15. Cloth diaper curious? - Unleash your inner crunchy mom and learn everything you need to know about successful cloth diapering
welcome to the better postpartum podcast. I’m your host Angel Swon, crunchy Christian mama to one and postpartum doula to many. I help moms care for their bodies, minds and newborns naturally during the first three months after birth. If you’re looking for pro tips on how to nurture your body naturally after childbirth, take care of your newborn baby using crunchy mama methods and help your whole family thrive during the fourth trimester, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a lot to cover. So let’s dive in. I’ll see you inside the episode. Hey, hey, thank you so much for joining me today we are going to be talking about cloth diapers versus disposable diapers, and how to be successful how to set yourself up for success when using cloth diapers because if he didn’t already know, I am so in love with cloth diapering. It is. Oh, it is just incredible. It’s incredible for my wallet, it’s incredible for saving the planet. It’s just such a great sustainable swap to using disposable diapers. And it’s something that I’m really passionate about. And so I wanted to make an episode all about cloth versus disposables, and basically just give you an idea of, you know, the benefits the the pros, the cons of cloth and disposable. So let’s just dive into it. Alrighty, so, first thing that we’re going to talk about is the cost. Okay, so cloth diapers. And I actually pulled this these numbers from an article. And I really don’t feel that it’s super accurate. It really depends on you and your level of self control when it comes to buying a ton of cute like boutique patterns and cloth diapers and stuff. But the cost of cloth diapers for two years is only between about $300 to $1,000. And again, that really varies. It depends on what brands you buy. And it depends on like, are you buying handmade cloth diapers, if you want to support small businesses, you can certainly purchase handmade cloth. But they’re also much more expensive. Typically anywhere from 13 to like $20 for a handmade cloth diaper. So if you’re able to put out that money, that’s great. I personally was not so I went with a main brand called alpha baby and baby goal life which I found on Amazon. I personally prefer the alpha babies, but we’ll talk about that a little bit more later. So the cost of cloth is 300 to $1,000 for two years, the cost of disposable diapers 2000 to $3,000 for two years. You guys for one baby. Imagine if you have multiples how much money you would spend on disposable diapers for more than one baby that is bananas I cannot even fathom. So let’s go over some pros of cloth diapers. We have you know cloth diapers are reusable. They’re eco friendly. They are really gentle on sensitive skin. They are adjustable, you can change the fit, like how tight they are around the legs, how tight they are around the tummy. And they’re waterproof, so you’re not having a bunch of leaks. So you have fewer leaks. You don’t really have any blowouts you guys as long as you know, like, as long as your baby’s wearing the proper size. And the proper sizes, you know, just adjusted to fit their body. You’re not gonna have any blowouts moms talk about blowouts all the time. And I’m like, Hey, I’m like over here like he I don’t have any bloods because my daughter is wearing cloth diapers. And if you don’t know what they look like cloth diapers are elastic around the legs and there’s actually an elastic in the back of the waist, which is tight up against their skin. So when they have those huge poops, it’s not going anywhere outside the diaper. It’s caught in there because there’s an elastic right there to hold it in. Now I’m not gonna lie, we had a couple of close calls, but it would have been infinitely worse if we had been using disposable diapers. Another pro to cloth diapers is easier to start potty training your baby because they can feel when they’re wet or they’re dirty. They can’t feel that with a disposable. So there are so many benefits. There’s so many pros to using cloth diapers. How many do you think we have with disposable diapers and you know, I might be a little bit biased, but we don’t have that many pros. So those posable diapers they are convenient as far as You know,
having clean diapers on hand, you don’t have to wash them. They’re breathable, they’re absorbent, you don’t have to change them as frequently as you would a cloth diaper because they have they’re, you know, full of like these little I don’t even know how they work to be honest, but they’re full of these little beads that like, soak in pee and they’re just they’re just more absorbent. Okay, not gonna get into it. They also have a lot of different options for sizing. But with that means like, you might have to do a little bit of trial and error with finding the right diaper to fit your baby. You don’t have to worry about that with cloth, they all fit. Okay. Some cons of cloth diapers is you need to have a special wash routine. So you can’t just toss them in the wash and wash them with the same detergent and all the same setting as you would your regular laundry. They need a proper wash routine. So typically that involves like soaking them, then washing with detergent than washing with just water and then you can dry them. It depends based on your like how hard your water is, and also depends on the type of