Tuesday, July 1, 2014

All About Cloth!

----UPDATED APRIL 2017----

It's no secret that we love using cloth diapers.  If you're a regular reader here, you know that I spend a'many'a posts detailing our love for the fluffy bum.  However, I have never really outlined our routine, types we use, etc... in detail now that we are 100% in cloth and washing them ourselves.  I figured this post might be useful to others (especially some soon-to-be-mamas and friends who've emailed me about how we use cloth), so I figured I'd get it all down.  I do want to thank my trusty Google Glass for helping me capture some of these "how to" videos.  I'm a visual person, so I figured I'd be as visual as possible in this post.












Whew, okay, where to begin?!  If you've read this post you kinda know the history as to why we started with cloth and how we used a diaper service for Patrick's 1st year of life--which we absolutely loved, by the way.  However, now, we are washing 100% of the kids' dipes (when Patrick was in diapers he didn't wear one when we were with the service--he was in a disposable, which you can read about why he was here)...Patrick is officially potty trained (he does wear a pull-up at night still) and Rosie and Annie are both in cloth!

First off, I should mention that there is a whole 'nother language out there for cloth diapering.  Seriously.  It's crazy.  Before I because fluent in it, I had to google so many of these terms.  If you click here you can see a very detailed list of all of them from Kelly's Closet.  Here's a few "need to know" terms before you entering the cloth world.
  • CD: cloth diapers/cloth diapering
  • DIPES: diapers, specifically cloth diapers
  • DH, DD, DS: darling/dear husband, daughter, son
  • APLIX/HOOK & LOOP: these are fancy terms for velcro, a type of closure on cloth dipes
  • PULstands for polyurethane laminate. PUL is the waterproof material used to make outer shells of many popular brands of diapers and diaper covers
  • AIO: All in one dipe that consists of only one piece
  • AI2: These have a set of snaps where you can attach an insert to, so you can just change the insert OR change the entire diaper, whatever you choose.
  • PPD: postage paid for delivery: term used A LOT when selling dipes
  • EUC/VGUC, GUC, FUC UC: excellent used condition, very good use condition, good used condition, fair used condition ,used condition: term used a lot when selling dipes (or selling anything actually!)
  • B/S/T or BST: Buy, Sell, Trade (usually to describe various groups to buy, sell, and trade diapers online)
  • LN: like new
  • NB: newborn
  • NFS: not for sale
  • OS: one size
  • ISO: in search of
  • FSO: for sale only
  • FSOT: for sale or trade
  • FTO: for trade only
  • HTF: hard to find
  • NIP: new in package
  • SPOSIE: disposable diaper
So I thought I'd kind of walk through each realm of our cloth lives and what we do--I figured I'd try and cover all angles and possible questions people would have who are looking to use cloth or just in general want to know about cloth.  The main thing is, what I'm saying here is just our experience and our suggestions/opinions--cloth is personal.  You have to find what works for you, your lifestyle, and your babe.  So what I write is not "the absolute best way to go" (but it is for us, and might be for you too!), but more so a guide and information as to our cloth lives and routine.  Anyways, here it goes.

What's the difference between the different types of cloth diapers?
There is a major difference between the different types of cloth--and the brands (more on that later)!  But as far as actual types of diapers, there's really 4 different types.  We use a variety of types: we use prefolds held together with a snappi with a wrap/cover over them for Patrick, and a stuffed pocket diaper for Rosie, but at night we tend to use AIOs (All-In-Ones) or pockets.  Here's a handy little chart I snagged from Diaper Jungle to help explain more:

  
All of these options can be stuffed with extra inserts (doublers) to increase absorbency..

How do you change a cloth diaper?
Well, it all depends on what type of cloth diaper you are using!  Referring back to the chart above, the AIOs, Pocket Diapers, and Fitted Diapers you change pretty much the same way, since they have the diaper and insert all together (or you stuff the insert in before you put it in the babe).  Here's a quick little tutorial video of how we change one of these types of dipes:


To change a prefold diaper is a bit different than the above diapers.  It requires an extra step, since the prefold is not actually in or part of the wrap/cover.  Now, some people when using prefolds fold them in half or thirds and simply lay them on top of the wrap/cover like this:


