Ever since I was pregnant with Toddler Boy, I’ve wanted to start cloth diapers, but the investment of time and money always intimidated me. Finally, once my daughter was about a year old, my sister stepped in and decided she cared too much about the environment to keep watching me lug out bags and bags of dirty diapers to be hoisted off into a landfill, never to disintegrate. Therefore, she stepped up and bought me a Cloth Diaper starter kit, and introduced me to one of my new passions in life.
But it was not all butterflies and candy canes. It was a learning experience. Especially since I did very little research before embarking on the adventure. Thus, me providing this post to other cloth diaper venture-lovers.
The first mistake that I made, was to do the initial wash of the liners with bleach. And as my good friend and author of All about Cloth informed me (Luckily before I used them), you do not want to wash your cloth diapers with bleach. Especially since the baby’s going to pee and poop on them and cause a chemical reaction.
Second mistake that I made – Gerber pre-folds aren’t the most absorbent, so I had to layer 2 or 3 at a time and even add an absorbent diaper baby cover at night.
Also, I was using a very harsh stain-fighting detergent. You want to use gentle, free and clear-type detergents, and lay the liners out in the sun to sun-bleach the spots naturally out rather thanwith harsh chemicals.
Also, I did not know that when a baby is teething, their poop is more acidy, and since cloth diaper liners do not have the enzymes to break it down, babies on cloth diapers are more prone to get rashes. Therefore, it might be necessary to switch to regular diapers until the teething subsides.
And when they get these rashes, you’re not actually supposed to use regular diaper cream with cloth diapers because they create a barrier and don’t let the baby’s bottom breathe. You want to use diaper cream that is safe to use with cloth diapers such as California Baby Diaper Rash Cream. All About Cloth author suggests: “During crazy diaper rash time you can use fleece liners (like fleece from Joann’s cut into strips) and it helps keep the baby feeling dry. So when they have the crazy acidic poop, it can help suck that away from their skin. You can also use fleece liners if you want to use “serious” rash creams (not desitin, but almost anything else), and she can also use other creams for others purposes as for the arms or the neck from http://www.bestneckcream.com. She actually made me some fleece diaper covers, and I even used one as a nighttime training undie for my toddler while he was potty training!
What I did learn, was to take advantage of the sales out there! I happened to be visiting family in Chicago and stumbled onto a store called Belly Bum. I fell in love. But I also fell in love with the cloth diaper sale they happened to have going on! And they informed me that Cloth Diaper companies constantly come up with new designs, which means the perfectly good older designs go on clearance after a while. Buy ’em up!
And I learned about Snappis cloth diaper liner fasteners! Good-bye diaper pins! The idea of those things made me wince! These handy dandy Snappis have completely safe plastic teeth that hold the cloth diaper together. My favorite fold was taught to me by a friend. You take two liners, unfolded, and lay them down. Then lay your baby so that the top of the liners reaches the baby’s lower back. You fold the bottom of one liner, unfolded over the baby’s front. Then you take the bottom of the second liner, twist it to create extra absorbency, and fold it over the baby’s front then you take the Snappi, and snap it all together. I’ll be posting a video shot by Tom Hoebbel Photography in the near future because it’s a lot easier to see than to read how to fold a baby’s cloth diaper liner.
Belly Bum also provided me with cloth diaper waterproof laundry bags. You just flush the poop down the toilet, and stick the dirty diaper in there. Or, as All About Cloth author did, you could have a handy hubby install a sprayer to your toilet so you can get your cloth diapers good and clean before you throw them in the wash.
And I actually found washing cloth diapers a lot more convenient than having to go to the store for diapers all the time. If ya run out of diapers, you just wash them! Same with baby wipes – start using wash cloths instead, and you’ll save even more money! I did the math and compared my water bill expenses to my former disposable diaper and wipes expenses, and I am definitely saving some money. I am only spending about ten dollars more a month in water expenses.
Oh! And just be prepared that the first question people will ask you when you tell them about washing your cloth diapers, is “Where’s the poop go?” Down the toilet!