Why should I use cloth diapers?
- Cloth diapers are better for your baby.
Disposable diapers are made of paper bleached with chlorine, plastic made from petroleum, and super-absorbent polymer gel. Using chlorine to bleach paper releases dioxins, which are one of the most potent cancer-causing chemicals out there. Dioxin exposure can also cause reproductive problems - and disposable diapers put dioxins right next to your baby's reproductive organs. Those little gel beads that absorb the liquid can actually cause asthma and airway restriction. They often escape from the diaper and end up on your baby's skin, and they're really hard to wipe off.
- Cloth diapers save you money.
A disposable diaper costs about 25 cents, on average. A disposable wipe costs about 5 cents. So each time you change your baby's diaper you are literally throwing away 30 cents. How much money can cloth save?
Cost of using disposables:
A newborn needs to be changed about 12 times a day.
2 months @ 12 diapers per day @ $0.30 per diaper = $216
An infant needs to be changed about 8 times a day.
10 months @ 8 diapers per day @ $0.30 per diaper = $720
A toddler needs to be changed about 6 times a day.
12 months @ 6 diapers per day @ $0.30 per diaper = $657
A child who is potty-learning needs to be changed about 4 times a day.
18 months @ 4 diapers a day @ $0.30 per diaper = $656
Total spent on disposables = $2249
Cost of using cloth:
2 dozen infant prefolds = $36
6 small covers = $72
2 dozen premium prefolds = $48
4 medium and 4 large covers = $96
2 dozen cloth wipes = $24
1 wetbag = $15
diaper sprayer: $35
detergent = $140
Total spent on cloth diapers = $466
That's a savings of $1783! And you can keep the diapers for your next child! If you prefer a diaper that is totally simple to use, you could have two dozen bumGenius! 3.0 One-Size diapers and wipes, wetbag, sprayer and detergent for just $621! That's a savings of $1628! If you save your diapers for your next child, then that child is diapered for free, saving you over $2000!
- Cloth diapers are better for the environment.
Disposable diapers require energy and costly oil to produce, not to mention the trees that are cut down to make them. That's right - the plastic waterproofing in disposables is made from petroleum! Do you really want to be adding to our oil problem? With all the talk of our dependence on oil and the effects it has on our climate, using oil and contributing to deforestation is not exactly environmentally friendly. In addition, if you use disposable diapers, you will be putting ONE TON of dirty diapers in a landfill. Can you picture one ton of stinky, dirty diapers? And did you know that it is against the law to put untreated human feces in the landfill? You are supposed to shake the poop off the disposable diaper into the toilet anyway - are you breaking the law? Be green - be patriotic - choose cloth!
- Cloth diapers work better than disposables.
Disposable diapers suffer from "blowouts,” also known as “poo-splosions.” The baby poops, and because rather than having real elastic, disposables just have folded paper around the waist and legs, the poop shoots right up the back of the diaper, sometimes even getting into the baby’s hair! That is why parenting magazines tell you to have an extra outfit in the diaper bag. Cloth almost never leaks because of the real elastic in the waist and legs. You don’t have the change the baby’t outfit every time you change a diaper, and you don’t get poop on you, either.
- Cloth diapers are adorable.
Cloth diapers come in a variety of colors and patterns, not just boring white. Wherever you go, people will ask you about your adorable diapers, and you will feel great knowing you are doing the best for your baby.
- Cloth diapers hold their value.
Cloth diapers can be resold when you are done with them. On average, they retain about 60% of their value. Since you need fewer diapers as your baby grows, you can trade up in sizes as your baby grows without spending any more money! Diaperswappers is the main website where diapers are bought, sold and traded.
Cloth Diaper 101
What you need
In general, you want to have enough diapers to go about two days between washing . If you are washing your diapers at a laundromat, you may want to double these amounts so that you don't have to go as often, but make sure to spray off the diapers thoroughly before putting them in the pail.
