Before you read this post, watch this video (or expand under the video and read the contents). It’s why you should cloth diaper – personal reasons, environmental and chemicals. VERY interesting (especially if you have a boy)!
This was written when Louis was 3 months old, updated when he was 5 months old, so our experience is limited but I believe starting out is the hardest part.
I’m going to try to keep this simple by listing what we purchased, a review, suggestions, how to use and wash.
Cloth Diaper Terminology:
One Size (OS): You might see a diaper with a ton of snaps on it. These diapers are designed to fit your baby until they are out of diapers. We have a couple of these diapers (pocket style) but prefer not to go this route simply because I can’t imagine using the diapers again on baby #2 if baby #1 wore them for 3 years. Although, many people love them.
Prefolds & Diaper Covers: Prefolds are the flat diaper that you will fold and insert into a diaper cover. It will look like this. The prefolds/covers will come in different sizes so you will have to buy larger diapers as the child grows. This is our preferred method of cloth diapering and the cheapest.
Cost: $33 for 1 dozen organic prefold diapers
Cost: $12 – $14 for one diaper cover
Pocket Diapers: The diaper cover has a pocket in which you will stuff the specialized insert (similar to the prefold) inside. The pocket has a fold-over top, so it forms a sort of envelope that keeps the moisture on the inserts away from baby’s skin. We have two of these diapers and while it’s not our preference, there are advantages over the prefold method (reviewed later).
Cost: $17 – $20 for one diaper, insert included
All in One Diapers (AIO): If I was to compare one particular diaper to disposable, it’s the all in one. There is no separate diaper/cover like the ones previously mentioned. If budget is not important to you, 24 of these is easily the way to go. Also, if you have two in diapers this option would be nice because they could wear the same size because these are one size (OS).
Cost: $24 – $30 per diaper, no diapers/inserts necessary
I read that you should buy a couple options to try before spending a lot of money on one particular brand – I’m really glad we did this!
If I created “starter kit” of different cloth diapers (with a preference toward the prefold option), here is what I would suggest:
- 2 dozen Cloth-eez® Organic Prefold Diapers (size small yellow edge): 24 diaper inserts is enough for about two days. Size small should last until your baby reaches 18lbs. Cost: $33 per dozen (x2 = $66)
- 2 Bummis Super Brite Diaper Cover (8-16bs): After 3 months, this cover is wearing well and hasn’t leaked out his legs. I like this diaper cover because it has a moisture repelling layer on the inside (PUL) which helps moisture from coming out the cover and on to his onsie. Cost: $12.09 (x2 = $24.18)
- 2 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap Cloth Diaper Cover: Small (8.5-15 lbs): After 3 months, this cover is wearing well and hasn’t leaked out his legs. This cover does not have that moisture repelling layer (no PUL), but it’s a bit thicker which is nice. Cost $11.75 (x2 = $23.50)
- 1 Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap Diaper Cover (size one) Since I noticed some wear and tear on a couple of my Velcro diaper covers, I thought I would try the snap versions. I really like this cover, have noticed it holds up the best, but we like how easy the Velcro is to fasten. I believe snaps would last for more than two kids. Cost: $13.75
- 1 Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Cover (size one): The only reason I’m suggesting this one is because it got such good reviews on Amazon. It did not hold up well for us at all, but the snap version of the same diaper is our favorite. We will use them until he’s 18lbs, but they will not be passed down to our next child. I wonder if our hard water is to blame for the fact it’s a lot more worn than our other covers. Cost $12.75
- 2 BumGenius One-Size Cloth Diaper 4.0 – Snap: I’ve already said that I like prefolds, but this is our preferred night option, good for sensitive babies or people who don’t change diapers as often as they should. :) The microfiber wicks away the moisture from your baby’s bottom which is not the case with regular prefolds. I had problems with leaking around month 3 but I believe it’s because it is one size and my baby’s legs might not have been big enough to fill in the holes. Nevertheless, I think it’s worth trying because SO many people like it and it’s the easiest to use for baby sitters, etc. Cost: $17.95
7 covers & 24 prefold diapers works for almost 2 days, although we typically wash every day.
Total Cost for diapers from 8 – 16 lbs: $158
(Since we’ll have to size up, I’m assuimg I’ll spend around $300 total)
Cloth Wipes: We love cloth wipes probably more than the cloth diapers. They are thick, durable and we rarely need more than one for a big poop. I made up a little routine for our cloth wipes after some trial and error.
As of month 4, we nixed the diaper warmer because we suspect Louis might have gotten a yeast infection from it. Now, we fill a small bowl of water & a squirt of Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion Concentrate (love that stuff!) and just dip our cloth wipes in the “solution” when we need it. Simple!
I purchased 20 BabyKicks wipes and received 6 wipes for free when I purchased my prefolds from Green Mountain. Some people will cut up old towels, old tshirts or use old wash cloths.
Other Cloth Diaper Accessories
3 Wet Bags (2 Large, 1 Medium): You’ll need a place to those dirty diapers, so I suggest 3 different wet bags. One will always be in the wash with the dirty diapers, so you’ll need a backup. The third one (medium) will go in your diaper bag. I’ve tried a couple brands and highly suggest spending the extra money for Planet Wise because it’s lined and keeps the smell out (for now anyway).
