Cloth Diapering for Beginners
Cloth diapers are a great choice for parents who are looking for a more sustainable alternative to disposable diapers. Cloth diapering 101 is where you will find everything you need to know about cloth diapers. From the benefits of using them, different types and brands, cost savings in the long run, how to choose the right diaper for your baby and more!
They have been around since the late 19th century, and they continue to be popular among environmentally conscious parents today.
With so many different brands on the market, choosing what type of cloth diaper is right for you can be daunting.
In this article, I will discuss the different types of cloth diapers available, as well as some tips for beginners on how to get started with cloth diapering.
What are cloth diapers and how do they work ?
Cloth diapers have made a big comeback in recent years, and for good reason! They are not only economical, but they are also eco-friendly and can be more comfortable for baby.
Cloth diapers work by absorbing liquid into the fabric, whereas disposable diapers use a chemical layer to do the same.
There are a few different types of cloth diapers: All-in-ones, which are one piece and easy to use; pocket diapers, which have a waterproof outer layer and a pocket in which you can insert absorbent material; fitted diapers, which are similar to disposable diapers but need to be paired with a waterproof cover and pre-fold diapers, which are made of a sturdy fabric and usually require folding before use.
I personally use the all in one packet diapers with the waterproof outer shell and cloth inserts. I almost always double up on the absorbent inserts to avoid any and all leaks.
If you would like to see the particular pocket cloth diapers I use click here. Not only do these work great but they have cute designs!
How many cloth diapers do I need?
When I first began cloth diapering my baby he was already 6 months old.
Through trial and error I quickly discovered that he went through 8 -10 cloth diapers each day. As a cloth diaper beginner your needs will depend on the age of your baby and when you decide to start cloth diapering. See the list below for a simple guide to help you get started.
- Newborn 8-12 cloth diapers per day
- Infants 8-10 cloth diapers per day
- Toddlers 6-8 cloth diapers per day
It is safe to say you will need at least 24 cloth diapers to get started.
This will give you enough for each day of the week, as well as a few extras in case of accidents. You can start with as little as 12, but you will need to do more laundry each day to keep up.
How to wash cloth diapers?
When it came to washing cloth diapers as a very busy mom of three I opted for the easiest and least time consuming way.
You may choose another way to go about cleaning your cloth diapers, but here are the basic steps I took.
First, in my personal preference I decided I did not want to spend the extra time and money on a cloth diaper toilet bidet diaper sprayer. I also did not particularly care for the possible mess I would encounter. Instead I chose to use the disposable flushable liners.
With these liners I was able to quickly remove my babies poop and place it into my diaper pail. This meant there were little to no stains on my cloth diapers from solid waste and little to no messy clean up.
With this choice of disposable inserts my cloth diaper washing routine became very simple.
This is my wash routine.
First, I set my washer to a cold water wash and a medium sized load. Next, I add my diaper liners, my cloth diapers, and any other laundry I need to do. I let the washer run its course and then hang my diapers outside to dry or tumble dry on low heat. If you choose not to use disposable liners, then your washing routine will be slightly more complicated, but still manageable.
What are some common cloth diapering washing mistakes?
1. Always pre soak (If not using liners). Soaking the diaper in a solution of water and detergent will help loosen any stains and dirt build-up.
2. Not using enough detergent. Use enough detergent to get the diapers clean, but not so much that it leaves a residue on the fabric.
3. Overloading the washer. This can cause the diapers to not get clean and can also damage your washer’s motor.
4. Not rinsing the diapers properly. Rinsing the diapers will remove any soap residue and help them dry faster.
5. Hanging the diapers to dry in direct sunlight. Sun can fade the color of some fabrics, so hang them in a shady spot instead.
What detergent should I use to wash my cloth diapers?
You can use any type of detergent that is safe for baby clothes, but you will need to avoid detergents with fabric softeners, optical brighteners, or enzymes.
Many parents use Tide or Borax both are good options. Detergent is crucial because it can cause cloth diapers to lose their absorbency. If they lose absorbency they will leak, and no one wants that!
Can I reuse cloth diapers?
Yes, you can reuse cloth diapers as long as they are free of fecal matter and urine.
How long do cloth diapers last?
Cloth diapers can last for several years if they are well-maintained.
However, the fabric may start to wear down over time and will need to be replaced eventually. Learning how to care for your cloth diapers properly is a must!
What is the cost of cloth diapering?
Cloth diapering can be more economical in the long run than using disposable diapers, but the initial investment can be a bit higher.
Disposable diapers can cost $2000 or more over the course of 2 years. You will need at least 24 cloth diapers to get started, and they can range in price from $10 to $30 each.
In contrast, disposable diapers typically cost around $0.25 per diaper. You will also need to purchase a diaper storage container, a wet bag, and some detergent, which can add up to another $50 or so.
Cloth diapering is a great way to save money in the long run and will help the environment, but it’s important to do your research first to find out what will work best for your family.
Should I buy cloth diapers used?
Buying used cloth diapers may work for those who are experienced in cloth diapering, but not for a newbie.
In the beginning it is hard to know what to look for and you will end up buying whatever looks good in the picture and are priced reasonably. When I did this I wasted a lot of money because the cloth diapers were either stretched out or non absorbent. To read more about this click here.
When Should I start cloth diapering?
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to when to start cloth diapering it’s entirely up to you!
Some parents choose to start using cloth diapers right from the beginning, while others switch over once their baby reaches a certain age or size.
If you are a new mom be sure to give yourself enough time to get accustomed to the new routine.
What are the pros and cons of cloth diapering?
The pros of cloth diapering are numerous. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 3.4 million tons of disposable diapers end up in landfills every year. That’s a lot of wasted resources!
Cloth diapers are economical, eco-friendly, and more comfortable for baby. They also allow you to customize the absorbency, which can be helpful for babies with sensitive skin.
The cons of cloth diapering are that they require more work than using disposable diapers. You will need to wash soiled diapers every 2-3 days and they can be a bit more expensive in the beginning.
But overall, the pros outweigh the cons and cloth diapering is a great choice for any family.
Q: How many cloth diapers do I need?
A: You will need at least 24 cloth diapers to get started.
Q: What detergent should I use to wash my cloth diapers?
A: You can use any type of detergent that is safe for baby clothes, but you will need to avoid detergents with fabric softeners, optical brighteners, or enzymes. Tide Free and Gentle is a good option.
Q: Can I reuse cloth diapers?
A: Yes, you can reuse cloth diapers as long as they are free of fecal matter and urine. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly before placing them in the wash.
Q: What is the best way to dry my cloth diapers?
A: The best way to dry your cloth diapers is to hang them outside on a clothesline. If you don’t have a clothesline, you can also dry them in the dryer on the lowest setting. Just be sure to remove them before they are completely dry to prevent any shrinkage.
Q: What is the cost of cloth diapering?
A: Cloth diapering can be more economical in the long run than using disposable diapers, but the initial investment can be a bit higher. You will need at least 24 cloth diapers to get started, and they can range in price from $10 to $30 each. In contrast, disposable diapers typically cost around $0.25 per