washing machine you have. So we’ll talk about that a little bit more later. cloth diapers, people say you know, it uses water and electricity to wash and maintain and if it does, but honestly, I haven’t had any significant spikes in our electric or water bills. It’s really the the benefits outweigh the negatives here with the water and electricity versus like putting all the cloth diapers into a landfill or all the disposable diapers into landfill. Excuse me. Okay, so cloth diapers are a little bit less absorbent, so you have to change it more frequently. So usually around like every two to three hours, you’ll be changing a cloth diaper. They are a little bit bulkier, so just something to consider when you’re traveling. So for reference, I use a diaper bag that is a backpack and I’m able to fit all kinds of stuff in there and I typically only carry six cloth diapers with me at a time because they’re just bulky and they take up a lot of space. I can fit more in the bag. But I have other stuff that I like to keep in there. Usually I like to stuff my purse and my diaper bag too. So you can definitely carry more than six cloth diapers at a time. It just depends on how much crap you want to carry around with you between your stuff and your baby’s stuff. Speaking of crap, you have to carry your poopy diapers around with you. So when you’re out and about your baby poops in their diaper, you know if they’re still having liquid poops, because they’re a small baby, you just roll up the diaper and stick it in your wet bag and carry that poop around with you. If you have your wet bags, if you fold up your diaper, you have your wet bag sealed and you close up your diaper bag. It’s not noticeable the smell. But as soon as you open that diaper bag, you can definitely smell the poop. So just something to think about. If your baby’s having solid poops, you know you just take that diaper you toss the poop into the toilet, flush the toilet and then you have a little bit of poop residue on your diaper but it’s not that stinky and you just rinse it out later when you get home.
And like I mentioned before, you are going to have a little bit more laundry because you’re going to be washing your diapers so that you can keep having it can maintain like a clean stash of diapers to have on your baby. It’s really not that big a deal to have this laundry though. So my wash routine in particular, I soak the diapers with detergent and hot water for 30 minutes. Then I let the washing machine run Then I let it run again with no detergent, just water and then I stick them in the dryer and I’m done. So it’s very, very simple. And then stuffing the diapers with the inserts takes just a couple of minutes. You just sit down and do it really quick. It’s not a huge undertaking to have this laundry. So when people tell you Oh, it’s so much laundry to do, it’s really not you know, it’s all about priorities and your values like was important to you. For me, doing an extra load of laundry every other day is not a big deal and I have saved 1000s of dollars. So just keep it in mind. So some cons of disposable diapers. They are super harsh on the environment. Obviously as soon as you like take off a poopy diaper or a full diaper of pee like it goes straight into the trash will goes to rate to a landfill. There’s no recycling program for disposable diapers, there’s nothing like that. It’s just trash. And I actually looked up this statistic because I was curious because I breathe all the time disposable diapers go to landfills. So just how much of our, like how much waste does go into our landfills from cloth from that cloth diapers? Oh my gosh, how much waste is going into landfills? Just diapers alone. Okay, are you ready for this? You need to sit down. You need to sit down for what I’m about to tell you. Okay. 3.4 million tonnes of landfill waste per year is just disposable diapers alone. 3.4 million tonnes. I cannot even wrap my brain around the mountain of diapers that that must be it’s so ridiculous. And guess how many diapers I’ve thrown away using cloth. I haven’t. When my baby was a newborn there wasn’t I used about two packs of disposable diapers. Because she was just to Eddie Betty. And it was before we had our newborn cloth diapers. They’re like a smaller size special for 80 biddies. Well, that’s all that I threw out. So the rest of my diapers. I have 36 cloth diapers and I haven’t thrown away a single one. And the ones that she outgrew her newborn size diapers, I sold them to another mom. All right, more cons of disposables because it just feels like that never ends. In my opinion. I am so you guys. I’m not hating on you. If you’re using disposable diapers I’m not but I also want you to see the light. cloth diapers, in my opinion are superior. Alright, cons of disposables. The gels and dyes that are in those diapers can cause irritation to sensitive skin. And some brands are going to be more irritating than others. So you might have to like test out different brands here and there. If you’re going to use disposables, I recommend buying something that’s made from sustainable resources, like vapors that are made from bamboo are great. If you’re going to use disposables. I think Hello, bello is a good brand for that. Anyway, last con is the little pull tabs can rip during diaper changes. So that’s basically just you’re trying to put on a fresh diaper and the tab rips and you’ve wasted a perfectly good diaper.
