Cloth Diapers or Disposables – No Right or Wrong
I have been reluctant to write about cloth diapering because there is no right or wrong to do what feels good for your baby and sanity, but there are a lot of connotations and opinions. Reasons can vary for why you would choose one over the other. I write this with no judgment, only detailing my experience with cloth diapers since people are very overwhelmed with the idea of cloth diapers. Myself included before I did it. You also can choose a combo, which I did. Cloth diapers when I am comfortable at home and disposables for travel.
Firstly there are a variety of options for cloth diapers and you can dive deep into the world of cloth diapering. If you want to explore more then check out this link. You can go deep into the rabbit hole of cloth diapering, but I will stick to some basics.
What is part of a diaper?
A diaper consists of 2 main components:
- Absorbent layer
- Waterproof outer layer
Within cloth diapering, there are 2 main categories (and subcategories I won’t dive into here)
- All-in-one (the absorbent and outer layer together)
2. Two-part diaper. The absorbent layer and shell can be separated. Allowing you to wash the parts separately.
Diapers I chose
I opted for a two-part fitted diaper, which included a fitted cotton diaper and cover. We purchased a starter set from the local cloth diapering company Diaperkind. This included a cloth friendly diaper pail and liner. There was an option to use their cleaning service (the company will pick-up your dirty diapers and return them cleaned). We decided to purchase a set and wash at home.
When our little newborn came home we worried about the umbilical cord and did not want to use the bulky cloth diapers immediately. Most disposables are thinner and have added the convenience of a blue indication line. The first 10 days, until her belly button healed, we used the newborn disposable diapers. Changing over to cloth did seem overwhelming to me at the time, but having invested in cloth already I decided I have to at least try. Once transitioned, actions are practically the same and washing the diapers has really not been difficult.
What you need to Cloth diaper
I bought a home laundering system from DIAPERKIND. A Brooklyn based diaper laundering company, who have been in the business for 10+ years. However, you can find all the individual items from a variety of providers.
The Diapering system included the following:
24-30 Cotton Diapers
24 Cotton Wipes
1 bag of Diaperkind Washing Powder
Logistics and Common Questions
A baby goes through approx. 8-10 diapers a day. I have 30 diapers and 6 outer covers. The outer covers only need to be washed if there is poop that slips out (which is rare), otherwise, the covers are reused. This allows me to have two full days of diapers and I plan a wash on day three. Washing includes two cycles – one quick wash to get rid of the surface level stains and one heavy duty.
I essentially throw the diapers in the wash and forget about it for a couple of hours. Except when I need to transfer everything to the dryer.
1. What do you do with dirty diapers when you are out?
I carry a wet and a dry bag. The dry bag carries all the clean stuff and the wet contains all the dirty messes. I usually don’t need more than two extra diapers for the day. When you get home you empty the wet bag in your diaper pail.
2. What about the Poop?
This is the number one question I get. In the beginning, a baby drinking milk has liquid poop, so you can throw everything in the diaper pail to be washed. As the child gets older with more solid poops you can put in a biodegradable bamboo liner (looks like a paper towel), which you toss in the toilet with the solid matter and wash as before.
3. What about night pees?
It is possible to buy additional absorbency layers overnight. However, I have found that a disposable convenient for overnight. Our baby does not wake up due to pee diapers, but I have found her completely wet in the morning. So I have opted for an overnight disposable.
4. What about the sizes?
There are 2 sizes which will accommodate a growing baby. Size 1 (7-18 lbs) and Size 2 (17-35).
Depending on how quickly your baby grows you will use Size 1 until the about 4/5 months and Size 2 until potty training. There are a variety of covers. I use Flip.
6. What about traveling?
I have taken a pragmatic approach to travel with cloth diapers. If luggage is not a concern and there will be a wash/dryer upon arrival then I am fine transporting the cloth diapers. This is primarily for weekend road trips.
If we are flying somewhere and lugging additional luggage around becomes a concern, then diapers are the first to go. You can buy those upon arrival.
NOTE: Our baby had some allergic reactions when using disposable for the first time. Try to test the disposables beforehand and bring more diaper rash cream.
7. What do I love about cloth diapering?
Not exposing our daughter to so many chemicals. Less trash created. Babies on average, potty train sooner.
8. What do I dislike about cloth diapering?
Bulky (but it is kind of cute because it makes their booty so round). Will soak through overnight (Even though there are additional liners which I have not explored).