Cloth Diapering Update: Yes, We’re Still Going! But I’ve Learned Some Stuff…

Last year, about this time… my husband and I made the decision to cloth diaper our first baby.

The decision was primarily a financial one and since the math showed we could save thousands of dollars by foregoing disposables, it wasn’t hard to commit.

I spent hours browsing the web to figure out what kind of cloth diapers would fit our lifestyle best, stocked up on the necessary goods and waited for baby to arrive.

Ten months after her birth, I’m happy to report we are STILL cloth diapering!

This .gif feels appropriate here.

This .gif feels appropriate here. (Image Credit: MyLittleBrony.com)

I’m gonna take just a second to gloat here for a bit… since several of my co-workers lovingly but insistently told me I’d never keep it going past a few weeks (or months at the most). The fact that we’re still going strong despite our little one gobbling up solids (and expelling them) is so exciting and sometimes, let’s face it, it’s nice to be able to say “I told you so!”

That said, I’ve definitely learned a few things that I’d like to share with all the other moms and dads who might be thinking about cloth. Here we go…

1. Be prepared for double (or even triple) washings

Samsung 3.6 cu. ft. High-Efficiency Front Load Washer in White, ENERGY STAR (Image Credit: HomeDepot.com)

Samsung 3.6 cu. ft. High-Efficiency Front Load Washer in White, ENERGY STAR (Image Credit: HomeDepot.com)

If you have a high-efficiency (front loader) washing machine, expect to do some extra washings of your diapers. If your baby has extra sensitive skin (as ours does) you’ll need to rinse each batch thoroughly to get out all the detergent residue. I’ve tried some of the “specialty” cloth diaper detergents like Rockin’ Green and “stripped” the diapers of build-up at least 2 times. Those moves helped… somewhat… The bottom line though? If you’re using cloth diapers (at least the kind we’re using) they will require some extra TLC beyond the “just toss them in the washing machine with a good detergent and you’ll be fine” fallacy you might hear or read online. Even with all that extra effort…

2. The diapers will probably stain

We're using Charlie Banana one-size diapers like those seen here. (Image Credit: Diapers.com)

We’re using Charlie Banana one-size diapers like those seen here. (Image Credit: Diapers.com)

Especially since baby started solids, we’ve had some discoloration and staining on all of our diapers. We’re using both Charlie Banana one-size pockets with inserts and Bum Genius one-size.

Fortunately, I found a great tip on the web… sun bleaching! I’ve found laying the diapers and the inserts out in the sun for several hours – or all day if possible – whitens them right up. I guess grandma really did know best! :o) Get me a clothes line, stat!

3. Invest in a diaper sprayer

Like this one. Or this one. At first I thought this was a luxury but once baby started solids… well… it’s a MUST have. Ours was easy to hook up to the toilet and instead of all the poopy going in the washing machine… it goes in the toilet (where it belongs.)

4. Cloth on-the-go is hard to pull off

We’ve pretty much abandoned cloth diapering whenever we go out of the house for an extended period of time. Despite buying a portable wet bag and sporting a can-do attitude, one incident involving a baby crying and screaming on the Target changing table while I desperately tried to adjust the “snappies” on her diaper was enough to put me off the whole thing.

5. Puffy diapers make for nice padding on baby’s bottom when they plop down

It’s worth noting that with baby girl getting more mobile and pulling herself up a lot, it’s nice to have an extra cushion when she plops back down again. She seems to enjoy it anyway. :o)

Are you a cloth diapering parent? What did you learn in the early months? Any recommendations for others? Share your comments here!

Ciao,

Michelle

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17 thoughts on “Cloth Diapering Update: Yes, We’re Still Going! But I’ve Learned Some Stuff…

  1. I used cloth diapers and wouldn’t change one thing. I know the throw always are easier but that’s part of being mommy. We do what’s best for our babies and I truly believe the cloth diapers are better.