However, what we do is we put the prefold on in the shape of a diaper (I feel like this way gets better coverage for any leaks/messes that may happen) and it is held together with a Snappi (not too long ago this is how babes were diapered (heck, this is how I WAS diapered when I was a tot!), but instead of using a Snappi pins were used.  I feel like a Snappi is way easier and faster.  Then, after the Snappi is put on, you simply put the wrap/cover over the prefold!  The most important part here is that you make sure all of the prefold edges are tucked in (around the waist, legs, back) under the wrap/cover...otherwise when that prefold gets wet, so will anything (clothes!) it touches!  Anyways, here is how we change prefold diaper:


What do you do with #2?
I can honestly say, this was the part that scared me the most when we were going to start washing our own dipes.  With our diaper service, we just tossed everything--poop and all!--in the diaper pail and our diaper service took care of it.  I assumed it would be absolutely awful to have to take care of the poop ourselves.  Boy, how WRONG I WAS!  I actually recently confessed that I love washing our dipes and don't mind at all dealing with the #2s! 

So, what do we actually do when a kid poops?  Easy peasy.  I set the poopy diaper aside, clean the kid up, put a fresh new cloth diaper on their bum, and off they goes!  Meanwhile, it takes me about 30 seconds to take the poopy diaper and diaper pail into the bathroom, dunk the poop out (if it's solid) or spray the poop out in the toilet with our diaper sprayer (which we LOVE and highly recommend...see pic below! it took my hubby about 5 minutes to install it on our toilet!  We have this Bumkins one and love it!) if it doesn't just "fall off" the dipe, toss the dipe in the pail, return it to their room, and wash my hands.  BAM.  Done.  And honestly, it really takes no time at all to take care of #2s (wayyyyy different and better than I thought it would be!).


And, I will mention, that breastfed babies' poo doesn't even need to be rinsed or dunked in the toilet: just toss the whole dipe in the pail and do your wash routine as normal.  EBF (exclusively breastfed) babies' poop is water soluble, so it comes right now in the wash and you don't have to (nor need to!) rinse it beforehand.  However, once babe starts solids and/or formula, then that poo needs to be dunked/washed off, so as not to clog your washing machine.  

Can you use creams or powders with your cloth diapers?
Let me re-emphasize my disclaimer here: this is OUR OPINION.  Some people will say "absolutely NO diaper cream or powder with cloth diapers!"  Others will say the opposite.  Well, I guess we're kinda in the middle ground!  Yes, you can use either of these with your cloth diapers; however, if you do there are pros and cons.  Diaper cream can obviously help diaper rash, but it also is a nightmare to get out of your dipes.  Baby powder keeps babies fresh and dry, but if inhaled it can also cause respiratory problems or could cause urinary tract infections or yeast infections.  The main thing with diaper creams is that you want them to be free of petroleum jelly--if they are, chances are they're cloth safe!  Woo hoo!

Here's the thing: most of the time with cloth you won't need any creams or powders!  That's one of the awesome advantages of using them--they keep the bum super dry!  Therefore, we try and not use anything with the dipes unless we absolutely need to.

Our go-to "cream" is coconut oil...for any type of "rash" or irritation on the diaper area.  This stuff is magic in itself, and it is 100% cloth diaper safe!  Woo hoo!  We actually use this kind of coconut oil for the kiddos and it works really well.  It usually clears up any spot of irritation or redness almost immediately.  There are like a billion other uses for coconut oil as well too--so get googlin' on that if you're interested in what else it can do. 

When Patrick's bum was looking a bit red/irritated, is Caldesene Protecting Powder.  This isn't "baby powder", but more so a medicated powder for diaper rash/other irritations.  It has worked wonders (and almost immediately!) on any redness or diaper rash-esque marks on Patrick's bum.  I always cover his mouth/head with another prefold (he loves that!) when I put it on just to make sure none of the powder gets into his lungs.  This stuff really works wonders.  I don't put it on Rosie or Annie though; powder + girl parts = no way for us.

If the Caldesene doesn't do the trick, we then resort to diaper cream.  Again, not my favorite thing to get off our diapers.  It really leaves kind of a thick residue that doesn't easily come off in the wash.  I've only had to strip a few of our diapers, and I've had to because there was diaper cream build up.  Honestly, IF we have to use diaper cream in the future, we'll probably just use disposables until we don't have to use the cream again because I just hate having to get that build up off of our precious dipes.  Anyways, our go-to cream, thanks to our first (and only, thus far!) doctor's visit is the regular Desitin.  Per our doc (and she was right!), a good glob of Desitin really does clear up any diaper rash--even a super severe one like Patrick had earlier this year.

