Top 10 items to make cloth diapering easier (and save you money)
July 13, 2011
10. A travel-sized wetbag. This is a waterproof bag that can be washed. It will hold all your dirty diapers while you are out and about and usually does a really good job of containing the smell as well.
9. A re-usable diaper pail liner. Pail liners not only save you money on trash bags, they also help save the environment. When your diaper pail fills up and it's time for a wash, all you have to do is pull it out of the pail and dump its contents, along with the bag, into the wash machine (turning it inside out on your arm like a glove). It gets washed right along with your diapers and is ready to go back in your pail when dry (and, most importantly, keeps you from having to touch dirty diapers on laundry day). I like to have at least 2 of these on hand so you can line the pail with one while the other is washing/drying. They are also really easy to make if you want to save some money on purchasing one (it's just a rectangle with elastic around the top edge).
8. Deodorizing disks. These are a lifesaver. I buy Arm & Hammer deodorizing disks from BabiesRUs, although I'm sure they have them at places like Walmart and Target. I drop them in my diaper pails, under the changing table, under my kitchen sink, behind the toilet... ok, I've gone a little crazy with them. They smell so good, I can't really help myself.
7. A back-up stash. Trust me, you never want to be stuck without a clean diaper in the house at changing time (like my girlfriend who recently put her son in a swim diaper because she realized they were all out. Ha!). Some days I blow through my inserts without a blink, and I need a backup. I have two options:
- I have a dozen unbleached prefolds that I tri-fold and place in my covers just like an insert. The fit and absorbency work just as well as any insert I have.
- I usually keep a stash of disposables, just in case. I normally have to turn to these when I'm all out of covers on laundry day, or if I happen to drop my daughter off somewhere where they are unfamiliar with cloth diapers.
6. Water softener. My hard water was causing some major stink buildup in my diapers, so I started using a water softener each time I ran a load of diapers. It made all the difference. Find out more about that here
5. An all-natural detergent. You have to be careful what you wash your diapers with. “Free & Clear” detergents are not recommended, but rather an all-natural option like Charlie's Soap, Rockin Green, Allens Naturally, etc. More on that here
4. Overnight doubler inserts: For a baby, 8-12 hours is a long time to go without a diaper change. During the first few months of cloth diapering, my baby woke up soaking wet every morning (which just about drove me crazy... washing sheets and pajamas everyday is not my idea of fun). So I started looking into other options and ended up purchasing some hemp doublers. These go in with her regular insert (so she is wearing two inserts total) and help with added absorbency. Now, leaky mornings are rare. I only had to buy 3 since I only use them at night and I launder every 2-3 days; so it was a small price to pay (literally) for my sanity.
3. Cloth wipes and spray bottle. When I first starting cloth diapering, I planned on using disposable wipes. For some reason, dirty cloth wipes seemed grosser to me than dirty cloth diapers. Why? I have no idea; new mommy insanity, I suppose. After a while, I realized it didn't make any sense to use disposables for 3 reasons: (1) It was a waste of money, (2) I would have more control over what chemicals touched her skin if I made my own solution, and (3) I was already washing cloth diapers so adding wipes to the load just made sense. After doing some research, I went the most economical way possible and made about a dozen wipes out of 2 old flannel receiving blankets that we no longer used, and wipes solution using water, baby soap, and olive oil (all placed in my postpartum spray bottle from the hospital). It didn't cost me a cent to make the transition, and I still use the same system. There are many, many ways to go about using cloth wipes (you can add essential oils to the solution, use different fabrics for wipes, put them pre-soaked into a wipes warmers, etc.), so it's just about trial and error until you find what you like (or how cheap you want to be!).
2. Biodegradable diaper liners. I use these diaper liners anytime I have to use diaper cream for a rash. If you get the cream on your cloth diapers, you will ruin their absorbency (since rash creams are meant to be liquid-resistant). The great thing about the liners are that they are biodegradable and, therefore, flushable. You can either throw them in the trash or the toilet. You could, of course, use these with every diaper, which makes poop clean-up a breeze; simply remove the liner and toss it in the toilet. Most of the time, your poopy diaper will remain fairly clean and not even need a spray down. However, if you are attempting to save money, using one for every diaper can get expensive. I quickly gave up on using them with every diaper change because I felt like it was useless with just a wet diaper.
And finally... the #1 thing you must own:
1. Diaper sprayer. A diaper sprayer attaches to your toilet and is an absolute must-have! Every time my daughter poops, I carry the diaper to the toilet, set it against the side of the bowl, and spray the mess off with the sprayer. Then I wring out the water and put it in the diaper pail. Besides eliminating mess, the benefits of the sprayer include no poop running through my wash machine, and no stink in the nursery since there's no poop in the pail. This tool is really what sets cloth diapering apart from back in the good ol' days when we were babies (how jealous do you think our moms are right now?).
You can find all of these items and more at Kelly's Closet