Overwhelmed! How to start cloth diapering?!

Dana - posted on 10/09/2011 ( 6 moms have responded )




Daddy to be and I have decided that we most definitely want to cloth diaper our baby girl. I have read a million articles and have researched different types of cloth diapers and brands but seem to be so overwhelmed when making a decision. We have discussed to use prefolds initially and switch to bumgenius one size diapers because I have read that the one size diapers are typically too big for newborns (especially since my baby will most likely average about 7 pounds). I know that a cloth diapering system is different with every family and baby but I just would like some advice or ideas of how to start. Suggestions on types of diapers, brands, detergents, cleaning methods (I plan to do all the washing!), or any other thoughts would be very appreciated. Thanks! :)

P.S. A few specific questions I have are:
1) When using prefolds, do we need a diaper cover?
2) Diaper pail?
3) Do we use a more absorbent diaper at night?
4) Traveling with cloth diapers?
5) How to deal with skepticism from people that just don't understand or agree with this decision? (Both sets of parents along with other family members find this decision very strange and think it is just a "trend" that we will eventually grow out of. I am SO determined to prove them wrong!)



Paula - posted on 10/17/2011




yay!!! cloth diapering is so fun! :D I love it. and believe me I got the "you will grow out of that stage sweetie" junk too, but all you can really do is smile and say "ok" or "we'll see"... and remember most of them are thinking of the cloth diapers that you ahve to fold and pin and not the cute little colorful ones with snaps that we have so readily availale to us today ;)

1) I have never used prefolds, but I would strongly recommend the bum genius. if you snap the diaper tight and then pull up the sides it will make the leg holes tighter and she could wear them earlier. (if this is confusing I can send you pictures of how to do it - it is hard to explain but simple if you can see it-- i put my email at the bottom of this comment)
You will probably want to wait to use cloth until all her meconium is gone anyway (at least a week) because that is just...ewww. I waited a full month before I started cloth on my son, because I wanted to be recovered more and more accustomed to our new life together, so that is an option, rather than trying to buy 2 types of diapers you could buy the one you think you will like for longest (like the bum genius) and choose to use disposeables for the first 2 weeks/month. I got some diapers at baby showers from people who couldn't get it through their heads that I was using cloth, and so I was able to use those until I was recovered enough to start doing laundry etc. ;)

2) I got a trash can with a step lid from walmart. works great for me. but as she gets older and the poo gets smellier you will want to get a liner for it to hide the scent, and the liner can be washed as well. I didn't need this until he started mainly eating solids. but i breastfed my baby and the poo from breastmilk does not smell as bad as the poo from formula (i'm not against formula feeding at all, just explaining)
this is the trash can I bough http://www.walmart.com/ip/Canopy-30-Lite...
it has a removeable inside so it is super easy to just lift the inner lining and dump in the washer.
this is the liner I recently bought http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005FCU... it works great, but again i found it was not neccesary until he was pretty much only eating solids and only nursing a couple times a day. you can throw this in the washer with the diapers.

3) I have not neeed anything more that the bum genius diaper ever. they come with two different inserts though, so that when they are toddlers and pee more during the night you can double line them.

4) traveling with cloth diapers is honestly super easy.
For just normal out and about stuff I would suggest one of these http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004Q31... or two... they are a little pricey, but worth it. a cheaper alternative would be to use old plastic grocery store bag to hold the dirty diapers until you get home. (i usually just leave them in the bags until I wash everything, but you can dump them into the pail does not really matter)

I have also done a week long vacation using cloth and it was easy. I used a big wet/dry camping bag to hold them in as our 'diaper pail" for the week. you can get those at walmart or academy for pretty cheap. you can get smaller ones for travel but I found after a few washes they start becomming useless and the wetness of the diaper seeps out of the bag (yuck!) so it is a better investment to get the one i linked you to for out and about stuff, or if you travel a lot to get a huge one of those for a vacation "pail" but if you are only doing 1 or 2 trips a wet-dry camping bag works fine.

