Saturday, March 26, 2011
my super basic cloth diaper tutorial
There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of cloth diaper how-to's, and while all of them claim their purpose is to show you how simple it is to cloth diaper, I am scared when I finish reading them, and I already know it's not that hard. So this is the true simple cloth diaper story:
You basically need 6-8 covers and 24 diapers. If you want it a little easier, and have room in your budget up that to 12 and 36. If you have a tight budget and don't mind a little more work you can get by with as little as 4 and 18. You also need about 24 wipes, 2 or 3 travel wet bags, and 1 or 2 pail liners. Again you can go up or down depending on your budget to convenience ratio. I also like to have about 6 fleece liners for when we use diaper rash cream.
When you get your diapers wash and dry them 3-5 times on hot to "prep" them. Most natural fabrics have oils on them that repel water and this removes them.
Now, stuff all of your insides into covers and arrange them in a basket or something. Fold the remaining inserts and set them aside. Wet wipes and stack them in a used disposable wipes container. Put your pail liner inside a small trash can (with a lid) in a convenient place, and put your wet bag and a smaller wipes container in your diaper bag.
When baby needs a change, you change them the same way you would with a disposable. If it is dirty you dump solids into the toilet, then put it in the pail. Exclusive breastfed poo (EBP) is water soluble and goes straight into the wash. If it is only wet put the absorbent part into the pail and hang the cover to air dry.
When you run out of stuffed diapers, or just as you go about your day, stuff the air dried clean covers with new inserts and put them back in your basket.
Every other day dump all of the dirty diapers from your pail into the wash, add 1/4 Allen's Naturally Biodegradable detergent, super easy with the gallon pump, and wash on hot with a high water level. Tumble dry inserts, hang dry covers. Stuff. Repeat.
This is per size. If you really want to save money you can go with a one size system, but be warned you may have babies like mine that they never really fit very well. Most babies will wear small and medium their whole diapering time (depending on the fit of the particular brand).
There are also diapers that come with the absorbent and waterproof components attached. These are called All-In-Ones. Or there are pocket diapers where you stuff the absorbent piece between the waterproof cover and a stay-dry layer. These brag of being more convenient, but are a lot more expensive, and don't save much work in my opinion. I still stuff them all when they come out of the wash, but I can get by with a lot fewer covers.
These wash instructions are for a top load washer. Apparently front loading high efficiency machines can be a little trickier. There are several places with more instructions, like The Cloth Diaper Whisperer. I am not qualified to advise, since I have a simple old fashioned machine.
If you pin your inserts you can use wool covers which are natural and breath. They are rather expensive, but you need only a few. They only need to be washed every 3 or 4 weeks. Melt 1/4" Lansinoh into 2 cups hot water and them pour into a sink full of water. Briefly soak wool things, pat them dry (don't wring), and lay to finish drying.