One of the biggest drawbacks of cloth diapering [CD] is going into it without a system. Trust me, you’ll give up in no time because it can become too much.
After the constantly-changing-a-diaper-newborn stage [which prefolds + covers are probably best for], I think it’s safe to say that 18 diapers is a good number to start off with for babies 3 months and older. I personally like the pocket diapers or the all-in-one’s [AIO’s] over the prefolds and fitteds for after the newborn stage. They are so easy, and are the most similar to the way disposable diapers work.
Here’s what my daily system looks like:
1. Let’s assume we’re beginning with a brand new lot of cloth diapers. After following the directions for washing and prepping your new diapers with a CD safe detergent, I usually hang them up to dry outside as long as it’s not raining or too cold. Otherwise, I just toss them into the dryer.
2. After they are fully dry, I assemble all my diapers and fold them the way I want them for when I change Dhara. I then stack all my diapers nicely on the shelves of the changing table.
3. I usually change Dhara’s diaper around 5 – 6 times a day, about every 3 hours. Before putting the diaper on her, I lay a disposable liner over the diaper in case she decides to poop. I don’t always do this, but it does help in the clean-up of a poopy diaper.
Nighttime: For nighttime, I put Dhara in what I’d like to call “our nighttime diaper.” There isn’t a specific diaper for nighttime out on the market, but we use the Bum Genius 3.0 One Size Pocket Diaper, or the 4.0 One Size AIO with an added sherpa AND hemp doubler for extra absorbency — this usually lasts the whole night without a diaper change. This is what works for us. I have a total of 3 “nighttime diapers.”
4. Here is what I do with a pee or poo diaper:
For a “pee diaper change”, I take the diaper off and stick it in the pail liner hanging right next to the changing table, and clean her up with some wipes and a spray of Mama Rose’s Sunshine Spray. Please note that if the diaper is a pocket diaper, I take the insert out first and then toss them both into the pail liner. Another thing to take note is that if the diaper has a hook and loop closure, it’s important that you attach the washer tabs so that the velcro doesn’t go crazy in the washer and dryer. This will help with the life of your diapers. If your diaper has snaps instead, put it in the pail liner without worry.
For a “poo diaper change”, I take the diaper off and put it aside on the changing table while I clean Dhara up with wipes or a wash at the sink. Once she’s all cleaned up and changed, I go back to the poo diaper. I take the poo diaper to the bathroom and pick up the disposable liner (now filled with poo), and chuck it into the toilet. Most of the time, the poo is all contained in the disposable liner — in this case, I just spray a couple sprays of Bac-Out spray and toss the diaper into the pail liner — making sure to take out the inserts and attaching the washer tabs like with the pee diaper above. If there’s poo on the diaper, I wash it out with cold water at the bathroom sink, and then spray it with Bac-Out, and then stick it in the pail liner. I’ve decided to wait on a diaper sprayer for when we have our next child — the sprayer helps to spray and wash down the diaper in the toilet versus the bathroom sink.
5. Washing + Drying: I wash diapers every 3 days — that’s why it’s helpful to have at least 18 diapers on hand. It is not recommended to go longer than 3 days before washing. When washing day comes, I grab the pail liner that contains all the dirty diapers for the past 3 days, and empty it into the washer along with the pail liner which is also washable. I wash the diapers on a cold rinse without any detergent. The cold rinse takes care of taking most stains out. I then wash it on a hot rinse with 2 cloth diaper scoops of Country Save detergent. After the hot rinse the diapers are clean. I then hang them to dry outside or stick them in the dryer. Letting them dry in the sun helps take out stains that didn’t come out in the wash because the sun acts as a bleach of sorts. Allowing them to air dry also helps with the life of your diapers.
And there you have it! This system may sound long and drawn out, but it actually plays out rather quickly. Once I began sticking to this system, life was so much easier, and my love for cloth diapering began. I loved how cute the diapers were, and as silly as this sounds I love that I was in control of what went on my daughter’s bum. And a chemical free bum at that!