Okay, so now that my little rant of cloth versus disposable diapers is over, I am going to teach you about what you need to get started with cloth diapers so that you can stick with it. I know a ton of moms who have tried cloth diapers and it was just too much for them because they just didn’t know where to start and they bought all kinds of things that they didn’t really need or they bought the wrong kind of diapers for a total newbie. So this is for you. If you are thinking of switching to cloth or thinking of starting with cloth from the very beginning. This is for you. If you’re totally uninterested in cloth diapers then the rest of this episode you might as well just skip it because I’m only talking about cloth from here on out. Okay, so here’s what you need to start using cloth diapers and stick with it. So you need 36 or more diaper covers. So 36 being the minimum to be comfortable with your stash. So for me I have 36 diapers and I wash them every other day. I can go an extra day without washing but I’m stretching myself kind of thin. So while there are so many different types of cloth diapers, I always recommend that if you’re a total newbie you start with pocket diapers pocket diapers are really simple and easy to figure out. It’s literally like a diaper cover that has a little pocket in the waistband and you stick an insert into that pocket. It’s a pocket diaper. So there’s an insert that is either like microfiber, bamboo, hemp, whatever absorbency you’re looking for, you can kind of play around with that. But the pocket diapers are the easiest, and in my opinion and many others. They’re the easiest diapers to start with. If this is something that you’re interested in doing and you’re a little bit like nervous about cloth diapering pocket pocket diapers are for you. I will say when you’re looking to buy a cloth diapers, they’re usually labeled one size and one size diapers will not fit a newborn baby. And they’re usually advertises like 12 pounds and up you can fit into those. That was not The that was not true in my case. So we bought 20 newborn sized cloth diapers. So if you’re going to get them for your newborn, you want to make sure that you have some that are special for your 80 bitty baby when they’re still brand new. And then you also have your stash of one size diapers for when they’re big enough to fit into them. And washing them really doesn’t take a lot of effort. If you’re, you know, saying something 20 newborn sized diapers, you might be thinking, but didn’t you just tell me to have 36 diapers? Yes, Yes, I did. In the newborn days, though, you’re probably not going to be going a whole lot of places and you’re going to be home and you’re going to be more able to wash your diapers more frequently. So what I did was, I just washed her diapers at the end of the day, every day. And I’d stuffed them in the morning, and we’d have plenty of clean diapers to get us through the day. Keep in mind, newborns usually will use 12 to 13 diapers in a day. So having 20 gives you that cushion, so that you have enough to get you through an entire day. But it does mean that you’re gonna have to wash every day. But you know what, newborns grow real real fast, so you won’t have to be doing that for too long. Now, if all of this sounds a little bit too rigorous for you, you don’t want to deal with that when your baby’s a newborn, I totally get it. You can always opt to use disposable diapers until your baby is big enough to fit into the one size diapers but honestly, the cost of disposable diapers adds up so fast. So, so fast, so do the math and do what’s best for you and your family. The next thing that you need is 36 or more charcoal bamboo inserts. So I mentioned before the pocket diapers come with inserts or they use inserts, they usually do come with an insert. But those inserts that come with the diapers are typically microfiber inserts which they freakin suck, you guys. microfiber leaks. Anytime it’s compressed. They’re called compression leaks. And let me tell you your baby’s little booger worm, their diaper is going to be compressed, often, like literally just think about sitting boom compressed. So
