Check out Part 1.
The big question with cloth is what do you do with poop? Let me start by saying I have a fear of toilets. Go ahead and laugh but I have since childhood. Clearly I would not be able to handle dunking a diaper in swirling, scary toilet water because of this. Some people do but they do not have issues like me, obviously. :) The great news is at the beginning, if your child is only breastfeeding, you don’t have to do anything. Seriously. Breastmilk just dissolves away. It’s totally fantastic. Once you start solids, or if you are using formula, it still isn’t a big deal. We use liners. Liners are sort of like toilet paper, but stronger and wider (depending on the brand you buy). You just stick them in baby’s diaper and, if they are soiled, dump it in the toilet and flush. Easy. Even a toilet-phobic girl like me can do that. If your liners have only been peed on, you can just stick them in the diaper pail with everything else. Once again, easy. You can actually wash them. Depending on the brand, they can last a good 2, 3, maybe 6 times of use. Seriously. My favorite part of all this is that the waste goes where it belongs: either in the laundry water down the drain or in the toilet with the rest of the sewage. It’s not sitting in my garbage can or in a dump somewhere.
So now that the big poop question is out of the way, you are probably wondering where in the world (and how) I store the soiled diapers. We have a plain old, standard step-on trash can with a lid. No need for expensive, specialty trash cans because, remember, your waste is not sitting in their (except for breastmilk poop, which isn’t all that smelly anyway). I bought 2 pail liners with drawstrings that fit right into the can. The type I purchased were from Nurtured Family but I don’t remember the brand. Basically these pail liners have a waterproof inner so nothing leaks. I bought 2 so while one is in the wash, the other can be used. So, with pocket diapers, you change your sweet baby, and take your soiled diaper to the can, take the inserts out and throw everything in the can. (You don’t have to touch the inserts generally. Just sort of shake them out into the can, then drop the rest of the diaper. With the bumGenius you may have to touch the flap that covers the opening but this is generally not soiled, so no big deal.)
What about going out of the house? Cloth diapering on the go is no problem. Just purchase a couple of wet bags (so if one is in the wash, you still have one) and a wipes case and your set. Really. The only issue is that the pocket diapers are bulkier than disposables. Because I always over-prepare, I usually always have a couple disposables in the diaper bag for emergencies and take 1 or 2 cloth with me. I also have an emergency stash of disposable wipes tucked away but bring 5 wetted cloth ones. It’s pretty rare that I’ve needed my disposable stash though, like I can probably count on one hand maybe, that rare. Anyway, I received my wet bags as gifts so I didn’t buy them but there are tons of places to buy these. And there are tons of super cute and fun designs out there for them, too. A wet bag is just a mini version of the pail liner. It has a waterproof inner and a zipper to keep smells in the bag. As far as soiled diapers, if you are somewhere with a toilet, that’s obvious but if not, I keep some scented bags in my diaper bag and put the soiled liner in the bag and flush it when I can. When you get home, make sure to put your cloth wipes away (or just keep dry wipes in your diaper bag and never have to worry about it.) Leaving wet wipes in your bag too long will make them mildewy. In the beginning I just kept dry ones in my bag with a bottle of water and wet them that way. When you get home, just dump the contents of your wet bag and the wet bag itself in the pail liner.
Now we are too laundering your diapers. There are a lot of different ways people do that but I’ll just tell you what has worked well for us. I started out using Allens Naturally, which we were happy with, and now use Rockin’ Green (also happy with.) Whatever you decide to use, make sure it is cloth diaper friendly. You can’t just buy whatever at the grocery store. We wash every other day. I think leaving them to sit much longer than that is probably not a good idea personally. We have a little over 20 diapers (started out with 20) and that has worked well. I did wash every morning for awhile just because I wanted to but switched to every other day at some point. I should also say I have a top loader so these instructions would be different for a front loader. So I take my pail liner and dump everything into the washer, along with the bag. Then I run a full cold cycle. (Even if your diapers don’t look like they need the full amount of water, they do- the more water, the better.) Then I take a very small amount of detergent (I forget the exact measurement but I have the cup that came with my Allen’s Naturally and it has a line in the middle and I do half up to that line…it’s not much) for my second wash, which is a hot wash. After the hot wash, I do a cold rinse. (My washer has a cold rinse cycle, but for times when I’m using someone else’s washer without this feature I just turn the dial over to the rinse part if that makes sense.) Then it’s time to dry. You technically can dry everything but I prefer to only dry my inserts. The liners and covers I air dry on a drying rack. I found if I didn’t dry my inserts they would get hard and weird and take forever to air dry so I just dry them on low. I also dry my wipes and bags as well.
Around 5 months, we switched to a different system for night time. We hadn’t had any leaking issues until around then. I asked some cloth diapering friends their recommendations, and they unanimously agreed that I should use prefolds with covers for night time. Wool was mentioned as well but, I’ll admit, the care of wool intimidated me so I didn’t go that route. I bought some prefolds and Thirsties duo-wrap covers (these are two-size covers) and, when paired with one of my smaller FuzziBunz inserts, no more leaks! And there’s no need for diaper pins to get the prefold on. I use Snappis! (I’ve posted a review on the Thirsties covers you can check out.)
A great resource with lots of videos can be found at Mothering. This goes into all the different cloth diaper types that I didn’t go into.
Here is my list of supplies needed for cloth diapering with estimated costs. If you’re local, I will soon be doing a Local Focus post on the Natural Baby store where you can buy all of this stuff so be on the lookout for that.
- 20-30 one size pocket diapers – $15-$25 each
- Baby Bits wipe solution – $10
- 40-60 Cloth Wipes – $9-$15 for a set of 10-15
- 2 Pail Liners – $20 each
- 2 Wet Bags – $10 each
- Laundry Detergent – $13-$18 a bag/box
- Flushable Liners (only if your baby is not breastfed and/or is eating solids) – $8-$12 for 100-200
I think this covers everything! Please feel free to comment with questions or, if you cloth diaper, share how you use yours!