Happy Baby Company

The Skinny on Cloth Diapering

We have cloth diapered since the beginning...there is almost too much info out there, which makes it SO confusing when you don't know what you are doing, or how to really narrow down your choices.  Much like disposables, not all styles will work for all babies.  I feel like a lot of it is trial and error, so be mindful of that before deciding to invest in a lot of something.  I am excited to share our experience, and what has worked for us! 

The First 1-4 Weeks

Use disposables.  Their poop is really tarry and gnarly at first.  You are getting used to enough those first few weeks, so save yourself the hassle and mess of oil slick poos.  ;) 

The First 2-5 Months

Diaper service. {Green Cheeks}  If this is an option for you in your area, we could not recommend it more!  It was amazing for us.  Our diaper service brought us clean prefolds, covers and wipes each week.  We would put out the dirty ones, and they swapped for clean ones right to our front door.  If we were going to do it again, we would purchase our own covers and save a little on cost there.  There was a start up fee of about $80 that got us a diaper pail with a large liner, a small wetbag for on the go, and a few snappies (these are like modern diaper pins), as well as an orientation.  After that, the cost was about $80 monthly, which is comparable to buying disposables.

5-6 Months +

At 5.5 months, we purchased our own.  We waited until then because Ziggy was in his 3rd size in this short period of time, so if we would have purchased newborn, size one, then size 2 diapers.  If we were planning to have 5 kids, this may be worth it, but we aren't, so it just didn't make sense for us.  We went with Thirsties Duo Hemp prefolds as opposed to cotton.  They are a little less bulky, and gave us the opportunity to ditch the snappi, which we found was IMPOSSIBLE once baby started becoming more mobile.  We use a simple snap cover over them tri-folded and they work great.

Night Time

We use disposables at night and for long car/air travel.  Mostly because he can't feel that he is wet and he sleeps longer, or will be happier longer in the car/plane.  We buy whatever is on sale when it comes to disposables; nothing fancy! 


Soooo...what do you do with the dirty ones?!

We keep a small wetbag upstairs and one down.  We keep the original diaper pail with a carbon filter in the basement, and take the small bags down to dump when they are full.  

How much did it cost?

We purchased one lot of diapers used from a neighbor, and a dozen used pocket diapers  from Craigslist.  We had our diaper service professionally strip and clean them.  Viola!  Like new!  The rest we purchased new.  

Used diapers ($180)  + 15 New prefolds ($120) and 8 new covers ($115ish)  + Diaper pail/wetbags, etc ($100ish) = Under $600.  Keep in mind that this is for his entire diapering LIFE.  So, from the time he entered a size 2 (5.5ish months-potty training) 

Why don't you have an equal number of prefolds to covers?

This is a HUGE pro to using prefolds + covers.  You only need 8-12 covers in rotation, as they can be hung to "air out" as long as they don't have poo on them.  I give them the smell test, and if they pass, they stay out of the laundry, usually about 5 wears per cover before washing.  We like Thirsties covers best.  Blueberry makes good ones, too!  Either way you go, always choose snaps over velcro; they get in and out of the laundry with less hassle.  

What is the difference between a prefold and a pocket diaper?

Prefolds are traditional, absorbent squares of absorbent fabric.  You know, like the Gerber brand that Target sells that you use for burp cloths!  These are easy to trifold and set inside a basic waterproof cover.  

Pockets are just that; covers with little pockets in them!  The liners are rectagular in shape, and slip right into the pocket.  These were great to have on hand, especially for the diaper bag or on the go, but we find that they leak for us.  We put a double liner in them, and they seem to be okay, but we much prefer the prefolds. Another downside is the entire thing needs washed after each wear.

How do you (GASP!) wash them?! 

We have about 20 prefolds, and 12 pocket diapers, and need to do 2 loads a week.  We do 2 washes with Charlie's Soap.  We started buying this soap in bulk (4 gallon powder) and washing all of our laundry with it; it is great soap!   

For diapers, 2 cycles, hot and heavy duty on both, with an extra rinse at the end of the second.  If I had a prewash option on my machine, I would probably do that too, but I don't and we have survived!  I throw in some bleach about once per month to keep the funk out.

So, do you just wash the poop?

A question we get often, and a good one!  Until baby starts eating solids, their poop is pretty runny, and there is no need to rinse prior to hitting the laundry.  Once food is introduced, and you enter the "little man poop" stage, you just roll the poo off of the diaper into the toilet, or give it a few dunks in the toilet water.  Kinda gross but gets the job done.  You could always invest in a sprayer, too.

Wait, you make your own wipes?!

I thought this was originally SO weird!  But, it is such a pain to use a disposable wipe with a cloth diaper--you have to make a stop to the trash and the diaper pail with each change.  I've found as he's grown, the more wipes we go through, so we tend to use a lot of disposable wipes these days.  But, we still keep a batch of cloth wipes wet with an antibacterial essential oil mix that I will share below.

And.....that's all I know!  Feel free to contact me anytime; I am happy to talk cloth diapers, or anything else baby/toddler/surviving parenthood any time!  Whatever you decide, it will be great for you and your baby.  

Good luck and congrats!!

Cloth wipe solution, courtesy of Judy from Happy Baby Company

Using a 4c pyrex glass measuring cup, and squirt 1/2-1 teaspoon of castile soap (Dr. Bronner's works great!), a 1/2-1 teaspoon of apricot kernel oil, 6-8 drops of lavender oil and 4 or 5 drops of tea tree oil, then add about 3 1/2 c warm water.

Layer clean wipes in an empty disposable wipe box or wipe warmer, and pour solution over top.  The key is including essential oils or something that will inhibit bacteria and mold growth if you want to store wet wipes, whether in a warmer or container.