Cloth Diapering is easier!
Easier on your pocketbook, your baby's tender skin, & the environment! And today's cloth diapers give you more options than ever before too!
Cotton Prefolds and Covers You can use pins or a Snappi to secure the prefold, or simply fold & lay them inside a trim-fitting diaper cover. Prefolds will become softer with each wash and should last through more than one child's diapering days. Covers are designed according to average weight ranges and come with either aplix or snap closures for an adjustable fit. The covers can be used more than once if allowed to air-dry and are not visibly soiled. I usually rotate 2 covers throughout the day and then throw both in the diaper pail at the end of that day. A newborn usually requires 2.5-3 dozen prefolds and 5-6 covers. Older babies usually require less; consider a diaper change about every 2 hours during waking hours and how often you want to wash diapers to estimate your needs.
Hemp/cotton blend prefolds. Hemp is extremely durable and absorbent, making it an excellent choice for diapers. These prefolds are great for heavy wetters and for nighttime diapers on older babies that sleep extended periods. Like cotton prefolds, a diaper cover is also required.
Fitted Diapers These are great for containing loose stools in breastfed babies. A diaper cover is also required. No pins or Snappi needed!
Contour Diapers / Inserts These diapers are often designed for a specific brand of cover. They are contoured to best fit both the cover and your baby's shape, resulting in a trimmer fit.
All-in-One Diapers. The name says it all! These contain both the diaper and the cover in one piece, making for easy changes. These are great for outings or use by a childcare provider. Some choose to use all-in-ones for all their diapering because they are so convenient.
Wool Covers: These covers are great for nighttime use. Pairing it with a prefold (use pins or Snappi) or a fitted diaper results in a completely breathable diaper. The cover can simply be air-dried between uses, but occasionally the lanolin must be replenished by soaking in lanolin soap.
Storing diapers and covers until washday:
Any container with a tight fitting lid can serve as a diaper pail. I have even heard of using a small composter as a diaper pail. Be sure it is baby-proof or not accessible to a mobile baby!
Use a washable liner in the pail that can be laundered right with the diapers. Simply dump the contents and the liner into the washer for mess-free handling!
Wet pail or dry pail? I prefer to use a dry pail, meaning I simply discard any solid stools in the toilet then throw everything in the pail. I haven't had any problems with staining using this method. If you prefer to add water to the pail so the diapers are soaking while waiting for laundry day, you could also add a little baking soda, detergent, or Bac-Out. A Mini-Shower is great for rinsing off diapers into the toilet as well as no more dunk and swish!
Washing and drying:
There is no single way to wash your diapers effectively. My method is to soak them in cold for a minimum of 30 minutes, then spin them out. I then do a hot wash and cold rinse. You can also add Â½ cup white vinegar (a Downy ball works great) or a few drops of tea tree oil to the final rinse. Some variations on this method use 2 hot washes, or an extra final rinse, or spin only before wash if they are stored soaking in a wet pail.
Go easy on the detergent! This is especially important if you have soft water. I use half of the recommended amount of detergent for my diapers and have never had a problem with getting them clean and fresh. If you notice an odor on your diapers, you may have soap build-up. To check, place the clean diapers in the washer, fill with water, and allow to agitate for a minute. Then check for suds in the water. If there, you have soap build-up. Perform several rinse and spins then check again to make sure all the soap is out.
Diaper covers will generally last longer if they are air-dried rather than put in a hot dryer.
Do not use any type of liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets. They will coat your diapers and reduce their absorbency.
Always wash and dry new diapers 5 times before use. This will allow them to quilt up and maximize their initial absorbency.
Be sure to check the sizing for each diaper cover. Average size babies may be able to skip the newborn sizes and use the next size from birth.
If your diapers become stained over time, hanging them in the sun will help tremendously in removing the stains.
Fleece liners are wonderful for nighttime diapers because they wick the urine away from the baby and onto the diaper underneath. This helps prevent rashes and night wakings. They are also great for solid stools as they roll right off the fleece into the toilet. Fleece doesn't fray so you can buy a bit from the fabric store and cut it up into strips with no sewing needed! You can use pinking shears for a more finished look.
Lavender oil works great for diaper pail odor. Simply place a couple drops on a cotton swab and tape it under the lid of the pail. Change it whenever you empty the pail on washday.
If you would also like to use cloth wipes, you can wet them with plain water or try one of many homemade solutions. The wipes can be stored soaking in a container of the solution, or you can store the solution in a spray bottle/squeeze bottle and wet the wipes as needed. You then throw the used wipes into the diaper pail and wash them along with the diapers.
Here are a few recipes:
#1: 2 TBSP baby shampoo (or baby wash)
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cups water
#2 2 TBSP olive oil or 1TBSP Calendula oil
2 TBSP baby shampoo
2 drops Tea Tree Oil
#3 2 cups hot water
Â¼ cup aloe vera gel
2 drops Tea Tree Oil