What feels like eons ago…but was more like 2 months or so, I told you I’d do a post on how we cloth diaper Brynne.
I had to postpone that discussion until now for several reasons:
- At first, and most importantly…she hadn’t been born yet
- Then she was born and wasn’t quite big enough to fit into her diapers. We opted to do disposables until she grew a little more
- Once she got big enough to wear her diapers, we had to give it some time to see how it all worked out. You can’t give a proper tutorial on something you don’t have an opinion on, right?
- Lastly, she stopped taking her early morning nap for a bit and I just became too tired to do much of anything.
I also just want to say DO NOT watch the youtube video about one mom’s “day in the life” of cloth diapering her son. This lady literally spends her ENTIRE day changing her kid’s bum and washing/folding laundry. It’s horrifying and monotonous and she’s cheerily going about her “routine” and the whole thing nearly turned me off cloth.
I swear to you, cloth diapering does NOT have to be like that! I promise!
I digress. We’re back on track now and it’s time to talk cloth!
Before Brynne was born I decided I wanted to cloth diaper my babies for many reasons, the #1 reason being I couldn’t stand the idea of contributing to landfill waste. My #2 reason was the money. Over time, cloth diapering costs considerably less than disposable diapering does. (How’s that for alteration, hmm?)
After considerable research, I opted to go with Bumgenius pocket diapers. They have a great reputation, are relatively affordable, and size-adjust from 8 to 35lbs with snaps on the front, and they’re super cute!
For those that aren’t in the “know” (believe me, I’m not…) pocket style cloth diapers have a slit in the outer cover that holds an insert, aka what will be absorbing your baby’s poop and pee (teehee)
There are a few other styles of cloth diaper; AIO (all-in-one – doesn’t have an insert, you just put the diaper on the baby and you’re good to go), prefolds (your standard “old-fashioned” cloth diaper, must be folded and fit to baby and then attached with some sort of fasteners), Cloth Diaper with Cover (basically a prefold style that is covered by an outer “shell”) and a several others.
(I’m not going into these styles because I’m here to discuss my experience. I do encourage you to do further research if a cloth diaper style other than pockets is of interest to you though!)
So. We went with Bumgenius.
I bought, as recommended by many, many sources, 24 diapers. I stand by this recommendation. The theory is that your baby will go through 8-12 diapers a day, and you should have enough diapers to get you through the day, obviously. Why 24 then? Because not everyone can do laundry every single day, but even if you can, what if a) you can’t do laundry until later? b) you’re tired? c) a tragedy occurs like said washing machine being out of service?
Some people suggest more, but I think 24 is a good amount. As your baby gets older they will go through slightly fewer diapers, but it’s always best to have slightly more than enough, especially when we’re talking dirty diapers!
You have an objection. I’ll stop you right there. I know…these things aren’t cheap.
Although these diapers can, and should, cover baby’s bum until they’re potty training (or reach 35 lbs, whichever comes first…) cloth diapering can certainly be an initial investment.
The truth is that 24 diapers can really add up. Especially when you see these things (again, we’re talking bumgenius, I can’t and won’t offer insight into other brands….) going for $22 and up.
I encourage you to scour Amazon.
As you might notice above, I’ve got lots of solid colored diapers and many are the same colors. That’s because I don’t give too much of a hoot about all the fun prints that bumgenius offers. I found these colors for $16.95 and, with Prime, I paid no shipping. I also asked for on my baby registry Amazon giftcards and boy let me tell you, I used them.
Allow me to compare:
24 diapers X $22 (rough estimate) = $568
24 diapers X $16.95 = $406.80
See? The colors don’t seem to matter too much now, huh?
Just in case you’re curious about the cost of cloth vs disposable, here’s another rough estimate:
30 cloth diapers (I added a few more, in case of incidentals) X $22 = $660
Inserts (I’ll talk about these in a minute) =$80
Cloth Diapering Total (approximate) Cost: $740
Sounds crazy right??? Keep in mind, this is for the total time your baby is in diapers, approximately 2 1/2 years, or 8lbs to 35 lbs
(Not to mention if you keep your diapers in good shape, you can use them again for the next baby or pass them along to a friend for theirs.)
