Crunchy Parenting 101: cloth diapers

Before I had my first baby I had no idea that there was a whole world of crunchy parenting out there. I've decided to start a little series about it.
  1. Cloth diapers aren't what they used to be.
    When a fellow mom first told me that she was using cloth, I was like, "People still do that? Ain't nobody got time for that!"
  2. But as it turns out, cloth had come a very long way!
  3. I mistakenly thought you'd have to be hand cleaning diapers all day long.
    Luckily this cat didn't have to either.
  4. It turns out that you can just wash them in your regular machine every couple of days!
    Since you're doing baby laundry all the time, this really isn't that big a deal. (There are also cloth diaper services but I don't know anything about those).
  5. Here is what convinced me to use them:
  6. 1- Environmentally Friendly
    One disposable diaper will sit for over 500 years in a landfill. A cloth diaper can be used again and again.
  7. 2- Cost
    The initial investment in cloth diapers scares some people off (they're about $16-$25 each) but remember that disposable diapers cost about $17 a week.
  8. 3- Laziness
    My first week as a parent, I couldn't believe how often we ran out of diapers. I ember more than once being down to our last diaper before my husband could go buy some at the store. Then we would buy too many of one size and the darn baby would grow. Our cloth diapers are adjustable so they grow with your baby.
  9. 4- Cuteness
    It has to be said. They are so cute that baby doesn't have to wear pants to cover them up. They also can pass for swim diapers. This is the last print I got, a space print from Toki-Doki! ❤️🚀
  10. 5- Less Blow-Outs
    The elasticized legs and top keep everything in 99.99% of the time (that 0.01% sure does catch you by surprise though, and usually it's because you didn't fit the diaper correctly to the baby).
  11. FAQs
    Here are the questions I get most often:
  12. Which brand do you use?
    This is only the 101 class, so I'm going to go easy on you. There are so many types of cloth diapers but I find the easiest ones to use are "all-in-ones" or pocket diapers. I used both from a brand called Bumgenius. They have colorful prints and solid colors, and they even have an organic variety all-in-one that is super trim and absorbent. I've also used Thirsties (gross name) and Rumparoos but there are many more (and even home made varieties on Etsy).
  13. Do you need pins to fasten them?
    Nope. Mostly you'll find they use snap buttons or Velcro (aka hook-and-loop). Word to the wise, babies figure out how to open the Velcro ones early on so unless you want a streaker, you might want to use more snaps!
  14. How many do you need?
    Most people recommend about 12-16. You'll likely want to buy more fun patterns as you go along though. Some people's "stashes" are out of control!
  15. How long do they last?
    If you take good care of them, they can last for multiple children! My baby is wearing the same ones my 4yo wore, and likely I will gift them to a mama once this baby is potty trained.
  16. What about the poop?
    This is usually the first question I get. Dealing with poop is super easy. The newborn poop is easy, especially if breastfed. You can just toss that straight into the machine. If there's any staining, lie the diaper in the sun for an afternoon and it will be gone like magic! For more serious soiling, you can tip it into your toilet or use a diaper sprayer (like a bidet attachment) to spray it off before putting it in your machine. (Not sure why that toilet has all those fake plants around it!)
  17. Can you buy them used?
    Absolutely! Most online retailers have a gently used section or you can find them on eBay. Careful though, some diapers will be crazy expensive used! Why? Because they have a limited edition print. Crunchy parents go CRAY-CRAY for these. The one pictured here, named "Jules" for Jules Verne, gets big money. The great news is you can sell yours, too, once you're done!
  18. Do you need to use special laundry detergent?
    It used to be that cloth diaper companies recommended cloth diaper detergents, but now they say as long as the detergent is gentle and leaves no residue (which messes with absorption and causes a funky smell) you're fine. Regular Tide is all you need. Or try Charlie's soap or Rockin' Green. You need very little for each wash (1-2 tbsp). Be sure to rinse them very well.
  19. Where do you store the dirty ones?
    In a big wet bag or a diaper pail. I like the wet bags because they zip up and contain the smells. They also hang on a door knob or can be hooked over the side of your changing table.
  20. Can newborns wear them?
    There are newborn varieties which are adorable but from personal experience they outgrow those so quickly. But they'll quickly fit into the all-in-ones on their smallest settings so you're good to go. (They are super cute though).
  21. Do you have to be fully committed?
    NO. Here's a secret: my baby wears disposables at night! 😱😱😱 Take away my crunchy card, right? We tried and tried to use cloth at night with my first and he kept leaking through because was what they call a "heavy wetter". I tried adding extra inserts and everything. So I just resigned myself to use a disposable at night. It lasts until morning. So even if you only use cloth part time, every time you use a cloth diaper you are keeping one diaper out of the landfill. Every little bit counts.
  22. Hope you learned a little something. Now go out and buy some cloth!
    Buy them during the holidays to get great sales online at places like Diaper Junction.
  23. Feel free to ask me questions!
  24. @Lindi asked: When you're out and about, and you change, what do you do with the soiled one?
    Great question! I carry wipes and a wet bag with me, and a few clean diapers. I put the used diaper in the wet bag and when I get home I wash the bag and diapers along with the load I have at home.
  25. The liner is removable, right? Sorta like a pantyliner?
    Another great @Lindi question! No. The kind I use are pocket diapers, where it's a little diaper with a pocket where you stuff in an absorbent pad of sorts. You pull this out when you wash them. I also use all-in-ones where the absorbent liner is actually sewed onto the waterproof outer layer so it never comes off. (See the organic model above). There are other designs but these are the kinds I like.
  26. Another great question! (Seriously- thank you!) Travel is easy.
    This is there part that intimidate me most at first. Who wants to travel with stinky diapers? Obviously if you can get a place with a washer and dryer, it's the same as being at home. But if you can't, you can store your diapers in a big wet bag for up to 3 days without any problems. If it's going to be longer than that without any washing access, I'd just bite the bullet and use a pack of disposable diapers for that trip.
  27. Rash creams
    Brought up by @DG The key with cloth diapers is that you don't want anything to mess with their absorbency. So most regular rash creams are a no-no. They just won't wash out very easily. That's why we use coconut oil or olive oil with our babies. If a major rash ever erupts you can always just use disposables until you get rid of it and try cloth again. (We usually just air dry for a while and then use coconut oil before putting a diaper back on, but actually we have had very few rashes!)