    • Why are they “better” for the baby? Environment, maybe, but for the baby…why are they better? Because you made the choice and therefore it is better? I am a mother of 2 children and both are well rounded adults now in college. The first is a half semester away from her RN degree and the second just finished his EMT training and is back in school going for his paramedic/fire science degree. I used disposables after trying cloth diapers and it caused my daughter to have a harsh rash that took a doctor to clear. He suggested something that would be dryer against baby’s skin and disposables was the answer. They worked wonderful and no more rash! I get tired of these so called nature mama’s thinking they are better just because they choose different route to take in bringing up their children. Did I nurse my babies? I tried, but could not do it due to lack of enough milk and both children were brought up on bottles. I get it every day, “Oh breast feeding makes a healthier baby”….and insults about how my parenting skills lacked by using a bottle instead of my breast to feed my child. Again, statistics are wrong as both my children are happy and healthy – even though they were raised on a bottle with infant formula. There will always be disagreements in the proper and improper ways to bring up your children, however why can these nature freak parents keep their opinions to themselves? Stop pushing it onto others who are not interested and have experienced just as much success in child rearing as you while using modern methods. I am proud that you managed to scoop poop into the toilet for 10 months of your life and take all the extra time to do the diaper washing, folding and sun bleaching you have managed to do. However, do not criticize those who choose the bagged diapers and less time trying to be the perfect mommy and just love our growing babies!

      • Hi Stacy! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I want to reassure you that my intention isn’t to “push” any one method of parenting or diapering on anyone. My enthusiasm in the post stems from the fact that we’ve been able to succeed in cloth when many people said that wasn’t going to happen. I’m just speaking about my personal experiences here and hopefully offering insights for others who are thinking about the same path. As I mentioned in the post, we are happily using disposables when traveling – although I’m sure some purists would look down on that decision. For the record, I wasn’t able to breastfeed my daughter either although I did pump for her. All the best to you and your family! – Michelle

      • With stains, i have a friend who did it years ago and she kept a diaper pail with bleach water to soak them in…helped with smell and keeping stains down.

      • I don’t see any criticism of disposable diapers or formula feeding. I also don’t see anyone claiming either to make one a perfect mom. We do what’s best for US, and what’s best varies for each family. For me, it’s both cloth and disposable. For some, only cloth. For you, disposables, as like you said, for a rash otherwise. Simple facts for Michelle — that cloth is saving her family money — and a simple fact for others — that breastfeeding is the healthiest (sorry, it is, proven by science…doesn’t mean bottle-fed won’t grow up healthy, but human milk is superior to cow’s as cow milk is made for calves). No one is judging you, but oh my the anger in your post. Make peace with yourself. If your children are so successful and healthy, why so bitter? You did great, mama. Love yourself for it. I’m sure your kids do.

  2. Have you added up the cost of supplies to maintain the diapers? Like extra wash like potable wet bags, sprayer extra detergent, etc. just wondering with all the maintenance if you saved that much? Environmentally I’m sure it’s great!

    • Hi Mom of 3 – Yes, we did add up some of the extra costs initially… although we didn’t factor in the use of disposables when traveling or when she’s sick. So, we probably won’t save as much as we thought. I hope to do a calculation follow-up knowing what I know now. (We also spent a lot more on wipes than expected!) – Michelle

  3. I used cloth diapers 30 years ago with my first child. It was out of necessity! (we were very poor). Diapers have changed a lot since then. I had to fold the large sheets of cotton fabric before even beginning to make them look like a diaper. Then you had to pin them on. I stuck myself A LOT and even stuck that baby once or twice on accident. Velcro has since been invented and they have those neat little cloth diapers that actually look like bloomers now. My how things have changed. And a diaper sprayer??? Wow what I could have done with one of those. To get rid of the poop back then, you stood over the toilet with the diaper down in the toilet bowl water and flushed over and over again while holding a death grip on a clean corner of the diaper so it wouldn’t go down the toilet. Then you stuck the diaper in a pail that had water and pinesol or water and bleach in it so you could stand the smell until you got enough diapers to wash. Again… my how things have changed. Keep up the great work Michelle!!!

