Cloth diapering products mentioned in this post (just hover over slideshow and click to see product/purchase):
Why do I cloth diaper?
According to most sites I've found, cloth diapering moms will spend $350 on cloth diapers compared to the $3500 spent on disposables until your babe is potty trained. Those numbers put it over the edge for me - it's cheaper AND good for the environment to cloth diaper? I love it. I am a hippie at heart, as you know, so I decided to learn more about cloth diapering because I didn't want to participate in throwing away SO many diapers and them ending up in landfills (or in Wal-Mart parking lots - gross). I also don't like all the oil it takes to make disposables and all of the chemicals they contain (google infertility and diapers - scary stuff). I wanted to find a way to help the environment and choose a cheaper solution so we we took a cloth diapering class and were hooked! (A local shop in Scottsdale called Zoolikins offers free cloth diapering classes, along with a ton of great information about cloth diapering and other FAQs on their website.) Did everyone "buy in" with us or did my mom think we were crazy? She did at first, along with our other family members, but she took the class too and got on board and I think found it easier than she expected. These cloth diapers aren't the cloth diapers our parents (or grandparents) used - they are new, improved and oh so easy!
Which cloth diapers do I use?
We had no idea where to begin and at first, before Lemon was born, and I thought I wanted to do pre-fold cloth diapers with waterproof covers (I will link to everything we used, available on Amazon, pictures also above). They come with a closure called a Snappi and you basically fold the diaper up, put it on your babe, fasten with a Snappi and put the cover on - see here. I also thought that we would be overwhelmed having a newborn, that we are changing a million times a day, and wouldn't want to wash our own diapers for those first couple of months. Our friends and family contributed to a diaper service for us for the first 3 months and it was definitely awesome - you use the diapers, put them outside and they replace your bag with a new set. It was expensive, about $80 a month, and now I realize that we didn't really need it. Those first 6 months, using cloth diapers, are actually the easiest because your babe's poop is water soluble, which means that you can just throw it right into the wash without rinsing the diapers or anything. We could have easily done that, even with a crazy newborn. It's only when they start eating solids at 6+ months that you have to start rinsing the poop in the toilet before putting it in your washing machine, that's when cloth diapering gets tricky (and messy - thank goodness for Spray Pal!). After our diaper service expired I used our own prefolds and covers (linked above).
OsoCozy Prefold, Snappi and Thirsties Duo Snap Cover
I would not do prefolds again. Sure they fit newborns great and became super easy to use, but the extra step of the prefold and then the cover is just too much now that I know about pocket all in one diapers - see here. This is a diaper and a cover - all in one. The actual diaper has a pocket for an insert, that you take out and put in your wet bag, and then you can let the cover (without the insert basically) air out and use again or throw it in your wet bag as well. My favorite all in ones when Lemon was little (until about 8-9 months) were FuzziBunz Elite with snaps (on Amazon here). The reason I don't like them for older babes is that the insert is skinny, not wide enough to accommodate a growing bottom and they started leaking as she got older. But, next time, if we decide to have another (the jury is still out!) I will use those for my newborn until 8-9 months instead of the prefolds/covers.
FuzziBunz Elite Snap Diaper
My fav all in one cloth diapers are BumGenius 4.0 diapers (with snaps, I always get snaps because all the velcro ones we've had wear with washing). These can be used from newborn until your kid is ready to be potty trained, so I can switch them out with the FuzziBunz when our next babe is just a tiny muffin. The inserts on these are wider and don't leak like the FuzziBunz do, on older babes. (You can buy BumGenius 4.0 diapers here, a great site for everything cloth diaper related, great prices!) Lemon is still in these diapers and has been since she was about 10 months old, we absolutely love them. (Read my friend Julia's posts on cloth diapering here, she will sell you on these diapers as well!)
BumGenius 4.0 Snap Diaper
How many diapers do you need?
Zoolikins recommends 24-36 diapers for a newborn (with 6-8 covers if you are doing prefolds. I think we had 24 prefolds (when we stopped the diaper service) and 6 covers and were just fine. For babies over 15 pounds they recommend 24-36 all in one diapers (or 24 prefolds and 4-6 covers). I think we have 12 BumGenius diapers and I did buy a set of extra inserts (BumGenius only comes with one insert, FuzziBunz come with two inserts, one longer than the other). We wash our diapers every Thursday and every Monday and Lemon will be 22 months old on Friday, you definitely do less washing the older they get. And, Lemon naps and sleeps in disposables (I'm not all hippie) because she was a horrible sleeper from 4 months to 16 months and we thought it would help but I'm not sure if it mattered. Next time I will cloth diaper 100% (unless on vacation) and my babe will just have to deal. Ha. If you do cloth diaper at night you will need extra inserts and I've heard that hemp inserts or microfiber inserts work wonders.
What other accessories/detergent do you need when you cloth diaper, besides the diapers?
Well you need a diaper sprayer that attaches to the water line of your toilet and helps clean off the cloth diaper, solid, poop (also great for right after you come home from the hospital to spray your girly parts, trust me, install when pregnant). You also, definitely need a Spray Pal, for spraying your cloth diapers in the toilet and they actually sell a sprayer/Spray Pal set on their website ($79.95). (I will be reviewing/modeling what a Spray Pal does in my next post and giving one away to a lucky reader/follower!) You also need a couple of wet bags for dirty diapers at home and on the go. I got a cute one made to match Lemon's nursery, on Etsy, and then just bought a set like this on Amazon to keep in our swim bag and diaper bag (or to send with my mom if she's watching Lemon). I also used to use cloth wipes, up until Lemon was a year old, and used these along with this, a cloth wipe warmer. You can actually make your own cloth wipes out of flannel fabric and your own diaper solution as well, I just bought mine at Zoolikins and bought their little solution tabs there too (these look pretty good). You mix the tabs with warm water, put your wipes in it and let them soak a bit, then ring them out (but not too much), then fold and put into your wipes warmer. Now that Lemon is older we just buy wipes at Costco, not very environmental but oh so great for wiping off dirty toddlers. You just wash your cloth wipes along with your cloth diapers and refill your warmer when you are out. We use the BumGenius cloth diaper detergent and have used others in the past, but this one is my fav. BumGenius also makes an Odor Remover and inserts for in your cloth diapers (so you can just throw the poop and the insert in the toilet, without having to rinse the diaper) but I wouldn't buy these. I have them both and never use them.
What is the best thing about cloth diapering?
The best thing about cloth diapering besides the money saving and the environmental aspect - the cloth diaper booty. Your babe will look so cute with that big cloth diaper booty that also provides extra support for all those falls on their butt. I would suggest always buying bottoms in one size up, however, if you are going to cloth diaper just to fit that big booty. The patterns and colors are a plus too, you don't even need a diaper cover under a dress because they are so cute!
How do cloth diapers help with potty training?
We are going to attempt to potty train Lemon this summer, at 23 months, so I will keep you posted on how it goes. I've read that cloth diaper babies learn to use the potty faster than disposable diaper babies because they can feel when they are wet but we'll see. She seems to be ready now; her diapers are fairly dry in the morning and she tells us when she's going poop, but we only have 21 days left of school (and before our hot weather hits) so we are going to try while we are off and it's warm enough to be naked all the time. Want some potty training tips? My husband has worked with Special Education students for 8 years and has lots of insight on this subject (can't wait to put it to the test!) and shares it on his behavior Instagram - @bee_havior.