I often find myself talking about cloth diapering, and getting asked about cloth diapers. So, if you’ve asked me “What about these cloth diapers, Bailey” and this is probably my sweet and condensed list of things I’ll tell you, my cloth diaper tips to get you started. Let this soak in, think about it, and come back to me with some specifics because I could ramble for DAYS. Reminder: This is just to get you started and thinking.
Chances are if you know me in real life and ask me this question, I’m going to send you this link.
My Cloth Diaper Background: Research. Research. Research.
I’m that person who spends an ENTIRE weekend reading blogger reviews, website reviews and watching YouTube videos before committing to an Umbrella Stroller.
So, when it comes to cloth diapers, I spent most of my ENTIRE first pregnancy deeply engrossed in the world of cloth diapers. I’ve read most of the blogs, most of the forums, and actively read a ton of reviews. I kind of assume everyone else does this too, but I get it, busy mom life doesn’t leave much time for research(but really, what else is there to do when you’re nap trapped, or breastfeeding on ends, or just hiding in the bathroom for 10 minutes)
My Top 6 Tips about Cloth Diapers
- There is no one-size fits all solution.
The world cloth diapers is a broad spectrum of choices. There are many different types of cloth diapers that come in all sorts of budgets, needs, and sizes. When thinking about getting started, it’s not just as easy as picking up a lot on the buy & sell and rolling with it. You could, but if you get frustrated in 4-6 weeks, because its not working for you, i told you so.
- Diversity is key.
Try a little of everything (within your budget of course). Each brand fits each baby differently and each baby needs different types of absorbency. Try a cover and prefold/flat, try a pocket diaper, and you should try an all-in-one, if budget allows. Try prefolds, flats, and different types of inserts.If trying a little of everything seems daunting and overwhelming, remain open minded to the different options as the child grows and changes.My stash is a little of everything because different diapers are suitable for different needs: fitted diapers at night, covers and prefolds during the day, all-in-ones out and about, and pockets when I’m preparing for a poop (much easier to spray). We also find different brands work at different times. I’m hesitant to destash all of one brand that doesn’t fit because perhaps that’ll change, or they’ll fit my next baby.
- The Buy & Sell is your friend.
I know you’re anxious about buying used diapers. There can be stigma, and concern, and risk associated with buying used diapers. It’s honestly, the best place to get started because of access to good condition quality diapers for less than retail. Its less of an investment, and perhaps less of a risk. however, shopping at your local cloth diaper retailer does give you unprecedented access to amazing customer service. Here’s the quick and dirty low down. The two big things I am most concerned with is PUL & elastic.
- PUL condition is the most critical in my opinion (the first diapers I ever bought off the BST had cracked PUL and were not water proof. Complete garbage. But I didn’t know). It should look and feel relatively smooth and silky (sometimes it does get a rough feeling depending on the brand), and should not have cracks or bubbles (delamination).
- Elastics should still feel springy, but early stages of relaxing is typical with used diapers (and often easy to work around or replace). I’m currently working on replacing elastics in a stash of GroVia shells I scored for a decent price for my next baby. Elastics wear with bleach, incorrect storage, and age. Anything with good/poor elastics should be at least 50-75% off of the original retail value.
- Stay away from non-compliant cheap diapers – aka “China Cheapie”.
I am huge advocate of compliant ethical cloth diapers. I have ALWAYS supported local, and cloth diapering is no exception. When purchasing from local retailers, and North American based brands you are making an invaluable choice to our economy, and to the ethical and legitimate production of diapers. Please continue to do so. I don’t need to rewrite what is already an awesome article.
- Avoid Microfibre & Charcoal Bamboo
Natural fibres, while more expensive, are amazing. One of my biggest mistakes was buying microfibre. Natural fibres are just better, and we are seeing major brands support this as they start providing standard natural fibre inserts with their pocket diaper. Over and over again, I see microfibre diapers leaking (from either compression leaks or maxed out absorbency) and microfibre diapers being extraordinarily bulky on wee babes. Toddlers will often max out microfibre in a matter of minutes, and hanging out in a car seat for any length of time will just ask for disaster. Look at buying a stash of quality cotton or bamboo prefolds for stuffing your diapers. They will hold up to mostly anything, super versatile and don’t feel scratchy on the hands. Or consider the awesome power of Flats. And then… charcoal bamboo. My biggest reason for to avoid charcoal bamboo products is the reality that they are more often than not just overpriced, coloured, microfibre pretending to be an awesome natural product. Skip it. If you read closely, most of the time it says 2 layers (top and bottom) of bamboo (typically a synthetic rayon version) with 2-3 layers of microfibre. It’s not worth it; its not actually an upgrade from microfibre.
- Dont stress about washing.
If you can wash clothes, you can wash diapers. Its really straight forward.Continue to use whatever detergent currently in the laundry room (provided it doesn’t have added fabric softeners). Dump non-EBF poop (thats where it belongs anyways), do one short wash cycle with a little detergent (to rinse out the remaining urine and feces), followed by one LONG AND HOT wash with a full recommended amount of detergent for a heavily soiled load (this cycle should have a quick rinse option to get out any lingering soap). And then throw it in the dryer and put it away. and honestly, I seldom fold my diapers… I just grab from the pile. Tho a little late night diaper laundry with your favourite show, and a glass of wine is oddly therapeutic.If problems arise, reach out and we can trouble shoot, but its pretty simple.I love Tide. I now use Tide for EVERYTHING because it truly gets my clothes cleaner, and my white’s brighter (#not an ad, I promise). I never realized the value of a good strong main stream detergent, but poop be damned, I’d rather clean diapers than eco-friendly detergent.It’s not a science, its just basic laundry. At some point a poop-explosion will happen anyways, and poopy dirty clothes will have to be washed. We all tackle the project, might as well get really good at it, and save a few loads of garbage from the landfill.