When I was pregnant with my first son I started researching cloth diapering. I wouldn’t consider myself a “tree-hugger” but the thought of it taking 500 years for a disposable diaper1 to decompose really bothered me. There were other benefits that interested me too…such as no chemicals on my baby’s precious skin and the huge amounts of money it would save us.
I quickly became overwhelmed by all of the colours, types, patterns, and accessories available. Did we want to use all-in-ones, pocket diapers, hybrids…the choices were endless! Not knowing exactly where to start I turned to the only friend I had that cloth diapered and she explained the brand she chose and her system. I decided I would just copy her method since it worked out so well for her.
When I started talking about cloth diapering to my friends and family it was met with a lot of scoffing and joking. People thought I was crazy and that it was too much work for a first time mom. They said I would never last. That sparked the competitive side in me and I thought “I’ll show them”!! For the past 26.5 months my son has only ever worn cloth diapers…he has never once worn a disposable diaper. I was so committed to proving all the nay-sayers wrong that I took it to the extreme.
So what is our method you ask? I will tell you what worked for us, this may not work for everyone though. Instead of spending money on cutesy newborn cloth diapers that Corin would grow out of quickly we decided to use prefolds and covers. This is one of the cheapest options available and can be used for the entire diapering life of a child but we only used them until he was big enough to fit his next set of diapers.
The next diapers we used were a one-size pocket diaper. We loved these as they were easy to put on, similar to disposables for our child caregivers, but they had snaps that allowed us to adjust them to fit Corin as he was growing. He has worn these diapers since 8 weeks old and is still in them today. We stuff the diapers differently depending on if it’s daytime or nighttime.
As far as storing and washing them goes, it is pretty simple. We have a cheap kitchen garbage pail next to the change table that we put a pail liner in. When the pail is full with diapers and cloth wipes (usually every 2-3 days) I dump them in the washing machine: warm rinse, hot wash with cloth diaper-safe detergent, cold rinse. Then the covers get hung to dry and all the rest goes into the dryer.
The question everyone always has though is around poop…how to handle it, doesn’t it clog your washing machine, etc. Corin was exclusively breastfeed for his first 6 months and since BF poop is water-soluble we could just toss the diapers into the washing machine without a second thought. Once he started solids we had to scrape/dump the poop into the toilet before we could wash the diapers. Some people even invest in diaper sprayers to help get the poop into the toilet but we haven’t found that necessary for us.
I am totally in love with cloth diapering and the money it has saved our family. I highly recommend them to anyone, don’t be fooled by misinformation…the new generation of cloth diapers are NOT your mother’s cloth diapers!
About the Author
Gillian is a Doula and working mom to her 2-year-old son Corin and is expecting another little boy in July. She is a “crunchy” mama who is into homebirth, breastfeeding, baby-led weaning, cloth diapers, delayed vaccinations, extended rear-facing car seats, and babywearing.