Before using cloth diapers, I suggest doing as much research as you can about them. Jumping in head first with no knowledge will leave you wounded, crying, wasting money and stressed out… trust me I know from experience. I wasn’t always wanting to use cloth diapers. I remember walking down my neighborhood as a young girl and there was one house that had cloth diapers drying on a line. I was like really they make disposable ones why not just use those?? Oh my naïve thinking.
My challenges and struggles
Since turning into a mature adult, I have changed my view on cloth diapers. I have been using them for 4 out of the 8 months Jediah has been on this earth. When I started using them I had no idea how to use the diapers. I remember looking at them and thinking “oh I can put one insert in the pocket and one where his butt is and keep using the same diaper cover all day long.” That thinking changed very quickly. The first time I used them he leaked and peed everywhere. I cried over the diapers because they smelt bad or were leaking all the time. I didn’t know how to use them, and always worried about if they were to loose or to tight on Jediah. I needed to use them though. Jediah was allergic to all other brands of diapers plus I wanted to be eco friendly in using cloth diapers. I googled videos on how to use the diapers, but there still was so much to learn. I reached out to a couple of friends who suggested to go to fluffloveuniversity.com and this site did a world of wonders for me. Although I still had to look up a couple other sites for various of things but this was my go to site.
What I use
The type of diaper I have been using is a clasp and snap with pockets for inserts. Little did I know there were different kinds of cloth inserts and covers to choose from. Keep in mind, inserts need to be washed 5-8 times before they are fully able to absorb liquid. this also depends on the type of material you use as well. And depending on the size of your child you may want to consider doubling the liner in the diaper. I use one bamboo and one minky in one pocket diaper and it seems to work well. Also you need to make sure that you are not using the wrong type of diaper cream as the wrong kind can be hard to get out or ruin your cloth diapers. If you did use the wrong kind like me, just use a tooth brush, liquid dish soap, and scrub and soak till mostly gone.
The ones I use are:
- Microfiber-which absorbs wonderfully but leaks when you squeeze it. I was told to use a cheese cloth around it to help keep the pee in. These are not my favorite inserts.
- Bamboo- I love bamboo inserts. The ones I bought were big and absorbed wonderfully.
- Minky- I didn’t realize I was using minky until I read it on another blog site. They act like microfiber but feel and look nothing like it. My personal opinion is that they are too small to absorb everything and end up leaking.
- Disposable inserts-These I only use for lining the inside of the diaper. I don’t actually use these inside the pocket itself
There are many more to choose from but these are what I am starting with and will probably look into buying hemp or cotton inserts as well. You also can aid in absorbance by using a cut up flannel sheet instead of the disposable inserts. I’m just using the inserts till they are gone then will invest in the flannel.
Washing and drying
I was clueless on how to wash them. Did you know there is a certain way to wash your cloths? Neither did I!! after trial and error and a couple pages of research, I think I found a pretty good way of washing my diapers. First I use a cold rinse cycle without detergent to help get the pee and poo out ( breast milk is water-soluble so you don’t need to wash them down necessarily. Solids you do need to wash down first before throwning into washer). After that, I wash them with other cloths because I have a HE washer and it needs to be filled more than half way full in order to clean your cloths. This was another learning lesson for me. I made sure to use the right amount of detergent and the right kind of detergent to clean the diapers.
Also depending on the different type of water you have, such as hard water or soft water, you have to use borax or a cleaning agent to help boost your laundry. Otherwise, your expensive detergent is just binding with the minerals, iron and more and being flushed down the drain. For instance, using vinegar with hard water is actually counterintuitive. For many washes, I was wondering why my diapers were not being cleaned and it’s because vinegar does not work well with hard water.
Another valuable lesson I learned was that if your baby gets a yeast infection you have to strip the diapers of the yeast and spores. To do this I suggest using the website I provided up above. Although using bleach helps strip the diapers you can not use bleach with iron enriched water as it will turn your diapers a rust color. Not sure if its dangerous but for safety reasons lets just say do some research before using bleach. To test your water to see if it has iron, take a cup of water and add a dash of bleach. If it turns orange you have rust in your water.
In addition to using bleach, make sure you are safe about it and make sure its the kind that disinfect. You don’t want to bleach your diapers every wash because it will ruin your diapers. another thing to know is that bleach doesn’t kill the spores of yeast. In addition, I didn’t like using the bleach. Don’t get me wrong, the bleach worked well but I would always get sick the day after using the bleach. I am very sensitive to chemicals and fragrances. So after trying bleach, I also used tea tree oil to kill the yeast and grape seed fruit extract oil to kill the spores despite some un-popular reviews. This seemed to do the trick and he has not had a yeast infection in quite a while.
Depending on the type of diaper, you need to follow the instructions given to you on the tag. For mine, I dry on low heat. The pockets really should be dried and placed on a clothes line. This will help you with stains and the urine smell. So far I have found a pretty good concept on how to use the diapers. There are still challenges and I know that I am still learning. So far we have saved about 30-50 dollars a month so I think its been a worth while investment in.
If you have cloth diaper advice please share down below. Or let me know your cloth diaper challenges and success stories.