My Cloth Diaper Routine

drying diapers

If I could describe my cloth diaper routine in one word it would be – SIMPLE!  I have a very basic system that is easy, relaxed, and fits our lifestyle.

As I mentioned last week, our diapers of choice are one-size pocket diapers.  When our son was born we made an investment in 24 of the bumGenius 4.0 diapers. It was a large amount of money to spend at once, but the investment has paid for itself many times over by now (14 months later!).

We chose the diapers that had the hook and loop fasteners.  (This is the same thing as velcro.)  The other fastener option available for the bumGenius pocket diapers is snaps.  Some people love the snaps, but we love using the velcro.  It is super easy to put on and off, and you can get a really great fit with it. 

The velcro does wear out faster than the snaps do, but we have been using ours for over a year and the velcro is still in great shape.  Once the velcro fasteners do wear out, they can be replaced, along with the elastic.  Cotton Babies offers these refresher kits for $1.00 each. 

I plan on refreshing the velcro and elastic on all of our diapers at some point.  We plan on using these diapers for as many children as they will last us through, so I am sure at some point the velcro and elastic will need to be replaced.  It is a quick, simple fix and only costs $1.00 per diaper, so to me it will be worth it. 

How We Store Clean Diapers

When I first started out on my cloth diaper venture, I stuffed all of the diapers with the inserts right after they were dry.  This worked well.  However, it does take a little bit of time to sit down and stuff 20 or so diapers.  So for quite some time now, I never pre-stuff any of my diapers. 

Once the diapers have been washed and dried, I simply throw them in a small laundry basket that sits on top of our dryer.  This is where they stay until they are ready to be used.  We have never had a changing table, so this is where all of the diaper supplies are stored. 

When it is time to do a diaper change, I simply grab a diaper and an insert from the basket, stuff the diaper with the insert, and then do the diaper change.  This is what works for me. 

Some people like to have their diapers stuffed and ready to go. I, on the other hand, don’t mind at all stuffing them as I need them.  From the time that I grab the diaper to the time that I grab my son, I have the diaper stuffed and ready to go.  This also works better for us because of the fact that we use two inserts in our overnight diapers.  With this method we can stuff the diapers with exactly how much we need, when we need it. 

How We Store Dirty Diapers

At Home:

We use this basic step-on wastebasket to store our dirty diapers.  It has a lid on it that does a great job at keeping the smell in.  We had a Diaper Genie in the beginning, and it was just not big enough.  Cloth diapers are bulkier than disposables and take up more room, so not a lot of cloth diapers would fit in there. 

Any medium-sized wastebasket with a lid would work great as a diaper pail.  I really like the fact that ours has the step-on feature so I don’t have to mess with opening the lid. 

Our washer and dryer are in a closet in our kitchen and our diaper pail is stored beside our washer.  Before I toss the dirty diapers into the pail, I simply close the laundry tabs on the diapers (this only applies to the diapers with velcro fasteners), and gently shake the inserts partly out.  You don’t have to shake them all of the way out, because that will naturally happen as they are washing. 

If I am dealing with a poopy diaper, I take the diaper to the bathroom and flush the contents down the toilet before placing it in the diaper pail.  The poop usually comes off easily and falls right into the toilet. 

However, there are occasions when it is not as solid or when I wait too long to change it, that it doesn’t just fall off of the diaper.  In these instances, I hold the diaper by the four clean corners and just swish it around in the toilet for a few seconds.  It usually doesn’t take long for the poop to come off, and then I just proceed as normal. 

There is no need to make sure that every last bit of the waste is removed from the diaper.  Any small particles that remain will be removed and cleaned in the washer.

Also note that you do not have to flush any poop if you’re baby is exclusively breastfed.  These stools are water soluble and can be placed right in the washer.  Only once your baby starts solids will you have to worry about flushing the poop.

On the Go:

When we are out and about, I simply carry a large gallon-size zip-loc bag with me to contain any dirty diapers that have to be changed.  Some people use wet-bags for this.  I originally planned on getting a few wet bags (because aren’t they cute?), but I just never spent the money on any.  Honestly, the zip-loc bags work just fine for us, but I would like to eventually purchase at least one wet bag for when we’re on the go.

Once we are home, I just empty the contents of the zip-loc bag into our diaper pail, and rinse out the zip-log bag if needed. I re-use the same bag over and over. Occasionally it needs to be replaced with a new one, but not often.

My Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine

I do a load of diapers every three days.  In my experience, going longer than this can start to cause stink issues with your diapers. 