30 to 36 diapers (any type). If you are using fitteds or prefolds, you will need about four to five covers per dozen diapers.
24 diapers (any type.) If you are using fitteds or prefolds, you will need about three to four covers per dozen diapers.
18 diapers (any type.) If you are using fitteds or prefolds, you will need about three covers per dozen diapers.
12 diapers (any type.) If you are using fitteds or prefolds, you will need about three covers per dozen diapers.
* You need as many wipes as you have diapers, plus another dozen.
* The Diaper Sprayer is essential for clean and fresh-smelling diapers.
* Six diaper doublers for naptime, long outings and overnight.
* If using prefolds or Snappiable fitteds, you need two or three Snappis per dozen diapers.
* I have one wetbag for each diaper bag (if you have a daddy or daycare diaper bag, too.)
* Diaper pail - a kitchen size trash can is fine.
* One or two pail liners - one for dirty diapers and another to use when you're washing the first.
* Wipe solution.
* Cloth-safe diaper rash salve.
* Approved laundry detergent.
Unfortunately, like with clothing, sizing varies by brand. Most children will wear three sizes of diapers before they potty-learn. It is nearly impossible to predict at what age a given size will fit, but here are some rough guidelines. (It is always best to use measurements and not weights when choosing a size.)
Almost all babies will need to start in Newborn or Extra Small (only a 12 lb baby would be able to start right in Smalls, and even then, not until their cord falls off.) They can wear these for a few months.
Smalls fit anywhere from two months to six or eight months.
Babies often wear Mediums at about six to eight months and are in Mediums for the longest time. Many will potty-learn in Mediums.
Not all babies will need Larges. Many children thin out when they start walking and just get taller. Some companies make a Medium-Long or Petite Toddler for this reason.
Extra Large is rarely necessary.
One-Size diapers are very popular as they can theoretically be used for the whole time a child is in diapers, saving a lot of money. This may not work out in reality because one-size diapers are too big for some newborns, and too small for some toddlers. The one-size feature is accomplished in two ways: either there are snaps on the front of the diaper that allow it to be folded shorter, or adjustable elastic in the legs of the diaper that can be cinched up.
How do you decide what to buy?
There are so many diapers out there that it can be totally overwhelming to decide what to buy. I recommend buying a variety of diapers at first so that you can find out what diapers you like the best. Also, babies change shape as they grow, and your favorite diaper will change from month to month.
The right diaper for you depends on your main reason for choosing cloth.
I’m cloth diapering to save money.
Prefolds and covers or one-size all-in-ones or pockets.
I'm interested in cloth but only if it is easy.
Your best bet is an all-in-one or pocket diaper that goes on like a disposable.
I want to protect the environment.
Choose any style of diaper made from organic fibers like cotton, hemp and bamboo.
My child has very sensitive skin/is allergic to disposables.
Choose stay-dry materials like microfleece or suedecloth, commonly found in most pocket diapers and some all-in-ones. These will keep baby’s skin the driest to prevent rash. If these are not tolerated, then try organic cotton.
My child will be in daycare.
Choose an all-in-one that closes with Velcro/aplix so that it will be easy for anyone to use. Buy several wet bags for the day care to use.
How to Use Your New Cloth Diapers
Step One: Prep your diapers
New diapers need to be "prepped" before you can use them. This gets the fibers ready to absorb. How you prep the diapers depends on the material they are made from.
PREP NATURAL FIBERS (COTTON/HEMP/BAMBOO) ONLY WITH OTHER NATURAL FIBERS. DO NOT PREP MICROFIBER/MICROFLEECE/SUEDECLOTH WITH NATURAL FIBERS. When natural fibers are prepped, they release oils and waxes which would coat the microfiber/microfleece/suedecloth and make it repel instead of absorb. Once all items are prepped, they can be washed together.
Simply wash the diaper once with a small amount of approved detergent and dry on hot.
