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Cloth Diapers: Worth it or Not?
When we first found out we were expecting Adelaide, we were over the moon excited. Also, a little anxious about all the costs involved with raising a baby. We knew we could cut some costs by breastfeeding, accepting hand me downs, and cloth diapering. I thought the idea of cloth diapering would be a harder sell to Travis on than it ended up being. And we’re so glad that we did cloth diapers. I did a lot of research on cloth diapering. To make it financially smart, we knew we would be washing them ourselves. So, we had to learn what we needed to do to wash these things. We also wanted to make sure they were easy to use, so the daycare providers would use them. I researched the different types of diapers for ease of use, function, and durability (we knew we wanted more than one child). FYI-there are a LOT of different types of cloth diapers.
The Lowdown on Cloth Diapers
First, you should know that cloth diapers are an investment upfront. They are not cheap, but they more than pay for themselves after a few months. Also, you need more than just diapers. You will also need:
Choosing the Right Style of Diaper for Your Family
There are so many types of cloth diapers out there. We chose pocket diapers because once they were stuffed, they go on just like a regular disposable diaper. These do take a little effort to prepare, but it was a mindless task that Travis and I would take on while watching TV at night.
Other types of diapers out there are pre-folds with covers. These are closer to what your parents may have used, but with covers that snap on like regular diapers. We did not go for these because of the different types of folds and we didn’t want the daycare provider stressed with learning how to fold diapers.
There are also all-in-ones. We had a couple of this type, and there were ok, but we found them harder to scrape out (yup, you read that right, and yes, it is scraping what you think it is!). They also took longer to dry, and it was harder to increase the absorbency. But, you don’t have to stuff diapers with these or learn any complicated folding methods.
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Washing the Diapers
The newborn, pre-food phase, was the easiest because there was no scraping the diapers before washing. Breastfed babies have water-soluble poop, so you don’t need to scrape it out. Formula fed babies will need to have the solids removed before washing. Once your baby starts on solid foods, you will need to have a system in place for removing those solids. Some use a diaper sprayer that hooks up to your toilet, others (like us) just dumped and scraped with a little toilet paper, or for super nasty ones, we used a bucket to swirl them in. No, this part is not pleasant, but it is so worth it.
Next, you will want to choose your detergent. You want a cloth diaper safe detergent. Some detergents leave residues behind which can impact absorbency or can lead to rashes on sensitive skin. Who wants that?! You are going to wash your diapers first in warm water with detergent. Then wash them again on a heavy-duty setting with HOT water and detergent. Follow that with a cold rinse, and then tumble dry inserts or pre-folds. We would line dry the diaper shells (anything with the waterproof material should be line dried).
I know that seems like a lot of washing, but we would wash one night, stuff the next. Rinse, repeat. Cloth diapers should be laundered every other day, so they don’t get too funky. It is also a good idea to throw in the wet bags when you wash because they can trap odors too.
Worth the (Work) Load
I will also say it is 100% feasible with two full-time working parents. Travis and I both worked full time, and made it work. It was a labor of love, but it was a financially smart way to get through those diapering years. One final perk for parents who have a baby with sensitive skin. Although Marsh had buns of steel and never got any type of rashes, Adelaide’s could not handle disposable diapers! We tried them in a pinch while traveling to see family and her skin became inflamed super quick! So, cloth diapers are definitely a big help with kids’ sensitive skin.
If cloth diapers intrigue you, I say look into it. We found a lot of information on the Cotton Babies website. This is where we ordered our bumGenius diapers or you can also find them on Amazon. If you have any tips for those interested in cloth diapers, leave your thoughts in the comments below. You can also head over to our Facebook community to share your thoughts with other parents.