So you are thinking of cloth diapering? Awesome! Don’t even have a clue where to start? Well, here’s your guide! Getting started with cloth diapering can be so overwhelming! I was lucky to have a couple friends to ask my billions of questions when I first started. I was so confused. What does AIO mean? Do I need covers and pins? Is a diaper sprayer really necessary? How on earth do I wash the diapers? Here you will find some answers to questions on how to get started on your cloth diaper adventure. WARNING: You may become quickly addicted to finding cute diapers and letting your little one not wear clothes!
Why choose cloth?
There are several reasons someone might choose to use cloth:
- It’s better for the environment.
- It costs less than disposable diapers.
- Your child may have a sensitivity to the chemicals in disposable diapers.
- They are SO cute!
What are the different cloth diapering options and terms that go with cloth diapering?
This is where I was overwhelmed! What’s an AIO diaper? Which is the easiest to use? My son went to daycare, so I needed something that would be easy and convenient. Stay tuned for articles this week on each type of cloth diaper!
- All in One (AIO) or All in Two (AI2)– A diaper that has the absorbent soaker and a waterproof shell, all in one! AI2 diapers are waterproof shells and replaceable inserts. Read about AIO/AI2s.
- Pocket diapers– Made up of two parts: a waterproof outer cover with a pocket designed to wisk away wetness to an inner soaker/liner. Read about Pocket Diapers.
- Flat diapers– The least expensive choice, these are simply flat pieces of cloth like the traditional cloth diaper you might think of. They can be folded in any way to fit the need of the child. These need a cover. Read about flats.
- Prefold diapers– These are similar to flat diapers that have been folded so the middle has more layers to absorb more wetness. Prefold diapers need a cover. Read about prefold diapers.
- Fitted diapers– Fitted diapers are designed to fit your little one in a specific pound range. It has elastic at the legs and waste and requires a cover. Read about fitted diapers.
- One size- Diapers that are designed to fit from birth (or soon after if you have a smaller baby) through around 35 lbs, depending on the brand.
- Wet bag– A bag for storing your soiled diapers. Perfect for diaper bags and use on-the-go.
- Pail liner- Used to line your diaper pail. It’s a good idea to have two, one you can throw in the wash with the dirty diapers and one to keep in the pail for ones that are being dirtied.
What about poop?
Breastfeeding? Great! Breastfed poo washes away in the wash. No need to put the poop in the toilet. Throw the soiled diaper in the pail to be washed.
Formula feeding or onto solids? Not a problem. Simply shake off any lose poop into the toilet. Then wash the same as you do the rest of the diapers.
Sometimes diapers do get some light staining. If you encounter any staining, sun your diapers! Nothing takes stains out of diapers like laying them out in the sunlight (even through a window).
How many diapers do I need?
As a rule of thumb, you probably want enough cloth diapers to do laundry, at the most, every other day. I started off with 20 diapers and would do laundry every two to three days when my son was younger. Generally, he would go through about eight diapers a day. So think about how many times a day you change your baby’s diaper. Then think about how often you want to do diaper laundry. Want to do it every three days? Buy three times as many as your baby goes through in a day.
How do I wash cloth diapers?
Cloth diaper washing is so much easier than people think. I’ve heard many different washing strategies and tried a couple myself. I’m going to share what has worked best for my family. You may have to tweak it, depending on the type of soap you use and if you have hard or soft water.
Step 1: Run a cool rinse only—no soap.
Step 2: Wash the diapers with 1/4-1/3 the amount of soap for a normal load of laundry. Wash on hot (even turn up your water heater! The hotter the better!) with a cold rinse. If there are still suds, run another cold rinse cycle. Find a list of diaper-safe laundry soap here. I use Charlie’s Soap. It lasts FOREVER. I wash all my laundry in it and am now saving a ton on laundry detergent! You can also make your own!
Step 3: Dry your diapers, either on the line or set the drier on low.
Have more questions? Ask! Have more input? Please share! If you already use cloth diapers, what type do you recommend?