Are you thinking about cloth diapering? There are many benefits to cloth diapering and great resources in Greenville to help you along the way. Today local mom Kristina Hernandez is telling us why she loves cloth diapers. She’s also sharing her tips and tricks on where to buy cloth diapers, how to wash them, and more!
When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband casually mentioned we should look into cloth diapering. I was mildly appalled. Didn’t they do that in my grandparent’s generation – and wasn’t it awful? My husband, being from Central America, was actually more familiar with cloth diapering than myself since it’s more common there, so he figured why not look into it. And oh man, did I look into it!
Turns out that there is an entire subculture of cloth diaper enthusiasts who can’t wait to get their hands on more fluff for their little baby’s bottoms. For a multitude of reasons, we ended up cloth diapering our kids and it has been more fun than I could have imagined.
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What are cloth diapers exactly?
Cloth diapers have come a long my friends. Invention is the key to necessity here. Cloth diapers are essentially reusable diapers that will be washed when soiled and used over and over again, sometimes with multiple children (which saves parents a ton of money but more on that in a minute). There are all kinds of fibers – cotton, hemp, microfiber, bamboo, wool – that have various absorbencies.
Types of Diapering Systems
There is also a dizzying array of options available. You can get an all-in-one diaper (AIO), which is like a disposable in that you don’t have to mess around with inserts. You just put it on the baby, take it off when dirty, and throw it on the laundry bag. All-in-twos (AI2) are similar except you can snap in an insert for absorbency and then take that out when dirty.
There are pocket diapers that literally have a pocket to stuff the inserts or prefolds (these look like big hand towels that you fold up and put into a diaper). There are diaper covers, which are waterproof, and pre-folds where you have a system to build the diaper to your child’s individual needs. Fitted diapers are either sized or come in one size (snaps make them bigger or smaller) and will need a diaper cover. There are extra-absorbent nighttime diapers available too.
You will also want to try out snaps vs. Velcro. I found that velcro worked best for smaller babies because you can get a more snug fit. However, once my babies grew, we used more snap-style diapers. Most cloth diapering systems, aside from using prefolds, are meant for babies around 8-10 pounds up to toddlers. Prefolds are a great way to use diapers on small newborns, and you can find attachments like a Snappi, to hold the prefolds together. Green Mountain Diapers is a great resource on how to use a Snappi to hold together a prefold diaper, so you do not have to feel intimidated! When in doubt, Youtube is your best friend!
Finding What Fits Your Family
It’s a huge world out there of cloth diapers and, in my own experience, a lot of the learning comes down to trial and error and really finding out what works for you. My oldest child was sized differently than my youngest so my favorite diapers that worked the best were different the second time around.
But you’re not alone if you go the route of cloth diapers. The online world of cloth diapers enthusiasts is enormous and Greenville alone even has its own cloth diapering community.
Why choose cloth diapers?
A big reason we chose cloth diapers was the cost. Simply put, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to use cloth diapers than disposables. One detailed analysis of cloth vs. disposables over 30 months came out with spending about $770 on cloth diapers (including the cost of washing the diapers) to over $2,300 for disposables.
There are a lot of different comparisons on the cost but in the end, the cloth is almost always cheaper – and they have resale value (more on this later). The expense of cloth diapers is mostly upfront since you need to start building up your stash right from the beginning. But because of the huge variety of options, cloth diapers can fit almost every budget.
Less Harsh Chemicals on Baby
Another reason is the gentleness of cloth vs. the chemicals of disposable diapers. Baby skin is sensitive and cloth diapers have no chemicals to interact with that soft baby bum. As a sometimes paranoid mom, I’m just more comfortable with something that doesn’t have chemicals constantly touching my baby’s skin.
Also, cloth diapers are better for the environment because they don’t contribute to the millions of diapers piling up in landfills every year.
I also chose cloth diapers out of convenience. Sure, it may seem like an oxymoron. I mean, you need to wash the diapers every few days, let them dry, fold them up, and stash them away – only to just do it all over again in the next 48 hours – but I loved the idea of being able to get new diapers in just a few hours with washing and drying and not having to leave my house at 9 pm because I just remembered I ran out of diapers.