I also always wash on the large load setting.  Although my load of diapers is not really a “large” load, the extra water in the machine goes a long way in getting the diapers clean. 

When washing cloth diapers, you must be sure that you are using cloth diaper – friendly laundry detergent.  I have always used the bumGenius diaper detergent.  It works great for us and it is reasonably priced  One box will last you for quite a long time. 

Here is a very helpful article that will help you figure out if your detergent is safe for washing your cloth diapers.

My Washing Regimen:

  1. Dump entire contents of diaper pail into washer.
  2. A cold wash (No detergent)
  3. A hot wash  (With detergent)
  4. Two cold rinses.

In addition to my normal washing, I usually strip my diapers once a month or so.  You will want to periodically do this because of build-up from detergent and oil. 

Drying Cloth Diapers:

Line drying in the sun is definitely the best way to dry cloth diapers.  The sun does amazing things those little dipes.  It gets rid of stains and smells like nothing else does.  It is like all-natural bleach.  I try to dry my diapers like this as often as possible.

However, the weather does not always permit this.  My next choice for drying my cloth diapers is to line dry them inside and use the dryer for the inserts. 

When line drying inside, I use wooden clothes pins to attach the diapers to wire hangers – one diaper to a hanger.  Then I just hang the hangers on a long clothes rack that runs the length of our laundry room closet. 

Occasionally, I will dry both the liners and the inserts in the dryer on the lowest heat setting. I try not to do this a lot, but sometimes it is just more convenient.

Cloth Wipes

Using cloth wipes makes a lot of sense if you are already using cloth diapers.  It really doesn’t take any more effort or time, since you are already washing the diapers anyways.

Cloth wipes are available for purchase, but are very easily made.  I made mine from extra flannel receiving blankets that we had. I just cut the blankets up into wipe size squares and serged around the edges to prevent fraying.  You could also do a simple zig-zag stitch like this if you don’t have a serger.  For a no-sew homemade cloth diaper, choose a material that won’t fray, (such as material from old T-shirts) and cut into the appropriate size.

I store my clean cloth wipes in old, cleaned out yogurt or sour cream containers with a little bit of water. I have found that using cloth wipes with just plain water works great most of the time.

I do usually keep a spray bottle full of a homemade wipe solution around for the extra messy diapers that I feel need a little more than just plain water.  (I use a homemade wipe solution very similar to the one at the bottom of this post by my friend Leigh Ann.)

Once the wipes are used, they get tossed into the diaper pail with the dirty diapers.

For on-the-go wipes, I just stick a few into a small zip-loc bag.  Once they have been used, I put them with the dirty diaper into the large zip-loc bag that I use as my wet-bag.

Additional Resources

Nikki at Christian Mommy Blogger and Leigh Ann at Intentional By Grace are both posting today about cloth diapering beyond the everyday circumstances.  Be sure to read both of their posts for more great information on cloth diapering.

Do you have any cloth diapering tips or questions?  How does your everyday routine differ from mine?

Different Types of Cloth Diapers (and What I Personally Use)

Before I even knew that I was pregnant with my first child, I knew that I wanted to use cloth diapers.  I remember telling my husband when we first got married that there were three things I was determined to do when we had kids. 

  1. Breastfeed
  2. Make all of their baby food
  3. Cloth Diaper

My intentions for doing these three things were really only to save money.  Since that time, I have learned of the many other benefits offered by doing each of these things.  More on the breastfeeding and homemade baby food later.  Today, let’s talk about the cloth diapers.

As I said, my only intention for using cloth diapers was to save money.  It turns out there are a whole lot of reasons other than money to use cloth diapers (although saving money is a definite perk!).  Read my post here on 10 Reasons Why I Love My Cloth Diapers.

As I mention in that post, I was really intimidated at first by the thought of using cloth diapers.  All I could imagine was safety pins and leaking diapers!  Although I was determined to use cloth to save money, I didn’t think it was going to be a very fun experience!

I have been cloth diapering our first son for a little over a year now, and I can honestly say that I LOVE cloth diapers.  During the few, rare times that we have had to use disposables they are honestly more of a pain to me than the cloth diapers.  Maybe this is because I have way more experience using cloth than I do disposables?  I’m not sure, but I definitely prefer the cloth over the ‘sposies! 

Today, I am just going to talk about the different types of cloth diapers and what we use.  Next week, I will talk about our routine and how we care for them.  I will do a follow-up post the next week if I need to answer any questions that you may have.