A suggestion from my cloth lovin' friend Tiff: disposable liners are GREAT options when you need to use cream and don't want to get it on your dipes!  We recommend Applecheeks Disposable Flushable Liners that you put between the babe and the dipe--tinkle still passes through, but the cream doesn't (or #2)--and you can flush them when you're done!  --Also a great option to use when out and about and not wanting to worry about taking care of #2 issues; pop a liner in, if they poop just flush the #2 and liner and you're good to go!  No diaper washing or rinsing when you're out!

We have a few go-to cloth diaper safe creams we love as well: California Baby diaper rash cream is our current favorite and is cloth safe (yay!) and works really well to combat any redness.  We also like the Burt's Bees Diaper Cream and Powder as well, but doesn't work as well as the California Baby one.  Our last go-to is Boudreaux's Butt Paste Diaper Rash Ointment -- the green tube 'natural' one is cloth safe as well.  These are great options for safe cloth diaper creams!  All of them you can get on Amazon or at your local Target/Walmart/Walgreens.

We've tried all different types of diaper cream, but the Desitin really does work the best for us on a diaper rash.  But, with that said, I can count on one hand the diaper rashes the kids have had that have warranted cream (they do get red fairly often but the coconut oil and/or Caldesene usually clears that right up!).  Cloth dipes just seem to keep the babe's bum happy and healthy, without any creams or powders!

What types of diapers do you use?
We use a combination of several different types of diapers!  Like I said before, cloth diapering really is personal, and you need to find what works best for you and your babe.  Some people swear by a certain type/brand of dipe, while others can't stand that brand or type.  We use several different types/brands and we have figured out what works best for us!  My advice though, if you are going to cloth diaper, don't go cheap.  And by this I mean don't skimp on the quality diapers--which will save you money in the long run.  There are $5 cloth diapers out there, and they're $5 for a reason: they're cheap and they don't hold up.  If you want a good, quality, going-to-last-you-a-while dipe, pay for it.  You can usually get a good diaper for $15-$25, depending on the brand.  Yes, that seems like a lot for one diaper, but trust me, it's worth it, and in the long run is going to save you THOUSANDS.  Yes, thousands--and you can resell your diapers when you're done using them too!  Check this out or look below to see what I'm talking about.


Here's a list of the dipes and inserts we have used and why we like them.  Please note: in general, we definitely prefer snaps over velcro or aplix--it just seems to hold up better AND (most importantly) snaps are way harder for little toddler fingers to unsnap!

*I will add: currently (April 2017) we have 2 kiddos in diapers and we pretty much exclusively use Applecheeks...Rosie wears size 3 Applecheeks stuffed with an Applecheeks 3ply bamboo insert, and Annie wears size 1 Applecheeks stuffed with an Applecheeks 2 ply bamboo insert (probably for a couple more months before she'll move up to size 2s with a 3ply insert).

--> Prefolds + Snappi: It's a prefold diaper held together with a Snappi.  Once put on, a diaper wrap/cover (see below for types of these we use) is put over it to keep the wetness/mess in till changing time.



--> Flip Stay Dry Inserts: To pack some of our diapers (either the wraps or pocket dipes) we like the stay dry inserts from Flip.  These are super absorbent and really keep the wetness contained.  It is important that you put the correct side on the babe's skin--one side is made for skin, the other side is made to be away from it (the more fleecy/fuzzy side with the sizes written on it).


--> Applecheeks 2-Ply and 3-Ply Bamboo Inserts: We use these bamboo inserts with our Applecheeks.  These are the diapers that Rosie and Annie both wear almost 100% of the time.  These are hands-down our favorite inserts...so soft and absorbent!


--> Hemp Soaker: Sometimes for overnights or when we're out and about we will toss a hemp soaker insert into the dipe to really absorb any wetness that may occur over night or for longer wear.  These are thin, but they really do the trick in sucking in the wetness away from the babe's skin.


