Okay, so you’ve decided to cloth diaper probably because you know you’ll save thousands doing so not to mention the fact that you’re helping the environment and your baby’s precious skin. But what next? What does cloth diapering your baby entail?
The stash. You need a stash of diapers that will suit your cloth diapering needs. The amount of diapers you should have will depend upon whether or not you will be using cloth diapers full time or part time. A newborn will soil 8-12 diapers a day and an older child will soil 6-8 diapers a day. I would suggest that you need enough cloth diapers to get you through at least two days of diaper changes if you’re going to cloth diaper full time. If you are going to do it part time, any number of cloth diapers will help keep your disposable diaper bill down. Even if you only use three cloth diapers a day, that means you won’t have to buy 90 disposables that month.
The Storage. You’ll need a place to store your diapers—dirty and clean. Why not use the same methods you would have with your disposables? Under your changing table or in a drawer works fine. I’ve seen some people be so creative as to use a hanging shoe rack to hang their color coordinating diapers for easy access, but there’s no need to be that fancy. As far as your dirty diapers, a diaper pail with a cloth liner, or a hanging wet bag will do just fine.
The Laundry. For washing your diapers you’ll need an additive free detergent such as Rockin' Green or Country Save. I buy a brand called Ecos that can be found at Sam’s Club so that I don’t have to pay shipping. In any case, your detergent should be additive free to avoid buildup on your diapers. You need nothing else to wash them since you shouldn’t be using either fabric softener or bleach on them. Both of these can ruin your diapers and/or kill their absorbency level. A nice plus for washing diapers is a diaper sprayer—a simple device that attaches to your toilet and aids in the removal of solids from them. However, I’ve found that, although this is a nice thing to have, it is not necessary as dunking your diaper in clean toilet water also works nicely to remove solids.
The accessories. If you’re using cloth diapers, it may be nice to use cloth wipes as well. That way, you can just throw both the wipes and the diapers into your wash rather than having a separate garbage can in your baby’s nursery just to collect dirty, disposable wipes. Cloth wipes can be bought from brands such as Kissaluvs and Tiny Tush, or they can be easily made at home with scraps of old T shirts, bits of flannel, or soft minkee bought from a local fabric store. If you’re going to use cloth wipes, you need a wipe solution as well. You can make your own from one of the many recipes found online through a search engine (most of which include essential oils such as Tea tree oil or Lavender), or you can buy your wipe solution. BumGenius! Sells some that’s called Bottom Cleaner, and Happy Heinys has their Heiny wash.
If it makes you feel any better, you’re off to a better start with cloth diapering than I was! I started with only three bumGenius! pocket diapers, one of the pink plastic bins that the hospital gives you as a diaper pail, and I was using Tide to wash my diapers (which I wouldn’t recommend). I learned quickly the things I needed as I went along and soon I was cloth diapering without a hitch!