Different Styles of Cloth Diapers

I am not going to give you the illusion that I am an expert at all the different styles of cloth diapers on the market, because I most definitely am not!  In fact, I have only used one style of cloth diapers on my son.  I have, however, researched and read a lot about cloth diapers, so I am familiar with all of the different styles that are available.

Prefolds

 

Prefold diapers are what I always used to think of when I thought of cloth diapers.  They are a flat piece of absorbent fabric that you fold to fit your baby and then cover with a diaper cover.  They are the most economical choice for cloth diapering and require little initial investment.

This style did not appeal to me simply because I wanted something that would be as easy to put on as a disposable.  I wanted other family members to be able to use the cloth diapers when my son was in their care.  However, many people love and use prefolds with great success.

If you are interested in learning more about this style of cloth diaper, this is a great article to read:   How to Use Prefold Cloth Diapers: Folding Guide and More

Fitted Diapers

Fitted diapers are like prefolds, in that they are made out of a piece of absorbent fabric and they require a diaper cover.  The difference between a prefold and a fitted diaper is that a fitted diaper has elastic in the legs and back (to contain messes better) and has snaps or velcro to fasten the diaper. It’s kind of like a prefold that has already been folded for you with snaps already in place. 

Fitted diapers are more expensive than prefolds, but not as expensive as some of the other styles.  However, they are not adjustable in size, so you will need to continue buying them in larger sizes as your child grows.

Here’s some more helpful reading on this style of diaper:  How to Use Fitted Cloth Diapers

All-In-Ones (One Size)

All-in-Ones are a one piece diaper that go on and off exactly like a disposable diaper.  There is no folding or stuffing involved. 

These diapers are convenient in the fact that they are one piece and they go on and off so easily.  They are also adjustable in size, and one diaper will fit from about 8-10 pounds all the way through potty training.  All-in-Ones are however the most expensive type of diaper and they can take the longest to dry because of everything being attached together. 

Here are some examples of All-in-One diapers.

All-In-Twos or Hybrids (One Size)

These diapers are sometimes called hybrids, because they are like a cross between a cloth diaper and a disposable.  They usually consist of a cloth cover and a liner that is disposable.  You can also use cloth liners in these diapers as well.

All-in-Twos are also one size diapers that will fit from 8-10 pounds through potty training. 

Here is some more information on All-in-Twos (or Hybrids).

Pocket Diapers (One Size)

Pocket diapers, like All-in-Ones go on and off exactly like a disposable diaper.  The only difference is that pocket diapers (as the name implies) have a pocket in them that you fill with an insert made of absorbent material. 

You can customize the absorbency of pocket diapers by using more than one insert at a time.  These diapers are also one size diapers as well.  They are more expensive than prefolds and fitted diapers, but less expensive than All-in-Ones.

What Cloth Diapers We Use and Love

Personally, we use and love the one size pocket diapersBumGenius 4.0 are the specific diapers that we have and we have been very happy with them.

Why We Chose Pocket Diapers

  1. They go on and off as easily as a disposable.  I can leave them with grandparents or babysitters and they will have no problems using them.
  2. Their absorbency is customizable.  When our son was a newborn baby, we only used the small inserts that came with the diapers.  Now that he’s older, we use the larger inserts and put two in his overnight diapers to ensure that he stays dry.
  3. They dry quickly.  Since the insert comes out of the diaper in the wash, these diapers dry much quicker than the All-in-Ones which essentially have inserts sewn into them.
  4. They are adjustable in size.  I didn’t want to have to keep buying more and more cloth diapers as our son grew out of the smaller sized ones.  These diapers have fit him since he was around one month old up until the current time (14 months old).  He still has room to grow in them, and they will last him until he is potty trained.

A Closing Word about Cloth Diaper Styles

Each style of cloth diapers have pros and cons to them.  Some are more expensive, but more convenient.  Others are more economical, but a little more “work”.  Some are better at containing messes and leaks than others. 

Ultimately, the style of cloth diapers that you choose is a matter of personal preference.  What works for us may not work for you.  I encourage you to check out each type of diaper and decide what would fit best in your budget and your lifestyle.

Having said all that, I would have no reservations recommending the BumGenius cloth pocket diapers to anyone.  I truly love using them and have been more than pleased with how they are holding up. 

Additional Cloth Diaper Reading and Resources

Be sure to check out Christian Mommy Blogger’s post titled Cloth Diapering: The How (Part 1) and Intentional By Grace’s post My Cloth Diapering Routine for more information about cloth diapering. 

