Cloth diapering all you need to know

If you’re a soon to be mamma or just interested in knowing more about cloth diapering, here is my cloth diaper 101 for new mammas that will hopefully give you all the information you need without having to spend hours researching.

Why cloth diapers?

There are two main reasons we decided to cloth diaper.

1. It’s better for the environment since disposable diapers are filling up our landfills at an astronomic rate. It’s said that every child will use 5000 disposable diapers by the time they are 3. Just think about the thousands of babies being born daily around the world and try and wrap your head around that amount of diapers needing disposal.

2. They can be reused for all your children making them affordable. While it may seem expensive to start with cloth diapers I’m here to say invest in them because you will save SO much money. Yes, it’s a little more work which I’ll explain in a bit however the amount of money you will save is a motivating factor in itself. 

Choosing the right cloth diaper:

When I started researching cloth diapers I was overwhelmed with what was out there. I decided on trying a few different ones to see what I liked best. Here are my thoughts on all-in-ones, pocket and folding diapers with waterproof PUL covers.  

All-in-ones

All-in-ones are a waterproof casing with a cloth-lined inside and a liner stitched on to the one end. PRO: These are convenient as you don’t have to look for a liner every time. CONS: you have to wash the entire diaper every time it’s wet or poopy. Meaning you need a whole lot more of these. They also take longer to dry. My conclusion, I didn’t buy more.

Folding diapers with PUL covers

These are old school pieces of square fabric (except made from hemp or bamboo) and fastened with a snappi instead of the old school pin and then a waterproof cover (PUL) gets put on. PROS: I enjoyed these for the newborn phase as they fit snug and prevented blowouts. They also dry fast as you are mostly washing the square fabric. CON: they are bulky and require folding thus are more complicated to put on. I have a few of these for Leo but tend to only use them for night sleeping due to their bulkiness.

Fitted diapers with PUL cover

You can hemp or bamboo fitted diapers that get used with a PUL casing. PROS: prevent blowouts and are easy to put on. You only need a few PUL covers. We had 4 hemp and 4 bamboo fitted diapers and these were great for the newborn stage too. I only have 1 bamboo and 1 hemp in the larger size and wish I had more bamboo ones for sleeping. CONS: The hemp diapers take long to dry, they are a little more expensive. You need many if you are only going to do fitted diapers.

Pocket diapers

These have a sleeve at the back where you can insert a liner (bamboo, hemp or microfleece fabric). The outer fabric is waterproof and the intersection is lined with soft microfleece.

I skipped inserting the liners into the pocket and just placed the liners on top of the pocket. Now, why would I do such a thing? 1. Ain’t nobody got time for that! And secondly, if I insert the liners into the pockets I have to wash the entire diaper every time it’s wet or poopy. If I place the liners on top I only have to wash the liners provided there was no poop leakage to the casing. 

PROS: You need fewer casings and a few extra liners, they dry fast and are less bulky. The liners dry fast. The inner fabric is soft against your baby’s skin. These are my favorite and my go-to for Leo. CONS: there are blowouts from the liners to the casing especially when they get older.

Once you have your cloth diapers you are set. You won’t need to buy more diapers for your other kids if you look after your diapers. Winner winner vegan dinner!! Do I need to tell you why you should be saving your money on diapers??

College is expensive ya’ll. Save that money for the future. Your kid and planet will thank you.

What about diaper rash?

Honestly, Leo has had a diaper rash once and that was from using a disposable diaper for one day. The poor baby’s bum was red and raw.

Cloth diapers tend to keep moisture away from the skin preventing diaper rash. I use coconut oil and my homemade baby powder on his little bun and at night I’ll rub on a homemade diaper balm with zinc oxide.

How to clean cloth diapers:

Let’s talk about poop. Now I know this might seem gross and you can skip this part if poop grosses you out, but if you’re a mom or soon to be mom you will probably be immune to poop and everything that used to gross you out.

Disposable diapers tend to result in blowouts quite often. This means poop exploding out the legs or up the back of the diaper when your little one has an explosion. It’s messy and requires an entire outfit change and more laundry. Plus trying to get poopy stains out clothing isn’t fun.

With cloth diapers, you can do laundry once a day or every 2nd day if you have a few more diapers and liners.

Cloth diapers laundry routine

My Laundry routine

Now that we are out of newborn diapers I only need to wash every 2nd day. I rinse my liners out in the basin with warm water and throw them into a waterproof PUL bag. On laundry day I’ll throw all the diapers and bum wipe cloths into the washing machine. I run a quick wash, cold cycle with this non-toxic, natural diaper detergent. This packet has lasted me almost 4 months.

If my diapers are badly stained I soak them overnight in baby oxyclean and warm water. I’ve also heard that GroVia diaper bubbles work wonders but have yet to try them. They are used for deep cleans and not every time.

Machine cycle:

Fast or eco. Cold, high spin and soil level medium or high depending on how many diapers there are. If you have heavily soiled diapers and a lot, then a normal cycle and 1 full scoop of detergent.

Once you establish your routine it’s easy. Rinse liners, place in a wet bag, wash in the morning or whenever you prefer to do laundry. We decided to use these hangers which are great for saving space and don’t ever break. Avoid using a dryer for your diapers. They will get damaged and shorten their usability.

But what about solids?

When Leo starts eating solids I’ll be installing one of these sprayers onto my toilet and spraying the solid poop off, then doing the same as usual.

On the plus side, these sprayers are great to use less toilet paper in your house. In Thailand and a lot of other Asian countries, they are staples. I remember having one in my Thai home and you spray your Tushie and just dab toilet paper so you use a lot less. Are we winning or what??

Traveling with cloth diapers

It’s possible to travel with cloth diapers. We have been on quite a few trips away from home and done just fine using cloth diapers. It. requires packing in all your diapers, detergent and hangers. In your diaper bag remember to carry a few zip-lock bags or wet bags which can be used multiple times for dirty diapers. Providing your accommodation has a washer your laundry routine shouldn’t be interrupted.

Overall Thoughts on cloth diapering

I love it and it’s become a routine that I don’t even see it as an effort anymore. Our water bill has increased by a small margin and one packet of detergent has lasted me almost 4 months washing almost daily for the first 2.5 months. We also don’t use wet wipes unless we are out and about. Some Warm water and a cloth works even better.

I bought one packet of size one disposables 108 count and I’ve used less than 30. On the rare occasion that we do use these, I put a cloth liner on the inside as, without it, I’ve had a few blowouts that sprayed out the back. The poop tends to stick on the liner and prevent the blowouts up the back.

Cloth diapers make clothing a little tight so I suggest buying bigger vests and onesies to accommodate the bulkier diaper.  

Cloth diapers

If you have any questions, I would love to hear them. Comment below or on my social media pages.

Until next time. xoxo Amy

P.S I really like Esembly Baby from my research and if you’re in South Africa definitely get Biddykins.

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