May Help With Potty Training
One other thing I heard when I was researching cloth diapers is that kids who use them are potty-trained earlier than kids with disposables. The theory is that with cloth diapers, they can feel when they are wet and therefore are more motivated to go to the bathroom on the toilet. They also supposedly get an earlier handle on bodily functions. Honestly, I have no clue if this is true. My oldest was potty-trained before she was two but it could have been for reasons other than cloth diapers (she was in overnight diapers longer). But I know other kids who were in cloth diapers who were potty-trained later.
Cloth Diapers are Adorable!
And lastly, I chose cloth diapers for the simple fact that are adorable. And they have names like Fuzzibunz, BumGenius, and Applecheeks. Your baby may look like he/she has a little bit of junk in the trunk – but hey, it’s cute. The cuteness factor could actually be a downfall because once you get into cloth diapers, you are going to be tempted to buy all the fluff you can. It’s an addiction.
Washing cloth diapers
So it gets a bit tricky to wash the diapers. Depending on how many diapers you have and how often you change your baby, you will likely need to wash the diapers every couple of days. I use baking soda and distilled vinegar for the prewash (wash on cold) and then wash the diapers in hot water with Tide Original powder. You can’t use a liquid detergent without ruining the diapers because it will hamper absorbency. There are a lot of options for cloth diaper-safe detergent though (see this list). The last time we checked the Swamp Rabbit Café & Grocery in Greenville sells a couple of cloth diaper-friendly detergents as well.
For drying, you will need to hang up the diaper covers to dry. Everything else can go in the dryer. I try to get my diapers outside in a sunny spot as often as possible since the sun naturally bleaches them and gets out the stains. If you can’t go outside, running a tension line over your bathtub is a great option, or even in your laundry room. Then, the diapers can dry out with the heat coming off of the dryer.
The wash routine can come with challenges for sure. This awesome Facebook group, Fluff Love & CD Science, is an excellent resource to help get answers on troubleshooting issues that come up with cloth diapers.
As for where to put the dirty diapers in between washes, I use a wet bag, which is a waterproof bag. I also use a small one in my diaper bag for when we are on the go and I need to put a dirty diaper somewhere.
Where to get cloth diapers in Greenville
When I first started cloth diapering, I went to a meeting with other cloth diaper mamas and it was so helpful to see the diapers firsthand (I had ordered everything online at that point) and ask questions and get solutions.
The Greenville Cloth Diapering Group is an online resource that is very helpful as well.
Resale Value of Cloth Diapers
One of the neat things about cloth diapers is that they actually have resale value. When I first started cloth diapering, I got almost my entire stash from resellers. I thought it was pretty gross at first until I realized what cloth diapers were and that they can work the same as new ones when taken care of properly. I also ended up selling some of the diapers that didn’t work as well for my kids as I would have liked.
You can check out the private Baby Center swap group or other swap groups on Facebook.
Other Things You Need to Know about Cloth Diapering
One big thing you need to know about cloth diapers is that you can’t use traditional diaper cream with them (think stinky Destin). You have to use something that doesn’t contain zinc. I used coconut oil and the GroVia magic stick. There are plenty of cloth diaper-safe rash creams out there if you need them. But don’t feel bad if you need to switch to disposables for a few days to use the hardcore diaper creams if the baby has a bad rash!
Also, there are cloth wipes you can use instead of regular baby wipes. They are pretty awesome and you just use them with water when you change the baby and wash them when you wash diapers.
When the baby is breastfeeding and poops, you can just throw the diaper in the wet bag or diaper pail. But when the baby starts on solids, you need to dump the poop in the toilet before you can wash them. It’s kind of gross but I use GroVia liners, which make it a heck of a lot easier.
You can also buy spray wands that attach to your toilet like this one of these diaper sprayers. These make removing solids a lot easier. You just hang the diaper over the toilet, spray all the gross stuff away, and throw it into a wet bag.
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