--> Applecheeks: These come in 4 sizes (size 1: 7-20lbs, size 2: 18-35lbs, size 3: 30-60lbs, and OS (7-35lbs)) and come in a variety of colors and prints...and they are our FAVORITE!  Rosie and Annie both are exclusively in Applecheeks!  What we really love about these is that they are snaps (definitely prefer snaps to velcro!--last longer, and when the babe gets older they can't unsnap the snaps as easily as they can take off the velcro!) and that they don't require any extra adjustments to make them bigger/smaller.  Pulling the "wings" up allows you to adjust the fit for a smaller child.  The ruffles are great at keeping in the wet and mess around the back/belly as well as the legs.  The fleece inside keeps the babe dry, and these dipes can be used as a cover (over a prefold or insert) or as a pocket diaper (stuffed with an insert)--you can watch my video here on how to change one of these.  They usually run around $20 for the cover--more if you buy a cover and an insert.


--> Easyfit Tots Bots v4: These come in 1 size (8-35lbs) and can be sized up or down with the snaps on front. Maybe I'm partial to these because they're made in the UK (my favorite place in the world), but these are amazing diapers.  They are big (which is great for my big boy!) and even though most that we have are velcro, it's a different type of aplix (velcro) that really keeps the diaper on and doesn't wear down after use and wash.  They are super absorbent (come with 3 layers of inserts, that can be used stuffed as a pocket diaper or laid flat as an insert).  Plus, the prints and adorable!  These are the dipes we have used at night in the past, because they hold up so well to a lot of wetness/#2s that happen at night and have never leaked for us.  They have great gusset coverage around the legs too.  They usually run around $25 for the diaper, including inserts.


--> Blueberry Coveralls: These come in 1 size (10-40lbs) and can be sized up or down with the snaps on front.  These are a diaper cover/wrap, which is used over an insert or a prefold diaper (this is the dipe I was using in the prefold video above).  These are larger covers, which I really like (for my big long kiddos!) and provide excellent coverage.  The double gusset around the legs is a bonus too--we've never had a leak or mess come out of these!  Plus, they have the most adorable prints.  These usually cost around $19 a piece.


--> BumGenius Freetimes: These come in 1 size (8-35lbs) and can be sized up or down with the snaps on front.  These are an AIO diaper, and have the insert "flaps" built right in.  We use these only at night with a hemp booster/soaker for added coverage.  These aren't my favorite (we only have 2 of them)--I feel like they are really snug on my chunky kids when they hit the 20lb mark baround the waist but don't provide as great of coverage around her legs.  Honestly, we use these only when our Tots Bots are all dirty.  These usually run around $20, but Buy Buy Baby sells them, and you can use a $5 off (or 20% off) coupon on them, so you can usually snag them there for $15 each.



--> Viva La Cloth "Avery": Fit 10lbs + potty training and these are super duper soft minky diapers.  Made by a WAHM over at Viva La Cloth! these dipes do an amazing job of holding up for nap time (when we primarily use them) and keeping the kiddo dry.  They're one of our favorites and fit 38pound Patrick very well before he potty trained (super trim around the waist and legs).  These are super affordable and are only $16 a piece (and a lot of time you can snag them on sale or with a free shipping promo code!)


--> Viva La Cloth "Cadence": Fits 12lbs + potty training, and like the Avery, they are super soft minky FITTED diapers.  A fitted diaper is a thicker diaper without any PUL (waterproof layer) that is meant to be worn overnight (or for long wear) with a cover on over it.  These will hold up for 12+ hours of wear AND keep the babe dry!  They are definitely our go-to diaper for overnights!


--> Flip Covers: These come in 1 size (8-35lbs) and can be sized up or down with the snaps on front.  These are just a cover, so you use them either over a prefold or with an insert (like the Flip inserts I discussed earlier).  These are super stretchy and provide good coverage around a prefold.  They aren't as "big" as the Bluberry dipes are, but they do stretch a lot and fit nice over fitteds.  They have more solid colors than prints, but have a great selection for boys and girls (or neutral colors).  These usually cost around $15 a piece.


--> Thirsties Duo Wraps: These come in 2 sizes (size 1: 6-18lbs, size 2: 18-40lbs) and can be sized up or down with the snaps on front.  These are just the cover, so you use them either over a prefold or with an insert.  These were the original wraps/covers we used when Patrick was born.  They are a good cover, but not our favorite.  We did have some leaks out of these, even with the double gusset around the legs.  We hardly use these kind anymore, as we prefer our Blueberry covers that are bigger/longer.  These usually cost around $13 a piece.


