Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Really Lazy Mama's Guide to Cloth Diapers

Photo: DiaperJunction.com (another great cloth website)

I did cloth with both my boys. With Big Pants, I didn't start until he was almost a year old.  With Tiny Pants, I started as soon as that black meconium poop ended. It was really not that big of a deal, and I say that as the world's most lazy mother.  Here's how to do it.

1. Don't bother with soaking them. It's not necessary and a huge mess. Other than swishing in the toilet, I never used an official diaper sprayer or poo spatula, though I envied people who owned them. 

2. Don't get a diaper pail.  I used a full sized garbage can with a swinging lid so I could toss them in easily. When the pail got full (about 10-15 diapers) I'd run a load of wash.  Line the garbage can with a garbage bag.  Throw out bag when it gets icky.

3. Wash on hot with a tiny bit (like seriously less than 1/4 of the regular amount) of Tide Free and Clear.  Fill fabric softener dispenser with white vinegar. Do a second rinse and throw in drier (if they are the kind that are dry-able).

4. Get a dedicated laundry basket for diapers. (I got a super cute Moses basket for 9.99 on eBay. It lived in my living room for years, so cute was important to me.) Throw dry diapers in laundry basket. Occasionally I would pre-stuff the diapers and get them ready for the next day, but mostly I just lived out of that basket. 

5. Kinds of diapers - there are a ton of different styles. Buy a few and try them out and see what you like best.  There are drawbacks and benefits to every kind, and at different sizes of baby I liked different things.  My personal favorite were BumGenius, which I bought at cottonbabies.com.  The people there are super nice and helpful.

6. With Big Pants I got by on only 8 cloth diapers for a very long time, and did laundry every single night. I slowly made some and acquired more.  With Tiny Pants I bought a 24 pack, plus I had the  handmade ones and the hand me downs.  It was gloriously decadent to be able to go 2-3 days without having to do the wash. 

7.  Cloth wipes aren't as gross as they sound. I resisted for a while, but it's easier to throw everything in the wash than to separate out disposable versus washable when you have a pile of dirty diaper and wipes. I bought a huge stack of car wash towels at Sam's Club and kept a squeeze bottle of water handy to wet them. Some people sell flannel wipes, but I found that a nubby fabric cleaned those nooks and crannies better. With wipes, bigger is always better.

8.  Do buy a wet bag for travel. It's very handy. It should be waterproof and at least 12" square. 

9.  Don't beat yourself up over occasionally using disposables.  I used disposables for car trips, and with Big Pants that was the only thing that worked overnight after he was a year old.  It's still better for the environment than using 100% disposable, and sometimes it's just easier. But I found the stench of disposable diapers far worse than cloth.  (With cloth you flush the poo. With disposables you store that poo in your kitchen garbage can.)

10. Cloth Diaperers are extremely enthusiastic and long-winded about cloth diapers. Ask any one who uses cloth and they will cheerfully tell you more than you ever wanted to know about it. (Around here they tend to congregate at La Leche League meetings, if you don't know any cloth diaperers yet.)

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