The unbleached cotton still has its natural oils which need to be removed before the diaper will absorb. During the prepping, the diaper will shrink and quilt up. The quickest way to prep prefolds is to boil them for 15 minutes, wash them twice on hot with an approved detergent, and then dry on hot to remove the lint, and then wash them twice more on hot with a little bit of detergent, and then dry them on hot. Please be careful that the pot does not boil over or boil dry - the prefolds will float and you need to watch them the entire time. If you don't boil them, then you will need to do two more wash cycles.
The cotton needs to be prepped to be absorbent, but because it is attached to the PUL outer, elastic and snaps, you cannot boil it. Do two full hot wash cycles with an approved detergent and then dry them on hot, and then do two more hot wash cycles with approved detergents and dry them on hot again.
The cotton needs to be prepped to be absorbent, but because it contains elastic and snaps, you cannot boil it. Do two full hot wash cycles with an approved detergent and then dry them on hot, and then do two more hot wash cycles with approved detergents and dry them on hot again. If the cotton is dyed, wash bright colors by themselves at first to prevent bleeding.
The bamboo needs to be prepped to be absorbent. Do two full hot wash cycles with an approved detergent and then dry them on hot, and then do two more hot wash cycles with approved detergents and dry them on hot again. You can use them now, but they will become even more absorbent over the next 10 washes.
The hemp needs to be prepped to be absorbent, but because it contains elastic, you cannot boil it. Do two full hot wash cycles with an approved detergent and then dry them on hot, and then do two more hot wash cycles with approved detergents and dry them on hot again.
The hemp or cotton still has its natural oils which need to be removed before the diaper will absorb. The quickest way to prep hemp or cotton inserts is to boil them for 15 minutes, wash them twice on hot with an approved detergent, and then dry on hot to remove the lint. Please be careful that the pot does not boil over or boil dry - you need to watch them the entire time. If you don't boil them, then you will need to do two full hot wash cycles with an approved detergent and then dry them on hot, and then do two more hot wash cycles with approved detergents and dry them on hot again.
Simply wash the diaper once with a small amount of approved detergent and dry on hot.
Two: Put the diaper on
Prefold: The easiest fold is the Newspaper Fold. The Jellyroll Fold is good for containing explosive or runny poop. Put a cover over top and make sure to tuck the cotton inside all around to prevent leaking.
Fitted: Put the fitted on and then a cover, again tucking to make sure everything is contained inside.
Pocket: Make sure the insert is in the pocket and then fasten it on the baby.
All-in-one: Fasten it on the baby.
At Night: Once your baby starts sleeping for longer stretches, you may need to add more absorbency to your diapers. You can add an extra insert or two in a pocket diaper, or a doubler in an all-in-one, fitted or prefold. A very heavy-wetting baby will benefit from a thick fleece cover at night.
The number one mistake new parents make is to not fasten the diaper on tight enough. Cloth diapers have great, springy elastic which keeps the diaper snug against the waist and legs without constricting the baby. When fastened on, you should not be able to just slide your finger in the leg opening of the diaper – you should have to work your finger a bit to get it under the elastic. This keeps the poop and pee where it belongs – inside the diaper.
Step Three: Change the baby
Newborns need to be changed every hour while awake. Older babies should be changed every two hours or fewer while awake, or immediately after pooping. Lay the baby down on your changing pad. Have the clean diaper, a few cloth wipes and the bottle of wipe solution. Before opening the diaper, squirt one wipe until it is fairly wet, but not dripping. Open the diaper and wipe the baby. Repeat as needed for bigger poops. Dry the baby by fanning the bum or with a dry wipe. Apply rash salve as needed and re-diaper. If the diaper just has pee, shake out any insert in a pocket diaper and drop it into the diaper pail. If the diaper has poop, spray off the poop into the toilet and put the diaper into the diaper pail.
Step Four: Wash the DiapersClick here for instructions.
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