Getting ready for Juniper, I’m guessing I spent at least 30 hours researching cloth diapers. If you’re thinking that sounds dumb and excessive, just try it. Are you imagining pins and prefolds? Not these days. There are all-in-ones, all-in-twos, pocket diapers, hybrids, contour diapers, flat diapers, velcro, snaps, and fasteners. Yeah, I’d never heard of any of that, either. Well, velcro, but, you know.
Considering that cloth diapers are an expensive, hopefully one-time investment, you want to get it right. I ended up hunting down a cloth diaper store, needing to see them in person. Now with several friends and family members pregnant, I thought I’d share our system and favorite products, and hopefully save them some gazillion hours.
I’ll start with our set up:
1. If you’re cloth diapering, it just makes sense to use cloth wipes. We have 4 or 5 different kinds of wipes, and my favorites are the ones that are a single layer of flannel, since you can fit way more in the wipie warmer. The warmer is really nice, since you’ll need some sort of storage for the wipes anyway, and who wouldn’t prefer a warm towel on their tush?
My recipe for the wipe solution:
1 tbsp each: witch hazel, Dr. Bronner’s soap, aloe vera, and almond or grapeseed oil; 5 drops each: lavender and tea tree essential oils; 2 cups hot water. I mix it well and plop my whole stack of wipes into the bowl (just folded in half fresh from the wash – no need to dry), squeeze out the excess liquid, and pop them in the warmer. Four packs of wipes, folded, fit just exactly.
3. Drew’s mom refinished this adorable dresser to match the nursery. We store our diaper inserts and covers in the top drawer (more on those in a second) and clothes in the lower two drawers.
4. For the laundry we wash (wipes, diaper covers, clothes), I like this diaper pail liner. Again, it’s nice to have two. It fits a standard kitchen garbage can, and you can throw the bag in the wash with everything else, so you’re not wasting garbage bags. We haven’t needed any sort of a deodorizer for the garbage can, probably because the wipes are soaked in essential oils.
You’ll want a similar, but smaller, wet bag for you diaper bag.
5. We decided to go with a service for the messy part. They provide a bin and blue bags labeled with our info, and we toss the diaper inserts in there (no rinsing or scraping necessary). We leave the bag on our porch each Tuesday, and they replace it with a bag of clean ones. So easy.
Our reasoning for sticking with the service: 1) Holy mother, is it convenient. 2) It’s not crazy expensive – we’re now paying $52 a month (it’s based on how many diaper inserts we need each week). 3) I realized we’d basically need a new washer if we were cleaning our own. Infant poo looks like dijon mustard, and is about as hard to wash out. 4) It’s better for Juniper and the environment. Home washing uses TONS of water (you set the load size to super for the prewash and the wash, even though there’s hardly anything in there), doesn’t get as hot to sterilize (their industrial washers get close to boiling), and leaves detergent residues that can irritate your baby’s skin.
So! About the diaper covers and inserts:
All those different diapers I was reading about at first (all-in-ones, fitted diapers, pocket diapers) have one thing in common: you have to change the whole thing every time your kid pees. That just didn’t seem like a smart design to me. Also, with these, you have no option to use a diaper service for cleaning (they won’t keep your stuff separate – you have to use the inserts they provide, and these diapers don’t take inserts).
What I finally found instead is a hybrid, or all-in-two, diaper. Basically it’s a soft cloth cover (but waterproof), with snaps to adjust the size from newborn to toddler (yeah, Juniper’s diaper covers also fit Zeke. Crazy, huh?) Or you can get velcro instead of snaps, but then you have to deal with lint from the dryer making them less sticky over time, and the velcro catching threads from your wipes in the wash. There are also two snaps on the inside, so you can snap in a specially made insert. Those aren’t adjustable; you buy small, medium, and large as the child grows. When baby pees, you remove just the insert for washing – not the whole enchilada. Two covers usually last us all day – we only change them if poo gets on them, or if we went too long in between changes and some pee got the leg gussets wet.
So you buy 8 – 10 covers, and 24 inserts. Or if you’re using a diaper service, all you buy are the covers, and they provide the inserts. Theirs won’t be the specially designed ones that snap in, but they work just as well. They’re basically thick rectangles of fabric that you fold into thirds (prefolds, they’re called – that’s them in the photo above). Your covers will hold them snug.
It’s really not much different from changing disposables. And baby is much less likely to get diaper rash (I read that 5% of cloth diapered babies do, versus almost 50% of kids in disposables). With the service, I just do a load of laundry once every 3 or 4 days. Easy peasy. And Juniper seems to dig them.
Hey, while I have the camera in Junip’s room, check out the latest addition! We finally got her/me a rocking chair (mmm… Eames reproduction…) her very own sheepskin, the perfect basket for her toys, and I found the cutest giraffe growth chart at an antiques shop.
Girl has no idea how cute her room is. But hey, let’s be honest, it’s more about me knowing how cute it is. Get the full nursery tour here.
Anyway, hope this helps, all you mamas-in-waiting!