Beginners Guide To Cloth Diapers & Wipes
Leading up to the birth of your child, there is so much to think about! Hospital birth or home birth? Pacifier or no pacifier? Co-sleeping or crib? Baby wearing or stroller? Cloth diapers or disposables? If you find yourself settling on cloth diapers and cloth wipes, but have no idea where to start, here’s a beginners guide!
As soon as you find out you’re pregnant for the first time, you may find yourself constantly researching like crazy and looking even more closely at ingredients. For me, not only was I cautious about ingredients, but I didn’t want the birth of my baby to mean i’d be adding extra trash to the landfill. There certainly are wonderful biodegradable and chemical free disposable diaper options, which we did use for the first three months of our daughters life. There are a couple of reasons we did this; we were traveling a lot during the first few months and realized not everyone’s washing machine cleaned cloth diapers very well, and the cloth diapers we had were not newborn size and so were uncomfortably large on our little girl.
Once she hit about 3 months old, she fit much better in the reusable diapers and we made the switch to BumGenius cloth diapers. I wish I could say there is one brand that will work for everyone, but just like anything in life, it’ll be different for each person. We tried a couple of brands that did not work for us, they didn’t fit our daughter properly and leaked. However, I know that those brands have worked wonderful for others! It’s a trial and error process, so only buy one or two of each brand to start, but finally we decided the BumGenius Original 5.0 Pocket Style worked best for us. I love that they are so adjustable and will fit your child up until they are potty trained! You can change where you snap the diaper in order to find out what is most comfortable for your baby and what prevents leaking. Of course, this will change over time as your child grows. In our research, the snaps on these diapers last longer than the velcro ones, especially if you’re putting them in the dryer. During the warmer months, I hang dry our clothing and diapers. The sun is a natural bleacher, so hang drying outside helps to naturally remove any stains, without using harsh chemicals.
After picking out a cloth diaper brand, you will need to decide whether or not you would like to do disposable wipes, or cloth wipes. We started out with biodegradable disposable wipes, but I wasn’t super happy with the plastic packaging I was constantly buying and then having to throw away, same idea with the plastic packaging that disposable diapers come in. However, there are some amazing disposable wipes out there that can be so handy, we used to use Water Wipes. We were given a set of organic cloth wipes at my baby shower and I just love them! You can also use an old flannel sheet cut up into squares.
What we do is place our wipes in a container that has a lid, such as a mason jar or plastic recycled container. Then, melt about one tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil with roughly one cup of water, the amount may vary slightly depending on how many wipes you have/how big your container is. You then pour the liquid over top of the wipes, the goal is to have your cloth wipes slightly damp, not sopping wet and not bone dry. Voila! Super simple, very natural and much less expensive than conventional wipes. Not only that, if you’re using cloth diapers it’s easier to to throw the cloth wipe into the wet bag/bucket with the diaper, rather than putting it separately into the trash can. When I was using cloth diapers, but using disposable wipes, I cannot tell you how many times I accidentally threw the disposable wipes in the wash with my cloth diapers and eventually I clogged up my dryer!
Some people may get the impression that cloth diapers are unsanitary and high maintenance, this is not my opinion at all! At home, I throw the cloth diapers and wipes into a pail with a lid that we keep in the bathroom and when we go out, I carry a small wet bag with me in the diaper bag. Every other day I dump the pail of dirty diapers into the washing machine and wash the wipes and diapers on a super hot wash, with an extra rinse. If the diapers have poop on them, you can simply dump it into the toilet, if your child is old enough for solid poops. Otherwise, you can get a special diaper hose attachment and hose off the excrement into the toilet. There are also certain flushable liners that you can place inside of the diaper, to make disposing of any waste that may be difficult to wash off. Cloth diaper brands carry special laundry detergent, this is to avoid using a harsh detergent on the diapers, which over time can wreck the waterproof lining. However, it has worked well for me so far to use a very natural and soft detergent. Like I said before, if it is sunny outside I will hang dry the diapers to save on electricity and to naturally bleach them.
Cloth diapers and wipes can be a really wonderful thing to help keep more trash out of landfill, prevent the cutting down of trees and are nice because you know exactly what you’re putting against baby’s skin. Sure, they can be expensive in the beginning, but what a wonderful baby shower gift idea it could be. In lieu of receiving a whole lot of baby stuff, it can be nice to ask each guest to bring one cloth diaper instead, especially if you’re trying to keep toys and knick knacks to a minimum. In the long run you will save money, in the first year parents spend over $550 on disposable diapers. You can get a 24 pack (recommended amount to start out with) of cloth diapers for $350, and you shouldn’t need to replace them, even if you have four kids! That’s crazy savings.
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