Anything you buy for a baby, before you have said baby, is EXTRA stressful because in reality, you have no idea what the kid will want or need. Cloth diapers are no exception… In my pregnancy-related cloth diaper research craze, I came across parents who pointed out differences in how different diaper brands fit, some with superior absorbency, complaints about leaking at night or tricky laundry routines.
And so I did whatever I do when I’m in the home goods section at Anthropologie and can’t decide between the embroidered kitten tea towel or the boho Turkish hand towel. I BOUGHT THEM ALL.
Just kidding… Kind of. I decided to take my chances and stock up on mostly Bumgenius Freetime diapers, but I also bought a few different kinds as back-up. That way if the Freetimes were totally failing us, we’d had a Plan B, without waiting the OMG-48-hours for a shipment of new cloth diapers via Amazon Prime.
Plan A worked out fine. With 10 months of cloth diapering behind us, we’ve settled into a very comfortable, easy routine.
We’ve firmly settled on the all-in-one style of diaper – no stuffing one part into the other, or snapping inserts, or any confusion at laundry time. We just toss the pail liner with all dirty diapers directly in the washing machine, along with any dirty wet bags, and go on our merry way.
As I said above, most of our cloth diaper stash consists of Bumgenius Freetimes. The majority of them I purchased used from local Facebook buy/sell/trade groups and Craigslist, but occasionally when a new pattern comes out, I’ll spring for a new diaper.
Besides the Freetimes, our other tried-and-true AIO diapers are Smart Bottoms 3.1 AIOs (love their prints and wish we had more!), Blueberry Simplex, and GroVia AIOs. We also have two GroVia O.N.E. diapers for nighttime for our little heavy-wetter.
I surprised even myself by staying aboard the cloth wipes bandwagon. To the uninitiated, they seem to cross the line between eco-conscious and gross. But as it turns out, they’re not much maintenance – as long as the baby is exclusively breast-fed, you can toss them right in the wash with the cloth diapers; once you introduce solids, and you’re spraying diapers, just give the wipes a quick spray too.
These super-soft GroVia wipes are my jam. We’ve never tried any others, and Grovia wipes, we’ll never cheat on you!
…Except for when we’re on the road. Keeping a stocked diaper bag is enough of a headache without worrying about packing a pile of wipes and a bottle of wipes solution. When we’re away from home, we have a pack of Honest Co. disposable wipes that get the job done.
DIAPER PAIL + LINER
To those without kids, it may seem fairly crazy to spend $70 on a glorified trash can. However, just wait until the hot, humid summer mingles with some dirty diapers to create a terrible stench, and you will be glad you forked over the money for a decent diaper pail. We love our Ubbi. Some people claim that they will continue to use it as a trash can one their kids are out of diapers, but let’s stop making excuses.
If you’re using disposable diapers, most likely you’re lining the pail with trash bags, but with cloth diapers you’ll need a washable pail liner to prevent mold. The Planet Wise pail liners are the gold standard – they can stand up to countless heavy-duty wash cycles while keeping in the moisture. We have two, so we’re never in a pinch on laundry day.
Get a Spray Pal. Just do it. Worth every penny.
The Fluff Love & CD Science group is an incredible wealth of information on anything cloth diaper-related. I bought a “bad” laundry detergent (harsh on cloth diapers) and was guided back on the golden path by one of the admins, who recommended a laundry regimen for me based on my detergent preference (all-natural) and washer and dryer.
Every 4 days (or sooner, if it’s been a baaaaad week), I toss our cloth diaper laundry in the washer for a quick rinse on the heavy duty/heavily soiled setting with 1/4 capful of Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus detergent, and then I add more laundry (Baby K’s clothes, plus any towels laying around) to top off the load with a full cap of detergent and run a heavy duty cycle. Everything then goes right into the dryer.
Once every six weeks, I add a tab of GroVia Mighty Bubbles during the laundry cycle to help prevent mineral build-up.
RASHES + DIAPER OINTMENTS
If you haven’t started diapering yet, you may not know that most of the traditional diaper rash creams are NOT safe on cloth diapers. I repeat, do NOT use Triple Paste on your cloth diapered kid. In a nutshell, those products can impact the absorbency of the cloth, which is a no-no. We have enough diaper balms to treat an entire army of babies. Our favorite, however, is the Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm. I also lather on a little coconut or jojoba oil after each bath to keep Baby K’s skin moisturized.
Rule #1 of leaving the house with a cloth-diapered baby: always pack a wet bag. Ignore this warning and thou shalt encounter mold. Our #1 faves are the Planet Wise wet bags, of which we have many. We also have a GroVia wet bag which has held up well to the test of time and heavy-duty laundry cycles.
Having a few different sizes of wet bags on-hand can be helpful. I keep an XL wet bag hanging from a hook next to the toilet sprayer, so that freshly-sprayed dipes can be stowed away in a stink-free place until the next laundry cycle.