that’s why I recommend that you get the charcoal bamboo inserts. Bamboo can hold more liquid, and they don’t leak when they’re compressed, they hold it in. And the charcoal is just an added bonus because it helps to neutralize any odors and you don’t end up with stain inserts. So usually like the standard microfiber insert is white. And when your baby poops, they got that yellow poop because they’re a newborn and it stains the white inserts and it just is not cute and then when you go to try and resell them, you either have to try really hard to get the stains out or you’re selling someone that grows a yellow stained inserts. So just get the charcoal bamboo ones, they’re just better. They’re better all around. Alright, so then the next thing is you need four to six hemp inserts. So you’ll need a few hemp inserts to get you through the night without having to change your baby’s diaper. When they’re newborn. They probably won’t pee too much and you might not have to get the hemp insert for your newborn you might just like double stuff their diaper with the charcoal bamboo inserts. But as your baby grows, they pee a lot more. So you’ll use the hemp insert to have double protection you’ll have one hempen sir and one charcoal bamboo insert stuffed into the diaper, and that’ll let you go all night long without worrying about your baby soaking through their diaper and waking up in a big puddle of pee. All right, next thing is three to six wet bags. So depending on how often you travel outside of the home and how often you plan to wash your diapers. I always recommend every other day to every three days for washing. You’ll need to make sure that you have enough clean wet bags on hand and the standard wet bag will hold about six diapers you could probably stuff a couple more in there but just keep that in mind for when you are planning to have longer days outside of the home. Just keep all that in mind. You also need some wipes. So if you’re going with the cloth diapers, you might as well just go all in and get cloth wipes too. So you will need about 45 to 60 wipes and flannel wipes flannel is the best for wipes. They’re so great. Unlike the standard disposable wipes. flannel is great because it does such a good job of catching all the poop in like one fell swoop. You look most of the time you only need one wipe to handle even a poopy diaper. So that’s incredible. Right there. Most disposable wipes you know, I end up using like two three wipes go through them really quickly. So you can buy pre sewn flannel wipes, or you can grab some old flannel receding blankets and just cut them up into dry wipes. That’s what I did. And I also did buy some pre sewn wipes online. But when I realized I needed more, I was not really interested in paying for the pre sewn wipes. So I would just went to my local thrift store and I bought five flannel blankets and that gave me plenty of wipes. I will say if you’re going to cut your own wipes from flannel receiving blankets, I recommend using some pinking shears to prevent fraying of the fabric. If you’re if you’re fancy and you know how to sew, you can sew your wipes. If you have a surging machine that’s really great to use. I don’t really know how to use the sewing machine. So I just deal with the frayed edges, it’s not a big deal. But that is one benefit of buying like the pre made flannel wipes, the edges are already sewn for you so they’re not going to fray and look messy. There’ll be like a neater look to them, but they work just the same. Next thing you need is a weighted wipe dispenser. So for a long time, I would just I pre wet all of my cloth wipes because we do go through them very quickly with all kinds of diaper changes, you know how it is and I would stick them into an old Pampers wipes container. But that wipes container was just it’s very lightweight plastic and it was a little tricky for me to pull out my wipes with one hand. And I actually have like a special way that I fold my wipes so that when they’re there, they’re folded, they’re in a little stack when I put them in a wipe dispenser, I can pull out a wipe and another one comes out with it just like it would with any disposable wipes. So that’s a real fun way to fold your wipes. Anyway, it’s tangent.
