Cloth diapers are THE way to go if you want to reduce waste and keep diapers out of our landfills. Regular diapers never degrade so we choose to cloth diaper. It may not be feasible for every family but it's not as hard as you may think.
Is it hard to do?
NO! The diapering process is just as easy as disposable diapers. The “hard” thing is that you have to do laundry more often. You can't fall behind on this because the diapers will start to smell after a few days. Another “hard” thing is that travel becomes more difficult. I've only gone on overnight trips wihile cloth diapering and I do think that travelling on a several day trip would be quite a hassle. However, if I were to travel while cloth diapering, I would have to be in a place with a washing machine and I’d likely have to bring my entire stash with me. You could use eco-friendly disposables while traveling if you couldn’t bring along your cloth diapers. Eco-friendly options do exist, they're just a bit pricey compared to cloth.
Is it financially better?
Absolutely! I was gifted almost all of my cloth diaper supplies. I only bought $30 worth of supplies total. I know this isn’t going to be the case for everyone but overall it is way cheaper. You will be buying disposable diapers constantly. With cloth, you may spend a little more up front, but you’ll be able to use them for multiple children. Disposables are very expensive over time. Some people justify their decision to use disposables because they think their water/electricity bill will be way higher. Not true! My bill is barely higher - only about $10 higher. When you’re spending $50+ a month on disposables, that $10 extra on your bill is a way better deal. You can get 6 cloth diapers on Amazon for $40. At less than $7 a diaper for a diaper that can be reused over and over again, I think it's obvious that this is cheaper. I know that there have been diaper shortages over the last couple of years, so being able to use cloth takes away any stress that may occur from not being able to find diapers.
Why do you do it?
Disposable diapers never degrade. We live an eco-friendly, low-waste life so that’s why we cloth diaper. Also, your baby likely won’t get a rash with cloth diapering. Disposables are supposedly more absorbent which means your baby is sitting in their pee for longer. That moisture is what causes diaper rashes. With cloth diapers, you’ll change their diaper sooner and your baby likely won’t get a diaper rash. Alice never really got diaper rashes at all!
SUPPLIES YOU NEED
I’m listing the amount I have of each item. You can decide for yourself if you need more or less! Keep in mind that I do laundry every day, so you may want more of some items if you don’t want to do laundry that often. I’ve linked the products for you so you know exactly what to buy!
- diaper covers (12)
- diaper inserts (24)
- prefolds (24)
- snappis (10)
- I use wash cloths and old t-shirts
- wet bags (2 large, 1 travel size)
- 1 at each diaper station, I have 2 stations
- Mix castile soap, witch hazel, and water in a small spray bottle
- I just have one, near my laundry room. You could attach bidets to all of your toilets depending on your needs. This is an optional item though!
HOW TO PUT ON A CLOTH DIAPER
There are 3 methods I know of. After any method, you need to put the soiled diaper into a wet bag. At the end of the day, take all of your wet bags to the washer and wash them. You can keep reusing the cover until it gets wet (unless you use Method #1).
Method #1 – Inserts
Put an insert inside the pocket of your diaper cover and attach around baby (take the insert out when it’s soiled so that it is easier to put in the laundry later). You cannot reuse any part of the diaper when using this method. We preferred this method once Alice became bigger and more mobile.
Method #2 – Prefolds
Fold the prefold in thirds (hot dog style) and set inside diaper cover. Attach cover around baby. Reuse cover if not soiled.
Method #3 – Wrap Around
Lay a prefold flat and lay an insert on top. Fold the prefold underneath the insert and wrap around baby. Attach with a snappi. Cover this with a diaper cover and attach around baby. Reuse cover if not soiled. This method doesn't work very well when baby gets bigger because the snappi becomes too tight.
HOW TO WASH
Put soiled diapers, wipes, and wet bags (and soiled clothes, if you want) into the washing machine with laundry detergent. Just use the same amount you would with any full load. Then dry it all. If you want to get your inserts and prefolds completely white. once a month, put all white diapering items in the washing machine with about 1/4 cup of bleach. Wash this again with detergent to get the smell of bleach out. Dry all of this.
This is totally dependent on your child and your family dynamic, but many cloth diapering parents find that they're able to potty train their child earlier than parents who use disposables. When your child gets older, the quantity of pee increases and the cloth diaper can only hold so much liquid. So your kid will get wet faster.
I learned about Elimination Communication just before Alice turned 1 and I loosely started employing those techniques to begin potty training around her first birthday. I started a bit late for this method (you're supposed to start when the baby is born), but Alice was able to use the toilet by 18 months. I didn't (and still don't) consider her to be fully potty trained at that time because she still wore a diaper at night. She didn't stop wearing a diaper at night until she was 2 but I also nursed her overnight until then. If she had been night-weaned earlier, she likely wouldn't have needed that nighttime diaper. Like I said, every child is different and not every parent will have the time to train their child early, but I do think the cloth diapers helped us out with this!
I hope that was helpful! Please do not hesitate to ask me anything about cloth diapers! I think it is so worth it and I would be more than happy to help you figure out how to do it!