While I was pregnant with Eleanor (even before then actually) I did a lot of research on baby essentials. Despite what the baby industry will make you think, babies need very little: milk and diapers are the two most basic necessities. We’ll discuss baby feeding in a separate post. As for the diapers, I knew they were expensive and that the cost would add up. It’s something we’d work into the budget of course but I hated the thought of spending so much on something that gets worn for a bit and then thrown into the garbage. It’s so much waste. Multiply that by multiple kids and woof! It’s so much waste. We love that we’ll pretty much make a one time purchase and be able to use these diapers for all of our children. Another reason a lot of people use cloth diapers is to go the more “natural” route with the materials they’re putting on their baby. Honestly, the cost and waste factor was enough for me to look into cloth diapering so that’s what started this whole journey.
One of the reasons I originally didn’t want to cloth diaper is because of the dumb assumption that it’s the “hippie” thing to do. Even typing that sounds idiotic. Then I realized how much money we could save and thought, “Who cares if I’m a hippie?!!! Are “those people” going to be paying for the plethora of diapers we have to buy? Nope. They aren’t. By the way, it’s not the hippie thing to do. It’s just financially smart and am improvement for the environment, that’s all.
Another thing holding me back was the gross factor. It can be gross, don’t get me wrong. But I figured that we’d get used to it and that it would be worth the money saved and reduction of waste. Spoiler alert: I was right.
One thing I want to say before moving on because I think this can be another assumption mama’s make before deciding to do this – this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing decision. Don’t let the avid cloth diapering mama’s out there fool you. Do what is best for your sanity and your baby and you will be okay!
Stephen and I talked about it and agreed that we’d try out cloth diapering. However, as a first time mom, I knew things would be tough enough out of the gate to add on the pressure of perfecting cloth diapering so we decided that we would start with disposable diapers first. We think that was great decision for us. We put one box of 198 newborn size diapers on our registry. On average, newborns go through 10-12 diapers a day so that’s 12 days at best. We ended up going through one more box of 80 before we switched to cloth.
After about three weeks once we had established our bearings and Ellie didn’t need as many diaper changes per day, we switched to these newborn pocket cloth diapers. We ordered these because we realized that our collection of Baby Genius cloth diapers that we purchased while I was pregnant were too big for her newborn bum (she was 7 lb 7 oz when she was born). These work up to about 12 pounds. We bought 4 sets, totaling 24. It is recommended to have about 30 in your stash. 24 worked for us for the newborn size. Before purchasing cloth diapers, I recommend looking on Facebook Marketplace to buy used if you can! Sounds crazy/gross, I know. I’ll talk more about this below!
There are many different types of cloth diapers and inserts to use with them. We went with the pocket diaper option because we wanted to have the ability to switch out the insert if needed. For these newborn diapers, we were able to just use the microfiber inserts that they came with until she grew out of them. The first few weeks she was fine with just one insert. Then she experienced a couple of leaky diapers so we added a second (the diapers come with two each) until she outgrew the newborn size diapers.
Putting on a cloth diaper is different than putting on a disposable. We used this video to learn how to put it on correctly. The key is the butt tuck!!!
If your baby is experiencing leaks, there are a few things that I’d look into: the fit of the diaper, the frequency of diaper changes, and the inserts. We saw the most improvement when we adjusted the fit and the frequency of changes. The only adjustment we made with the inserts when she was in the newborn size was going from one insert to two towards the end. Now that she’s out of newborn diapers, we will probably try out different insert materials if she experiences leakage issues (if the fit and frequency are great)!
This is something that I think can be considered “controversial” in the cloth diapering world. Oh my lanta people can get WORKED UP over this. Granted, I’ve learned through my Instagram stories that people can get worked up about coffee creamer too. Hey, people are passionate about their coffee, I suppose! With all of that said, this is just what we do. This is not the holy grail wash routine or detergent. I am a human and a mama and ultimately I’m just trying to do my best and make decisions for my family and baby that I think are best and share with fellow mamas that are doing their best too. Like I said, this is what we do! But don’t hesitate to go out and do your own research to decide what to do for your wash routine. Helpful resources for that are linked below.
I researched a lot to find a detergent that would be effective at washing diapers that was ‘more natural’ since we have worked really hard to remove potential endocrine disrupting chemicals” from our home. When it comes to detergents for cloth diapers, powder is the preferred type because liquid detergents are made up of mostly water and are therefore not as effective at removing soil. There are certainly great powder options out there that are ‘more natural’ but I haven’t tried them yet because what we’ve been doing is working great for us. Originally we tried out this laundry detergent from Target because I didn’t think we’d be able to use our usual Thieves laundry soap on them based on what I was reading on cloth diaper washing and posts in the Facebook groups. The Target option of detergent worked alright on the diapers but I decided to try out the Thieves out of curiosity. It blew my mind at how well it worked. We’ve been using that ever since. All of that to say – this is what works for us and I feel best using on our family and baby. Do your own research and experimentation and do what is best for your crew!
From time to time there will be stains on the diapers that the wash isn’t getting out (no matter what detergent you use). Stick the diaper/insert outside in the sun and it’ll disappear like magic!
Every diaper change we remove the insert from the cover and place both in this wet bag that we keep on the door handle. It does not smell if you keep the bag zipped! Since she is breastfed and breastmilk is water soluble, we do not rinse them in the tub or toilet before washing them. If your baby is not breastfed, you will need to rinse off poopy diapers in the toilet or tub. There are a bunch of different methods for this in the Facebook groups I share below and on YouTube if you look up “cloth diaper wash routine”. We’ll use this bidet that I’ve shared before to rinse them off in the toilet once she starts eating solids. Don’t get me wrong, all of this sounds really gross and it is but it doesn’t even phase us anymore.
If we are not at home and she needs a diaper change, we carry clean cloth diapers in one section of one of these bags and when we change it we put the dirty diaper in the other section of the bag. Super simple!
Strip your diapers especially if they are used! We did this even on our brand new diapers by using this laundry treatment, designed specifically for cloth diapers. You can do it in the bathtub or in your washer. The purpose of this is to remove urine and minerals build up.
Once our clean diaper supply is down to about 5, we run a load of diapers. Wash frequency will depend on how often your baby needs a diaper change and the number of diapers in your stash. Here’s how we wash them:
I hope this post is helpful to you. If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll do my best to get them answered for you! Stay well, friends.
I sincerely appreciate you all shopping through my affiliate links like the ones included in this post. I make a small commission when you purchase through these links at no extra cost to you. These funds help support my family and allow for us to produce better content for you all. I can’t thank you enough for supporting all that we do!