    • I remember all of this….We didn’t have a lot of money, we were a young couple (I was 18 and husband was 19). We were just starting out and back in those days (1977) disposable diapers were very expensive! One incident always comes to mind when we talk about diapers…..we had went on a family vacation with my parents and other siblings when we were at a restaurant and I went to the bathroom to change my son’s diaper. He had on a “dirty” so I immediately wrapped it up in a bag and threw it in the garbage. Coming out my husband ask me where the diaper was and I informed him that I had thrown it away. His question “Could you not clean it out in the commode like you do at home?” NASTY! He never ask me again where the diaper was!!! Memories of the “good ole days”! My kids now would NEVER use cloth diapers they think that is just old fashion. I applaud anyone that uses cloth diapers because it is so much better for the babies!

  4. We are so happy to see that you joined the Fluff! You should join our group on Facebook: Cloth Diapering in Huntsville,AL! We are a great community! Keep up the good Fluff!!

  5. I am cloth diapering my 6m old and I love it! I made my own wipes out of plain white flannel from walmart. Just cut to size (8in x 8in) then with a sewing machine run a stitch around each wipe. We keep the wipes dry and wet before use with plain water. I make my own detergent… Equal parts washing soda, baking soda, and borax. Use 1-2tlbs per load. And I also use soap nuts (Google how to use).

    I have a front load HE machine.when I wash I do a rinse and spin cycle with just the diapers, I stop the washer before the spin part because there is no need. I then add my powder mix to the dispenser and the bag of soap nuts to the wash. Wash on the hot/cold setting with extra rinse and then dry as normal.

  6. I’ve been using cloth since my son was 6 months (he’ll be 2 at the end if Feb) and I’m loving it still. And sticking my tongue out at all those that said I’d quit early too. Lol. I just wanted to say that I found Velcro to be best when we’re out and about. My boy is just too squirmy when we’re away from home that snaps just aren’t possible.

  7. So glad that cloth is working out for you. I have been cloth diapering for around 18 months now and I have been surprised how easy it really is. We use pocket diapers and some fitted diapers and for those asking questions on cost; you save a lot because our water bill didn’t change and I do a small to medium load of cloth diapers every other day, we use public brand all free and clear and it lasts for months, then the plus to taking care of your diapers you an resale then and make back some of your costs. We do use disposables from time to time but I believe we have save hundreds of dollars going with cloth and even done cloth wipes in the past to cut down on the disposable wipes.

  8. Thank you for sharing your experience with cloth diapering. Before having my son, this was something I really wanted to do. I only found negative feedback. So, for the first four months we used disposables. Fortunately, I found a couple of women who were using cloth successfully that were willing to share their experience with me. We’ve been going strong for almost 2 years now. I’m expecting our second child and that baby will be in cloth as well. There is a certain learning curve to cloth and it tends to be one you just have to figure out for yourself. Advice from others is very helpful. Wash routine, baby’s skin, diaper bag logistics, and diaper fit all vary from family to family. I certainly do not judge anyone for using disposables. However, I am proud of my family’s decision. I do feel it is best for my children. It is best for their future by not contributing to landfills. It is best for our budget. Most importantly to me, it is best for their health. Disposable diapers contain a great deal of chemicals from the pesticides used on the cotton to the bleach used to whiten them. I do not want to put that on the most sensitive part of my baby’s body. Again, this is in no way a judgment of others. After learning about the chemicals used in disposable diapers, I had a decision to make. I know we did what is right for us. (And the thousand of dollars in savings is just a REAL bonus!) Again, thank you for shedding a positive light on a topic that is not a mainstream parenting decision.

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