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When it came time for Melanie to start wearing cloth diapers (which didn't happen until she was about two month old), the actual act of cloth diapering suddenly became VERY overwhelming.
Like, I got completely flustered and felt like it was too much work. So, I reached out to friends who cloth diapered and asked them for help.
Using their tips and advice, I was able to figure out an easy-peasy system for cloth diapering.
Y'all know I'm lazy. Like, LAZY lazy.
I was crap at tummy time because it was too hard to get back up again after being on the floor. I don't do Mommy and Me classes because it would involve putting on pants and showering. My baby co-slept because I didn't have to get out of bed at night to nurse her.
Yeah, I'm hella lazy.
Here's the Lazy Bitch's Guide to Cloth Diapering:
If you cannot cloth diaper – no judgement. As long as you are caring for your baby – you're doing it right.
Do What's Easy
There are a million cloth diaper options out there. Every style, material, size, whatever. If you're just going into this and a nervous then go with what's easy.
For me, that meant sticking to traditional disposable diapers at night and while we were away from the house and using the insert-style of cloth diapers at home.
We tried all cloth, all the time and it just didn't jell with our lives so we do what we do and are happy with it.
Don't beat yourself up – just do whatever is easiest for you and move on.
Buy in Bulk
Nearly every single person either bought me diapering items from my registry or gave me gift cards to fill in the blanks. Currently, I have just under two dozen diapers which last about a day and a half.
I actually wish I had an even two dozen so I'd recommend that number for you to aim for.
I also have two inserts for every one diaper. This is great in a pinch because the diapers themselves wash and dry really quickly so if you're in a bind, you could just do a load of the diapers and then use your second set of liners.
But seriously, BUY IN BULK.
Washing and Drying
Don't do what I did! Understand how to properly wash and dry your cloth diapers to extent their life. It's not hard or time consuming – just a little different from “normal” laundry.
Wash the load as a white load. If you have a newer washing machine then you probably have this option.
If not, it's just a long wash in HOT water that's followed by an extra rinse cycle.
*If the diapers are still a little funky smelling, go ahead and soak them in the washing machine or a sink. Then run another rinse cycle.
Use a fragrance-free, dye-free laundry detergent. Companies make special cloth diaper detergents and your warranty may require you to use their brand.
Mine doesn't so I just use the same Seventh Generation detergent that we use for our regular laundry. I just use a teeny tiny bit (like, half of the smallest load size).
For drying, you have two options – dryer or line. I am lazy so I dry mine in the dryer on a gentle setting, except the cloth diapers (they should never be dried in a dryer) which I hang on one of these puppies.
At some point, we'll rig up a clothes line outside and I'll dry everything out there (An added perk? Sunlight is a natural bleach agent).
Always Have Everything Prepped
Trust me. It's a lot easier to cloth diaper a wiggly baby if you already have everything ready to go.
Assemble the diapers as soon as they dry. Keep them in an easy to access area. Have your diaper pail cleaned and filled with soapy water.
Pre-mix your detergent (or have some on hand). Know how to wash and rinse cloth diapers for your exact washer/dryer model.
Prep, prep, prep = less work, work, work.
Also, if you're just getting into this, practice cloth diapering first (like on a doll, stuffed animal, your dog…) so you can memorize where everything goes.
Use the Right Tools
I have the following stuff for cloth diapering:
Insert-Style Cloth Diapers:
These are the easiest ones for me to use. I picked the Charlie Banana brand because they were cute, easy, and were readily available at Target at the time.
An Extra Set of Cloth Inserts:
See the buying in bulk section above for more on this.
A Box of Bamboo Liners:
Once Melly starts pooping more solids and on a schedule, I'll use these liners to get a little more time out of the cloth diapers.
A Package of Disposable Inserts:
When Melanie is teething, she gets diaper rash and cloth diapers work best for this time.
The disposable inserts are great for when we're out and about and I don't want her to have to wear traditional disposable diapers.
Fragrance-Free and Dye-Free Laundry Detergent and Epsom Salts:
The detergent is to wash the diapers. The salts are if you have hard water.
***A Note About Wipes***
I use regular wipes. You can use cloth wipes.
The advantage of cloth wipes is that they can be reused, washed with the diapers, and “trashed” in the diaper pail after being used.
The suck part of regular wipes is that I have to toss them in the trash and they can stink everything up (and look icky).
However, at this time, we have no room for cloth wipes but hope to switch to them once Mel's room is completed (and we can have a real changing area).
If you're interested in doing cloth wipes, here's a great post on them.
I had a real issue with a terrible barnyard smell and leaking after about six months. After asking around in a local group, the lovely Amanda Reyna of Optimistic Heathen offered me several bits of GREAT advice.
For one, she explained that cloth diapers get a build up of ammonia and yeast and need to be stripped every three to four months to combat the issue.
She recommended the tips in this post or using a product like Rockin’ Green’s Funk Rock (a specially designed “ammonia bouncer” that can be used either for stripping or can be sprinkled in your pre-wash as an ammonia deterrent).
Another tip to try was to boil them and add a bit of Dawn – or include a few squirts in a top loader washing machine:
- Wash diapers as usual. No need to dry them.
- Add 1-2 Tablespoons of dish detergent (blue Dawn works best) to your washer and wash diapers on hot. Soaking for a few hours can help too. DO NOT add extra detergent or use more than this amount, you will find yourself in a bad sitcom episode as you scoop up acres of bubbles.
- Rinse, rinse, rinse the diapers until there are no bubbles left when the machine agitates.
Rinsing and hard water seemed to be my biggest issue so here's what I do:
- Wash the diapers as usual.
- Soak them in hot, hot water with a bag of Epsom salts dissolved in it. I soak them overnight because… lazy.
- Run them through the soak cycle of your washing machine. Do not rinse in between – you want to fool the front loader into thinking there's more laundry than there actually is so it will use more water.
- Run the rinse cycle a few times. It's key to RINSE the crap out of cloth diapers to really get rid of the funk.