An Update on Cloth Diapering

It took Isaac longer than we had anticipated to get into his cloth diapers, but I remember how proud I was the moment he became 8 pounds and I first buttoned on a diaper like it was yesterday.  I was so excited to finally be cloth diapering! 

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In reality, it’s now been three months or so since we first started cloth diapering [<– that link explains which diapers we chose and why] When he was a newborn, we used chlorine-free disposables because he literally was too small to fill out a cloth diaper (even the tri-folds!), but to be honest, looking back, I can’t imagine cloth diapering during those first few weeks, as Isaac was going through tons of diapers a day [we were shocked by how much garbage we were putting out!].

To recap, we decided to go with an assortment of diapers because we couldn’t figure out which would be best – and since every child is different, it was hard to seek guidance.  We wound up with about two dozen pocket diapers – a mix of Bum Genius 4.0s [velcro and snaps], Charlie Bananas, and a few homemade flannel types from friends – and a dozen old-school pre-fold diapers with a pack of Snappis and three or four covers [Thirsties duo-covers are our favorite!]. 

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After a few months of cloth diapering, we’ve started to see the positives and negatives of each type of diaper… so I figured I’d do a quick recap for you all to let you know how we’re doing. 

First off, the thing everyone wants to know when I tell them I’m cloth diapering is whether or not it stinks and how wedeal with cleaning them.  Let’s be real here: of course it stinks – it’s poop!  I heard that breastfed baby poo didn’t smell bad, and although Isaac’s poo does smell somewhat worse now that he’s on formula, it always smelled like poo. 

As far as cleaning, we place soiled diapers in a plastic bucket with a lid that we fill half-way with water and detergent.  At first, we were putting soiled diapers right into the bucket without rinsing them first, but then we’d have to deal with day-old dirty diapers, which was never fun for us.  We have a utility sink connected to our washer, so when Isaac has a poopy diaper we rinse it off in that sink before placing the diaper in the bucket.  Since Isaac tends to go through about 10 diapers every day, we do a load just about every-other-day. 

As far as touching the poop goes: I’ve never had many issues with dealing with stuff like that.  Plus, becoming a mom kind of entails dealing with bodily fluids.  We just make sure to have soap and warm water at the utility sink. Winking smile

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When we’re out and about, or when my Aunty watches the babe [very rarely], we have been using chlorine-free, biodegradable disposable diapers because for now it’s just easier for everyone involved. Although I can’t be sure, I’d say Isaac prefers the softer cloth diapers – they just seem more comfortable – although their bulkiness definitely makes his outfits look a little silly.

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[He spends most of his time half-naked, anyway Winking smile]

Aside from that, some pros and cons to each of the styles we have:

[Bum Genius 4.0 One Size with Snaps : I’d say we use these most, as they’re the most user friendly and durable.]

+ fit snugly

+ long-lasting materials

+ easy to switch sizes as baby grows

hard to put on while the baby wiggles, or in the dark when you’re sleep-deprived

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[Bum Genius 4.0 One Size with Velcro : We use these most during the night because they require the least thought/energy.]

+ super user-friendly

+ fit snugly

I worry about the velcro becoming worn down over time, although I haven’t experienced it myself just yet 

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[Charlie Banana One Size : These are actually our least favorite just because of their fit. We’re hoping that as Isaac grows, they’ll fit better in time.]

+ great quality materials – super soft flannel and thick inserts

ackward fitting and buttons, especially with a wiggly baby on the changing table 

– it’s a little tricky to change the size of the diaper [something that doesn’t happen often, but still…]

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[Old-School Prefolds, Snappis, and Covers : I use these mostly around the house because their fit isn’t as snug due to human error.]

+ snappis are amazingly easy to use

+ covers are reusable a few times

I thought I’d be able to use the pre-folds from now til forever, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have to reorder a larger size in the next few months as baby grows

human error: sometimes I don’t get the snappi on tight enough and things get a little too loose in there

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Other logistics:  

We have been making our own wipe solution and using reusable flannel wipes, which has been working very well!  Ben usually makes up an 8-cup batch at the beginning of each week, and we keep it in an air-tight glass container on the changing table.  We dip the flannel wipes into the mixture as needed.  Then we just toss the wipes into the wash with the diapers. 

We use 1/4 the amount of detergent recommended for washing the diapers [which ends up being just about 2 tablespoons or so].  At first we used the specific baby soap, but nowadays we just use fragrance-free, hypoallergenic detergent and put it through an extra rinse cycle.  Most often, we hang-dry the diapers in the sunshine, but once in a while we’ll throw them in the dryer to help with disinfecting.

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Stuffing the inserts is the most time-consuming part of cloth diapering, and half the time I’m picking them out of the clean laundry basket and stuffing one-handed as we head to the changing table. 

As with everything in parenting, I’m never sure if what works for us one day is going to continue working for us the next… so I just try to stay as flexible as possible.  Also, now that we’re getting ready to start solids, who knows how our routine will have to shift to accommodate? 

If you have any questions about  our cloth diapering experience, please let me know.  And if you have any advice/feedback/suggestions, I’d love to hear them! 


Aloha Pumehana.
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5 thoughts on “An Update on Cloth Diapering

  1. Auntie M. says:

    I used cloth diapering back in the day…and because my sons were hypersensitive to the soap I was using, I had to use vinegar in each rinse …to purify…and prevent severe diaper rash. Yes, it smelled like I was making pickles in the washing machine! In the long run, potty training and transitioning to “big boy” underwear (“Underoos” in those days) went a lot quicker when using cloth diapers. The boys just didn’t feel the discomfort while wearing disposable diapers….and had no motivation to get out of diapers…little did I realize at the time that I was being more gentle on the environment… it was just incredibly cheaper….more work…but cheaper. Good for you, Haley…Best for Isaac!

    • greenplatedinners says:

      Thanks 🙂 Ben and I were just talking about how much people must have to spend on disposables every single week… it must get expensive! And I never thought about the potty-training aspect, good to know!

  2. Danielle says:

    Thanks for my requested blog topic 🙂 Great information. I was also thinking that it would be a good idea to have disposable diapers for outings, busy days, etc., but primarily use cloth. Best of both worlds! I love your idea for natural wipes too….will have to get that recipe from you.

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