Our Journey with Cloth Diapers

loren jackson photography, cloth diapers, elf cloth diapers, mama koala diapers

Before you say “EWWW!!!!” hear me out!  Cloth diapers have come a long way in the last 5o years!

I’m not sure why I ultimately wanted to put our babies in cloth diapers.  I knew someone that did cloth diapers, and every time she posted a photo of her son, he had the cutest prints!  So maybe the cute prints was one.  But if I’m being honest, a greater part of me wanted to do cloth diapers because everyone and their brother had an opinion on me wanting to do cloth diapers!

Call me stubborn.  Bullheaded.  Whatever the right adjective would be for someone who wanted to do something because other’s thought their opinion mattered!

When Josh and I found out last March that we were expecting, I started researching! At first, I was lost and overwhelmed in the world of cloth diapers!  There were so many options and I wasn’t sure where to begin.

Luckily, in Northeast Ohio, we have this wonderful resource for mommas – The Breastfeeding Center.  In the “Mama Chat Group”, there was a post advertising for a cloth diaper class!  There I was, sitting in a class with a dozen other moms who were clearly pregnant, or holding their little babies, all the while looking like I had too much breakfast!

The class helped me decided which type of diapers I wanted to go with, but in the end, it was actually using the diapers that taught me the most.

Disclosure: We used disposables for the first four weeks of the newborn season.  I didn’t want to worry about additional laundry and wanted to wait until Charlotte reached 10 pounds.  While cloth diapers can fix starting at 8 pounds, I wanted a better fit, which is why we waited until Charlotte was a bit bigger.  

Pockets, Inserts, Brands, Oh My!

There are various styles of cloth diapers.  For my own sanity, I choose the One Size (OS) pockets and all-in-ones (AIOs).

One size diapers mean just that.  The diaper is one size – it fits from 8 to 35 pounds.  There are three rows of snaps on the front of the diaper that corresponds to the different weight for the child wearing the diaper.

Pocket diapers have a pocket (hence the name) that you slide an insert into that absorbs the urine from your baby.  There are SO many different absorbencies, but to keep you less confused, I use these inserts – ALVABABY Natures Cloth Diaper Bamboo Inserts.  In the beginning, we used microfiber that was included with some of the diapers, but Charlotte would soak through those and we would have compression leaks.  No thanks!  My favorite pocket diapers are the Mama Koala brand.  They are some of THE cutest prints, and they come in a set of 6 for only $39!  That’s less than $7 a diaper!

The other type of diaper we do is called all-in-ones.  Unlike the pockets, you don’t have to worry about “stuffing” the insert into the diaper because it’s already sown in!  This makes diaper changes quick, and laundry day a breeze! My favorite brand of AIOs are the Elf brand.  Unlike the Mama Koalas, Elf diapers are made in both the AIO style and the pockets!

In the beginning, AIOs were my favorite diapers because they wouldn’t leak.  It took some learning about inserts and tweaking which inserts to use until I began to like the pockets.  Now I like AIOs and pockets equally.

Cloth Diaper Facebook Groups

One of the first cloth diaper groups I joined on Facebook was Fluff Love and CD Science.  I read a lot in this group!  I read about why moms were deciding to cloth diaper, what brands they liked, what brands they didn’t like. I read about wash routines and what detergents would work best for washing diapers.  I learned that exclusively breastfed babies are the absolute easiest to cloth diaper because as long as the babies are EBF you simply throw the diapers in the washer without rinsing off.  Thanks to this group, I also have my wash routine based on my washer, detergent I use, and the hardness of my water.  If anything, you want to join this group just for the wash routine help.

Joining Sandy Tush CD has its advantages and disadvantages.  It’s because of this group that I learned about the Elf brand and can get the diapers for $5-8 a piece.  But because I am able to get the diapers so cheap, I tend to order a lot!  But having a nice stash of cloth diapers just means that I don’t have to wash diapers every night, or even every other night!

Cloth Diaper Accessories

Here are some of my must-have accessories for cloth diapering, and some accessories that others love, as well.

Bio-Degradable Liners  – These liners SAVED us after Charlotte turned six months old and started solids (here’s an article that explains why it’s best to wait until 6 months to introduce anything besides breastmilk or formula).  Once a baby is no longer exclusively breastfed, dirty diapers need some extra prep.  I’m not a dunk and swish or spray pal kinda mom, so we use these liners.  Each diaper change we place these liners between her bum and the diaper, and it makes diaper changes for number two so easy!!

Trash Can – It really doesn’t matter what you use to store your dirty diapers, but you for sure want something with a lid!  Keeps bugs and household animals out of the diapers.

Pail liners – These pail liners are a must.  They store your dirty diapers between washes.  When it’s wash day, you turn the liners inside out and wash them at the same time you do your diapers.

Coconut Oil – When it comes to cloth diapering, diaper rash creams are not created the same.  All the extras in the creams clogged your diapers and the liners causing absorbency issues.  And that’s one issue you do not want with your diapers.  Since Charlotte has been about 6 months old, we have exclusively used only coconut oil, and only need to use it on her little bum at night time.  Unless a rash starts to form then we’ll use it.

Butt Paste Diaper Rash Cream – Natural – Remember how I said diaper rash creams are not all equal?  Before we started using coconut oil, we used the green tube of Butt Paste because there’s no extra junk it in, and it doesn’t cause issues with the diapers.

Cloth Wipes – I was allll about cloth diapers, but in the beginning, I was 100% against cloth wipes.  Until I wasn’t.  When the baby is EBF, it’s so convenient to just toss the diaper and the wipe into the pail after a diaper change, I wish I would have started cloth wipes sooner!

Water Solution for Wipes – It’s so much easier to clean a dirty butt when a wipe is damp, and this is how I go about dampening cloth wipes.  They begin as a cube solid, and once mixed with warm water, the cube dissolves.  I put that solution in a spray bottle and just spray Charlotte’s butt and wipe it after.

Water Wipes – If you don’t want to use cloth wipes, but don’t want to use wipes that could cause a reaction, water wipes are the next best thing!  They’re literally just that – wipes that are damp with only water.

All Natural Magic Stick – Here’s another option to a diaper rash cream.  I have one of these, but I like the coconut oil or Butt Paste better.

Prefolds – Prefolds are great to add extra absorbency to diapers for heavy wetters.  You can add the prefolds to the diapers at night or nap time.

Spray Pail and Sprayer – If you do not use throwaway liners after your baby moves to solids (or is exclusively on formula), you need to clean off solid waste from the diapers before washing them.  Using this pail and sprayer will make life a little easier for you.  There are other alternatives, however, to the pail and sprayer.

You’ll find that once you begin your own cloth diaper journey, you’ll have your own favorite diapers and accessories.  You’ll perfect your routine.  And when you do have to buy a box of diapers for a long trip, you’ll cringe at the thought of spending $25!


Want to read Charlotte’s Birth Story? Click here!



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