Okay, so I first posted back in August about my experience using cloth diapers once we'd first begun. Now that we've been doing it for 5 solid months, and have gotten into solid food (yikes!), I wanted to do a follow up.
Here's the scoop: we still love cloth diapering!
I love telling this story because I wasn't sure how this was going to go when I first started suggesting it. My husband and I decided to do cloth, but he wasn't really sure about it. He was being a good husband and doing it because I wanted to. I overheard him telling his friends how much he loves doing cloth and how easy it is! To me, that was the moment of success.
So here's the deal. Cloth diapers have a learning curve. But guess what? So does everything about babies! Don't give up. There was a solid week recently that Judah and I would get back from Stroller Strides, and he'd leaked through his clothes a little. I finally got smart and realized I just needed to change him twice during his awake time in the morning because he wet them more heavily at that time. Now, we're back to no leaks. Just be observant and notice what patterns are happening. Did baby leak when the snaps were looser? Did he have a growth spurt recently? How long had it been since you last changed her? Etc. You pick it up fairly quickly. Use the customer support! Flip diapers had a great team that got back to me so quickly and asked me to send pictures so they could advice me personally about how my son was fitting in them. It was awesome!
Buy enough diapers to last how often you want to do laundry. Personally, we don't have a washer/dryer unit at home, which means trekking to the laundromat or going to Grammy's house. Since it's not as accessible, I planned for twice a week to do diaper laundry. Calculating if Judah were to have an average of 8 diapers per day with 1-2 of them being solids and needing the cover changed as well helped me figure out how many inserts and covers I needed. Another tip about the type of diaper you choose: all-in-one's take longer to dry. That's a big reason we picked Flip diapers. The inserts don't take as long, and when you're not doing laundry super often, we needed something that was less time consuming.
Let's talk laundry. To clean the diapers, my routine is to rinse them through the day as I change Judah, and spray them with a all-purpose spray I made with On Guard Cleaner Concentrate* to help avoid ammonia smell during the longer periods that I wait to do laundry. I have two wet bags--a bigger one for wet and a smaller one for solids. The solid diapers get rubbed on the stains with Buncha Farmer's Stain Removal stick (I can't recommend this product highly enough! It takes out the need to sun my diapers to get them white again, which is a good thing for when the time change happens and it gets dark more quickly or when it's raining out and I can't hang them up.). I recommend having some way to dry the diapers inside when things like this happen. It doesn't have to be complicated. I line ours up around the top of the dog fence! Haha.
Now that we're eating solid foods, the smell while rinsing them is a lot stronger, but they're easier to clean with the diaper sprayer now. Cleaning with a diaper sprayer has a learning curve too. I highly recommend paying more for your sprayer; it definitely makes a difference. We started with a Bumkins and it leaked all over and ended up cracking from falling on the floor as I'd try to adjust the diaper to spray off all the crevices. We switched it out for a SmarterFresh brand, and I love love love it! So worth the extra money. I had a friend that started out with the bucket and plunger to clean diapers, but switched to a sprayer once solid food started happening. So I suggest just starting with the sprayer from the start. If you're using a sprayer, do yourself and your bathroom a favor and buy a splatter shield. I made my own using a clipboard and flexible cutting board with this tutorial. Super easy and much cheaper!
Nighttime diapering. It's really hard to use cloth at night. I tried all sorts of combinations of things. I tried overnight organic prefolds. I tried two liners. I tried adding doublers. I tried hemp. Regardless of my attempts, Judah would wake up super often at night from being wet. I hate changing diapers at that time. I wanted him to sleep through the night! So we use disposables at nighttime instead of cloth.
Wipes. I tried using cloth wipes at the beginning with baby washcloths. When I'd launder them they weren't as soft anymore though, so I gave up on that for a while. My husband doesn't love the idea of using cloth wipes, but I think it's more convenient than disposables. With the disposable wipes, I have to go throw them away separately and then the trash stinks. I can't wrap them up in a disposable diaper like most people do. And it's even harder when I'm out and about and a trash isn't always readily available. I cut up some fleece wipes and have them stacked and ready to go to try again. The fleece will stay softer and be gentler on his bum. I need to buy some spray bottles to keep the wipe solution in; I'm going to try that route for easier use instead of presoaking the wipes like I did before. I had issues with them drying out doing it that way.
Rashes and Creams. We've had our fair share of rashes and have had to try different things to figure out what works to fix it. The first time he got a rash was actually from Honest Co. diapers that we had him in before we started cloth. We weren't able to get rid of it before we switched to cloth and then had a hard time getting rid of it with the cloth. Eventually it turned into yeast and we had to temporarily switch to disposables full time so we could use an antifungal cream layered with diaper cream--both of which we couldn't use with cloth. Now, to keep him extra dry in cloth, I top our liners with a single layer of fleece. They clean really easily and dry quick. They also stay nice and soft. Fleece wicks moisture away excellently. It's hard to tell he's even wet just by feeling the fleece layer! Underneath, the microfiber insert will be soaked through though. Pretty amazing. I use a natural baby powder to keep him dry, and sometimes target a reddened area with a diaper balm. At night, if he has redness, we use diaper cream with his disposable.
Cloth diapering on the go. It's a little inconvenient to do cloth when we go on a trip because of the laundry. Sometimes we'll just use disposables completely. Other times if laundry facilities are available to us, we'll use disposable inserts. They don't work that well in my opinion though. It's also a little tricky when you have someone babysitting that isn't familiar with cloth. I've found recording little videos is most helpful because they can refer back to it when I'm gone.
That pretty much sums up my experience! I hope you aren't afraid to give it a try; it's totally worth it!
*Check with your cloth diaper manufacturer's suggestions for what you can clean your diapers with. If you need to use the warranty, they test the diaper you send in and see if you were washing it as they suggested. On Guard products are not recommended by cloth diaper companies. I use it and On Guard Laundry Detergent because I knew I wouldn't get the warranty anyway due to needing to use the laundromat where I can't control what detergents have been used in the washers, so I figured I might as well use the detergent that I trust to be safe and natural on my diapers. I did check with doTERRA that it was okay to use them on the cloth diapers. They said yes, but the cloth diaper companies would say otherwise--just FYI.