So I’d often have to like hold the wipe container down with one hand and pull out another wipe with my other hand and it’s just easier to have the weighted wipe container so you don’t have to use both hands to pull out a wipe because, you know, Yoni the other hand to be free to hold on to a little wiggle worm especially as they get older and they’re not just like passively laying there during a diaper change and they start moving all over the place you got to keep a hand on them. Next thing that you need is a travel wipe dispenser. You can use any kind of travel dispenser, but I really found one that is great. And I actually link to it and my cloth diapering checklists, which will be linked in the episode description for you. You can also find it directly on my website postpartum companion.com and my free resource library. But you want to wipe dispenser that easily lets you pull out a wipe and brings another wipe with it to the surface. So the wipe dispenser that I have linked does this and it’s great. Okay, you also need a diaper pail. Yep, you need a diaper pail just like any other disposable diaper users when need. I really love the decor plus diaper pail. It’s made big enough to hold two days worth of cloth diapers, and they even make their own cloth pail liners that you can easily just toss in the wash with your dirty diapers. So with that said, go ahead and also get yourself cloth diaper pail liners. So like I said before decor makes their own cloth pail liners, and they perfectly fit their decor plus diaper pail. I did try to buy some, some other cloth liners that were off brand. But I instantly regretted my decision when I tried to put it in my diaper pail it did not fit well. It was way too big. So I just returned them and decided to put out the money for the bigger ones. And when I say put out the money, it was not that much more It was probably like $7 more. I’m just a real real frugal in that way. But I do recommend just buying the whole shebang from decor. So get the decor plus diaper pail plus their decor cloth pail liners, and it’s going to make things really, really easy on you. It just takes the guesswork out of it. The next thing that you need is a diaper sprayer. One huge objection that I hear all the time. That’s an objection to cloth diapering is. Oh, but you have to get your hands dirty in their poop. No, nobody is playing in their baby’s poop. Are you kidding me? Nobody does that. Some old school moms will like do a dunk and swish in the toilet which is who vomitus ill don’t like that. I did it once and I did it once and it was the grossest thing ever. I’m never doing it again. So I got a diaper sprayer. It’s basically just a handheld today that hooks up to your toilet and you can use it to spray poop off of your diapers straight into the toilet and you flush it away and never have to get your hands dirty, it’s fantastic. To go along with your diaper sprayer, you should also get a spray stand like spider shield sprays and is the band but it’s the band. The brand is called spray stand. It’s a splatter shield. So it is a huge, huge, huge help. It’s basically a basin that sits on your toilet bowl, and you use it as a shield to prevent poopy water from spraying all over your bathroom while you spray your cloth diapers clean. It’s fantastic. And if you’re having a hard time picturing this, just download my checklist and you’ll see what I’m talking about. When you click on the link for the spray stand. You can just see what I mean there. The next thing that you need is a cloth friendly diaper crate. Not all diaper creams are created equal. So when you’re looking for that diaper rash cream, you have to be careful about which ones that you choose to use with your cloth diapers. Any diaper creams that are made with petroleum are a definite no go. Petroleum builds up in the diapers and it causes them to become less absorbent and leak. And we don’t want that nobody likes leaky diapers. So I personally recommended the Burt’s Bees diaper cream. It’s free of petroleum and it still has zinc oxide as the active ingredient, which is what you need to treat those really really stubborn diaper rashes. The next thing that you’ll need is a shelf or a basket for storage. So just like you need a storage solution for your disposable diapers, you want one for your cloth diapers too. I use the top drawer of my daughter’s dresser to store all of her diapers. But if you don’t have the space for diapers in your dresser, you can always just get a cute little basket or a shelf to store them in. I