--> Soft Bums Echo & Omni Shells: These come in 1 size (listed to fit all baby sizes!) and can be adjusted with a pull "slide to size" inside the diaper (so no external snaps--which i like).  These are super trim and although they look a bit "small", they actually stretch and fit my big kids very well.  They come in velcro and snaps and super cute prints and colors. These usually cost around $22 a piece, not including inserts.  The Echos are covers and the Omnis can be used as a cover or a pocket to be stuffed.


--> Best Bottoms: These come in 1 size (listed to fit birth to 35 lbs) and can be sized up or down with the snaps on the front.  These are just the cover, so you use them either over a prefold or with an insert.  I love the prints with these, but that's about all.  They are super trim and not very long, so they didn't fit Patrick or Rosie well (probably would be good for a newborn).  They felt more stiff than stretchy to me.  Definitely not our favorite--we don't use them anymore because they don't fit my big kids.  These usually cost around $17 a piece.


--> Rumparooz Diaper Cover: These come in 1 size (6-35lbs) and can be sized up or down with the snaps on the front.  These are just the cover, so you use them either over a prefold or with an insert.  These have great prints and colors.  They are very similar to the Blueberry diaper covers, maybe just a tad smaller.  They fit Patrick and Rosie both very well and provide great coverage.  These usually cost about $16 a piece.


--> Smart Bottoms 3.1: These are one size (8-35+ lbs) and come in adorable prints!  They're an all-in-one diaper with the insert in there already (kinda similar to BumGenius Freetimes) and they run about $19 a piece.  However, as much as I love the prints they are SUPER trim diapers and don't fit my thunder-thighed children very well.  They definitely fit smaller babies OR kiddos who don't have big thighs the best.


--> Grovia O.N.E.: These are one size (10-35 lbs) and are a BEAST.  They're an all-in-one diaper with the insert in there already (and actually have snapable extra inserts you can double up or down on) and they run about $23 a piece.  They are snaps but have an aplix (velcro) strip you can snap over the snaps to make it a hook and loop (velcro) diaper then!  These work really well for holding a LOT of liquid and we used them for overnight diapers for a while.  Plus, they have a collaboration with our favorite clothing brand June & January so that's pretty cool too.


--> Little Butt Diapers: These are one size (8-35+ lbs) handmade by a gal in Illinois (FB page here) and are near impossible to get.  We do have a couple that we've gotten our hands on and we do love them!  They are trim and absorbent and oh-so-cute!  The creator, Hope, custom designs all of them and sells them via various methods in her Facebook B/S/T group.  They range in price from $25 - $200, depending on style and design...and they fit both of my kids very well


How and where do you buy your diapers?
I can literally say I've gotten diapers from all over the world, new and used!  How and where you buy all depends on what you're looking for.  Cloth diapering can be simple and affordable (neigh, even cheap!) to trendy, addicting, and expensive!  There are dedicated users of each brand out there and many will pay top dollar for "retired" or "hard to find" prints/colors/styles -- I just saw a diaper go for $400 (one diaper!!) because it fell into this category.  I've listed below some great places to buy your diapers on...both new and used.  It's a great place to start looking as well even before purchasing!

USED:

