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Starting cloth diapering is INTIMIDATING! You need to choose which cloth diaper you'll going to use… Pockets? All in ones (AIO)? Prefolds? Hybrid? And what the heck does any of that mean?! I have two other videos about cloth diapers. How we do an 80/20 method that works for us and how things change when you start solids which is basically just how you need to wash them differently.
I made this video recently to go over everything that I've learned, what I did wrong, and what I wish I knew about cloth diapering when I started!
I promise, once you get your system together its waaaaay easier than you think!
When do you start cloth diaper?
Most cloth diapers can be fitted to an 8 lb baby. We started cloth diapering when she was 3 months old. To be honest, disposables are familiar and cloth diapers were intimidating and it just took us that long. Cloth diapers can usually be adjusted to grow with your baby!
There are infant cloth diapers but to buy an entire lot of those for just a few months didn't seem to make sense for us. However, you can always look around and find them second hand.
We do 80/20 cloth diapering/disposables. We use disposables when we are on the go and it's night.
The cloth diapers we use are called Bumgenius All in Ones. The reason I did AIOs is because it just seemed easiest. You literally take the whole diaper off, put it in the hamper, throw a new one on, and you're done. For wipes, we use reusable wipes when she just goes number 1, but when she goes number 2 we use disposable wipes.
We started with with disposable wipes to keep it easy and then transitioned into cloth diapers when we felt like we had a better handle on some of the other stuff.
We also do started elimination communication around 4 months. (I bought this book which walks you through everything. They also sell tiny potties and tiny trainers. Elimination communication, (or EC as the cool kids call it) is basically potty training us, as parents, to know when our baby has to go to the bathroom. I'm SO incredibly glad we did this. We “catch” anywhere from two to six potties a day and almost all of her poops so we pretty much never have to clean poop out of the cloth diapers anymore. And using EC is really not rocket science. You know when your baby has to poop so it's about learning their cues for this and responding to them. It's great so if you're doing cloth diapering and would rather not clean out the poopy diapers, just try it!
Different options for Cloth Diapering
- All in Ones. Besides the AIOs that we use, there's several other options.
- Prefold. This is a 2 piece diaper, the outer shell and the inner reusable liner. You reuse the shell and replace the liners.
ampers just came out with a hybrid that has a disposable liner. I've used them and actually like them. They're 25% less waste than a traditional disposable so they'll probably be our go-to.
It's perfect for someone who isn't totally sold on cloth diapering (or has a partner who isn't), someone who doesn't have easy access to a washing machine, etc.
- Pocket cloth diapers. People LOVE these diapers! They are easier to clean out #2 because there aren't flaps. I didn't like them because you have to pull the liners out of the pockets and then re stuff them. So because we do Elimination communication I don't have that many poopy diapers so taking extra time to clean poopy diapers seemed better to me than taking the liners out and re stuffing them after. But the clean up really isn't easy on the all in ones.
- Diaper services exist…who knew?! Instead of washing them yourself, you give the cloth diapers to a service and they do it for you. They'll take your dirty diapers and replace with clean diapers.
Things to know about cloth diapering:
- Exclusively breast fed babies: If your baby is exclusively breastfed (no solid food, no formula), the cloth diapers can go directly into the wash because that poop is water soluble. But, once they start on solids or formula it gets a little more complicated. That's when you have to start spraying this off, which I'll get into next…
- Liners – I didn't love liners because I didn't really know when she was going to be pooping vs when she was going to be peeing and I didn't want to be using a liner if she was just going to pee. Some people use the reusable liners so they can just plop the poop in the toilet… but my baby doesn't always make “ploppable poop”
Cleaning the number 2 out of cloth diapers
There are three main methods to cleaning cloth diapers once baby starts solids or formula:
- Spray: This is the sprayer we used with the shield. We now use the utility sink in our basement and I literally use a dish brush (that is only used for diapers and labeled accordingly). It's basically like a diaper bidet. You just spray out the poopy diaper into the toilet.
- “Dunk and swirl” method: When we tell the older generations that we do cloth diapering they're all like “oh yeah the dunk and swirl?!” um no. They literally would dunk the diaper in and swirl it until everything was out of it. We don't do that…we sprayed.
- The “plop” method: Where you plop it into the toilet, flush it, and then clean the diaper. This isn't the method we used, but seems like another good option. Of course assuming the poopy diaper is ploppable
- Wipe: This is what I do a lot now too. When she poops in her diaper I'll wipe out as much as I can and throw it in the toilet. Then I'll bring it downstairs rinse it off in the utility sink with the brush and then it goes in the wash!
Quick Cloth Diaper knowledge:
- Weight to start: Most cloth diapers recommend starting at 8 lbs
- Washing Resource: This website, Fluffloveuniversity.com will literally tell you the best wash depending on your washing machine situation. I learned (MONTHS into using cloth diapers) I'm not using enough soap and that you should never have to use bleach or vinegar (I did both of these things). I so wish I had known this website existed when we first started.
- Buy second hand!! Cloth diapers can be up to $20 a piece and the “magic” number of diapers to have is 24. So that's $480…no thank you! Buying from a friend, FB marketplace, etc. is a much more economical way to do it. And, you can reuse them on the next babe if you have one.
That being said, Google said most people spend $800-$1000 on diapers per year so even if you do spend the $480 you're still saving money.
If you do buy 2nd hand check the elasticity, it's usually the first thing to go. I'm not super crafty, but I've heard it's prety easy to replace!
- Helps with potty training: Babe can feel when they're wet which helps with potty training. A disposable is meant to wick away the moisture so they don't feel it, but cloth diapers aren't like that. So, I'm hoping when babe gets older she'll be like “ew I don't want to feel that” and then will be more into potty training.
- Change them more often (every 2 hrs ish): because cloth diapers don't wick away the moisture as well, this also means you need to change them more frequently to avoid a rash. She got a rash when we first switched to cloth but hasn't since!
Well, I really, really, really hope this inspires you to give cloth diapering a go. Once you figure out your system, it's really not bad and it's totally worth all the benefits.