/use in your home. Detergents are not a be-all-end-all and you can definitely use a myriad of detergents out there. I make a powder detergent from a baking soda, washing soda, Epsom salt and hydrogen peroxide mix. If you look at MomCo's Pinterest page, you'll see a number of these recipes, but particularly, the one I use and love. When I do buy a detergent, I buy Molly's Suds Cloth Diaper Laundry Powder. I buy this when I'm in a pinch. The ingredients are quite similar to the detergent I make and on the back of the bag is a wonderful wash routine recommendation.
2. The routine has your diapers coming out smelling like nothing. This was a tough thing for me to get used to. I always thought clothes had to smell GOOD to be clean. After making my detergent, even with adding essential oils, I found that a truly clean diaper smells like nothing. Nothing nothing. To accomplish this, a recommended wash routine looks like this:
-Wash in hot water, rinse in warm water, rinse again in warm water. Dry them regular (in your dryer, in the sun, etc...). That's it. Smell the diapers before drying them to see if they smell like nothing.
-Only wash about a dozen to 2 dozen diapers at a time. You can add in other clothes as the detergent doesn't have to work so hard to clean clothes as it does for diapers. Count a blowout outfit as a diaper, however, if you're using cloth diapers, a blowout would be rare. In my son's entire 2.5 years of cloth diapering, we've only ever had 2 blowouts, ever!
-Wash diapers frequently, maybe every few days or so. This ensures the diapers won't be sitting around for too long, just stinking up the place. If you're in the newborn phase and need to wash more frequently, think about adding in other items (your clothes, baby's clothes, sheets, etc...) as that newborn poop is quite easy to wash off. It's the older, solid-eating baby and toddler poop that's really something to contend with...
-Think about soaking diapers until wash day. This is by no means necessary or even needed, but it will allow you to add in more diapers into the load and just gets rid of the smell for those days between washes.
Cloth Diaper Truth 6:
Cloth diapers are easy to travel with.
Most sets of diapers come with a wet/dry bag which are amazing at holding in the smell. Even when you're out with your newborn, these bags will hold a ton of diapers.
If you're thinking about being away from your house for an extended period of time that supersedes the amount of diapers you have (taking a trip out of town, etc...), then maybe that's the time to grab a few disposables. But, the cost of the disposables for infrequent travel vs the overall cost of using disposables daily is a drop in the bucket.
Cloth Diaper Truth 7:
Cloth diapers are so easy, anyone can change baby's diaper.
If you go with the kind of diapers I used, linked above in Truth 1, there is almost no learning curve. These diapers can button, snap or some even have Velcro, making them identical to using a disposable. Most daycare centers have no issue using these kinds of cloth diapers. Again, the misinformation out there is in reference to doing the baby origami style of cloth diapering, where you would diaper baby with a big piece of cloth and wrestle it around the baby then fasten/secure it with a clip. This is what makes cloth diapering difficult, so opt for the easy route listed above and you'll be good to go!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on cloth diapering. Leave them in the comments, chat with us or contact us on our Facebook page!