This page has moved to a new address.

A Simple Guide to Getting Started with Cloth Diapers

----------------------------------------------- Blogger Template Style Name: Rounders 3 Designer: Douglas Bowman URL: Date: 27 Feb 2004 ----------------------------------------------- */ body { background:#123; margin:0; padding:20px 10px; text-align:center; font:x-small/1.5em "Trebuchet MS",Verdana,Arial,Sans-serif; color:#ccc; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } /* Page Structure ----------------------------------------------- */ /* The images which help create rounded corners depend on the following widths and measurements. If you want to change these measurements, the images will also need to change. */ @media all { #content { width:740px; margin:0 auto; text-align:left; } #main { width:485px; float:left; background:#eec url("") no-repeat left bottom; margin:15px 0 0; padding:0 0 10px; color:#333; font-size:97%; line-height:1.5em; } #main2 { float:left; width:100%; background:url("") no-repeat left top; padding:10px 0 0; } #sidebar { width:240px; float:right; margin:15px 0 0; font-size:97%; line-height:1.5em; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; background:#eec; } #main2 { float:none; width:100%; background:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } /* Links ----------------------------------------------- */ a:link { color:#9db; } a:visited { color:#798; } a:hover { color:#fff; } a img { border-width:0; } #main a:link { color:#347; } #main a:visited { color:#666; } #main a:hover { color:#68a } /* Blog Header ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #header { background:#357 url("") no-repeat left bottom; margin:0 0 0; padding:0 0 8px; color:#fff; } #header div { background:url("") no-repeat left top; padding:8px 15px 0; } } @media handheld { #header { background:#357; } #header div { background:none; } } #blog-title { margin:0; padding:10px 30px 5px; font-size:200%; line-height:1.2em; } #blog-title a { text-decoration:none; color:#fff; } #description { margin:0; padding:5px 30px 10px; font-size:94%; line-height:1.5em; color:#abc; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ .date-header { margin:0 28px 0 43px; font-size:85%; line-height:2em; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#586; } .post { margin:.3em 0 25px; padding:0 13px; border:1px dotted #bb9; border-width:1px 0; } .post-title { margin:0; font-size:135%; line-height:1.5em; background:url("") no-repeat 10px .5em; display:block; border:1px dotted #bb9; border-width:0 1px 1px; padding:2px 14px 2px 29px; color:#333; } #main a.title-link, .post-title strong { text-decoration:none; display:block; } #main a.title-link:hover { background-color:#fff; color:#000; } .post-body { border:1px dotted #bb9; border-width:0 1px 1px; border-bottom-color:#eec; padding:10px 14px 1px 29px; } html>body .post-body { border-bottom-width:0; } .post p { margin:0 0 .75em; } { background:#fff; margin:0; padding:2px 14px 2px 29px; border:1px dotted #bb9; border-bottom:1px solid #eee; font-size:100%; line-height:1.5em; color:#666; text-align:right; } html>body { border-bottom-color:transparent; } em { display:block; float:left; text-align:left; font-style:normal; } a.comment-link { /* IE5.0/Win doesn't apply padding to inline elements, so we hide these two declarations from it */ background/* */:/**/url("") no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left:14px; } html>body a.comment-link { /* Respecified, for IE5/Mac's benefit */ background:url("") no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left:14px; } .post img { margin:0 0 5px 0; padding:4px; border:1px solid #586; } blockquote { margin:.75em 0; border:1px dotted #596; border-width:1px 0; padding:5px 15px; } .post blockquote p { margin:.5em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments { margin:-25px 13px 0; border:1px dotted #6a7; border-width:0 1px 1px; padding:20px 0 15px 0; } #comments h4 { margin:0 0 10px; padding:0 14px 2px 29px; border-bottom:1px dotted #6a7; font-size:120%; line-height:1.4em; color:#333; } #comments-block { margin:0 15px 0 9px; } .comment-data { background:url("") no-repeat 2px .3em; margin:.5em 0; padding:0 0 0 20px; color:#666; } .comment-poster { font-weight:bold; } .comment-body { margin:0 0 1.25em; padding:0 0 0 20px; } .comment-body p { margin:0 0 .5em; } .comment-timestamp { margin:0 0 .5em; padding:0 0 .75em 20px; color:#fff; } .comment-timestamp a:link { color:#fff; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #profile-container { background:#586 url("") no-repeat left bottom; margin:0 0 15px; padding:0 0 10px; color:#fff; } #profile-container h2 { background:url("") no-repeat left top; padding:10px 15px .2em; margin:0; border-width:0; font-size:115%; line-height:1.5em; color:#fff; } } @media handheld { #profile-container { background:#586; } #profile-container h2 { background:none; } } .profile-datablock { margin:0 15px .5em; border-top:1px dotted #7a8; padding-top:8px; } .profile-img {display:inline;} .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 10px 5px 0; border:4px solid #bec; } .profile-data strong { display:block; } #profile-container p { margin:0 15px .5em; } #profile-container .profile-textblock { clear:left; } #profile-container a { color:#fff; } .profile-link a { background:url("") no-repeat 0 .1em; padding-left:15px; font-weight:bold; } ul.profile-datablock { list-style-type:none; } /* Sidebar Boxes ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { .box { background:#234 url("") no-repeat left top; margin:0 0 15px; padding:10px 0 0; color:#abc; } .box2 { background:url("") no-repeat left bottom; padding:0 13px 8px; } } @media handheld { .box { background:#234; } .box2 { background:none; } } .sidebar-title { margin:0; padding:0 0 .2em; border-bottom:1px dotted #456; font-size:115%; line-height:1.5em; color:#abc; } .box ul { margin:.5em 0 1.25em; padding:0 0px; list-style:none; } .box ul li { background:url("") no-repeat 2px .25em; margin:0; padding:0 0 3px 16px; margin-bottom:3px; border-bottom:1px dotted #345; line-height:1.4em; } .box p { margin:0 0 .6em; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { clear:both; margin:0; padding:15px 0 0; } @media all { #footer div { background:#357 url("") no-repeat left top; padding:8px 0 0; color:#fff; } #footer div div { background:url("") no-repeat left bottom; padding:0 15px 8px; } } @media handheld { #footer div { background:#357; } #footer div div { background:none; } } #footer hr {display:none;} #footer p {margin:0;} #footer a {color:#fff;} /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { padding:0 15px 0; }

