adventures in cloth diapering

Alternative title:  The One Where I Talk About Baby Poop

Cloth diapers were the one thing I was looking forward to most about having a baby, but also the thing I feared the most.  I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers even before we decided to have a baby.  However, there is so much things to know about cloth diapers since they’ve changed so much in the last 30 years.  I actually had to teach my mom how to use them, but I assure you, they are much easier than the diapers of cloth diapering past.

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After praising having disposables on hand in the first few weeks after MacKenna was born, I am so happy to have transitioned over to the cloth diapers.  Although we are starting using them earlier than most people, we are actually starting later than I anticipated.  (She was a month when we started using them and have been using them full time for 2 weeks now.)  After doing my research on cloth diapers, I decided that we would probably save money by purchasing newborn cloth diapers prior to the cloth diapers we will use until MacKenna is potty trained.  And I’m happy we did!  MacKenna was so small when she was born, I have a feeling we would’ve been using disposables until she was 4 months old – and that would have cost us way more money than the newborn cloth diapers.

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So, how is it going?  It’s going wonderfully!  MacKenna is still trying to fill them out (her legs are still a little to skinny for them, but we’re making them work), but for the most part we love them (or at least I do)!  I have 24 newborn cloth diapers on hand and we go through about 10 to 12 per day (homegirl poops A LOT – and likes to wait until I put a brand new diaper on her to do her business).  I can usually go a day and a half to two days before having to do laundry.  Until laundry time, they are stored in a wet bag that is washed with the diapers (I have 2 on hand so we can still “dispose” of the diapers while the other one is in the wash).

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Laundry is another story though.  I don’t mind doing it at all, but I’m still trying to figure out the routine.  We have an HE front loading washer, which unfortunately is not the preferred washer of choice since it senses how much water needs to be used.  A top loading washer will fill with a little more water, helping the diapers soak and get cleaner.  Currently, I am setting the washer for cotton/sturdy with a heavy soil and a warm wash + cold rinse.  I also add in a presoak and extra rinse to really make sure the diapers have a chance to get clean.  This seems to be working well for now.

As far as detergent goes, I am using Seventh Generation Free + Clear for now.  I know this is probably not the best detergent to use, but it is getting the diapers clean and doesn’t have any enzymes or essential oils that can ruin the diaper.  I’m not sure if this will help with the life of the diaper, but we shall see.  I just am not willing to shell out a whole bunch of money for fancy detergents quite yet since this is working just fine.

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Other things of note:

  • We have fleece/hemp liners that we put in for at night so she can go a few more hours with the diaper on
  • We have some leak issues with urine – if we don’t change her or forget to change her (which sadly has happened), it will leak.  This is only a problem with little potty though – big potty stays in just fine.
  • We are NOT using a diaper sprayer right now since she is exclusively breastfed.  Liquid poop rinses out in the wash much better than solid poop.
  • MacKenna has some diaper rash since her booty is damp a lot from the diapers (cloth doesn’t pull away the moisture like disposables do).  I need to find a cloth diaper-friendly diaper rash cream, but we are going to start powdering the diaper to see if that will help.

The one thing I would change with our routine is having some cloth wipes.  I had every intention on using cloth wipes to start out, but when I pulled them out of the wipe warmer the first time, they looked like they had molded a bit.  (I think just too much time sitting around in a moist environment and my warmer was stuffed full, which I think is also a problem.)  I HATE having to separate my wipe from the diaper – it just doesn’t make sense.  So, I will be purchasing 2 dozen more wipes (I still have a dozen) so I can stop throwing away so many darn wipes!

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And that, my friends, is your “lesson” on cloth diapers!  (Pssst – Heather has a great Cloth Diapering 101 on her site!)  Any comments or questions are welcome – along with any advice or points that I might have missed!

  • Great post! I am a bit cloth diaper obsessed. Are those the bumgenius newborn diapers?

    I keep my cloth wipes dry (grovia wipes are my favorite) and have 2 small spray bottles one with water and one with a solution of witch hazel and kissaluvs wipes concentrate.

    • Kristen

      Yes, bumGenius are my go-to cloth dipes! (Although, I’m a bit biased since they’re made in my hometown.) I will have to look for Grovia wipes – I have bumGenius wipes also, but definitely need more!

  • Rebecca

    We use CJ’s BUTTer for diaper rash. It works great and is ok to use with cloth.

    For wipes we keep them dry and have a spray bottle with water to wet them as needed. Using just water has worked great for us.

    • Kristen

      It just has water in the spray bottle? I like the wipe warmer, but it’s also not in a convenient place since our changing table is so small. I have a recipe for homemade wipe solution, so maybe I’ll just use them dry and spray that on them.

  • i just weirded myself out by getting very excited to cloth diaper when it comes time for us to have kids….in SEVERAL years. hah!
    sarah (sarah learns) recently posted..it’s beginning to look a lot like christmas

    • Kristen

      Ha! Well, you’ll have a plethora of information from me and a bunch of other bloggers when the time comes! 😉 And take your time! Enjoy married life for awhile!

