There are many good reasons to use cloth diapers over disposable ones. However, it may be intimidating at first because it honestly isn’t as simple as using disposable ones. With disposables, you just put it on and throw it out afterward. These 7 easy steps will give you a start to cloth diapering, and you’ll never want to go back!
Using cloth diapers have better long term effects than disposables. It’s good for the baby because it’s more natural and doesn’t contain chemicals. It’s good for the budget because it’s reusable. Lastly, it’s good for the environment. Whether you are switching or still preparing for your baby, here are some steps for starting to cloth diaper.
1. Test it out first
A lot of parents make the mistake of buying many of one kind before testing it out. Maybe it was too cute to resist, on sale, or very cheap. If you’re lucky, it will work well for your baby, and you didn’t waste any fortune on any cloth diapers that you won’t use. However, it could easily go the other way. You might find that it will leak or it doesn’t fit well.
There are four different kinds of cloth diapers: pre-fold, pocket, fitted and all-in-ones. We suggest that you first try out some different options. Find out what cloth diaper works best for your baby and you, and then you can build up your stash.
Prefold Cloth Diapers
These are the old school types of diaper cloths. Prefolds are rectangular cloths that you have to fold to a certain shape to fit snugly on your baby. After fastening them onto your baby, you can use a diaper cover for more style.
Pros: Cost effective, fast drying, and versatile.
Cons: Folding and assembling take time and you have to put a separate cover.
This type consists of a waterproof outer layer and an absorbent inner layer. The inner layer has a pocket opening, where you can insert absorbents. This feature allows you to adjust absorbency by using more or fewer inserts.
Pros: It dries fast and you can adjust absorbency.
Cons: Requires stuffing and unstuffing, which can be gross.
All-in-one Diapers (AIO)
All-in-ones are convenient and perfect if you want to use it straight out of the dryer. It has a waterproof outer layer and an absorbent inner layer. All you need to do is put it on and fasten it on your baby. It’s fairly easy so dads can’t really complain about it. They’re perfect if you’re going to leave your baby with a babysitter, your grandparents or even day care centers.
Pros: Easy and convenient like a disposable diaper.
Con: It takes more time to dry because all the pieces are sewn together.
Fitted diapers are layers of absorbent material but they do not have a layer of waterproofing outside. It’s shape is much like an all-in-one, and like a pocket type, you can attach absorbent layers.
Pros: This is the most absorbent type of cloth diaper.
Cons: It requires a separate outer waterproof cover.
2. Familiarize yourself with the care routine
Most cloth diapers are safe to wash in washing machines. Some are safe to dry in dryers. Take note of the manufacturer’s care label for any special instructions to maintain its quality.
Remember to wash as often and not to keep them dirty for long. Avoid bacteria and staining by washing them sooner than later.
3. Start part-time
It isn’t an all or nothing decision. Even some families who use cloth since the beginning, still find that it’s sometimes a part-time commitment. That’s totally fine.
If you are transitioning to cloth or starting with cloth, it’s okay to go slow. Have some disposables in case you can’t catch up with the routine. You can begin with only cloth on some weekdays, then build that up as you also grow your stash.
4. Consider using flushable liners and diaper sprays.
Flushable liners make using cloth easier because the poop can easily be removed and flushed down the toilet. Diaper sprayers, which are mini power washers, also make pre-cleaning easier. These two things are usually what make dads hop on board with cloth diapers.
5. Decide on your dirty diaper storage
Before washing your dirty diapers, you can store them in either a wet pail or a dry pail. Which one to choose is a matter of preference. Some mothers prefer a wet pail so that they can pre-soak the diapers. With a dry pail, you just simply put in the diaper. You can also use a bag instead of a pail.
6. Washing the cloth diapers
Wash the cloth diapers according to manufacturer’s care instructions. Use mild detergent and if necessary, run it through more cycles of rinsing.
You can just dump the diapers from the dry or wet pail into the washer. Add the detergent, run the cycle and dry in the dryer or on the line.
Another option is to find a laundromat or an eco-friendly diaper service center that will do the cleaning for you. However, that is another expense.
7. Create a rhythm.
Once you find the right cloth diapers, you can begin to create a rhythm to the routine. Take note of how many diapers you use in a day. You should also take note of how many you should collect for a load of laundry. Don’t wait too long for a load of laundry to avoid bad bacteria growth. Prolonging it will also promote stains to set in on the cloth.
Once you have a rhythm on the routine, using cloth diapers will become easier.
Starting your journey to cloth diapering can be overwhelming at first. Hopefully, these steps will help you on your way to the right path. It will take some time of getting used to but it will all be eventually worth it.
If you plan on having another baby, you will surely save on some money because you can reuse the cloth diapers. If not, you can resell them. That’s the good thing about cloth: they’re economical, good for the baby, and good for the environment. Plus, they come in really cute styles too!
Written by: Sarah Morgan. A sister, a daughter, a wife, but most especially a mother. Being a mother makes me realize that life is a great adventure. No day is always the same, which makes every day so much more exciting.