1. remember that you can't use desitin or any other creams with cloth diapers, it will make them lose their absorbancy.

because of that I started using cloth wipes too because the wetness from the disposealbes was giving my son rashes. now what i do is spray his butt with this http://www.amazon.com/Thirsties-Booty-Lu... and then wipe him down with cloth wipes (you can make them if you know how to hem, just cut squares of soft fabric and hem it ) or you can buy them off etsy or amazon. therea re all different kinds. I found this to be so much easier and the spray is nice becasue it helps to treat and prevent diaper rash naturally and won't hurt the diapers, also it is easier than using disposeable wipes because everything goes to the same place. instead of having to wash diapers and have a separate place to throw away wipes you just thow it all in the same pail and wash every few days! so easy!!!

there are special types of laundry detergents you have to use. . . tide free and gentle is the easiest one to find, but you can also make your own, which is easy and ends up being cheaper. i got the recipe i use here http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/laundr...
(not sure what the rest of the site covers, but love the recipe!)

5) people will be skeptical of everything you do. especially if you are a young mom, people will come crawling out of the woodwork to tell you what youare doing wrong. I have had so many "looks" and people in grocery stores telling me things i'm doing wrong and even my husband's unmarried uncle with no children, announce during a large family meal that something i was doing if i keep doing it i will kill my baby... sigh. it is just one of those things that sucks, but is just a part of motherhood, and you learn to grin and bear it and let it roll off your skin. It hurts and especially in the early days may make you want to break down in tears (if you are anything like me) but then you see your happy, healthy baby, and know that that is a testimony that you are doing a stellar job, and so it does not really matter what every one says/thinks. No matter WHAT you do as a parent some one will tell you it is wrong or that in some rare case it could cause disease or death. the important thing is that you do your research and decide what is best for your family and ignore the rest. it is your baby not theirs ;)

i wrote a blog about why i cloth diaper here http://hopefulfuture.blogspot.com/search...
and also if you want you can find me on fb (paula rollo) to message me more questions or email me at paularollo(at)gmail(dot)com I really love helping people out, and I'm just a stay at home mom, so I have time to answer questions or point you to websites I have used if you want!


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Alicia - posted on 12/18/2011




I answer tons of your questions in my blog post: http://www.greenlifestyleconsulting.com/...

What I don't answer is the skeptism. You can either get lots of facts and argue with them, or you can just say "we're doing what we believe is the best thing for our baby and for the planet."
I tried explaining to my mother about all the chemicals they put in disposable diapers these days - I don't think she believed me - and about all the waste going into landfills and she was still appalled. Some people you just have to say "we're doing what we believe" and leave it at that.

Jordan - posted on 12/10/2011




I will answer your questions from my personal opinion and experience first. 1, You do not have to use a cover to use prefolds. However, I personally recommend the PUL cover because then you do not have to use pins or snappis and it keeps the wet/dirty of the diaper contained in the cover. 2. There are many ways to go about this. You can use Wet bags or Trash Cans. We use a Diaper Genie II without bags. Drop it in and when I put them in the wash I wipe out the inside of the Diaper Genie. I have never had problems with smell. 3. When the baby is an infant and you are up several times a night to feed, I personally just changed our daughter then. However, when they started sleeping through the night I would add an extra insert to the cover and it would take care of it. As she got older I had to use more absorbent prefolds/inserts because she would pee more and sleep longer. 4. For the first year of Cloth Diapering I would use disposable diapers when we Traveled. Now that I am more comfortable and have my at home and gone system down pat, I have no problem traveling and using cloth diaper. Even with traveling and buying disposable diapers, it was still cheaper than using disposables all the time. 5. I understand how you feel. I think the big thing is to try and not let it bother you. I know that seems impossible, but give it your best shot. Cloth Diapering is very different than it used to be and a lot of people do not know it. For the first year we cloth diapered even my siblings thought I was crazy. Now 19 months in and we jsut got back from Thanksgiving was the first time no one said anything. They all though cloth diapering was something different, was harder, and dirtier. It really is a frame of mind and they choose to believe it is hard/gross/wrong. When I showed them differently without trying to force it on them or show them how right I was, then they starting changing their perspectives. My siblings still do not believe this is the choice for them, but now they respect my choice. Time is the big thing. Some people will never change thier minds and that is where we just have to change ours. We can;t make everyone think that Cloth Diapering is the way or make them respect us in that decision. If they choose to be disrepctful and judge you about it, just talk to them or leave when they bring it up. Let them know you will respect their decision, but you will be respected in yours and if not then either not talk about it or give funny looks or you don't have to be around each other. If they think it is just a trend, time will aslo prove them wrong. I know with your first and making a different decision than the rest of your family, people will watch and judge,but just try and let it go and not bother you.

