Getting Started with Cloth Diapers

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Today’s post comes to you from my friend Laura of Still:Living. She’s a wife, mom, and photographer learning to love simple days, paleo meals, running with a double stroller, and lots of toys on the floor. If this cloth diaper series has prompted you to consider making the switch, read on–she’s a fantastic resource.

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I
‘ve cloth diapered for the last two and half years and had two kiddos in cloth diapers for one of those. Then I potty trained the toddler. Hallelujah!

As with most baby products, these are simply my thoughts and opinions on cloth diapers. You might have different needs, desires, and likes than me but hopefully some of this can be helpful to get you started on your own cloth diaper journey!

Getting Started with Cloth Diapers

How many diapers do I need?

I had two objectives when purchasing our cloth diapers. I wanted ONE-SIZE diapers, which means that they were adjustable from birth (about 8 lbs) to potty training (up to 35 lbs). I also wanted all of our diapers to be SNAP diapers. I’d read too many crazy reviews about gunked up velcro, velcro sticking to things in the wash, etc. to want to mess with it.

So, if you are getting one-size diapers, however many you buy at the outset will last you through your diapering journey. If you’re starting with a newborn (or a baby under three months), I would recommend you have 18-24 pocket or all-in-one diapers to get started (you’ll need less if you’re using covers and prefolds), depending on how often you want to do laundry.

I started off with six covers, 12 prefolds, and 6 pocket diapers and could do laundry every 2-3 days with one child in diapers.

Blue on left: All-in-One (Bum Genius Elemental w/ Snap Closures); Red in center: Flip Cover + prefold (Bum Genius Flip Cover w/ Cotton Babies Indian Cotton Unbleached Prefold); Green on right: Pocket Diaper (Bum Genius 4.0 Pocket Snap Closures)

Blue on left: All-in-One (Bum Genius Elemental w/ Snap Closures); Red in center: Flip Cover + prefold (Bum Genius Flip Cover w/ Cotton Babies Indian Cotton Unbleached Prefold); Green on right: Pocket Diaper (Bum Genius 4.0 Pocket Snap Closures)

If you’re going the sized diaper route, you’ll still need 18-24 many for a newborn, but you’ll need to purchase more when they outgrow the small sized diapers. You’ll need less for the next stage, and even less for a toddler.

I have definitely not tried every diaper out there and I have friends who highly recommend diapers that I haven’t tried. What I recommend is just what has worked for us the best within our budget.

Looking to save money?

I’d HIGHLY recommend trying covers and prefolds. They are not quite as convenient as some other options, but you can get prefolds for as cheap as $2 a pop. Covers can be aired out to dry in between wet diapers and therefore can be used multiple times before washing. You only need 8-12 covers and 18-24 prefolds to get started.

Flip Cover + Prefold: Bum Genius Flip Cover Snap Closures w/ Cotton Babies Indian Cotton Unbleached Prefold

Flip Cover + Prefold: Bum Genius Flip Cover Snap Closures w/ Cotton Babies Indian Cotton Unbleached Prefold

Want the easiest cloth diapers possible?

I’d suggest looking into an all-in-one (AIO) diaper. An AIO is basically the same thing as a disposable, only you wash it instead of throwing it away. The diaper cover and inserts are all sewn together so you grab one and put it on the baby. There’s no folding, no stuffing, no work in preparation to use it. I ALWAYS take AIOs with me in the diaper bag to ease diaper changes when we’re out and about.

All in One: Bum Genius Elemental Snap Closures (the new version)

All in One: Bum Genius Elemental Snap Closures (the new version)

What supplies do I need to cloth diaper?

  • Cloth Diapers
  • Pail Liner (or two):: I have used the Tiny Tush Pail Liner as well as the Wahmies Pail Liner and both worked great.
  • Trash Can :: We bought this 13.5 gallon trash can with lid at Target and it’s still working great after 2.5 years.
  • A Wet Bag (or two) :: I’ve loved the Bummis wetbags for carrying a wet/dirty cloth diaper when we’re out and about. Bummis also has great customer service and replaced one of my bags when the handle broke.
  • Diaper Sprayer :: You won’t need this right away, especially if you are breastfeeding. Breastfed poop is water soluble  so you can just throw any dirty diapers straight into the washing machine.  Later on though, a diaper sprayer comes in handy for taking care of those messy, toddler diapers. We’ve liked the Bum Genius Diaper Sprayer, although I’ve also heard you can buy similar products at Home Depot for cheaper.
  • Diaper Liners (optional) :: If you’d rather not deal with a diaper sprayer, you can use flushable diaper liners. I used them for a little while, but found that I never put them in at the “right time.” I felt it more cost effective to spend my money on a diaper sprayer rather than continually buying liners, although they are very convenient for traveling.  I’ve used the Bio-Soft Liners by Bummis and liked them.
  • Diaper-safe laundry detergent :: I’ve liked Rockin’ Green or Country Save. You don’t want to use your regular laundry detergent, as you’ll get build up on your diapers and they will smell– make sure you use a diaper-safe detergent.

A Few Last Tips to Get You Started

  1. Find a way to see different types of cloth diapers in person. It’s much less confusing to see diapers in person than just read about them online.
  2. Choose one type of cloth diaper and stick with it. Opinions will vary greatly on this, but I got tired of sorting different inserts, folding different types of diapers, reaching into the drawer for a diaper and only seeing my LEAST favorite diaper left, etc. I wish I would have just bought all covers and prefolds and called it a simple day!
  3. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Jump in and you’ll get in a cloth diaper rhythm in no time!

Ready to get started? Check out these helpful links:

CottonBabies – I’ve ordered most of our diapers straight from CottonBabies. They have Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, and periodic sales throughout the year so be sure to look for a good deal!

All About Cloth Diapers – Find reviews, frequently asked questions (and answers), and more information than you could ever need on cloth diapering.

A Note from Jenn: I found all of Laura’s “last tips” to be so true! While I was overwhelmed at first, once I jumped in it just became part of our routine. And, like anything else parenting-related, it really helps to have support; I’ve found other cloth diapering friends to be great resources.

This entry was posted in Intentional Living on by .

About Jenn

Jenn is the mommy of two small children + one obese cat and wife to The Hubs. She enjoys making pretty things out of random bits, filling her home with guests, and elevenses. She is not afraid to lead a one-woman crusade against the rampant misuse of the apostrophe.

  • Catherine

    Really enjoyed this post! Just a note on the diaper sprayer – we went the Home Depot route expecting it to be significantly cheaper, but it saved only about $15-20. It’s also known there as a bidet sprayer attachment. They give you funny looks when you ask for a diaper sprayer… :). I also looooove cotton babies – we’ve taken advantage of their buy 5 get 1 free deals in the past.

    • http://thestillers.blogpost.com Laura Stiller

      Catherine –
      Yes, I finally just broke down and bought the real “diaper sprayer” as I had heard similar things about Home Depot sprayers not being that much more cost effective in the long run. But, really, so long as you have something to spray with, it’s all good in the end!

      I LOVE those buy 5 get 1 free deal (they’re having one now I believe on 4.0s!) – keep your eyes open on Black Friday/Cyber Monday – I got Flip covers on Cotton Babies for HALF OFF!