Saturday, January 23, 2010

Creating a Diaper System

In order to make cloth diapers manageable and easy to use, here is a list of items to have on hand:

  • Your stash: I recommend at least 2 dozen diapers to use cloth full time; maybe more for newborns. I personally have about 30, and I comfortably wash diapers every other day.

  • Wipes: Cloth wipes are a lot easier to use because you throw them in the diaper pail right along with the diapers, just like you were using a disposable system. I recommend at least a dozen wipes.

  • Wipes Solution: Cloth wipes need to be moistened. You can store pre-moistened wipes in a waterproof storage container (I use an empty disposable wipes container), or you can store the wipes dry and have your solution on hand to moisten as needed. You can store your solution in a spray bottle, squirt bottle, etc...

  • Diaper Pail: Back in the old days, parents used what is called a wet pail, which was a container that had water in it where the dirty dipes could soak. You don't need a wet pail, and in fact, if you use waterproof cloth, a wet pail can ruin your dipes. You can purchase a wet bag, which is actually a dry, waterproof bag that can be thrown into the wash with your dipes. Wet bags can be purchased with zipper closures, drawstrings, elastic to go on a kitchen trash can (what I have), and other ingenious ways to store dirty dipes. Or, if you really want to go cheap, you could try a pillow case in a laundry basket (I'm not sure about the smell though)! I recommend 2 wet bags, one for holding dirty dipes while the other is in the wash.

  • Detergent: Diapers don't need special detergent, and yet they do. The reason I say this is that cloth dipes should to be washed in "free" detergents, that is free of perfumes, dyes, softeners, and whitening enzymes. You can find these detergents in the store, although there a lot of really good detergents you can order online. I use Purex Free and Clear because it is cheap, and I can use it with the rest of my laundry. All Free Clear is a good one too.

  • Wet bag for diaper bag: I talked about a wet bag for the diaper pail, but it is a good idea to have a small one for your diaper bag. That way you can use cloth if you run to the store and need to change the cloth dipe. Here is a picture of mine. It has a zipper closure and is completely waterproof. Isn't it pretty?

  • Fragrance (optional): I only add this because I think that whether or not I would have used disposable or cloth, I would need this. I have the nose of a bloodhound. I use lavender essential oil. I find that this seems to cut the urine smell better than others. I put a couple of drops in diaper pail after every washing. I personally put it on the tag inside the bag, but you can also put a drop or two on a wipe cloth or on a cotton ball (just don't wash the cotton ball, or you will have lent all over your dipes).

  • Diaper Sprayer (optional): A diaper sprayer is probably the most complicated part of the next generation of cloth diapers, but I think it is worth it. A diaper sprayer is basically a kitchen sprayer that you hook up to your toilet so that you can spray off poop into the toilet. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you don't need one because breastfed poop washes right out in the wash (it's magic!). If you have introduced solids, and the poop has become like a crunchy peanut butter consistency, you need to do something! If you don't have a sprayer, you can swish it in the toilet. Older babies have "ploppable" poo, the kind that just rolls off into the toilet with no rinsing needed. A sprayer makes getting rid of poop that sticks to the diaper very quick and clean. This part of cloth diapering turns people off, but seriously, it's not that bad.

  • Of course, you don't need all of this. Some flats, some wash cloths and water is all a person really needs if going really really cheap. These items I noted are for those who want cloth diapering to be as simple as disposable. Once you get a routine going, you will never want to go back!

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