Friday, August 9, 2013

Cloth Diapers: The easy way

Baby #3 was born while I still had 3 kids aged 4 and under at home. I had to shave down daily tasks to a "survival" level yet I continued to cloth diaper my baby because I had discovered a great system. It is so easy that I had to share it with you. Here's a video of the diapers in action.

Disposable Diapers

Do you ever think about disposable diapers? They are made in a factory with a ton of chemicals and plastics then transported to your local store. What a carbon footprint! Oh wait, after they are used, they sit in a landfill for 450 years according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Yeah, yeah disposable diapers are not going to cause the human race to cease but it hardly feels like it helps our environment. I have heard arguments that cloth diapering is worse than disposable diapers because water is used to wash them.  Maybe if you wash daily but I wash weekly and there is no way that one load of wash comes anywhere near the environmental impact of making, transporting and sitting in a landfill for 450 years!

From a health point of view, disposable diapers are made of plastic and do not allow for fresh air to flow around the baby's skin which increases the chances of diaper rash. There are also all those perfumes and bleach rubbing against the baby's skin and we all know that everything on the skin is absorbed -- yuck!

Fancy Over-Designed Cloth Diapers

There are some great parents out there who have made beautiful cloth diapers that work just like a disposable diaper ("all-in-ones"). It is one piece and you put it on like a regular diaper. When it is dirty, you take the whole thing off and put it all in the diaper pail. This sounds nice, right? Well these diapers are around $20 each! A newborn goes through about 8-10 diapers a day and an older baby is at around 5 diapers a day. You would have to do laundry daily or have a huge stash of these in various sizes (although some brands have just come out with multi-size models). They are very thick so they take a long time to dry. They are usually made of fleece as the inner layer and this fabric often holds on to stink and causes you to have to do an extra "strip" washing regularly.  More work + more money + synthetic fabric against the baby = not for me.

Super Easy and Cheap Cloth Diapers

When I had a diaper service, I was introduced to the world of prefolds and I was sold. What is the easiest and cheapest way to cloth diaper?  Prefolds!  A prefold is a piece of 100% cotton fabric that has been folded to be most absorbent and is then folded again before put in a perfect fitting cover. Back in the day these diapers were pinned on babies then a horribly fitting plastic cover/bloomer was put on top. It was a horrible combination.  This is not what I am talking about.  This is how I diaper:

I wash covers in cold or warm water with regular laundry. This way I only need a 2 day supply (I reuse the same cover over and over until it is dirty or the end of the day). When I lived in an apartment without laundry in the building, I used to hand wash the covers. This took 1 minute in the bathroom since I would wash them while they were fresh.

I wash prefold diapers weekly. First they get a gentle wash rinse with no detergent, then they get a heavy cycle on hot with Rock-n-green laundry detergent. I have hard water so I use the Hard Rock variety. When they come out of the wash, I fold the prefolds into thirds (or fourths if they are huge) and put them in the top drawer of the changing table so they are ready to go.
Prefold folded in thirds

Prefold folded in forths

Diaper changes are the same as with disposable except that I have to first put a prefold on top of a cover. When I have a sitter, I put the prefold already in the cover so it is ready to go. I reuse the same cover all day or until it is dirty. Diapers are put in a covered pail until laundry day. I use the Diaper Champ with a homemade reusable PUL liner and it blocks odor perfectly.

That was easy!  Breast-milk only bowels that occur during the first 6 months do not require any special ringing. When the bowels become solid with solid foods then the bowels must first be flushed whether you are using a disposable diaper or a cloth diaper. When using cloth I sometimes put a little piece of fleece on top of the prefold to make the bowel roll off easier into the toilet. I simply cut fleece to the size that I wanted. There is no sewing required with fleece.

You didn't miss the VIDEO of me cloth diapering did you?


  1. I just read your post it is very informative. I have also two kids and i prefer only cloth diapers. Indeed, a cloth diaper is a reusable diaper that you launder either manually or through a service and then utilize again. They are commonly produced of cotton, that is why certain parents love them since they are usually soft. Cloth diapers are washable and as such they can be reused and may be made from natural fibers, man-made resources, or a combination of both.
    Baby cloth diapers

  2. Fantastic blog ! The system you have made for your self is amazing. I like how you have everything set out in a certain order. Keep up the good work.

  3. hello, i am very interested where did you buy your diapers? i am going to be a new to be mom and am trying to find the safest thing for my baby, i have looked into hemp inserts as well as the organic cotton, but where is best to buy the actual diaper covers so i am not spending the $20 a piece like you had mentioned.