Newborn Cloth Diapering 101

So what’s the latest and greatest rage in parenting these days? Well it seems like all the cool moms are in the cloth diaper crew. I should know…I’m one of ’em.

But seriously, cloth diapers do seem to be all the rage right now (see how cool I’m not? I just wrote “all the rage” like MY Mom would do…so NOT cool).

And why shouldn’t they be? There are a million and one diaper brands and a zillion cute patterns and colors to chose from. There are so many options you can find a diaper that not only exactly fits your child (no more one-size-fits-most guess work with disposables) but you can find a brand that fits your lifestyle and color palette (I WISH I was joking about that last part).

I’ve talked before about why we chose to cloth diaper with Cedella, though we were way too scared to start from birth with her. But we weighed the benefits, like the overall cost savings, the environmental impact and the health impact and it just made sense to us to give it a try. And we loved it. Yes, even Michael too. It worked great for us.

And the added bonus? It completely remedied the dreaded poop blow-out.

So we knew that the second Isora was born we knew we’d be covering her booty with some soft fluffy cloth instead of disposables.

And we almost did.

Except that we forget about the god-awful first poops, the meconium. That shit doesn’t come out of anything (pun intended). And that damn umbilical cord stump that needs the special little notch cut out to heal properly.

So we bought one pack of little Huggies Naturals that lasted approximately a day and a half. And another. At which point I put my foot down and ordered some newborn diaper covers with the little notch cut-out for about the same price as two packs of diapers. She’s been in cloth ever since. And has never had a single blowout. It’s lovely.

Here’s what our newborn stash consists of:

24 Kissaluv Fitted in Newborn – size 0 (newborn) (so lovely and soft and easy to use)

3 Prowrap Classic Covers (all velcro) – size newborn (perfect for the first month but she’s already out of them)

3 Prowrap Classic Covers (all velcro) – size small (generously sized and very easy to use)

3 Rumparooz Diaper Covers (2 velcro & 1 snap) – size newborn (Love love love these, and they’re adjustable and will work for a while)

6 Imse Vimse Diaper Covers – size newborn (though I am NOT a big fan of these at all, hence the other covers in the stash)

1 Bum Genuis Pocket Diaper (discontinued style) – size small (it’s alright, but not a favorite)

1 GroBaby All in One (discontinued style) – size small (great diaper but the newer style is better)

1 FuzziBum Elite One Size Diaper (would be a great diaper if stuffing the pocket was easier, it’s such a pain in the ass I don’t use it much)

Totaled up this is 27 diapers, most of which will only work for another month or so. She’s already too big for the Prowrap newborn size covers. The newborn sized fitteds are supposed to last up to 15 lbs. which Zorie will certainly hit within a month or so, since she’s already around 12.5 lbs. At that point she will go right into the GroVia All in 2 system that we use with Ella. Sure they’ll be sharing diapers (cutting down on our stash and increasing our laundry) but those diapers work best for us and are one-sized so they’re fully adjustable per child.

There are a couple of major drawbacks people see when debating whether cloth diapering will work for them. One of which is the laundry factor.

I know most people HATE doing laundry. I don’t happen to hate it, cause once you throw all the stuff in the machine your work is done until you have to switch it to the other machine. My hatred comes in the folding and putting away part. I LOATHE folding clothes. Seriously.

But I have a system that works pretty well. At least that is if I actually get around to pulling them out of the dryer.

I throw all the dirties into the wash (having rinsed off poop into the toilet with the sprayer we’ve installed on our toilet BEFORE putting it in the diaper pail) and throw the machine on a cold soak/rinse cycle. Once that’s done I turn on full whites cycle with hot water and some laundry detergent. Finally it goes for one more (half length) white cycle without any soap as a rinse. When that’s done I hang all the covers to dry and toss all the fitteds and inserts into the dryer on medium for about 90 minutes.

It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. But if I had our old beautiful HE front loader I could do the pre-soak, white cycle and second rinse all in one step. But we have a pretty bare bones top loader at this place. Hence the multiple cycles.

With the amount of diapers we have for both kids I end up doing a load of diapers every two days (or so). So if I washed them Monday night I’ll wash again on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. It’s really not that bad.

The second drawback people think of? The cost. And I will be the first to admit cloth diapers cost a lot up front. At least for the methods we use. We decided to purchase the entire lot of fitteds and Imse Vimse covers used from a friend and paid $200. That’s around $6.70 per diaper/cover. And that’s pretty cheap. Buying them new would cost about double that. But keeping in mind they will be used for four months (approx) and can be used on another child (or sold for what we paid for them), they will definitely cost less than buying disposables.

There’s a great site called Diaperswappers.com that I used when starting with Cedella to buy a bunch of used stuff to try different brands cheaply if you want to go the frugal route like we did.

Or you can go with a different type of diaper, the prefold, which cost $2 each for new ones and can go as low as $1 each for used. This is definitely a more cost-effective option but we didn’t love them and switched Cedella to a different kind as soon as possible. Just too much work for us. But lots of families LOVE them.

And there are tons of great sale sites and online shops that offer discounts. My favorites are Babysteals.com (sales start at 11am but the stuff goes fast so you have to log on early) and Ecobabybuys.com. I’ve bought new diapers on these sites for 40 to 65% off retail.

There are also a ton of great online diaper stores that offer point systems (that allow you to build up credit towards store rewards) and that offer gently used diapers at great prices. My favorite for their point system is The Green Nursery. It’s very straight forward and easy to use and they have great sales. And my favorite used diaper spot (and they have incredibly super duper fast shipping) is Jillian’s Drawers and their customer service reps are ridiculously helpful and sweet.

All told you will spend money up front but not buying diapers every week or two of your kids diapering days? Will save a LOT more in the long run.

In case you’re a visual person and need to see how they work I couldn’t let you go without some fluffy booty cuteness.

Kissaluv Fitted with the notch snapped down to let the cord stump heal.

Without the notch snapped down.

Cutest little Rumparooz Kangaroo patterned cover.

Our little Zorie in her Owl print Rumprooz cover. 

If you’re interested in cloth and want some help getting started by all means email me at aliwayout(at)yahoo(dot)com. Or if you want some hands on time and live in Michigan I highly recommend stopping by Modern Natural Baby in Ferndale. The ladies there are super knowledgeable and they have a million different options to chose from. And there’s Z Bear Diapers just south of Lansing which is moving to a new location in East Lansing this summer, Stephanie and her crew are very helpful and I can’t wait to visit their new store (next to Play. which is kind of dangerous for my wallet).

 

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this post!! I had some concerns about cloth-diapering, but I wish I would’ve squashed them and tried. I calculated that we spent nearly $7000 on diapers between my 2 girls. (granted, my oldest took FOR.EV.ER to potty train) But my sister is going the cloth diapering route and instead of bombarding her with clothes or other crap she’ll use for a second after she gives birth next month, I’d like to pick up a few cloth-diapers for her. I may be emailing you for a few more insider tips!
    Kelli @ Momma Needs a Beer recently posted..Tis the Season to Go Completely Insane.

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