Well Hello there!
So you’re interested in cloth diapering your baby? Welcome. My name is Bibi and I’m here to make cloth diapering easier and more accessible to you. My husband Tommy and I have had a wonderful experience using cloth diapers with all four of our little ones, including our newest additions, our twins. We’ve successfully cloth diapered for a combined total of 6 years (I get to count the twins twice right?!) And so here is a mega-list of all of the Do’s and Don’ts that I can come up with for cloth diapering. I will update this post from time to time as I find new tips, or remember something that I have left out.
When Getting Started and Researching
Do make a budget for cloth diapers. My budget in the beginning was 100 dollars. I went about it all wrong, but I do think that you can get what you need for near this price point if you are very savvy and able to be flexible in the types of diapers you are willing to use.
Don’t make your budget so restrictive that you cannot get what you really want. I mentioned before that I went about my budget all wrong with our first baby. I bought her the cheapest diaper covers I could find. They were a combinations of Gerber and Bummi’s plastic pants. They worked okay when she was a newborn, but as her thighs got chunkier, the elastic dug into her skin. I couldn’t stand to see the redness and irritation that the very cheap covers caused. Also, the Bummi’s whisper covers leaked very badly, and I was having to do a lot of laundry (especially sheets). It was not a good start.
Do consider all your options. There are probably about a thousand options to consider when cloth diapering. You can cloth diaper full time or part time. You can cloth diaper on a small budget or a large budget. Sometimes a small budget means losing convenience, but not always. Since every family is different, what some consider a real hassle will be only a minor inconvenience or even a plus to others. For example, some families like the added convenience of a pocket diaper or All-in-one for diaper changes, while I prefer the versatility and economical nature of a prefold.
Don’t give up. If cloth diapering seems like it’s not working out or not working well, it could be that you haven’t found the right combination of products for your family. One thing I like to remind families is that cloth diapers hold their value, so if something isn’t working, you can attend a cloth diapering swap and start over with something new.
Do reach out for help. Chances are that someone has had the same issues that you have. I’m here to help if you have questions, but there are also some great facebook pages and groups. Including the one that I run. So feel free to join us over there.
Don’t make it too complicated for yourself. Think about your life. Really think about it. If you know you are only going to be able to wash diapers every third day, then buy enough to do that. If you really want to do cloth, but you don’t want to deal with washing them, consider doing a laundry only service, or a full service (it might not be as expensive as you think). There are some amazing new options available in the cloth community. For example, our local diapering store allows you to rent diapers to try out what you like best. Or to rent the newborn size (which so many babies outgrow quickly).
Do ask for and register for cloth diapers. It can help offset the cost so much. If you are having a baby shower ask your hostess to distribute your wish list. Your friends and family want to get you what you want and need for your baby, and it’s very easy to do their shopping online, but they must know what to get you.
Don’t buy only one type of diaper. Everyone I know needs at least a little variety in their diaper stash. For example we use two prefolds at night with wool soaker covers over the top. Almost everyone has a certain combination of diaper, and cover, or liner or filler that they like to use for night that is different than their daytime routine. Another example is using a diaper that is very easy to change for the sitter or grandma or outings. This kind of variety really helps.
Do try and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for taking care of your diapers. Here is a very common wash suggestion: Dump solids in the toilet. Set your washer to heavy duty and do a full wash cycle with presoak and an extra rinse. Tumble dry low.
Don’t follow weird cloth diaper cleaning advice. If it sounds crazy, it probably is. So, no cascade stripping. No washing in the dishwasher.
Do follow a regular cleaning regimen. Every other day is the general rule of thumb (especially for synthetic diapers). Natural fibers are more forgiving, but it’s still nice to wash frequently. However, you can make many washing schedules work depending on the type of diapers you use. For example our local diaper service picks up diapers once a week and their diapers always smell great.
Don’t stuff your pocket diapers when they are still warm from the dryer. Most cloth diaper covers these days are made of a material called PUL. It is most fragile when it is warm. If you stretch it at this time it can crack and this will lead to leaks. Sadly, I know this from experience.
Do let your cloth diapers sun bathe. Sun light helps bleach stains, and generally helps freshen your diapers. So if you can, every once in a while line dry your diapers, or let one or two hang out on the end of your lounge chair when you’re at the pool.
Don’t be afraid to jump back in. If you have had a bad couple of weeks, and you’ve got a wet bag full of stinky rancid diapers, just jump right back in. Don’t beat yourself up. You can always double wash them….or troubleshoot if you have issues pop up.
Do purchase accessories to go with your diapers if it will make your life easier. For example: A snappie to go with prefolds (so much better than pins), a wet bag for your diaper bag, and a large wet bag or pail to store dirty diapers in.
Don’t freak out about not having every cloth diapering “essential”. Your family is different than every other family. You may not need or want a diaper sprayer…or it may be your favorite cloth tool. You may find that you like to have disposable liners when you go out and about to prevent having to carry around a super poopy diaper, or you may not be bothered by that at all. You are the parent. You get to decide.
Do seek out help. Every cloth diapering parent was a newbie at one time and those of us who are seasoned experts are happy to offer our two cents. If you need anything shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or even better, post a comment here so everyone can see the question and the answer.
Best Wishes on your journey to a fluffy baby bum.