Cloth Diapers 101
When I started my food blog I never (ever!) imagined that I would write a post about cloth diapers. But I guess that a lot happens over the course of five years and here.we.are. I am, by no means, an expert. I just know what I know. I did a ton of research before Lucy was born and I asked a ton of questions.
At three months pregnant, I shared that we were almost 100% sure that we would use cloth diapers. They are economical, yes, but they are also so much better for the environment and for baby. A lot of people ask us about our diapers, and whether or not they actually save us money. Um, YES. Yes, they do.
Let me start by saying that for the first few weeks we did use disposables. I bought one kind of cloth diaper, a one-size-fits-all, which is more like a one-size-fits-most. They say you can start using these diapers when the baby was 8 pounds. Lucy was 8 pounds, 2 ounces at birth and even though she gained weight quickly, she had chicken legs so the cloth diapers didn’t fit tightly enough right away. Also, we were first time parents. The first few weeks were tough enough without having to worry about diaper laundry. Some of my best advice is to give yourself some wiggle room at the beginning and use the disposables you received at your baby showers. Once you run out, then switch to the cloth. We ended up using disposables until Lucy was about four weeks old and then easily switched over to our cloth.
We exclusively use BumGenius 4.0 diapers (now called 5.0). They are one-size pocket diapers with snaps. You choose different snaps as the baby grows and they are SO easy to use. Side note: BumGenius offers a newborn cloth which works similar to the diapers we purchased. I just chose not to go with these, as mentioned above.
I chose BumGenius diapers because the company started in and is based in St. Louis, and I always prefer to support local when possible. Also, they just kept coming up time and time again, review after review, with tons of praise. They are most-definitely not the cheapest out there. In fact, I think they are some of the most expensive but now having used them for four months, I have no regrets in spending the money. I slowly bought them throughout my pregnancy, some new and some used, and bought several bundles when they went on sale at different online retailers. There are also tons of Facebook groups dedicated to buying/selling/trading BumGenius diapers and I also found a local b/s/t group for cloth diapers. People get a little nuts-o about their cloth, paying extreme amounts of money for limited edition prints, or special release prints. This, to me, goes against the economical reasons to use cloth in the first place. I have a few prints, but I bought them all used. Other than that I have solid colors and now looking back, the minimalist in me wish I would have just bought all white.
Altogether we have about 28 diapers as well as that many large inserts. We also have a ton of the “newborn” inserts which we don’t use anymore for diapering. We actually use them everywhere else in the house. Did you know that microfiber makes absolutely amazing cleaning rags? There are a ton of different types of inserts you can use claiming to be more absorbent or better for baby. We have found that the simple microfiber inserts that come with the diapers work perfectly for us.
A friend of my mom’s made us a ton (like 100) of cloth wipes (similar to these from Joyful Abode) made out of super soft flannel material. They are so amazing! We make a homemade wipes solution with boiled water, a little nourishing oil and some of Lucy’s baby soap. I included the recipe below. We keep it in a spray bottle at her changing table, spray it on the wipes and then the wipes go into our diaper pail, along with the dirty diapers.
We have enough diapers to last us so that we are washing a load of diapers every second or third day. Any longer than that and then they would get stinky anyway. We have this Dekor Diaper Pail from Target, with two liners that we alternate. Those go into the wash also. When we are out and about, we have a couple of different sized wet bags for the dirty diapers (this Skip Hop bag and these Planet Wise bags, one of all three sizes). When we get home we empty the wet bag contents into the pail, and in goes the wet bag also. We do use disposable wipes when we are not at home. The large Planet Wise bag is big enough to hold all of her diapers for a weekend away. The wet bags are waterproof and we never have any problems with smells.
People ask us all the time if we feel like we are spending more on our water bill and electric bill and if it’s balancing out what we are saving by not buying disposables. Our water bill has gone up about $5 in the last couple of months, and our electric bill just went down. So I definitely feel that we are benefiting financially from the use of cloth,
We haven’t had a bit of diaper rash and Lucy looks adorable in her cloth.
Homemade Wipes Solution
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
12 ounces boiled or distilled water
1 Tablespoons baby soap (see note below)
1 Tablespoon nourishing oil like olive oil, melted coconut oil, jojoba oil, etc.
Combine the water, soap and oil and mix well. Allow the mixture to cook then transfer to a spray bottle. Swirl or shake gently before using.
1. The soap is essentially used for fragrance. We use Aveeno Baby, but you can use homemade soap, castille soap, etc, or just leave it out.
2. Some people add essential oils to their solution. I haven't felt the need to do that at this point, because what we are using is working. If you like essential oils, I would think they would be a great addition, or alternative to soap, in the solution, as long as they are kid-friendly.
3. I bought this spray bottle in the travel toiletry section at Target. If you use essential oils, I would suggest a glass bottle.
Fluff Love University – tons of general cloth diaper information including extensive washing details and detergent information
Bum Genius Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Group – I bought several used diapers from this group
The Green Nursery – this site offers great sales and bundle packs for BumGenius diapers