  • Cloth Diapers BST on Facebook.  Request to join this group (it's a big one 16,000+ members!) and start browsing.  All sorts of diaper brands in all sorts of lots (big and small) for various prices and conditions.  Buying used is okay to do, just make sure you completely understand the condition of the dipes you're getting!
  • If you find a brand you like, there's probably a BST group JUST for that brand on Facebook!  For example, our favorite brand Applecheeks has their own BST FB group where you can get some great deals.
  • Join your local cloth diaper swap group on Facebook -- this is a great place to ask questions, meet other local cloth diapering mamas, and buy (and sell, if need be!) diapers!!  The nice part about the local ones is you don't have to worry about shipping, you usually meet in person!
  • Craigslist -- great place to find diapers and deals, just make sure, as with all Craiglists transactions, you're being safe about where you're buying from and where you're meeting them
NEW:
  • Hands down, my FAVORITE go-to place to buy new diapers is Lil' Tulips.  This is a brick and mortar store in Minnesota that before it was a storefront was an online retailer.  They are my favorite to order from because of their points system AND they have free shipping over $35.
  • Other online favorite retailers (all with EXCELLENT customer service!): The Baby BumEco Buns, and Calgary Cloth Diaper Depot.
  • Amazon is another great place to get diapers -- they have a ton of them and, if you're a Prime member, a lot of them are Prime available products as well!  
  • Check out where your local cloth diaper store is (for me in STL it's Cotton Babies) and HIT THEM UP!  There usually is one not too far away from most people, and that's a great resource for getting started with cloth diapering as well as a place to browse in person to buy any of your diapers you may want to buy.
What do you do when you're "out"?
Just as you would do with a disposable, you bring extra cloth diapers!  Haha!  It's actually very simple to go "out" with cloth diapers--instead of packing disposables in your diaper bag, you pack cloth!  I just bring an extra few diapers (either stuffed Applecheeks), some wet wipes, and a wet bag (we actually have several of these Applecheeks size 1 storage sacs that fit SO MUCH in them AND keep it contained).  Then, when it's changing time, you change the babe!  But, instead of throwing away the used dipe like you would a disposable, you just put it in your wet bag.  If there's poo in the diaper, you can drop it in the toilet where you're at, or if that's not convenient you can just put the dipe and its contents in your wet bag (which contains the wetness, smell, and anything else!) and dispose of it when you get home.  We usually put down an Applecheeks flushable liner down before we go out and about so if they do poop we just toss the liner and poo off and we're good to go!  It's that easy!

How do you clean the diapers?
I've written in the past about how we wash our dipes...which is pretty much the same thing I'm going to say here, with a few minor updates.  Actually, any washing routine you see posted you should take as a guide or suggestion, not what you should do.  I say this because it seems that everyone has a different routine that works for them, their family, and their washing machine!  Believe it or not, the type of water you have being pumped into your machine can affect how you wash your dipes! (thanks for that tip Tiff!)  So, here's the routine that we do, and by no means am I saying this is the best way, but it works for us!  And, for those wondering, our stash is big enough that we usually only wash every 3 days, so about three times a week or so.  We actually could probably go longer, but each kid's pail gets pretty full by day 3!

1. We do an initial wash on cold with a scoop of regular tide powder.  We then start another load with another scoop of tide powder and as soon as the washing machine fills up (we have a top loader) and oscillates for a couple minutes, we open the lid and let the dipes soak for 12+ hours overnight--one of the perks to having a washing machine JUST for our dipes.

2. In the morning we go close the lid and let that started cycle from the night before run until the rinse...then, just as the rinse is about to happen, we toss in a 1/4th cup of grated Zote and shut the lid and let it finish.  The Zote leaves the diapers feeling AMAZINGLY soft.

3. (Weather permitting) we then take the dipes outside to sit on the drying rack (we have this one from Amazon and it's awesome!!!) in the sun to sun out any stains and bring them back to a lovely white color--usually let them sun for a few hours or so.

4. We then toss the dipes in the dryer--as much as I love sun-dryed items, I hate the stiff feeling they feel like when they come in, hence why we sun them and then put them in the dryer to get soft and finish drying (some of the thicker diapers really don't completely dry in the sun, so the dryer finishes them off).

6. BAM!  Diapers are fluffy, clean, and smelling amazing!

*I do want to note that we rarely have to use bleach with this routine--the long soak really does wonders for the stains and smell!  However, every few months I will do a light bleaching of the dipes just to get the funk and any bacteria out.

How do you get the stains out?
Well, this is something that we've tried different things for, and have many different recommendations!  Kind of like washing the diapers, you try different things and find what works for you.  The easiest and cheapest way is the sun!  The sun works WONDERS on stains (really on any type of clothing--not just diapers!), and you'd be amazed at what an hour in the sun can do to stains--from clothes to diapers!  Simply put the wet (not dripping, like out of the washing machine damp) diaper outside in the sun and wait!  Stains = gone!

We've also had luck with bleach--I'm definitely not anti-bleach, I like bleach and it works well for us getting stains out of our dipes...but we don't use it often at all because the sun usually does the trick for us--even for stink!