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Simple Guide to Getting Started with Cloth Diapers

The internet is full of information on cloth diapers.  So much information, in fact, that it can be overwhelming and tiresome to sift through it all.

When I was pregnant with Claire, I probably visited every cloth diaper website, blog, and online store in existence (not really, but it felt that way).  And at the end of the day, I was *still* not sure what diapers I wanted to use, how many I needed, etc. - and I had already cloth-diapered Jack for many months!  So basically, thanks to information overload, I ended up being more confused and unsure than when I actually started cloth diapering.

So, what I am going to do here is lay it all out for you in super simple steps (and be brand-specific!) so that you will know exactly what you need to buy and what you need to do to get started.  Once you have some experience, you can venture out a bit and try new things/add new diapers to your stash/make adjustments as you learn what you and your baby's needs are. Or, you can just keep this super simple routine - after about three years of cloth diapering, I have returned to my roots and simplified my routine (and diaper stash) considerably!

OK, let Carrie's Cloth Diapering Lesson for Beginners begin!

What You Need to Get Started

  • Diapers (duh, right?) - you can have as few or as many as you want.  I started with just two cloth diapers, alternating between disposable and cloth for months, while I slowly built up my stash.  If you have any older baby (a few months or more) and want to cloth diaper full-time, you'll need about 18 diapers, at least (I prefer having more so I can go two days between laundry if I want to).  
    • If you don't already have diapers, buy yourself some bumGenius 4.0 one-size pocket diapers (if you're not sure whether or not you're going to like cloth diapers, you can find a few pre-loved ones on eBay or Craigslist to try out - that way, you aren't out a bunch of money and if you don't like them you can likely recoup all of your money when re-selling them).  I have tried many, many diapers and the one brand I know I can safely recommend is bumGenius.  They are easy-to-use and will last forever.  One more note on the diapers - velcro closures are as easy as they come, but snaps will hold up longer (and are still pretty easy to use!).
  • Wetbag, or diaper pail with a liner - This is where you'll store your dirty diapers between washings.  If you only have a few diapers, you only need a smallish wet bag. If you have more diapers and are going longer between washing, you might want a garbage pail with a washable liner instead.
    • If you're going to be cloth-diapering while you're out and about, you'll also want a small wet bag to carry dirty diapers home in.
  • Diaper-safe Detergent - Using regular detergent can damage your diapers (they have dyes and perfumes that can build up on your diapers and cause them to repel, or leak).  I have tried four different cloth diaper detergents and I keep coming back to the bumGenius detergent - it just seems to get my diapers the cleanest.  
  • Cloth wipes - Cloth wipes are super easy to use and can save you lots of money.  You can make your own and use plain old water, or buy some awesome wipes and wipe solution.
    • My favorite brand of wipes is by far Thirsties (seriously, no other brand comes close).  Just like with the diapers, I started small and bought more as I went (I started with 12 wipes - now I probably have close to 40).
    • My favorite wipe solution is water mixed with some Ruby Moon wipe bits (a spray bottle mixed with one wipe bit lasts for a week at least).
If your baby is eating solid foods, and as a result pooping solid poop, you might also want:
  • Diaper liners - These flushable, biodegradable liners sit in the diaper right against baby's bum.  When you change the diaper, you just toss the liner in the toilet.  Every time my baby poops and I have a liner in the diaper, I feel like I WIN (at what, I'm not sure!).
  • Diaper sprayer - When I forget to put a liner in the diaper, I am always grateful for my diaper sprayer.  This certainly isn't a necessity, and does take some practice, but it's awfully nice to have when you need it (for example, when a diaper is covered in extra-nasty poop).
  • Disposable wipes - I know, sacrilege!  But really, I am all about keeping it simple and finding solutions that work.  When I am cleaning sticky baby poop off my baby's bottom, I like to use a disposable wipe or two first - that way I don't have to deal with cleaning poop off of a cloth wipe (because once they start having "real" poop, you're going to need to get it off the diaper before throwing it in the pail!).  Then I squirt her little bum with my wipe solution and use a cloth wipe to finish the job (oh, won't she just *love* to read this kind of stuff when she's in High School??).
This pink bumGenius diaper is almost a year old and in perfect condition!
These Thirsties wipes have wiped a lot of bottoms in the past year+, and they are still in excellent shape (and capable of wiping many more bottoms).

