Friday, June 13, 2014

How I Began Cloth Diapering

Several people have asked me two things: 1. How to start cloth-diapering 2. How I started cloth diapering. Those are two different questions, and there is no right answer to the first. So I will walk through how I messily (figuratively and literally) became a crunchy cloth-diapering mama. 

Two summers before we had Shepherd (yes I said two), Josh found an offer on his school’s forum for 6 diapers for $50. THAT IS UNHEARD OF – just to let you know. Four were 4.0 pocket Bumgenius aplix (the kind with the Velcro closure) and two were all-in-one Tots Bots (I love these, but they are extraordinarily expensive new or used). Josh is a bargain shopper, and the thought of saving money by reusing cloth diapers over and over was already appealing to Josh. However, to find some hardly used by a previous owner, for a ridiculously low price, was too much for Josh to pass up. So I stored these for 15 months before Mr. Shep was born! Mind you, we were still on track for our “5 year plan,” having completed one year of marriage at the time of this purchase. Little did we know….

Fast-forward a year.  After we found out I was pregnant, my friend sent me 5-6 different kinds of newborn diapers for me to try out. This helped me narrow down what I did and didn’t like.  I checked them out before Shep was born, and then for two months I experimented with cloth, but mainly kept the sposies (disposable diapers) on him.  I wasn’t a huge fan of flat cloth inserts and Snappis, which are 3-point modern clips that help keep inserts tight with gripping hooks. I liked having the diaper all together, in a simple fashion such as Bumgenius 4.0 pocket diapers, or the Flip inserts and covers. I don’t necessarily prefer snaps over aplix diapers, but I mainly bought snaps because research shows that these last longer for multiple babies. 

I made a baby registry at and registered for 4.0 pocket Bumgenius diapers with snaps in gender-neutral colors. I registered for these kinds of diapers because 75% of my friends, who were already cloth diapering, told me they were the easiest to figure out. They were also the most like disposable diapers, highly absorbable, easy to clean, and said to fit my little one from 8 pounds until he is out of diapers. I loved everything about this notion of using the same diapers the entire non-potty trained period of my child’s life. The only down side is 4.0 pocket diapers are a little pricey ranging from $18-$22 new (yes, for just one diaper) and can only be used once between washings (as they have a sewn in fleece liner that acts as an extra absorbent layer with the insert), but they help with the no-leak factor.  

Bum Genius 4.0 Pocket diaper
The inside of the stuffed diaper with the fleece sewn-in liner
This is the microfiber insert we stuff inside the diaper. It has buttons to adjust the sizes from small to large. 
I was sold on exclusively getting these types of diapers until my brother did a little research for me. He found the Flip system diapers, which are also made by Bumgenius, but were way cheaper. He and my sister-in-law bought us 3 Flip covers with 18 inserts.  The Flip covers can be reused several times by wiping down the inside after use and putting in a new insert. On the outside these diapers look exactly like the 4.0 diapers. The last type of diapers we have are FuzziBunz, which are also a pocket type of diaper, but they are fitted to his small tush. The downside is that eventually he won’t fit into these. My favorite type of diapers are Tots Bots, but sadly we only have two of these. Our Tots Bots are all in one and aplix, but have snaps to adjust bigger until he is out of diapers. These are my favorite because they are the most absorbent, easiest to stuff, and have the cutest design on them. However, they run about $15-20 more expensive than any of the other diapers. I was lucky enough to get them gently used from someone who sold them to me for $10 each.  I cannot afford a $45 diaper or else that would be my entire stock!

Bum Genius Flip diaper
The insert stuffed in to the Flip cover
The Flip insert - one side is microfiber, the other is fleece.
These are just folded to adjust from small to large. The fleece side is what touches the baby's bottom
We have one big wet bag, one travel medium wet bag, and one small wet bag made for only one diaper. This small wet bag is basically useless to me, but it gets used every couple of weeks. We wash the diapers every other day and then line dry.

To wash, we spray the diapers down using our Diaper Spray attached to our toilet and our Spray Pal, which holds the diapers in a funnel shape as you spray the diaper. Occasionally, I don’t need the Spray Pal, but it has been my best friend when cleaning nasty poopy diapers in the toilet that aren’t solid poo. This kept me from getting any back splash on myself or all over the bathroom.  

We rinse the diapers on a regular cycle with no detergent, and then we do a cycle with cold water (extra heavy) to get the max amount of water in the washer with 2 scoops of detergent. We use Rockin' Green laundry detergent. We like this detergent because it is dye free and naturally scented with no fillers. It is made for cleaning cloth diapers, and it works wonderfully for us!

To dry, we simply hang them out on our clothesline. The sun takes out any stains and they are stark white every time.  During the winter, we have a indoor drying rack we use to hang all the diapers to dry. This two-day cycle really helps us have enough diapers for two days and gives the diapers enough days in between that they don’t wear out being washed every day.

Comment below for any additional questions you may have that I left out, and I’d be happy to answer them!

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