Cloth Diapering Part 2: The Gritty Details
The very same concerns come up every time I talk to people about cloth diapering and I will try to address them here. Cloth diapers are not dirty, they are easy to use when out and about, and they are not more time consuming than disposables.
Cloth diapers are a very clean choice for many reasons. The brand of diapers I use is gdiapers and I LOVE them and highly recommend them but there are other great companies out there that are certainly excellent also. Gdiapers sell a product that helped take the yuck factor out of poopy diapers. The cloth liner is a product not unlike a stiff piece of toilet paper that fits right on top of the cloth. After baby poops, Mom can lift the stiff paper-y cloth liner out and plop the poop into the toilet (where poop belongs!). In the event that you don’t have a liner when baby poops, it is not a big deal. Read: It is NOT a big deal! Lots of times, the poop can be plopped into the toilet, or I just swish them in the toilet and then put them in the diaper pail.
Cloth diapers are washed in a washing machine using the hottest water setting (which kills germs, last time I checked), using the longest cycle and soap that is appropriate for cloth diapers (agitation and soap removes the “stuff” from the cloth). I separate the white cloth and white gpouch (an elasticized liner that keeps the absorbent cloth close to baby’s skin) and put it into the diaper pail. The colored and oh-so-cute outside part (called gpants in this brand’s system) gets velcroed shut and tossed in my regular laundry. That has kept the colors brighter and velcro and elastic lasting strong through two children.
I use Rockin’ Green soap because it is plant-based and comes in a formula for hard water, which I have. It isn’t any more expensive than Tide or other petroleum-based soap and I have found it to work very well.
I use a Bambino Mio brand diaper pail and that particular diaper pail has a lock which has been handy for keeping toddlers at bay. Because I wash diapers every day or every other day, my house doesn’t smell like diapers. I assure you, I have some bloodhound women in my family and they’d let me know if my home was smelly.
As for time, consider first the time one would spend going to the store, the aisle, and the checkout line to buy disposable diapers. Then consider the time one would spend to take the now very full trash bag out, to the curb, and the money spent to pay to get rid of the garbage. All that is time that has to be considered first. Now consider that as a new parent, your laundry needs have increased significantly. Babies dirty onesies at a terrific pace, and as a new mom I know I rarely went a whole day with the same outfit on because I’d spill or leak something terrible on my shirt. All this means is that new parents do more loads of wash. I found it to be of no inconvenience to throw one more load a day in the machine. I’d bet dumping the diaper pail into the washing machine takes under a minute. I chose to hang my cloth diapers on the line to dry because I really like saving money, I like my washline, and with my first baby, my dryer didn’t work well. That doesn’t take much time either and then I guess the only other time consuming part is making a stack of the diapers and putting them pack in the changing station.
As for going out and about with baby, my wet cloth diapers go in a wet bag that is likely designed to put wet swimsuits in. When I get home from my outing I put the wet contents in the diaper pail along with the wet bag and that’s it.
As for wipes, I use cloth wipes because of all the reasons I chose to use cloth diapers. Also, they are so small (washcloth sized) that they don’t create more laundry- they don’t make an additional load of wash, they just increase the size of the load by a little bit. I do use the gdiaper brand plant based wipes for when I am out where there isn’t a faucet nearby. Because I have saved a lot of money by using cloth diapers, I don’t feel like it is frivolous to buy slightly more expensive biodegradable wipes that are made with what I refer to as, “plants and fairy dust.”
Speaking of plants and fairy dust, gdiapers makes a biodegradable insert to use instead of the cloth. The idea is that you can have the cute, colored outside part and inside you have an absorbent part made of plant matter (and said fairy dust) and you can compost, flush, or toss and it will decompose in a landfill in 50 days. This was one selling point of the gdiaper brand that I felt comforted by. If ever I was behind on laundry or on a trip (to an imaginary place where there are no washers and dryers) I could and would use the disposable inserts. I actually use them when on a long car ride or overnight sometimes because my babies have been very big (more potty) and deep, long sleepers (also more potty) and the disposable inserts are a little bit more absorbent in those situations.
My cloth diaper “test” was when my first born was 4 months old and I had to jump in the car and spend several days away from home, sans husband, to be with an aunt who was very ill. I had no time to plan and hardly time to pack but I grabbed my wet bag, a stack of cloth diapers and a package of the disposables. I was in and out of the hospital visiting for several days and I never even opened the pack of disposables because at the end of the day I just used my cousin’s washing machine. After that trip I was convinced that they’d work in any situation. I wish I could find the blog post I read when I was first reading about using cloth. A couple used them successfully on a yacht, sailing around the world. After reading that, I was completely on board.
As a mom who values time, money, and quality I have been so, so happy I chose to use cloth diapers. I know as an expectant mother the last thing you want to do is make the wrong choice. I truly would say that any new mom should try them. I’d love to hear from a mom who used cloth and did NOT have a washer and dryer in the home. I know there’s a frugal wildflower out there who’s done it- let me know how you made it work!