I’m not really sure how I became attached to the idea of cloth diapering or when. I just remember early on, even before TTC, I had a discussion with Brad about how I wanted to cloth diaper. As you might imagine, he was not originally on board with the idea. It took some convincing (mostly a bargain that I would breastfeed if he went along with cloth diapering), but I finally got the green light for cloth diapering. I must admit that I am sure most of the motivation came from saving money as opposed to the other more noble benefits of cloth diapering, but nonetheless, its a journey we have embarked on. I wanted to share the insights into our cloth diapering experience, especially how I got started, my cloth diapering routine and some lessons learned along the way.
Also, here is a link to my cloth diapering baby registry checklist, which highlights the exact product must-haves I recommend for a cloth diapering journey.
As part of the bargain to cloth diaper hubby had two requests: that I make it as simple as possible and that I handle all of the diaper cleaning/care. So it was with those two philosophies in mind that I began to research and formulate my cloth diapering plan. His request for simplicity immediately brought me to all-in-ones (AIO), which are the closest in form to a disposable diaper. Brad wanted nothing to do with stuffing, pinning, lining, etc. While my husband’s wishes are what contributed to my decision to use AIO, looking back, I am equally as pleased with this choice. I think choosing AIO is best route for simplified cloth diapering. This decision narrowed my research quite a bit, and I honed in on two popular cloth diaper brands: BumGenius (Freetimes) and GroVia.
One thing to note about the diapers I chose is that they are one-size-fits-all (advertised 8-35 pounds). I chose to skip newborn cloth diapers and just do disposables until they fit in what we had. I am glad we chose to go that route. In the back of my mind, I was worried that we would fall in love with the ease of the disposables, but luckily that was not the case. In fact, while the disposables were really good at first for tracking pee (with the handy colored line), by the time the girls were ready to fit into the cloth diapers (at 10 pounds not 8 pounds), we couldn’t find any disposables that fit just right and were experiencing a lot of blow outs.
I started building my stash before the girls arrived. A lot of people advise not to buy too many before you’re in it because of fit, but I wanted to have at least a small stash on hand. Keeping in mind that I have twins and hate doing laundry, my aim was to ultimately have between 40 and 50 diapers. I think they recommend around 20 for a singleton. I bought my stash secondhand. The diapers that I chose are a little over $20 each retail, which are the high end of pricing for the cloth diaper world. So, to make up for choosing the most expensive diapers, I chose to find preloved ones. I took to clothdiapertrader.com and Ebay. I bought mostly bulk sales that were priced from $10 – $15 per diaper. I found a lot of lots that were being sold because someone gave up on cloth diapering early (a little intimidating) so the diapers were still in like new condition. When buying used diapers, I always looked for ones with no stains or pilling. But I have since learned that the most important thing to look for in buying cloth diapers is tight elastics. I now have 2 piles of diapers for daytime and nighttime because I bought some looser elastic ones that will not work all night. Anyways, I got a little carried away with my starter stash. Before the girls even arrived, I had close to 50 diapers on hand, about half Grovia and half BumGenius. I stuck with almost all solid colors, though I did splurge on a couple of cute patterns. I made sure I had an even number of every color, so I could match the girls (because I am that ocd). If you want to go the simplest route avoid cloth diaper patterns like the plague. Yes, they are adorable, but I have seen so many cloth diaper enthusiasts with an addiction to cloth diapers because of the different patterns. That’s a quick way to eliminate any cost savings you were hoping to obtain by going this route.
Because I bought pre-loved diapers, I did a massive strip of them before the girls arrived. To do this I did a giant bleach soak in the tub. I let sit for an hour and then did a hot wash in the washing machine with detergent followed by a hot rinse without detergent.
Like I mentioned, we started the girls off in disposables waiting for them to fit into the one-size-fits-all cloth diapers. As a first-time mom, I am glad we did this, so we could easily track wet diapers by the colored stripe. At eight pounds we tried to switch to cloth, but their legs weren’t quite big enough. Finally, at ten pounds they were big enough to switch to cloth! Almost instantly we realized that the Grovias were not love. Brad hated that we had two different kinds that snapped different ways. And they didn’t fit as snugly on the girls. I turned around and sold the Grovias and replaced with more Bumgenius Freetimes.
Cloth diapering before solids is like the honeymoon phase. On only breastmilk, the girls poo is dissovable and all of the diapers could go straight into the wash. Let me talk about my system/routine pre-solid food.
We have two changing stations: the dresser in their room and a buffet in the dining room. Both have changing pads attached with a wipes container and a caddy for diaper rash cream. For the dresser, I use the middle drawers to house diapers. On the buffet there is a shelf underneath that houses the diapers. I store them stacked “ready to wear.” What I mean by that, is they are open flat with the flaps already in place. I started off by folding them over and snapping them but found that was a waste of energy. Honestly, this has made cloth diapering so easy!
Next to the dresser and buffet I have a hamper with a Buttons pail liner. I bought a fancy looking rattan hamper from Ross for the dining room and have a cheap plastic white one from Walmart sitting inside a wooden double hamper fame in the girls’ room. Whenever anyone changes a diaper, they simply unsnap and remove, drop in the hamper, wipe them up and then slide and snap on a new one. Usually every second or third evening (leaving at least a day’s inventory), I take the liners out of the hampers and bring to laundry room to start my wash routine. I have two sets of liners, so I replace with the second set.
To wash pre-solids, I ran one wash with cold water and level 2 detergent on heavy duty with a presoak. Then I ran another heavy-duty wash with hot water and level 5 detergent. I usually started the second wash right before bed. When I woke up, I hung all of the diapers on the drying rack. If it was sunny, I would bring outside; otherwise, I would leave in the laundry room. It is amazing how much power the sun has on stain removal! I will also say that if pressed for time, I will run them through the dryer.
When I got home from work, I would fold them all (basically just putting the flaps in place) and stack back at our diaper changing stations.
Once solids started to take affect (a little after six months because we did baby led weaning, and they weren’t ingesting much if any at first), things got a little more challenging. About the same time, we started to get leaks at night. So, there are several things that have since been added to my routine.
I purchased a couple of sets of BumGenius doublers that we line our diapers with at night. So far this has eliminated the leaking problem.
Finally, we got a diaper sprayer installed for washing out poo. This is the one we have (link). I also purchased a diaper sprayer shield (link) and a five-gallon paint bucket with a lid. Now, whenever someone changes a poo diaper (wet diapers are treated the same as before) they stack them on top of the hamper. At the end of the day, I collect the poo diapers and take to our powder bath. I spray off the poo using the diaper sprayer and shield and place into the five-gallon bucket where they stay until wash day.
I try not to let the poo diapers sit too long so depending on quantity and timing, they affect my decision to start a wash routine. But the only difference in my wash routine is that I dump the poo diapers from the bathroom and clean out the five-gallon bucket. If it is an exceptionally pooey cycle (my first two weeks with the diaper sprayer both girls had diarrhea, which was an absolutely lovely ice breaker), I may do an extra hot cycle with detergent to line 2.
And that is it. Nice and easy!
One exception to cloth diapering we make is using disposables when we travel. We did not want to deal with the hassle of hoarding around and hauling dirty diapers back with us.
Besides that, we are fuzzy bums for life! I think they are much cuter/comfier for our girls. It’s nice not having to purchase diapers on a regular basis (I haven’t figured up what the cost savings are but with twins I am sure it’s a lot). And it has been a lot easier than I thought it would be! I just wanted to share our experience with you all in case anyone is on the fence about cloth diapering.
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