Cloth diapering 101. Answering questions about using cloth diapers, sharing our favorite supplies and resources to make the process very simple!
I always knew that I wanted to use cloth diapers for my children. Growing up, my parents used cloth diapers on my siblings and me so I was familiar with the idea of cloth diapering and I wanted to reduce the amount of disposable diapers we contributed to the landfill. This post outlines many of the questions I have received from friends and family about cloth diapering, my favorite cloth diapers, our most trusted cloth diapering supplies, and our favorite cloth diapering resources. At the start, this can seem overwhelming and intimidating but I can assure you that using cloth diapers is extremely simple and cost effective!
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Which diapers to buy?
We use the Bumgenius Freetime all in one cloth diaper. This diaper has pockets for adding extra liners, but it is not necessary to add anything. The Freetime diapers are the most like disposable diapers because everything is attached. You simply snap it on the baby and are good to go! When it’s time to change the diaper, we use a cloth wipe, then wrap the cloth wipe in the dirty diaper (just like you do with a disposable wipe and diaper) and toss it into a diaper pail lined with a cloth liner.
According to the website, the diapers fit babies and toddlers from 8-35 pounds because you can adjust the snaps to make the diapers bigger or smaller.
How many diapers do I buy?
It is recommended to wash the diapers every other day, so in reality you only need enough diapers for 2 days worth of diaper changes. The younger the baby, the more frequent the diaper changes are going to happen. We started using cloth diapers when Marie was 2 months old. We changed Marie’s diaper before each feeding (and still do), and she was eating about 5-7 times a day. So this means we would need about 14 diapers. I recommend buying a couple of extra diapers just in case you have extra diaper changes during the day, or you don’t get to the laundry first thing in the morning one day, life happens, etc.
We bought more than the 14-16 diapers I have listed above and have MORE than enough diapers. Now that we are having a second baby, we are going to use the same stash because of how many cloth diapers I over purchased.
When should I start cloth diapering? And when did we start cloth diapering Marie?
I believe you can technically start cloth diapering whenever you are ready. We chose to start cloth diapering when Marie was 2 months old so that we could get through the big adjustment of taking care of a new baby and I could focus on my recovery. Newborns also have a different kind of poop (meconium) that may stain the diapers. I don’t believe that this alters the function of the diaper, but it’s something to consider.
When to use cloth vs disposable?
You can use cloth diapers 100% all the time if you wish. This is totally personal preference here, but something that helped make this more realistic for my family is knowing that cloth diapering didn’t have to be all or nothing.
Here is when we choose to use cloth diapers and when we choose to use disposable diapers:
Do I cloth diaper at night? And if so, do I add extra liners for absorption?
We currently do not cloth diaper at night. When we were starting our cloth diapering journey, a friend told me she used cloth during the day and disposable at night because she had issues with night time leaking waking her daughter. We also had some leaking issues because we were using the incorrect laundry detergent (see below), so I didn’t want to risk Marie waking up at night.
What kind of laundry detergent to use?
This is very important! Fluff Love University has a laundry detergent index that lists almost every kind laundry detergent, whether or not it is recommended for cloth diapering and why it may not be recommended.
We were initially using Shaklee laundry detergent because I didn’t know about the Fluff Love University resource and our diapers were leaking a lot. I reached out to my doula who used cloth diapers for her two boys and she helped me realize that the coconut fatty acid in the Shaklee laundry detergent was probably the culprit of making our diapers less absorbent, and she recommended Tide Free and Gentle laundry detergent (and stripping the diapers). Since we started using Tide Free and Gentle, we have had zero leaking issues with the diapers.
How do you prevent leaks?
The only time we ever had issues with leaks was when we were using the incorrect laundry detergent. I am a very scheduled person, so we change Marie’s diaper every few hours (when she wakes up from a nap or eats), so this probably helps because we aren’t waiting for a dirty diaper to occur (although whenever we change the diaper there is something in it).
Cloth diapers are extremely absorbent and personally, we have not had to add any extra liners to our Bumgenius Freetime all in one diapers.
Best resources for cloth diapering?
Fluff Love University is my favorite resource!
Cotton Babies is another good resource
What kind of disposable diapers do we use?
We use Andy Pandy disposable diapers because they are bamboo diapers (bamboo is a renewable resource that grows quickly) and they are 86.5% biodegradable. They had amazing reviews (the best I could find of any eco-friendly disposable diaper), and we have loved them ever since we gave them a try!
While using cloth diapers and Andy Pandy disposable diapers, Marie has really never had a diaper rash (she is currently almost 14 months old).
What is our process for using and cleaning cloth diapers?
We have two diaper pails. One labeled for disposable diapers and one labeled for cloth diapers (lined with a cloth liner). When we change Marie’s diaper, we spritz her bottom with a little spray for cloth wipes then wipe her clean with a cloth wipe. If she has a poopy diaper, when she was 100% breastfed we would toss the entire dirty diaper into the diaper pail without any rinsing (it seems weird, but trust me…it all comes out!). Now that she eats food, we either dump the poop into the toilet or spray the poop off the diaper into the toilet, then put the diaper and wipe into the cloth diaper pail.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday we wash the diapers with Tide Free and Gentle detergent using a method according to this chart. When the diapers, wipes and diaper pail liner are clean and dry, they all get folded and put away in the nursery.
Supplies needed for cloth diapering
Why I love cloth diapering
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