How to Use the Diapers

First thing first: prep your diapers.  "Prepping" diapers just means washing them (and drying them) a few times in diaper-safe detergent before using.  Not only does this get them extra clean, but it also helps build their absorbency (the more you wash you them, the more absorbent they become).  If you bought used diapers, I recommend stripping them first.  You can find information about stripping diapers here.

Once dry, they are ready for baby.

This seems silly, but when I received my first diapers (bumGenius pockets), I looked at them and thought, "OK, now do I use this thing?"  The snaps on the front - and the inserts - totally baffled me!

It's really easy, I promise.  Just snap the "rise" (front snaps) down to fit your baby, or leave unsnapped for a larger baby (see chart here).  If the diaper is snapped to the smallest setting, then you will snap the insert to the smallest setting as well.

Put the insert inside of the pocket (if you have a girl, and the insert is snapped down, put the folded part in the back of the diaper, folded side down - if you have a boy, put the folded part of the insert at the front of the diaper, folded part down).

Snap or velcro onto baby, and ta-da!  Baby is now wearing a cloth diaper.

In this house, a cute cloth diaper often counts as getting dressed. 

The diaper should be changed every 2-3 hours (you'll soon learn if you need to change them sooner or can wait a bit longer).  

If baby poops, and is exclusively breastfed, just remove the diaper and toss it in the diaper pail (whether or not you need to remove the insert will depend on your washing machine - my old machine would agitate the inserts out and I never had to deal with them, the new machine does not so I need to shake the insert out before tossing the diaper into the pail).

If baby poops, and is eating solids, then you'll need to toss the poopy diaper liner in the toilet first (you remembered to put in a liner, right??) or spray it off before putting the diaper in your pail.

For night time, you will want to add an extra insert (or two!).  I actually don't use my "regular" diapers at night - I use a diaper called a Lollidoo - but plenty of people add an insert or two to their bumGenius diapers and use them at night without any problems.

How to Wash Cloth Diapers

Be careful when you google "washing cloth diapers" - the incredible amount of information out there will leave you bewildered and possibly running for the hills (with nary a cloth diaper in sight).

Here is the thing to remember about cloth diapers: it's not rocket science!

My routine is very simple.  I wash the diapers (and pail liner) on cold with two scoops of detergent.  I then wash on hot with two scoops of detergent, and set the machine to do a second rinse (to make sure there is no detergent left on the diapers).  Then, I toss in the dryer (sometimes I hang the covers to dry, and if there are any stains I'll set them in the sun for a couple of hours, but for the most part everything gets dried in the dryer).  

If that doesn't work for you, just tweak your routine until it is working.  

A Few Things to Remember
  • Most "one-size" diapers are advertised as fitting from birth to potty training, but in reality they are probably not going to fit reliably until baby is about ten pounds.  Don't plan on using your one-size diapers for a newborn (unless your newborn is huge, and even then, they still might not fit right for a few weeks).
  • Cloth diapers are supposed to make your life better.  Not harder.   If something's not working, change it.  And certainly don't feel like it has to be "all or nothing" - nothing could be further from the truth!  Just using a few cloth diapers a day (or just cloth diapers on the weekends, even) can add up and save you money over time - not to mention keeping lots of diapers out of the landfills and doing something nice for your baby's bottom, too.  
  • Start small and inexpensive and grow your stash as you figure out what you like - there are a gazillion diapers out there and although most are awesome, some aren't that great (or might be great, but not for your particular baby).  Buy one or two of a new brand and make sure you like them before splurging on a bunch.
  • The products I linked to are favorites of mine, but I was in no way compensated for this post by any of these brands.  I have used these products for several months to several years now and can attest to their high quality!  Also, most products I linked are sold at Kissed by the Moon.  I am a Kissed by the Moon affiliate (click on their link in my sidebar).  I chose Kissed by the Moon to affiliate with because they have free shipping and they ship ridiculously fast - the last two orders I placed with them shipped out the same day (they also have a rewards program, and you can earn free diapers, yay!).
And finally, some more cloth diaper posts by Yours Truly:
  • Here's a little post on how I surprised myself by liking cloth diapers (who would've thunk it!).
  • If you want to see how several different brands of one-size diapers look on a two-month-old baby, read this.  This post also shows what I use for nighttime (and in case you're interested, a post is in the works showing all of these same diapers on the same baby, who is now almost a year old).

Questions?  Did I miss anything?

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home