Another thing is the Farmer's Stain Stick--this thing works magic.  It seems to get stains out of everything (not just dipes!)--definitely grab one of these whether you're using cloth or not.

What's your organizing routine?
Anyone who knows me knows I'm OCD when it comes to organization, so having a great-works-for-us diapering routine and set-up is essential.  I kind of outlined this in my earlier post, but I figured I'd revisit it anyways again.

We have a changing table/station in both kid's rooms that is our hub for all of cloth stuff.  We keep the diapers (prefolds as well as the AIOs and pocket stuffed diapers) in canvas tubs/drawers on shelves on either of their changing tables.  Our bottom drawer of the changing table in Rosie's room is actually full of disposables, just in case we need them OR a family member is watching her who struggles with cloth.  We have a basket in Annie's room full of sposies as well.  Always good to have a backup for people!

I like to organize our dipes by brand and/or style...so I know that each bin has a particular brand/style in it and they're not all jumbled together while I'm frantically searching for the one I want while trying to also change a wiggling baby.












Immediately next to our changing table is our diaper pail in the kids' room.  When we had our diaper service they gave us a pail and liner bag, so when we stopped we had to get our own!  Our pail is nothing fancy: it's simply a white trashcan (where you can step to open the lid) with a Planet Wise Pail Liner (we actually have 4 of these exact same liners, so when it's wash day I wash the used liner with the dipes and put the clean one in the pail).



In the closet is our wet bags--we have a few larger ones (that we send with the kids and a stash of clean dipes when they goes to grandma or grandpa's house for the day while we're at work) and a few smaller ones.  The smaller ones are the ones we use when we're out and about during the day and need a diaper change.  They hold a few wet/soiled dipes each and keep all of the ickiness and moisture contained.  I will add that these wet bags also work great for wet clothes, swimsuits, dirty laundry, and other things that you want to keep contained!  We always take a wet bag to the pool with us to put our wet suits in when we change.


This set up has worked well for us (even when we had a diaper service) and is easy enough for others to follow if they're watching the and need to change them (yes, you probably noticed my OCD labels on everything--that's mainly for other people to help locate his supplies easily).

How big of a stash do I need?
Oh boy, I'm a bad person to ask!  Haha!  I say this because I am a cloth diaper addict: I'm a complete sucker for a cute diaper, even if we don't need it, I tend to get it!--my hubby HATES this about me!  Haha!  Honestly, we definitely have MORE diapers than we need to cloth any kid(s) we have in diapers, but I feel like a larger stash, like we have, allows us to rotate the dipes more and use each one less frequently, which is good because the diapers last longer that way (and that's good if you ever want to resell them--there's a huge market for used diapers out there! --that's what we plan to do, by the way, when we're done having kids and everyone is out of dipes: sell our stash and make some money!).  I wrote a post here a while back about how many diapers (and which ones!) we actually have.  Check it out if you're interested...here's a pic to tease you with our semi-current (as of January 2015) stash...however I've actually destashed and sold off some of these so it's not this big anymore:


Honestly, since I posted the above pic in January of 2015, our stash has really changed dramatically!  It's gotten bigger in some ways but smaller in others.  We've found the dipes we like that work the best for us and we've gotten rid of (sold, but mostly lent out) the ones that don't.  Below is a snap from January of 2016 of just the size 2 Applecheeks (we've actually added a few more since then!) that we have.  YIKES!   We have a ton!


So, how big of a stash do you need?  It all depends on which type of dipe(s) you are using and how old your kiddo is!  If you're going to do prefolds and wraps/covers (cheapest option!) with a newborn, I'd suggest 10 prefolds per day, with 2 wraps per day (in case one gets wet/soiled).  As the kids get bigger, you need less diapers during the day (When the kids were newborns we used 10+ diapers a day for each of them, when they were 6 months we used 8-10, one year 6-8, and less and less as they get older).  Cotton Babies suggests 24 AIOs or pocket cloth diapers to start with a newborn, which gives you a good start and washing every other day or so.  

It definitely is a lot of trial and error with what types of dipes will work for you and then how many you need--and how often you plan on washing.  So this answer is a bit vague, but you'll thank me in the long run, because really the best way for you to figure out how many you need is to try them and see!  The more you have, the less you will have to wash and the bigger your rotation, which means your diapers will be used less and last longer (but it will cost you more initially because you gotta buy all those dipes!).  However, the less you have the more you will have to wash and more you will use each each dipe, but it'll be cheaper because you'll only be buying a few!

