Cloth Diapering Exposed!

 Ever since I started cloth diapering my son at around a year old I have gotten so many questions from friends. The biggest one probably being, why? Quite honestly I started it because of how cute they looked! A baby with a fluffy animal print butt has got to be one of the cutest things I have ever seen. On top of the cute factor is the cost, can you imagine all the amazing outfits you could buy with all the money you would save on disposables? Over a 3 1/2 year time period, you will have used over 8,700 disposable diapers on one child, totaling $2358 for discounted name brands and $1862 for generic/store brands. Did you know that cloth diapered babies generally have less rashes, irritation, and blow-out's (disgusting explosive poops that generally run up the back of baby and out of the diaper legs causing much disgust and frustration in parents who use disposable diapers) then those of babies in sposies? Cloth diapers are healthier for your baby too- made of natural materials they are void of chemicals like those added in their counterparts. Did you know disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin a toxin that can trigger genes that promote the growth of fat cells, causing obesity in humans? Furthermore they contain the same chemical removed from tampons due to toxic shock syndrome concerns.

You can read more on the harmful additives in disposal diapers here:
Disposable Diapers Exposed

I have truly come to love the natural look and feel of cloth diapers on my children. To me it seems more normal to put my kids an cloth then it would a disposable diaper. After all, before the ease of paper diapers what ever were are kids diapered with? Why cloth of course! I adore my diapers and the entire process they entail. Contrary to popular belief the laundering and care of cloth diapers is not messy or gross. Once you get past the learning curve it becomes like second nature and you quickly forget the confusion you had in the first place.

What kind of diapers are out there?
There are so many options for you to choose from should you decide that cloth diapering is the way you want to go! While I am a fan of pockets as they are the closest option to disposable diapers many love the old school look of flats. Whatever you buy you can trust that your diapers will get you through from birth to potty training. I like to buy the one size fits all (pocket) diapers so I don't have to continue to buy new ones every time my child grows.
These are one layer diapers generally made of 100% cotton gauze. These diapers are the ones most people generally think of when you say "cloth diaper".  They dry extremely quickly and fit a large range of sizes. Folding and pinning are involved in this type of diaper. 
How to fold a flat:
These are diapers made up of layers of fabric with the middle being the most absorbent. They are easy to fold into thirds, place on a cover, and simply fasten cover onto baby. This or you have the option of using a Snappi or pins to have the prefold more fitted on the baby. The end result of folding this diaper should pretty much look the same as a flat diaper.

 These are diapers that have snaps or velcro to fasten around baby. These are great in the fact that they are keep runny poo (especially from newborns) from leaking out. If you want to use a fitted diaper under clothes, you will need a cover. Some people let their children wear a fitted at home without a cover, but because this type of diaper had no waterproof layer  they can become wet on the outside when soiled, so a cover is necessary if you want to ensure that clothing stays dry.

Contoured Diapers 
  These diapers are similar to prefolds, but they are shaped to fit baby.  They fit very trim and do not need pins to stay secure.  Like the prefolds, the contours highest absorbancy is in the middle.  There are no snaps on the contoured diapers and you will need a cover over them.

All in Ones (AIO) 
These are the most similar to disposable diaper in that there's no preparation before putting them on, you just fasten the diaper around baby like a disposable. You can find them with snaps or velcro.  They take longer to dry because all the layers are built into the diaper (vs. other types of cloth that you can dry the cover and inside separately).  The downside to AIOs besides the dry time is that they can be more expensive. Some as high as $30 a diaper. Again, keep in mind that whichever diaper you decide to use it will last you through potty training.

Pocket Diapers  
This is my diaper of choice! Simple for the husband and guests to use when mama is not home. These are similar to the AIO's in that they go around baby just like a disposable (with either snaps or velcro), however, the diaper lining has a pocket which you stuff with a fabric insert. Inserts are usually made of one of three materials- hemp, bamboo or microfiber  Each has thier own pro's and con's. When baby is done wearing a pocket, you pull out the insert before throwing both the diaper and liner in your diaper pail or wetbag.  Pocket diapers are nice in that you control the absorbancy- stuff them with an insert (hemp, microfiber, bamboo, etc) or even a prefold.  You can even double or triple stuff them for night, therefore creating a more absorbent night time or on-the-go diaper.

The Basics Of Washing Cloth Diapers

Quick Facts:
  • Remove as much solid matter as possible if your child is not exclusively breastfed.
  • Place soiled diapers in the diaper pail.
  • Wash every 2 or 3 days to avoid smells and excessive staining.
  • Start with a cold rinse.
  • Wash in hot water.
  • Use the highest water level your machine allows.
  • Use 1/4 the amount of detergent recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Rinse in the warmest water possible.
  • Do an extra final rinse.
  • Dry on warm or hot in the dryer* or hang outside for extra freshness and to bleach stains.
  • Do NOT use bleach or fabric softeners, including softener sheets.
Storing Dirty Diapers
I use a regular trash can with a lid as my diaper pail and line it with a wetbag which you can purchase on any online cloth diapering store (links to my fave sites listed below)
This is a dry pail. Don't fill with water, there is no need.