  • Yay! I was just going to ask you about cloth diapering. I need to get on it and order some (and decide which ones to use!)
    Kristy @ Breath of Sunshine recently posted..Cravings

    • Kristen

      We use bumGenius for both newborn and regular (we’ll move to Elemental AIOs) and get them through Cotton Babies (they’re actually the ones who make the diapers also). I like them because you don’t have to worry about stuffing a liner in the diaper after they come out of the wash. They take longer to dry, but I’m too lazy to stuff diapers!

  • Jen

    I’m wondering if we should buy some newborn cloth diapers as well. We thought he’d be a lot bigger at birth, so we assumed it’d only be a few weeks before he fit the regular BumGenius. It looks like you have it all so well under control! I hope our transition goes just as smoothly! 🙂
    Jen recently posted..The birth of Wyatt: Part 1

    • Kristen

      Ha, we thought MacKenna would be Wyatt’s size when she was born! Not so much! I didn’t mind the disposables, but I just feel better about using cloth. M gained 2 pounds in a month, so you might be surprised how fast he’ll fit into them.

  • Ahh it was so great reading this! Hearing it from someone experiencing it is WAY better than just reading about it. 😉 I need to remember your 2 wetbags tip! I think I remember seeing some advice on how to trick your frontloader on the Rockin Green website…
    Heather] recently posted..It’s Raining Babies

    • Kristen

      I’ve read some things too – like use the delicate cycle because it will add more water, but I tried that and it didn’t clean them nearly as well. I think the presoak definitely helps. You’ll learn soon enough! Aren’t you happy you got some for your shower?!

  • I’m so glad you decided to talk about poop today! A few months ago, I was so 100% on board with cloth; now that we’re 6 weeks away from meeting our little one, I’m starting to have second thoughts. It just seems so scary when considering all of the other new things we’ll be dealing with. Your post has given me new confidence to put in an order for a few dozen bumgenius dipes!
    Megan @ On the Road Again recently posted..Can Someone Fetch Me a Thighmaster?

    • Kristen

      It is definitely scary. I went through periods of doubt too, mostly because I dealt with a lot of negativity about them. People will give you grief but just ignore it. Really, the only pain in the butt part of it is having to stick them in the wash one-handed. For me, there’s no real difference between taking them down to the washing machine or taking disposables out to the trash. And cloth is much cheaper, which is my main motivating factor for using them.

      • there are wonderful moedrn cloth diapers on the market that will fit your toddlers AND your newborns all at the same time it will save you A TON of money, stress and hassle of worrying about diapers!i simply cannot imagine how daunting it is thinking about buying sposies for 4 kids these diapers are called one size fits all many different types and brands exist ..you can do a search engine on cloth diapers and dive into the world of cute clothyou can email me to talk some more too I run a cloth diaper company, and I design and sew hemp cloth diapers i make all types ranging from classic prefolds to the all in the one one sizei haven’t used disposable diapers in years, so i cannot give you any price ranges on those

  • Rebecca

    Yup we just use water in the spray bottle but I know some people make their own solution. Water is nice because I don’t have to worry about anything ruining the diapers or irritating his skin. Plus it is easy to refill when the bottle is empty.

  • Lee

    This is maybe a dumb question, but do you rinse the diapers off first? Or does the poop just go into the washing machine?
    Lee recently posted..Happy Birthday Murphy

    • Kristen

      Not dumb at all! Some people dunk their diapers in the toilet to rinse them off. I personally think that is beyond disgusting. Other people use a diaper sprayer (which we have but we need to fix our toilet first before we actually use it). But, since breastfed poop is pretty liquidy (I’m sure this is more than you wanted to know about baby poop), I just throw them in the washer. I know, it sounds gross, but I assure you everything gets washed out.

  • We used cloth diapers for our first (who is now 3 1/2), so I have a few comments on what worked for us/what we do now with our littlest…
    I wash them with ivory snow detergent on hot/cold rinse for 1 cycle, then I do the same cycle again, but with no detergent the 2nd time just to be sure they/the detergent are really rinsed out.
    I hang them to dry overnight and then put them in the dryer on air fluff to make them softer.
    With my first, I didnt discover bummi’s liners until later, but once I discovered them , I loved them…do you use a flushable liner in the diapers? If not, I would suggest using them (I dont have to rinse the diapers off at all, ever, even later when done breastfeeding)…ask me if you want more info on these.
    My first (Zack) had TERRIBLE diaper rash using cloth…I went to the doc and even got prescription diaper cream (which didnt work)…what I found worked best (after trying EVERYTHING)….was vaseline…nothing better. It was so bad, that I considered stopping using cloth until I discovered that vaseline was great. For a while I even had to use canesten (for yeast) and that helped a bit too.
    I use cloth wipes. I bought a bunch of thin white cloths and we just one in the sink with warm water right before we use it. This works very well for us. Then I just wash them with the diapers.
    Hope that helps!
    Jill recently posted..Beautiful Boys…Fat Me