Charlie’s Soap: You can’t use a detergent that is sudsy because it will leave residue on the diapers which will end up making your diapers smell like ammonium (which you’ve pretty much ruined them after that). If you buy the 35 pound bucket it’s only 13 cents per load. We also use the Charlie’s hardwater treatment.
Thirsties Hemp Inserts: We use these extra inserts during the nighttime, but you could use them anytime (long car rides, feeling lazy, etc).
Diaper Sprayer: We haven’t had to use this much yet, but I’m really, really glad I had it after I gave birth. If you are pregnant and have no idea why this would be useful, then someone needs to bring you up to speed about all the fun in your near future.
– You can use the diaper covers over and over until a big poop sticks to the cover or it becomes damp (if this is the case, I set the cover aside, wait until it drys and use them again). That’s why you only need 6-7 covers for 24 prefold diapers.
– You have to wash the prefold diapers 5 or 6 times to increase their absorbency.
– Don’t use traditional diaper rash creams with cloth diapers. People will use Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Calendula Cream or CJs BUTTer. We use Extra Virgin Coconut Oil after baths and maybe if he’s red in spots. We’ve had a rash problem maybe once or twice.
– Washing diapers is what everyone worries about. Here is a “how to” site. We rinse with cold, wash with warm and rinse again. Once a week we do a full load of just water after the wash to ensure all the detergent is out of the diaper.
– They say you don’t have to rinse off breastmilk poopy diapers, but we do a quick rinse in the utility sink before we throw them in the wash.
– You have to change the diaper every 90 mins – 2 hours. They get wet pretty quick because they don’t have all those chemicals to hold the pee like disposables.
– Sometimes the diaper covers stain. After another wash or two, it comes out pretty well. Considering I’ve had to throw away onises for staining, I’m surprised the diapers don’t stain more.
– Cloth diapers do not fit as well in pants and onesies will be tighter, quicker. I’m a big fan of Baby Gap’s thermal pants because they stretch and are easy to get off of that big diaper butt!
– You are supposed to ‘strip’ your diapers if they start to stink. Here is a funny, but true, post of when you should strip. Here is another post about how to strip your diapers. I used a 1.5 teaspoon’s of liquid dish soap, rinsed 3 times with water and on the 4th “rinse” I added 3/4 cup of white vinegar. My diapers weren’t stinky, the only reason I did it is because he grew out of that size and I was packing them up.
– Toasty Baby in Fishers holds Cloth Diapering 101 classes where you can touch and feel the different types of diapers. Classes are free and held on Saturdays and Wednesdays. They are also a retail store where you can buy diapers and accessories (like soap, etc.).
– Changing Times Diaper Service (the only diaper service in Indy) has a deal where if you sign up for 3 months of diaper service, they’ll loan you Newborn Size Bummi covers. This is a great way to get started without the financial commitment of purchasing anything other than the monthly service.
– Jillian’s Drawers has a Changing Diapers, Changing Minds Program where you can try a wide variety of cloth options (AIO’s, OS, prefolds, fitteds, Snappi, pocket, etc.) for $10. Another good low financial commitment option for figuring out what you like before plunking down the money for a huge stash.
What I bought that I didn’t need/like:
1 dozen Cloth-eez® Organic Prefold Diapers (size newborn orange edge): I ended up not using the newborn cloth diapers because he was already too big after birth. We used disposable for the first couple weeks when the belly button was healing. I also have two covers so now that I know what I’m doing, I will try to use them for baby #2.
2 Thirsties Duo Wrap: These covers did not hold up well. I’m not sure if it’s our hard water or the Velcro sticking to the cloth sides during the wash, but they are pilling all over the sizes and holding stains (unlike the others). The Velcro will also come undone while Louie is wearing them (not often though). We will use them until he’s 16/18lbs, but they will not be passed down to our next child. I would read the reviews though to get a second opinion.
Snappi Fastener – We folded the diapers with the fasteners a couple times, but they weren’t as absorbent so we stopped.
Reference Pages & Helpful Blog Posts:
- Easy way to try cloth?
- I’ve read this site at least 20 times trying to figure all this out (and purchased many items from them too):
- I really wish I would have used YouTube as a resource when first starting out. This is a video about prefold diapers (what we use). I watched it when Louis was 4 months and still learned stuff! There are 7 videos if you’re really trying to figure it all out.
- Cost of cloth vs. disposable diapers.
- Podcast of cloth diaper how to’s and FAQs.
- Recently found this site & wish I would have known about it earlier.
- Example of another mama’s cloth diaper solution
- Step-by-step Diaper Change
- The Low Down on Cloth Diapers
- Cloth Diaper Repair (and you can see how velcro wears)
- My friend who uses cloth diapers
- Review of Fuzzibunz
- Another cloth diaper review from a BSU grad
- One of my first exposures to cloth diapers
- Another normal mom who uses cloth
- Cloth diaper washing tips