  What to do with Solids
Exclusively breastfed poop needs nothing. Just toss it into the washing machine, don't worry I promise nothing stays in the washer. Everything else should be sprayed, plopped or scraped into the toilet and flushed away. The diaper can then be put into the pail or wash.
Some people choose to use a flushable liner for the inside of their diapers but I don't like using them considering part of the reason I started cloth diapering and cloth wipes was to save myself numerous trips to the store.

Methods of Washing
Here are the top ways to keep your diapers clean. They are not the only way, but simply the most tried and used ways from cloth diapering moms.

  Method #1
Cold Wash/Cold Rinse Cycle with Detergent
Hot Wash/Cold Rinse Cycle with Detergent
Dry (machine medium heat or clothes line/rack)

Method #2
Cold Soak/Rinse
Hot Wash/Cold Rinse Cycle with Detergent
Dry (machine medium heat or clothes line/rack)

With any of these methods an extra wash cycle or rinse can be thrown in for an extra dirty load of diapers.Vinegar can also be added to any cycle, or (most commonly) the last wash/rinse 
  Method #3
Here is the easiest way to clean your diapers! 
Stick them in the wash with your other clothes! GASP! Diapers and clothes can be washed together and all will come out squeaky clean and smelling like fresh laundry (not poop!). 
Diapering really can be this simple!

You can use the dryer if you like. Use a medium heat at the most. You don't want to damage the PUL (the waterproof layer in covers and pocket diapers). Heat can melt the PUL and cause it to lose its effectiveness.

You may also line dry your diapers. This has the added benefit of the sun's stain removal powers. Did you know sunning your wet diapers is like a natural way of keeping them white?

     How many diapers do I need?
    The amount of cloth diapers needed depends on the age of your baby. Newborns go through more diapers then an older baby. I recommend washing every 2-3 days. A newborn will typically go through 10-12 diapers in a day. A six month old and up requires about 6-10 diapers a day. A great set-up for any age would include: 

    • 3 dozen  diapers and inserts (if using a pocket style diaper)
    • 4-6 Diaper covers (if using fitted or prefold diapers)
    • 3 dozen cloth wipes
    • Spray bottle for wipes solution
    • Water or wipes solution
    • One Pail Liner 
    • Small or medium wet bag for out of the house  Diaper Sprayer optional but recommended

    Listen- Cloth diapers aren't smellier than disposables, they aren't "gross" considering technically you are supposed to dump the feces from disposable diapers down the toilet as well. So many items have been made to make cloth diapering as simple as pulling a disposabe diaper from it's package. The diaper sprayer makes cleaning smeared toddler poop so much simpler! The laundry becomes something you enjoy doing and less of a hassle. The cuteness factor takes diapering to a whole new level! You can find pink diapers, ruffled diapers, robot, owls, trees, Hello Kitty, ANYTHING you can dream of! How could you ever pass that up???  

    If you are anything like me- you will fall in love and become addicted to sticking your babies in the softest diapers around. I have had less leaks, less smells, longer diaper wear (I typically change my diapers every 2 hours), extra bonus of doubling up on inserts and creating longer diaper wear duration (overnight usage for example). I am so happy I made the switch and only wish I had started sooner!

    My kids in cloth!

    Here are a few of my favorite cloth diaper stores on the internet. Although I wish so badly  there was a store around here that sold cloth diapers, there isn't so all of my purchases are over the web.  


      Rhiannon said...

      We have been looking at cloth diapering recently, i would love to know what brands you are using? There are so many out there, it's hard to know which brands are any good or not!

      HelloKelly said...

      Rhiannon, don't get me started on what diapers I use or you will never hear the end of it hehe!! I have to say that my all time fave splurge diaper is the Itti Bitti Tutto, it is made from all organic material and the bamboo inserts are so absorbent. I use them as night time or out of the house diapers mainly. They are hands down the cutest and softest diapers I own. Sadly, they are also about $20 a diaper. So this mommy only owns 2 for now. But I LOVE them. I mainly stick with One size pocket diapers (here are a bunch of differant brands to choose from- that list I have Fuzzibuns, Kawaii, and Rumparooz which work best for tinier short wasted babies. All of those I would highly recommend. I had used Flips for a while as well but ended up giving them away because I did not like how the insert bunched up in the front after my son peed in it, looking back now though I wish I had kept them and tried some other methods to getting it to work better. I liked the idea and they were so simple when I was first starting out. Let me know if you have any other questions, I am always up for a good cloth diaper convo! xox

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