I've said this before and I'll say it again... Before I got pregnant I NEVER thought I would cloth diaper. I had friends who SWORE up and down that it really wasn't difficult, but I don't think I actually believed them.
It wasn't until I was showing Gil how to use the diaper genie that my friend had passed down to us that the idea of cloth diapering surfaced. As I demonstrated the way that the diapers are collected in the diaper genie and how you tie it off, Gil said something to the affect of "and then you just have basically a sausage casing of dirty diapers in a plastic bag that you throw away?!". When you think about it, it's pretty gross. We started watching some YouTube videos from parents who cloth diaper and the reasons why they did it. That's when we learned that over 26 BILLION diapers end up in landfills each year! And it takes 500 years for a diaper to decompose. That was TOTALLY insane to us. There are other reasons people recommend cloth diapering, too.
1. Better for the environment. As I stated above, 26 billion diapers are thrown into landfills each year and they take 500 years to decompose. With cloth, you aren't contributing to those numbers!
2. Resale value. If you take good care of your diapers, they will last you a long time! You can use them for multiple children and sell them when your kids are potty trained.
3. Children who are cloth diapered generally potty train faster because the cloth diapers don't wick moisture away from their genitalia the way that disposables do.
4. Affordability. The average family spends almost $1,000 a year on disposable diapers! You can buy a complete cloth diaper stash for anywhere from $150-$300 depending on which diapers you buy.
5. Less chemicals. Believe it or not, there are SO many odd chemicals in disposable diapers that enable them to absorb the way they do. With cloth, most diapers are made from just cotton and the PUL which is the waterproof outer layer.
6. Less diaper rashes. A lot of babies are sensitive to the chemicals in disposables. I have experienced this with Olivia. She gets SO many fewer diaper rashes when she is in cloth.
7. They're really cute. I've shown you some of my favorite prints on my Instagram, I mean... it's so much fun! There are so many fun brands and prints to explore and collect. It really becomes a fun little hobby.
8. There is nothing cuter than a fluffy cloth diaper booty. haha
We knew we wanted to cloth diaper eventually, and we got started later than I would have liked because I couldn't figure out how to get a good fit on Olivia's legs so she was leaking out of her cloth diapers. She also pooped A LOT, so I felt like I would be washing cloth diapers like twice a day. It wasn't until around 4.5 months that we decided to give cloth diapering another try because Olivia was having SO MANY blow outs in her disposable diapers. We took that as a sign to go ahead and try cloth again. So we opened up the stash of cloth diapers that our friends had given us and started cloth diapering at home. She went from having blowouts literally every day to only having small leaks maybe once or twice a week!
Here's our process. We have a shelf next to our changing station and that's where we store the cloth diapers. When she has a dirty one, we change it and toss it into a white plastic trash can next to the changing table. Currently, I have enough cloth diapers that I only have to wash them every other day. My new favorite cloth diapers are Alva Baby diapers. They are SUPER affordable compared to many other brands. They have a microfiber insert for absorbency, so I remove the insert before I toss it in the bin. If she has eaten solids recently, I spray the poop diapers off in the toilet with my diaper sprayer and then put the rinsed diaper in the bin. When it's time to wash, I just dump all of the diapers into the washing machine!
Wash Routine. When you wash cloth diapers, agitation is everything. You want to make sure that the consistency of your wash load is like a stew. You can add any other laundry you want to bulk your laundry load, too! First, we do a cold, light wash cycle with a small amount of laundry detergent as a pre-wash. Then I wash them on a hot, heavy cycle with a FULL CAP of detergent regardless of how full the washing machine is. You want to make sure that you use either a free and clear detergent, or a detergent with NO fabric softeners. That can cause buildup on your cloth and they will lose absorbency. (If you miss the delicious smells that fabric softeners brought to your laundry room, you can use scent beads! I LOVE the Dreft scent beads in my cloth diaper laundry. Smells like sweet little babies. Now I use them in all of Olivia's laundry.) You can hang dry diapers, or throw them in the dryer on a low heat setting. Alva Baby diapers dry pretty quickly, but you might find that other diapers take a little longer to dry.
While we do primarily cloth diaper, we still use disposables overnight because it's more convenient and we haven't found the perfect overnight cloth diapers. And we would NEVER judge anyone for using disposables! It is definitely the norm and not everyone has time to learn the process and do the laundry. It's a commitment for sure, but we are significantly decreasing the amount of diapers we contribute to landfills and that feels good! Below, I'm linking all the products and resources that have been so helpful in our transition to cloth diapering. Just click the pictures for more information!
My Favorite Diaper Brand!
Our Diaper Sprayer
Dirty Diaper Bin
Dreft Scent Beads
Fluff Love University Website
Fluff Love and CD Science Facebook Group
Has this been helpful? Are you going to try it?! Are you brave enough? :P It really isn't that bad if you have the right supplies! Plus, I am SO GOOD at doing laundry now.