As far as the daipering systems we started out with were the FLIP and Econobum systems. The econobum willnot fit a small baby. But the FLIP system and inserts worked great for us, even with a newborn and infant. I recommend the Flip system not only because it is a one size fits all that I have seen work and still us, but because they are covers and prefolds they are easy to wash, change, care for, and carry. They are also much much cheaper than other systems you can choose to go with.

Something I did not consider until I was pregnant with our 2nd was used cloth diapers. You can find some great deals much cheaper too. Of course, when you find those deals you have to take what they are. But now with experience under my belt we have taken up some of those deals and learned how to use the other systems. they are different, but not hard now that I know what I am doing. If the price is a problem, I would check out used. Just make sure you wash and strip them really well before you use them. Hope you find some thing that works well for you and your new family!

Sherri - posted on 10/29/2011




Check out Clothdiaperdivas.com a blog from the store Cutie Poops and Bottoms. There is a fantastic diaper trial where you can try a bunch of diapers first, so you can see what you like

Dana - posted on 10/24/2011





Thank you so much on your input! We have had our baby girl! She is healthy and beautiful! We decided on Thirsties Duo Wrap cloth diapers which are absolutely adorable! They come in the cutest colors and patterns. We haven't actually started cloth diapering yet; we're waiting until we buy a new washing machine and using the disposables we received at our baby shower! Plus, she has dirty diapers so often that I didn't want to become overwhelmed my first days home with her! Again, thanks so much! I definitely am excited and more confident that cloth diapering will be a pleasant and easy experience with my daughter! :)


First of all, thank you so much! You have great advice and insight on this topic. Thank you for taking time out of your day and helping us out! As I mentioned above we decided on Thirsties Duo Wraps but aren't cloth diapering yet. I want to settle in with our little girl and get the washing machine before I take on too much and become stressed out! I feel so relieved because we have thought about a lot of your suggestions, it makes me feel like we are on the right track. We found a dog food storage bin that is the perfect size for our daughter's nursery and that seals tight with a snap lid to retain the smell! I am also breastfeeding so diapers never seem too messy or stinky but I know that will change when we incorporate solid foods in her diet. We also ordered some Rockin' Green detergent for washing her diapers and use Dreft detergent on her clothes and blankets. So far we have had no issues with rash so hopefully it stays that way! I will definitely keep your advice in mind though if we have the need for the spray.

Oh, and people have definitely been very skeptical and critical of our parenting style and choices. Both sets of parents think we're "hippies"! Haha, that's fine with me. My baby is healthy and happy!

Thanks again! :)

Nikki - posted on 10/15/2011




Hi Dana, congrats on your baby to be!!
I can't really help you a great deal because I have never used prefolds but I can share my experience with cloth nappies.

I use pocket nappies, but I didn't start until my daughter was 1 1/2, I wish I had of used them from the start! I use 2 inserts during the night, but then my 2 year old would have a much bigger bladder than a newborn, and she sleeps 12 -13 hours straight. You will probably find that you wont need to worry about absorbency during the night for a while because you will most likely be up for night feeds and changes.

I love the pocket nappies, I have a few different brands, some expensive and then a really cheap bulk lot I purchased of ebay which are just as good as the expensive ones.

When travelling I have a waterproof bag, which is made out of the same material as my nappies, so I just put soiled nappies in there and wash them when I get home.

I do still use disposables sometimes, when my daughter was sick, when we went on holidays etc.

As a mother you will have to deal with all kinds of judgements about silly things you never thought you would ever have to worry about. Other people, in particular mother's judge you about everything!! You just have to learn to smile politely and zone out lol.

But at the same time I will say that having a newborn can be overwhelming and if you are stressed with the cloth nappies to begin with, don't feel bad about using a disposable here and then, no one needs to know! :)

I hope everything goes well for you :)

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