Compare this to the approximate cost of diapering one child in generic disposables, though, anywhere from $1400-$2500 over 2 1/2 years.
Do I make my point on cost?
Now it’s time to talk inserts!
Truth be told, I could have just gone with the microfiber inserts that come in a bumgenius diaper. They give you two sizes, one is “newborn” and the other is adjustable.
I bought, and registered for, a few others though because I had read that the microfiber wasn’t great. I’m not sure I agree. They do a decent job for a regular wetter, but there are definitely better/more absorbent inserts out there.
Here’s a great website that talks about the different types of inserts.
Here’s what I’m using:
- Happy Endings Brand Hemp/Cotton Blend – this is great for daytime, it’s the lightest and thinnest of the four. It’s absorbency is decent but I definitely wouldn’t suggest putting this in baby’ nighttime diaper.
- Naturally Natures Charcoal Bamboo – these are awesomely absorbent inserts! They are great for day or night if your baby isn’t a heavy wetter. My one “complaint” is that they are on the larger side, so they’re more suited to a bigger/older baby. Brynne hit 11lbs before she was able to comfortably wear them.
- Bumgenius Microfiber – These came with the diapers and I can’t say anything against them in terms of absorbency. They do tend to stain, however, but that’s not an issue for me. I suppose one could always bleach them or stain treat them if it was a concern. (This pic is after several wears/washes)
- Alva Antibacterial Bamboo Viscose – These are my favorite. They have great absorbency and are super soft. Like the charcoal bamboo inserts, they do run a bit big but a) your baby will grow into them and b) they’re so soft and foldable it’s really not an issue. I also haven’t experienced any staining despite the color.
At first, we used the bumgenius newborn insert with Brynne when she first started wearing her diapers (from 8-10 lbs.) They worked just fine for our baby who isn’t a “heavy” wetter but does wet regularly. Once she got to be a little bigger I noticed she was starting to leak out the sides, so we switched to the full sized inserts without an issue.
Our “method” is really a “non-method” and doesn’t require any special equipment.
I see lots of fancy instructions out there on how to wash cloth diapers, including special sprays/detergents/etc. Some people put them in a designated bin, and some use a sprayer attached to the toilet for bigger “messes.”
We have the sprayer, we might use it down the road, but apart from that, cleaning and maintaining our cloth diapers is really simple.
We use a HE washer and dryer on eco-friendly settings and plain old detergent and stain spray.
That’s it. Seriously.
A day in our cloth diapering life goes something like this:
Brynne goes through between 8 and 14 diapers in a 24 hour period. We just toss them into the laundry, although we will give them an initial rinse with the sprayer if they’re extra messy. We do one load of laundry a day. It’s usually not a very big load, but between diapers, and Glen’s work clothes, it makes sense to do a daily wash.
Before tossing the diapers into the wash, I remove the insert and spray the poopy diapers with Stain Spray (I love this kind. I buy it at Target.) Then it’s just a normal capful of laundry detergent and a regular wash cycle. We use an eco-friendly setting and warm water.
I dry on normal/medium hot. After dinner Glen and I will usually fold the clothes. We put the inserts back into the diapers and snap them shut. It just makes life so much easier for them to be ready to go when we need a clean one. A daily laundry cycle might seem crazy to some, but our “hands on” time is literally 10 minutes of folding. No sweat.
And that’s it! Really, that’s it! We take a few diapers and a wet bag (like these) with us when we travel, and once home we just toss the dirty diaper(s) and wet bag into the laundry. I also keep a plastic bag on hand just in case.
Simple, easy, and efficient.
So, to recap….cloth diapering can be cost-effective, doesn’t have to take your whole day, and also not super messy.
I will again sing the praises of bumgenius but do encourage wanna-be cloth diapering families to do their research. Join a local Facebook group, and also check out these resources: