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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cloth Diapering 101

I've used cloth diapers on all my boys.
Bought them when pregnant with my first and still using those same diapers.
They're not only environmentally friendly, they economical.
And easy.
Wait, did she say easy? Cloth diapers?
These are not our mother's cloth diapers.
No pins required.
We've entered the space age of velcro.
I use the Chinese prefold cloth diapers. They're already "prefolded". This just means the layers are sewn together. I have the thickest available, 4x8x4. That's 4 layers of absorbant cotton on each side and 8 layers down the middle.
All you have to do is fold the middle layers in.
And if it's a large diaper (we call these "nighttime" diapers in our house), you'll need to fold the front down, too.
Simply place into the diaper cover. (Some people use all-in-ones. This is a diaper that looks like a disposable. The cover and diaper are all one piece. They are more costly but save you a step.)
I came up with a system long ago where I use a piece of fleece on top of the diaper. This is for two reasons. First, if baby poops I only have to remove the piece of fleece and shake it over the toilet or dip it in & swish around if necessary. I don't have to clean the poo off the diaper. Nice. Also, it keeps baby's skin dry. Fleece wicks the moisture away from their skin and draws it toward the cotton below.
I use washcloths for cleanup.
Everything gets tossed into a diaper pail until wash day (minus the poop, which gets flushed).
Then I wash on hot, heavy duty, with an extra rinse, lots of soap, and white vinegar in the rinse to kill germs. I dry on hot for extra germ-killing. Although in the summer I sometimes hang out in the sun. This naturally bleaches out any stains.
As for poop, I saw you cringe when I mentioned it. Come on, babies poop. We've gotten way too detached from the whole process with disposable diapers. You use a throw-away wipe and you throw away their poop.
Where do you think this diaper, and it's corresponding poo, goes?
To a landfill. Your backyard. Where it takes 500 years for one disposable diaper to biodegrade. Where the poop eventually ends up in the ground, and seeps down to get into the groundwater. Even if you're on city water, it comes from a well, right? Now that's gross.
If you cloth diaper and flush the poo, it goes to a treatment facility. Are you still cringing?

Diaper cover with leg gussets and velcro closure.

Prefold cloth diapers. Daytime diaper on left, nighttime on right. Or baby and toddler, depending on your preference.
Just folds sides in.
And fold the middle down for the bigger diaper.

Place in diaper cover.
I like to use a fleece liner. I cut these from simple fabric store fleece.
Place around baby.
Holding spot.

Now, I want to mention that we do use disposables sometimes. When baby goes to the gym nursery, for example. Or, especially after the 3rd baby, we're tired or someone's sick and we just don't want to deal with cloth diapers that day. We're not perfectionists!


  1. You know, I did use cloth diapers with Miss Boo and Peter, but for some reason I'm too tired to try that with Gabe.

    However, you've inspired me. *Maybe* I'll think about getting out all those diapers again . . .

  2. If only I had read this when my kids were still in diapers...
    They look very comfy!

  3. That is pretty much exactly what I did when mine were little. Thanks for posing. It really wasn't that hard.