First things first: no judgment here. However you choose to diaper your kid is wonderful! This is just about the route I chose and why it works for us.
I definitely ‘lean towards green’ and have for most of my adult life. If there’s ever a green-alternative option, I jump at it – or at least give it a try. I’m the one that brings my coffee container to Quik-Chek, and my totes to the grocery store. What I’m really trying to work on now (but keep forgetting!) is bringing tupperwear to restaurants (#goals).
I had heard of cloth diapering and so during my pregnancy I just had to dive in. Turns out it’s a whole thing and took hours of research to suss out. Most of my friends and family thought I was nuts and would never follow through, so this one’s for you!
Here are my top reasons for choosing to cloth diaper:
1. The best part of cloth for me: WAY less blow-outs (when your baby poops and it goes outside of their diaper onto their clothing). I know this because I didn’t start cloth diapering until Baby Kisses was 3 months old. I was washing poo out of her clothes twice a day with disposables. IT WAS SUCH A PAIN. With cloth, it rarely happens.
2. To avoid nasty chemicals in disposables (All of the following stats from the amazing Gimme the Good Stuff site):
- “Conventional plastic diapers contain small amounts of dioxin —a byproduct of the bleaching process.”
- “Even if you use the best “natural” disposable diapers, you’re probably familiar with the little gel clumps that sometimes stick to your baby’s skin when you wait too long to change her. Known as SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer), this gel is allegedly non-toxic, but some people worry about it because it was linked to toxic shock syndrome when it was in tampons.”
- “A Greenpeace study found the hormone-disrupting TBT (tributyl tin) in many diaper brands, and exposure to disposable diapers has been linked to various other health problems, including asthma.”
- “While most diapers don’t disclose their ingredients on the package, studies have found them to contain a variety of respiratory irritants, hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and neurotoxins.”
- “There have been reports of chemical burns from Pampers Dry Max diapers.”
3. Way cheaper. Disposables will run you $1000-2000/year x 3 years = $3000-$6000. My entire cloth diapering stash cost $300 and will take Baby Kisses from birth until potty training.
4. WAY less wasteful. “A disposable diaper can take as long as 500 years to decompose. Disposable diapers produce more than 50 times the waste of cloth diapers and use twice as much water and triple the energy.” (Again, from the Gimme the Good Stuff site).
5. Less diaper rash.
6. Possible earlier potty training (18-24 months vs 3-4 years).
After compiling all of the research, it was a no-brainer to me to at least try.
There’s all sorts of ways to cloth diaper these days ranging from the days of yesteryear (using literally a piece of cloth, pinning it around baby and using a waterproof cover over top) to the top-of-the-line cloth diapers called “All-in-Ones” which are as easy as using a disposable because the cloth and cover are attached.
My +pros and -cons of the old-fashioned method (“flats and covers”):
- +one large, single layered piece of fabric = easy to wash, fast to dry
- +many folding options (can customize size)
- +can reuse covers (don’t need to wash after each use)
- +only need 1 size from newborn to toddler
- +versatile – many uses (burp cloth, nursing cover, cleaning cloth)
- -folding can be seen as a pain
And my +pros and -cons for using “All-in-Ones”:
- +super easy – just like disposables
- +some have a pocket to stuff extra diapers in to add absorbency
- -entire thing needs to be washed each time
- -most expensive
- -takes extra washes, rinses, dries
- -drying issues can lead to funk
There are actually even more options out there like “Pocket Diapers”, “All-in-Twos”, and going the wool route. A good site to read about all the different types is here. I ended up going with “flats and covers” mostly because of the expense, and the ease of washing.
My diapers and covers stash (mostly from Amazon!):
- 2 dozen organic cotton diapers
- 3 size one Thirsties Diaper Covers (I tried a bunch of different cover brands and love Thirsties the best. My biggest problems with all the other brands was that they pinched Baby Kisses’ chunky thighs).
- 3 size two Thirsties Diaper Covers
- 1 Flip cover (which I also really like)
- I did not really like this Best Bottom cover, or this Kawaii cover.
- this Bummis newborn cover and this Rumparooz newborn cover
Besides the diapers (flats) and covers, you also need a few other supplies:
- Diaper pins: Snappies are the modern-day diaper pin.
- Wipes: I also decided to use cloth wipes. There are nice organic ones available on Amazon, but I chose to sew my own with this fabric from etsy.
- Diaper Wash: I make my own which is mostly water with a little Dr. Bronner’s and organic olive oil.
- Overnights: I got these soakers (size small and large) and these fleece liners (nice against baby’s skin).
- Diaper Pail Liners: I got two of these liners and use a flip top garbage can similar to this.
- Wet Bags: for diapering on the go, I have a small wet bag for when I’m just out for a few hours, and a few large wet bags like this one for longer trips.
- Detergent: this is where I screwed up royally. Detergent choice is really important and I didn’t know… I just chose a random organic one from Amazon.. big mistake. My diapers weren’t getting clean and Baby Kisses had diaper rash for weeks until I got tipped off to an AMAZING Facebook group called Fluff Love and CD Science. The “Fluff Angels” as I call them helped me deduce my problem (wrong detergent and hard water), and find a solution (the right detergent and using a water softener). This is an AMAZING resource page on detergents. After determining our water was hard, I chose this detergent and it’s been working out great.
If you’re wondering what this all looks like in real life, here’s a short video I made showing my set-up and routine:
- VIDEO: My cloth diapering set-up
And here’s a short video on how I fold my flats:
- VIDEO: How I fold my flats
And that, my friends, is my world of cloth diapering! Part of me thinks it’s absolutely insane, and another part of me thinks it’s incredible. I know it’s not for everyone but it’s what works for us! Even Mr. Kisses gets down with the folding! I’ve become quite passionate about it so please leave any questions or comments below!