This post is about our experience with cloth diapering. If you have no interest in reading about this, here’s a link to Runner’s World or you can check out the things we like & stuff we use on Amazon.
This post was written when Rowan was 7 months old (and never published because #momlife) and updated at 9 months old.
We are 9 months in to our diapering journey and made it a solid 7 months of exclusively cloth diapering. Honestly, it’s much easier than I imagined. There’s a learning curve, but once you’re doing it I think it’s just as simple and convenient as using disposables – with a ton of benefits. I feel like “cloth diaper” is an older term that makes you think of a bulky white towel with pins to hold it in place. It’s come a long way and now better fits the term “reusable diaper”.
We chose to cloth diaper for several reasons:
- We wanted to avoid the toxic chemicals commonly found in disposables
- We wanted to reduce our waste in the landfills
- We wanted to save money
When you first get started, the amount of information is so overwhelming. I just wanted someone to tell me what to buy and do and I’d do it. Hopefully sharing what I learned and bought will be that for you – or at least a starting point.
There are several types of reusable diapers, and this is a list of popular styles and the ones we considered:
- All-in-one (waterproof outer layer and sewn-in absorbent layer) This style is most like a disposable in the sense that you grab it, put it on, and instead of throwing it away, you waste to reuse.
- Pocket diapers (waterproof outer layer with pocket to insert absorbent pads) This style is similar to All-in-one with how you use it, but there is an added step of inserting an absorbent pad into the pocket before use.
- Shell (waterproof shell) This is most similar to the original way to cloth diaper. You place an absorbent layer inside the waterproof shell.
What we use:
We chose the Pocket Diaper style. Why? After washing, they dry much faster than the All-in-one because the absorbent layer is not sewn in and they are less expensive. Also, the pocket holds the absorbent pad in place much better than just the shell.
We also use cloth wipes. At first I was using disposables Water Wipes (and still use these) but using cloth wipes makes the storing and washing much as it’s one less thing to sort and toss when changing a diaper. (And one less thing that ends up in a landfill). How do we get them wet? I use a Peri bottle like what they give you at the hospital and just keep water in it. There are a ton of homemade solutions you can find on Pinterest, but water works perfectly (and it’s free and easy).
At first, cloth diapering seemed extremely expensive, and it can be if you buy the popular name brands that run $16-$20 per diaper. We found a few really great websites that sell less expensive but still great quality diapers for around $5-$6 each. Thefluffypenguincompany.com is my favorite but I’ve also shopped happybeehinds.com.
If you choose the Pocket Diaper style, you have to buy an absorbent insert for the pocket. I found a super cheap hack that costs $1 per insert – a folded up flour sack towel that you can find at Target or Walmart. If you search for this on Pinterest or youtube, you’ll find a ton of ways to fold it.. I mainly use Charcoal Bamboo Inserts because no folding is required, they have really good absorbency, and they lay flat in the pocket.
How many diapers should you buy?
This is a tough one. I have 25 pocket diapers. When Rowan was younger and wet them more freuqnetly, I was washing diapers every other day. Now that she’s a bit older, I can go 2-3 days between washes. So the size of your diaper stash really depends on how often you want to do Diaper laundry, and how frequently you’re changing diapers.
In total, I’ve spent around $400 for diapers, inserts, accessories. This also includes things I’ve bought but don’t use often (trial and error when finding out what I like and what works for us). I ran some numbers and based on the disposable diapers we would buy, I’d spend $400 in 6 months. So with Rowan at 9 months old, we’ve broken even. And if we continue to cloth diaper, that’s all we’ll ever spend. AND can reuse them for future kiddos.
How to wash them:
Fluffloveuniversity.com has a great resource for washing diapers. You can look up your exact washer and exact detergent and they’ll give you a whole routine. I follow the routine loosely. We use Seventh Generation Power Plus detergent and I wash the diapers once which removes the “dirtiness” of them and then twice which cleans them. Once the “dirtiness” changes as they begin solids, you’ll need to spray it off into the toilet. I have these two gadgets to help with that. You may think this is gross and such a hassle, but if you read the instructions on a package of disposables, you’re supposed to empty the contents of the diaper into the toilet also before throwing away.
How to store dirty diapers:
We have a small trash can from Target and a waterproof, reusable liner.
When we’re on-the-go, we carry this reusable wetbag.
We do use disposables at nighttime and when we are traveling. We were experiencing leaks at night with our cloth diaper and decided to just use disposable. We also use disposables while traveling for more than 3 days and if we don’t have access to a washer/dryer. While traveling, we use doggy poo bags to discard the diaper in.
Like I mentioned, we made it several solid months of using cloth diapers to the point of breaking even financially. After traveling around the holidays, we got in the habit of using disposables. Rowan is also eating a lot more solids so her “dirty” diapers are much more time-consuming to clean. Honestly, there is no reason we shouldn’t still be using cloth diapers and I do on occasion. But it’s kind of like getting out of a habit and trying to start it up again. Maybe this blog post will motivate me. I approached cloth diapering as al all-or-nothing mentality, but there is nothing wrong with mixing it up finding what works for you.
This post may have been information overload for you, and I’ve definitely been there. If you want to cloth diaper, it’s absolutely doable and you will get it figured out. Sometimes it takes just ordering a few things and learning as you go. But also remember to cut yourself some slack and it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.