If you’ve ever been to any pregnancy/parenting online forum, you’ve probably seen signature lines like this: “Home-birthing, cloth-diapering, BF-ing, Baby-wearing Mama of 7.” (Whoa!) You’ll probably never see “Disposable-diapering, formula-feeding, stay-at-home mama of one with a full time nanny.” Can you imagine all the shaming that poor mama would get?
Certain parenting methods are worn proudly like Girl Scout merit badges, and cloth diapering is one of them. It’s better for the environment, it’s cheaper, it’s better for toilet learning, blah blah blah. You already know the reasons.
Yes. I DO cloth diaper. But I’m not here to tell you that you HAVE to do it. If you don’t want to, that’s fine with me. Because I get it! It seems like a lot of work, right? And what do you do with all the poop??
But here’s the thing: it’s really NOT a big deal! So IF you’ve ever considered it, I say GO FOR IT! If I can do it, You can. Because I already know I’m more of a Hot Mess than You.
Here’s a peek into our cloth diapering process.
- THE DIAPERS We use Best Bottom Diapers. I love them! It’s a system of shells with snap-in liners. I only have 8 shells, and I think around 18-20 liners which includes a couple of doublers (extra layers to snap in for nighttime or naps). They’re great because as long as it’s not a messy poop, you only need to change the liner.
- MORE REUSABLE STUFF! Cloth diapering has a domino effect on your diapering process. Disposable wipes are a pain because you have to throw them out separately (ew). Plastic pail liners are annoying because you end up replacing tons of empty trash bags. So we use cloth wipes (and a spray bottle of water & witch hazel) and Planet Wise washable diaper pail liners and wet/dry bags. Nothing to throw away! The nice thing about cloth wipes too is that you don’t use as many. The fabric grabs more “stuff” in one go. I always keep a few disposable diapers (gasp!) in my diaper bag, but if we’re not out for long I’ll bring an extra liner and one of my wet/dry bags.
- POO MANAGEMENT Ah yes, poop. When I told my husband I wanted to try cloth, he asked The Question. What do you do with the poop? I told him about diaper sprayers, and he immediately envisioned me standing over the toilet, spraying a poopy diaper and getting it all over the walls. After we laughed our asses off, I did a little research and found THIS sanity-preserving item, the SprayPal. Contains all those ornery poo particles. You won’t need this as often once your kid grows older and produces more solid…uh, specimens.
- LAUNDRY I wash diapers every other day. (When I first started, I didn’t have enough liners and was doing laundry every stinkin’ day. Don’t do this to yourself!) I’m a huge fan of Charlie’s Soap. We initially bought it just for the diapers, but now we all use it. It’s eco-friendly, awesome for people with sensitive skin, and smells like NOTHING, which I love. I hang diapers to dry overnight and then in the morning I throw them in the dryer for 15-20 minutes to soften them. I use these wool dryer balls instead of softening sheets–again, no perfumes (you don’t want to use anything that might irritate baby skin) and they’re reusable!
- DISPOSABLES Wha?? I still use disposable diapers? What a cheater, right? Whatever. I tried using the overnight double liners, but my son couldn’t sleep comfortably in them. They were HUGE, and he’s mostly a side sleeper so it was like he was lying on his side while wearing a floatie tube. I have a lot of Mama ideals I try to hold myself up to, but my child’s comfort wins this one. We also use them when traveling, because I don’t think anyone wants to be around a woman with a bag full of dirty diapers. Myself included.
OK, so it is a little more work compared to disposables. Of course it is. But not THAT much work, I swear. It sounds way more complicated than it is. It becomes habit and I really don’t even think about it. It’s like washing bedsheets and towels, really.
The best part? I hardly ever buy diapers. A giant box from Sam’s Club lasts for months, and even the smallest packages get us through 3-4 weeks. Same goes for disposable wipes. Yeah, I’m reducing my footprint or whatever, and it’s great to be less wasteful where you can. But my real reason?
I’m a cheapskate. How’s that for a Merit Badge?
P.S. I’ve found cloth swim diapers to be WAY more reliable than the disposable version. Even if you aren’t into cloth, you should at least try those!