Cloth Diapering Basics

3 years ago

 I get a lot of questions about cloth diapering, and it's been awhile since I've talked about it. 

A friend of mine used cloth with her son, and 2008 was the first time I was introduced to the practice through her. Before that I thought of it as an ancient necessity. When I became pregnant with Anna at the end of 2009, I started looking into it. Because we moved unexpectedly from New Jersey to Florida while I was pregnant, and it cost a small fortune to get into a townhome in Boca Raton, I was hesitant to spend a large sum of money on anything, let alone something I was unfamiliar with. One day, while the Sailor was deployed and I was 7 months pregnant, I emailed and said "I think we need to do this". He was on board from the get go as long as I was going to commit.

I used this website to get started - Although I haven't been back since, it was a great experience. We bought a full pack of Rumparooz, which through my research seemed to be the best...and unfortunately some of the most expensive. It cost a little over $400 for a reasonable collection that would have me doing diaper laundry every 2nd or 3rd day. I believe I bought 21-24 diapers, and they were great. I put them on Anna when she was 6 weeks old, and stopped diapering around 1 yr. I buy "one-size" diapers that are adjustable. I don't know why you wouldn't, to be honest. If you have to buy new cloth diapers every few months as baby grows, it defeats the purpose right? She could've worn them longer, but I got lazy. Margo will wear cloth until potty training.





It's a shell with snaps all over it so that you can adjust the size. It's not complicated once you've studied the instructions and done it a few times. You insert a "soaker", which is just an absorbent liner, through a pocket at the end of the diaper, and when it's soiled you pull the soaker out and throw both into a Rubbermaid trash can with a lid. I've always kept mine in our laundry room. I line it with a scented garbage bag for easy clean up and to mask the smell, which has really never been a problem.

Once I've gone through most of my stash, I throw the diapers and liners in the wash and do a light cycle of hot water. Add Tide detergent without bleach and do another light cycle on cold. Then a rinse cycle. Then I hang them on a drying rack for a few hours. It's easier than regular laundry, trust me. If you're curious, when baby is older and there's larger "poo" in the diaper, I just scrape that into the potty before putting the diaper in the Rubbermaid.


With Margo I had to buy new diapers, because once in awhile I'd throw Anna's diapers in the dryer to speed up the process, and eventually they lost elasticity. Thanks to my friend Nicolette, I tried Charlie Banana.


Charlie Banana 



They're almost identical to Rumparooz. I LOVE that I can buy them at Target whenever I want, and I love that they're less expensive. This time I only bought one pack of six with a bonus diaper: 7 diapers for $110. I do diaper laundry every evening, but I use a disposable diaper for bedtime anyway, and by morning they're dry.


Here's the bottom line:

  • it's more laundry, but it's easy laundry. 
  • it's better for baby's tush. I still use disposable at night, but they're full of chemicals and that's pretty gross.
  • you can't use diaper ointment with them, so if there is a rash, you switch to disposables until it clears
  • it saves you money; noticeable money depending on your finances. We did the math and estimated saving about $1,800 the first year we cloth diapered.
  • I've heard it's good for the environment. Added bonus in my book, not a decision maker. 


We had to pull from savings to buy our first large pack of cloth diapers for Anna because of the timing of it, so I know money being tight is sometimes an obstacle, especially if you have to buy everything else for baby yourself, but think about long term. Aside from saving money, if you know you'll have another baby in the reasonably near future, you can continue using these diapers. As long as you take care of them, they'll last! They come in "boy" colors, "girl" colors, and solid white. You can also buy a single diaper through Target or most other cloth retailers in case you just want to try it out. One diaper will cost you about $24. There's nothing cuter than a fluffy butt!

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