When should I start cloth diapering?
Literally whenever you want to!  We started after about a week or so after Patrick was born (did sposies until his cord fell off), and with Rosie and Annie we started day 5 when we got home from the hospital.  It allllll depends on the size of the kiddo too!  Fortunately my kids have been big, so they fit fine into one size cloth diapers from the get go...other kids are teeny tiny and may need newborn cloth diapers (which usually go from 5-12ish pounds, depending on the brand).

Some people don't want to buy a stash of newborn diapers and would rather their kiddo wait until they fit in the one size (typically 8-35lbs, depending on the kiddo), so they do sposies until.  With Rosie and Annie, we used size 1 Applecheeks (which have fit babies as small as 4lbs!) until about 3 or 4 months old and we went up to size 2s.  With Patrick we used one size covers and prefolds until he was almost a year and those sized down and up as needed as he grew.

You need to decide what's best for you and your family: some people invest in a stash of newborn dipes that their kiddo may only get a few weeks-month use out of, but will have them for their next kid(s).  Others don't want to mess with newborn diapers and just use sposies until they're a big bigger.  Whatever you decide WILL BE the right choice!

What do you do for swimming?
Ahhhh, swimming.  I'm sure I'm going to look back at this post in the winter and long for a pool day and to see Rosie, Annie, and Patrick's cute little tushies in their swim diapers.  Anyways, for swimming, we use a cloth diaper!  Okay, it's not really "cloth", but most cloth diaper companies make a swim diaper (which is basically a reusable diaper for water activities) for babes.  First off, for anyone out there that doesn't do cloth (and doesn't even want to consider it), you should definitely try a cloth swim diaper!  They're like $20, and you can reuse them!  Plus, they take no special maintenance--you simply wash and dry them like you would your swim suit or any other clothes!  Super simple (and they look adorable).  Plus, all swim diapers (yes, the disposable ones included) do is catch any solids that may be expelled by your babe in the pool.  Tinkle just passes right through them.  Anyways, we've used several different swim dipes, but the one we prefer is an Applecheeks Swim Diaper.  These are super trim, true to size (size 1: 7-23lbs, size 2: 18-35lbs), and hold up very well!  Rosie is in a size 1 below (when she was about 3 months old and 16ish pounds) and Patrick is in a size 2 below (when he was 1 year old and around 25ish pounds).



bum shot! & rocking his back birthmarks!

We have used the Bummis brand swim diaper before, and we liked it, but the problem was after a few uses the velcro seemed to break down/not be as sticky since it had been in the water.  So our favorite are definitely Applecheeks!

Join the cloth diapering community!
One of my favorite parts of cloth diapering is the community!  Seriously, I have met so many cloth diapering mamas out there who share my love for a fluffy bum!  There are sooooo many ways for you to join the community, and the easiest is social media!  There are many Facebook groups out there--for both cloth discussions to buying, selling, and trading--for specific brands or cloth in general.  I definitely recommend requesting to join these!  (my favorites are Cotton Babies: the Cloth Diaper Flash Mob and Peace. Love. Applecheeks. --but I'm also in a local cloth group too for STL!)

Another favorite cloth diaper connection I love is on Instagram.  Holy smokes, there are so many cloth lovin' peeps out there!  Just search the hashtags #clothdiapers #fluffybum #peaceloveapplecheeks #makeclothmainstream or hashtag any dipe brand you are looking at and you'll find so many others to connect with!  I've probably made over 100 friends on Instagram just through our love of cloth alone!

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I want to end with this: cloth diapering is amazing, and we love it and is perfect for our family.  However, I know that it's not for everyone--and that's okay!  You have to do whatever works for you and your family.  I am in no way pushing cloth on people--I like sharing my love and affinity for it and how we use it and how it works for us, but that's all I'm doing: sharing.  So please take my words here as simply sharing and informing and nothing else.  Thanks for reading my cloth novel...I hope it has been just that--informative and sharing our love of cloth with you!

1 comment:

  1. This was SUPER informative. I had NO idea there were so many options out there. I was very intimidated at the thought of cloth diapering Cam, but I may have to do some more research and consider it more for future baby #2. Thanks, Alex!

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