know a lot of moms like to buy those little. I don’t know why they’re all the same color, but they’re this like robin’s egg blue cart, and they put their diapers in there. It’s very cute. And, you know, it’s it’s nice to be able to show off your cute little cloth diapers because they come in lace patterns. And whatever you choose, just figure out what’s best for you and your space and find a place to store your diapers. The next thing that you need is tide powder. You need to use a strong detergent to really clean your cloth diapers. So if you’re thinking but Angel type powder doesn’t sound like a crunchy mom thing. I get it. I know you want to use natural plant based products, but honestly, nothing cleans the way a chemical would as far as like taking care of ammonia buildup in the diapers, which is a real thing. So if you don’t use a really good detergent on your cloth diapers, you’re gonna get ammonia buildup, ammonia buildup is just because of the the urine so it’s going to make your diapers stink really bad like a barnyard. It’s not cute. And ammonia buildup does cause burns, so ammonia burns on your baby. So if you’re not doing your washes with a good detergent, this is something that can happen. And with that you need a proper wash routine is the last thing you need. So in my checklist, I have actually linked a really helpful article to guide you through establishing a proper wash routine. Not everyone’s going to have the same wash routine because it just depends on how harsh your water is and what type of washing machine you use. But whatever wash routine you end up using, it’s got to be personalized, and I either way I end up recommending that you do a soak for 30 minutes before you actually run the wash cycle with your detergent. So soak for 30 minutes and wash with the detergent and then wash again but with water only and not just to remove any remnants of the detergent so that we’re not causing any irritation from the detergent. Occasionally, you will need to strip your cloth diapers to remove buildup. And this process is also outlined in the article that I linked for you. So there you have it, obviously I am a huge advocate for cloth diaper use. I’ve been doing it with my daughter since she was born over 19 months ago. And I absolutely love it. My husband loves it too. Because he loves to save money. I will be honest, he doesn’t do a lot of diaper changes because he just works outside of the home more than I do. And I’m with my daughter more but he fit. We worked it out together. We figured it out. I taught him how to use the diapers. So if that’s like one of the obstacles that you’re facing is like how do I get Get my partner on board. Just be patient with them and teach them how to use the diapers. And if they’re still resisting, show them the math. Show them the map, show them how much money they’re going to be spending on disposables versus cloth diapers. As long as you don’t go crazy buying all sorts of like cute boutique prints from all over the internet, and just basically becoming a cloth diaper addict. Buy the cloth diapers that you need, and then quit. Don’t look at any more online it’s very tempting to buy all the cute patterns. As long as you just stick with your original stash, you’re not going to go spending hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars. So I spent about $400 on all of our cloth diapers and accessories, which is the cloth diapers, the inserts, the handheld the day, the spray made like literally everything that we need for cloth diapering, I spent about $400 on it, that is so much cheaper than what we would have spent using disposable diapers. Like I said before, disposable diapers costs about two to $3,000 for two years, and I spent 400. That’s a huge chunk of change that we saved right there. And if you’re listening to this, currently there is you know, the COVID pandemic so this could not be a better time to switch to cloth diapers and save yourself some money. We’re all going through a hard time right now and saving a little bit of money by using cloth is definitely can go a long way. One last thing about cloth diapers, you can keep them and use them for multiple children. If you’re like me, and you only plan on having just one baby, you can sell your cloth diapers when you’re done with them. cloth diapers hold their value really, really well. And
while you don’t sell them for the full price that you paid for them when they were brand new, you’ll be able to get a good chunk of change for them. And if you’re considering using cloth diapers, I hope this episode was helpful for you. Remember to go to this episode’s description and grab my free cloth diaper essentials checklist. It outlines everything that we covered in this episode, and contains links, everything has a link. So it takes you to the exact products that I use and love. And I know that they will be so helpful for you. And I know that if you go and grab everything as I have outlined here, you will have a successful cloth diapering journey. So thank you so much for listening. I will see you next week. Hey, lady, thank you so much for hanging out with me today. I hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you did, Would you do me a huge favor and rate and review this podcast. The more ratings we get the more moms we can help. If you want to get more postpartum tips and encouragement, subscribe to this podcast and hang out with me online. You can read my blog at postpartum companion.com slash blog. hang out with me on Instagram at postpartum companion. And join my free Facebook group called the better postpartum support group. If you have your own postpartum story that you’d like to share, head on over to postpartum companion.com slash podcast and submit an application to be on the air. Thanks again for listening and be sure to subscribe and meet me back here next week. Have a blessed day and don’t forget to pray. Bye Bye now.
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