If you are don’t feel like you can make the initial investment needed with cloth diapers, please check out Affording Diapers on a Low Income, written by my friend Erin.  She shares great ideas for getting started without having to spend hundreds of dollars, and it is definitely worth reading!

Do you cloth diaper?  What style of cloth diapers have you used and what is YOUR favorite?

 

This post has been shared at Simple Lives Thursday and Your Green Resource.

10 Reasons I Love My Cloth Diapers

We have been cloth diapering our son for just about six months now.  I will admit that at first I was very intimidated by the idea of using cloth, but I shouldn’t have been!  There really is nothing more to it than using disposables, besides the fact that you have to do an extra load of laundry.  I can handle that!  Especially considering all the benefits that cloth diapers offer.  Today, I would like to share with you the top ten reasons I LOVE my cloth diapers!

1.  Cloth diapers are so much cuter than disposables.

Just look at that diaper!  Could it possibly be more adorable?  Cloth diapers are available in tons of darling colors and styles – I love them!

2.  They go on and off with the ease of a disposable.

When I was first considering cloth diapers, I imagined having to wrap a piece of cloth around my baby until it fit like a diaper and then fastening it in place with safety pins!  Not something I wanted to have to deal with!  But in reality the cloth diapers on the market today go on as easily as a disposable. Very nice!

3.  They grow with my baby.

There are different styles of cloth diapers, but we chose the bumGenius 4.0 One-Size diapers.  They adjust in size to fit small, medium and large sizes (approximately 7-35+ pounds).  We chose this option so that we would just have to make one investment for the entire time our son is in diapers.  Which leads me to point number 4…

4.  Cloth diapers save us a LOT of money!

On average, parents will spend between $3,000 and $4,000 per child for disposable diapers.  We spent just over $400 for 24 cloth diapers.  These diapers get washed twice a week.  It costs approximately $1.25 to wash each load of cloth diapers (this includes detergent, water, and energy.) So, we will end up spending between $260 and $325 on washing the diapers for a grand total of $725 (at the most) to get our child through diapers.  I don’t know about you, but if I have a chance to save over $2,000 I’m going to jump on that opportunity!

5.  They are healthier for baby’s bum!

Disposable diapers are filled with chemicals and gels to absorb odor and moisture. Tolune, xylene, ethylbenzene, styrene, and isopropylbenzene are all chemicals that outgas from disposable diapers. Some babies have allergic reactions and diaper rashes from these substances. Disposable diapers have also been linked to asthma and male infertility.  Another issue is dioxin exposure.  Dioxin (which in various forms has been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, and skin diseases) is a by-product of the bleaching process used in disposable diaper manufacturing, and trace amounts may exist in the diapers themselves.

6.  You will encounter fewer diaper rashes, if any, with cloth diapers.

Cloth diapers keep your baby drier than disposables and allow more air flow, which results in less diaper rash.

7.  The are more comfortable for baby’s bum!

Think about it!  What would you rather wear?  Soft, comfortable, cotton underwear or crinkly, chemically laden, plastic underwear?

8.  Leaking diapers are less of a problem with cloth diapers.

I’ve used both cloth and disposable diapers before and trust me...cloth diapers leak and have blowouts FAR less than disposables.

9.  They don’t fill up landfills.

On average, one baby in disposable diapers will contribute over 1 ton of waste to your local landfill.  These diapers may take up to 500 years to decompose - long after you, your children, and your grandchildren are gone, these diapers will still be sitting in a landfill.  Another concern with diapers in landfills is the fecal matter.   If you read the package of the disposable diapers carefully, the instructions say to flush the poop before throwing away the diaper.   Most people do not practice this, however, which leads to fecal matter sitting in landfills, polluting the water and the air…a major concern.

10.  There is less pollution and waste with cloth.

Disposable diapers generate sixty time more waste and use twenty times more raw materials, like crude oil. Cloth diapers use fewer resources overall  in their manufacture, distribution, use, and disposal.

These are 10 of the reasons that we have chosen and love cloth diapers.  If you have or are going to have a baby, I challenge you to consider cloth!  The benefits far outweigh any disadvantage that you may think you will have.  I know the thought can be overwhelming and intimidating, but give it a try.  I think you may be surprised at how much you love your adorable cloth diapers!

Join us at Heavenly Homemakers for the little Green Project!

This post has been shared with Monday Mania and Top Ten Tuesday.

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