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Diapering your baby is a big deal, since you’re going to be changing those diapers. A lot. No matter if you choose cloth, disposables, elimination communication (EC), or a combination of all those, you should do what works best for YOUR family! If you’re curious why/how we cloth diaper our baby, read on!
Why Cloth Diaper?
- It’s MUCH cheaper than disposable diapers. We spent about $200 on cloth diapers and wipes. A quick internet search shows people spend about $1500 on disposable the whole time a child is in diapers.
- One Size. This is kind of a pro and a con. The cloth diapers were too big for about the first month, so we used disposables during that time. But after that you can use just the cloth because they come with a bunch of different snaps to grow with baby.
- Time. At first you may think it would be very time consuming to wash and fold all those diapers, but it really isn’t. We wash diapers about 3 or so times a week. I’d say we spend about one hour on washing/folding diapers a week (if that). Compared to all the time you spend earning money to pay for disposables, I think it’s worth it.
- Better for baby. Disposable diapers (unless you buy a more expensive special brand) are full of toxic chemicals and fragrances. These are touching your baby’s skin most of the time and being absorbed into their little systems. If you look up the ingredients on the diaper manufacturers website, they sure make it look like nothing is wrong with the ingredients. But if you do a little more digging, you will find they are at least questionable. Maybe the trace amounts of potentially harmful substances aren’t a big deal. But maybe they are. I’d rather not take the risk, especially when an alternative is super easy.
- Cuter! They come in all sorts of colors and prints you just can’t get enough of ’em!
- Effect on Earth. Most people automatically think cloth diapers are better than disposable for the earth. I’m honestly not sure. Disposables produce a lot of waste that will basically be around forever. However, cloth diapers are made from cotton which uses a ton of water that then becomes polluted from the pesticides. I guess maybe you could find cloth diapers made from organic practices, but I’m not convinced those are really that much better for the earth. Either way, its clear elimination communication is the way to go for the earth.
- Traveling. If you’re going to travel, I would not recommend cloth. They just take up a bunch of space. You’ll be dedicating an entire suitcase to diapers. Plus, you’ve gotta find a place to wash them.
How We Cloth Diaper
Build your Diaper Stash
You’ll want about 25 or so diapers if you want to cloth diaper full time. We have maybe around 30. This way you have enough to do laundry every two or three days, but not so much that you go too long in between washes.
You want probably around 30 to 40 cloth wipes along with those diapers.
You’ll also want some spray to wet the cloth wipes. I make my own. I put a little dash of Castile soap, aloe vera, witch hazel, oil (olive and apricot kernel are good), a couple drops vitamin E oil, and some lavender essential oil. Then fill the rest of the bottle with filtered water and you are good to go.
We bought this kind of diaper on Amazon. Its $30 for 6 of them (this includes the inserts). You’ll want about 5 sets for 30 diapers. That will cost you around $150.
Some people buy fancy name brand cloth diapers, like bumGenius. I’ve never used them before, but I’ve heard good things. I don’t really have the money to spend $20 on one diaper, which would end up costing around $600 for 30 of them. However, these diapers do come with a newborn insert. The ones we bought didn’t fit baby until she was about a month old, so we had to use these disposables.
We bought these wipes. At $10 for 15, you’ll need at least two packs, so about $30.
We also have a diaper can with cloth washable bags.
For on the go, I bring one of these little bags. You can zip the dirty diapers up in there and wash when you get home. You could always use a little plastic baggie, but these are so much cuter!
This is totally optional, but I was feeling a little experimental so I went for it. Just regular old fashioned cloth diapers you fold yourself and these little snappies to fasten onto baby. You’d need a cover to use it like regular diapers, but they work good for EC. You’ll have to watch some videos and practice though!
Total Cost We Spent = $270
Total Cost Just Bare Necessities = $200
Clean Your Diapers
It will probably take you a bit to figure a good routine for your exact washer scenario (they also have diaper service if you want to pay for that instead of washing yourself), but here is what we do.
- Every two or three days we wash and fold (sometimes) diapers.
- One wash with Charlie’s Soap on delicate, warm water, deep rinse, super large size. No the diapers don’t take up that much space in the machine, but they come out cleaner with more water.
- Second wash with Charlie’s Soap on heavy, tap cold water, deep rinse, super large size. Yes, two washes are necessary to get the diapers clean with our machine.
- Dryer on normal. I guess if we wanted to be REALLY thrifty, we could hang them to dry. But I’m not that thrifty. I just throw it all in the dryer on normal setting.
- Fold and use on baby! Repeat in a day or two.
So that’s everything we do and why for cloth diapering. It works really well for our family. We do use disposables on occasion, like traveling or when we’re just lazy and don’t have any clean diapers. I also like to do elimination communication here and there. There’s not really a right or wrong way to diaper your baby, so just do what works for your family!