A while back I tried to write a post that de-mystified cloth diapering. Some readers, like Sister Scales-of-Justice (formerly known as Sister Older-Older) let me know that my explanation was a bit long (albeit thorough) and still left one feeling a bit confused. Fast forward to “now” where Wife and I are right back in newborn mode expecting Baby Garbanzo’s arrival. There is a bunch of cloth diaper cleaning and sorting going on in our house. To add to that, Brother Long-Arm-of-the-Law and his wife are expecting their first child in October. And they have committed to cloth diapering their imminent son. The following is an e-mail that we sent them detailing the products we used with Sweetie and will use with Garbanzo. I think the information is easier to digest and we included links!
“Online is probably the best for buying your supplies. The store that we attended a free cloth diaper class and purchased our first set of supplies was Cutie Poops and Bottoms (http://www.cutiepoopsandbottoms.com/) near Orland Square Mall. This store also offers “Diaper Trials” were you can try before you buy.
Cloth Diapers: Ultimately, we found that OsoCosy unbleached, Indian pre-folds (http://www.clothdiaper.com/cloth-diapers/Prefolds/Indian-Prefold-Diapers-Unbleached-dozen.html?gclid=CJ2X78OXm74CFchFMgod_2cARQ), used with a snappi (http://www.cutiepoopsandbottoms.com/Snappi-Diaper-Fastener-1-or-2pk_p_191.html) were the simplest and most effective diapers. Depending on how often you want to do laundry, for a newborn, we would recommend 36 pre-folds (infant size) if you want to do laundry every other day, or 24 if you want to do laundry every day. Pre-folds come in a packet of 12.
Covers: Blueberry and GroVia proved to be our favorite brands of covers. They are well designed and stand up to wear and tear. We prefer the snaps closures over the Velcro because the Velcro dies over time. Look for the double gusset at the leg opening – this detail helps keep the poop and pee in.
We would recommend only a couple newborn size covers; they grow out of this size fairly quickly. Most of our covers are “one size” – you just use the snaps that size the diaper as needed.
Diaper Liners: we never bought the disposable diaper liners; we bought a packet of washable fleece liners but only used them a few times. If poop is a concern, we don’t think a liner is going to prevent much soiling, but the disposable liners may make it easier to dump the poop in the toilet*. Just remember: there is a chance the liner will stay clean, but the diaper will get loaded. There is also a chance the liner will get loaded and buried so you will have to add excavation to clean-up. Good segue into a diaper sprayer.
Diaper Sprayer: There are a variety of styles. (http://www.cutiepoopsandbottoms.com/FLO-Diaper-Sprayer_p_537.html) This handy guy is the hose we have attached to the side of our toilet. It connects to your existing plumbing. This guy will wash your poop and pee into the toilet so you don’t have to try to wipe it off the diaper. But you may want to keep your hand soap stocked up because life happens, especially in the toilet area. These days the sprayer has also proved handy for rinsing out Sweetie’s potty bowl.
Cloth Diaper Soap: We tried 3 different brands of cloth diaper “safe” soaps. EcoSprout worked fine but we used another brand (Funk Rock) to help with ammonia build-up (EcoSprout was started by a work-at-home Dad in Naperville). Funk Rock has a variety of lines based on your water type, much the same result as EcoSprout where we also used their ammonia-busting soap. We are currently using Charlie’s soap with good results, no extra ammonia busting and clean diapers. Downside to this brand is some babies get red bums (but not our “hard-ass”!).
Dryer Balls: will cut down on drying time (still expect two drying cycles); we use the wool kind but we’re sure that the plastic ones would work just as well.
Diaper Pail: http://www.buschsystems.com/recycling-waste-container-bin-cart-products/odor-free-diaper-pail/ – Learn from our mistake, do not try to use a garbage can, not even a fancy one! Airflow in the diaper pail is a must to prevent ammonia build up. This brand has a “teddy bear cage” that holds a wonderful charcoal filter and a spot for deodorizing discs…well worth it. We recommend at least two diaper pail bags.
Cloth Wipes: Thirsties Fab Wipes are our favorite. They are super soft on one side and poop grabby on the other side (do the initial poop wipes with toilet paper). In the beginning we wet the wipe with warm water and used some EcoSprout Bottom Spray. Eventually we found that just using warm water was enough.
Wet Bags: We recommend at least three.
Cloth Diaper Safe Butt Balm: CJ’s BUTTer is our favorite. We recently discovered a variety of scents that are fun without being heavy on the perfumes. EcoSprout has a product too that worked okay, but we were sold on all of the natural goodness in the BUTTer.
Pocket, All-in-Ones and hybrids: meh. We found one (1) Velcro-closure, one-size, pocket-style diaper was useful for pediatrician visits. If you don’t want to buy separate inserts just use a pre-fold in the pocket. Doc liked the ease of Velcro; we liked keeping Sweetie in cloth for visits. Otherwise these were too much for our use, again a pre-fold and a cover does the job well.”
This is from our cloth diapering experience so far. I know the interwebs has all sorts of additional information and opinions out there and that can often complicate the cloth diapering option. Hopefully this simplifies things and helps you get started. From there, I say do what works for you and feels the best while giving you the best results. Cloth diapering is just another option with its own things to get used to, so don’t over think it. Good luck.
* A random tangent here, and my favorite overlooked diaper factoid. Many disposable diaper users ask how we deal with poop. We put it in the toilet, where poop goes, (not the garbage can). All of the folks using disposable diapers for “easy poop clean up” need to read the packaging, specifically where it states to remove poop from a diaper prior to disposing.