Everyone does cloth diapering differently, and it takes a little while to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, but it is awesome! I’m just going to tell you what I do so you can get an idea for how truly doable it is.
We have 12 diapers:
Six of the BumGenius One-Size Organic All-In-Ones (AIO).
One-size meaning they have snaps on the front to allow you to use them from newborn right up to 35lbs, and all-in-one meaning you don’t have a separate diaper and cover, or pocket and insert – it’s all-in-one. It’s nice that these don’t have inserts to stuff, so once they’re dry you’re done, but they do take a long time to dry. I turn them inside out, and in the dryer I throw a dry towel in with them to help them dry quicker, but if it’s a sunny day I just dry them outside. The sun’s supposed to help whiten them too, so that’s a bonus. To reduce the amount of cleaning required with a dirty diaper, I use flushable liners in these.
I also have six of the BumGenius One-Size 3.0 Pocket Diapers.
Pocket diaper meaning the absorbent part of the diaper is really an insert that is stuffed inside. I was hesitant to get these because I thought it would be a pain to stuff them, but it really isn’t. I actually like them better than the all-in-ones because they dry so much more quickly. The insert is microfibre, so it is incredibly absorbent. They come with newborn inserts for the smallest size, as well as larger inserts that adjust for the 2 larger sizes. These are the ones that I put on Bailey for night, and I put in a regular insert as well as a newborn one for added absorbency. These ones clean up so easily that I don’t even need to use the flushable liners.
I bought my first 3 from Cravings here in Saskatoon, and the remaining 9 I purchased online from Caterpillar Baby, an online store based in Toronto. I saved about the cost of one diaper by buying online, and they had free shipping. I also bought a diaper pail liner and a travel wet bag. My diaper pail is just a lidded garbage can that I picked up at Wal-Mart.
So what does this actually look like in daily life? Diaper changes mean taking off the old diaper, if it’s just a wet AIO I throw it straight in the pail, if it’s a pocket diaper I pull the insert out and then throw both pieces in the pail. If it’s dirty I wipe her with a cloth wipe – I just use those cheap baby washcloths you can get anywhere for like 10/$5. I had a bunch already so I figured I might as well use them for something. I have them already soaked in a homemade wipes solution (I use the Easy Peasy one here). What used to take 3-4 disposable wipes to clean now usually takes 1-2 cloth wipes. (And no more driving all over the city just to get wipes that clean well and don’t smell horrible!) Dump the poop in the toilet, flush, then toss the diaper in the pail. Done.
For when we go out of the house, I throw a few cloth diapers in my purse, I use disposable wipes, and I have a travel wet bag. When it’s empty it stays inside my purse, and when it has a wet/dirty diaper in it I just snap it around my purse strap. When we get home, it and the diapers get tossed in the diaper pail. Done.
Usually when I have 3 diapers left, I throw the dirty stuff in the washing machine, including the diaper pail liner. I found a laundry detergent called Country Save at London Drugs that is fabulous for diapers and for all our laundry. (For diapers, it’s important to use a detergent that isn’t going to leave build-up on the cloth, otherwise they will start to repel liquid rather than absorb it – this detergent is great for that reason). So on our washing machine I do a cold quick wash with about 1 tablespoon of soap, then a hot regular wash with another tablespoon of soap. Then I throw it all in the dryer with that dry towel I mentioned before. If I’m hanging to dry, I still throw them in the dryer for about 15 minutes – I guess it makes them a bit softer than hanging them straight out of the washer.
It might sound like a lot of work after I lay it all out here, but it’s really, truly, honestly not. We are saving money, we are reducing the amount of garbage in our home, poop goes in the toilet where it belongs, the house smells less -not more- than it did before, baby isn’t marinating in who-knows-what questionable chemicals, and I don’t have experience with this yet – but they say that cloth diapered babies potty train earlier. Bonus!
So there you have it. The way we do it is definitely not the only way to do it. There are so many things you could do differently, so many different kinds of diapers you could use. You don’t have to be all-or-nothing about it. I thought I would still use disposables sometimes, but I love cloth so much that I really don’t want to use sposies anymore.