I’d like to think some of this information may help someone out there. If you are considering cloth diapering, want more information or are just interested in seeing what it’s about-maybe I can enlighten you. I can tell you what has worked and what has not, for me.
I was first exposed to cloth diapering when I worked at a home daycare in my very early 20’s. I didn’t like it. I thought it was SO GROSS. Seriously, I dreaded changing that child. I didn’t have any knowledge of it and felt like it was forced upon me. Fast forward a few years and I was a nanny for a 17 month old little boy. He was cloth diapered and while I was wary to begin with, his mama had a fantastic set up! She showed me around her setup, how to put on the cloth diapers, launder them etc. She even had this awesome wipe warmer with homemade wipes and solution. But it wasn’t until Rocco (yes that was his name) began to show interest in toilet training at 17 months, that I really paid attention. Then he actually began to potty train at 18 months! My husband also had a co-worker at a past job whose cloth diapared sons both toilet trained at 18 months as well!
*Someone recently laughed/scoffed at my husband when he mentioned our hopes that cloth diapering would lead to our son toilet training earlier. They told us there was no way this would happen and we better get used to him being in diapers until he was 3 or 4 because he’s a boy. I really don’t know what to say to that type of attitude. It’s rude but people are entitled to their rude opinions, I guess. Look, I have no idea if my son will toilet train early but I do know that it will be something I work towards because we are motivated to see him out of diapers long before the age of 3 or 4. We aren’t doing it to have gold star stickers because our son might toilet train early. JUST sayin’.
Before disposable diapers became marketed mainstream and cloth diapers were the norm, children began potty training at one year and were mostly done by 2 years of age.
“The current average age of potty training completion in the US is 35 months for girls, 39 months for boys.” (Ambulatory Pediatrics Journal, 2001)
Ok, so that stat was from 17 years ago. But from the years I spent in childcare and teaching preschool in the US, I saw children training as late as 4 years of age. ALL this to say-cloth diapered children have shown to toilet train much earlier. I love that statistic. I wouldn’t say it was our main reason for choosing to cloth diaper but it was one of the reasons, along with the monetary savings.
Stats from The Barefoot Baby say that the average baby will be changed 6,1000 times before they are potty trained (think 6x a day for 25 months). Add to that if a child is in diapers until they are 3 or 4. For disposables that is anywhere from $1900 to $2900 per child, depending on what brand of diapers you buy and if you buy in bulk. In terms of cloth you are looking at a minimum of 24 diapers (enough to get you through 3 days at a time) and if you buy brand new a cost of $400 to $900 in one go. More on costs, buying new and/or used later!
Did you know that on average it takes a disposable diaper 250 to 500 years to decompose? WHAT?! Not to mention the amount and type of chemicals used to make a disposable so absorbent. Researchers still have not been able to prove that the chemicals in disposable diapers isn’t harmful to babies. Ok- so we still use disposables but we use about 7 a week, during the night. So while we aren’t perfect in our diaper usage, I’d like to think we are doing some good.
Ok, so cost effectiveness, chemicals and early toilet training aside, you are probably thinking a few things right now. It’s gross. It’s inconvenient. It’s extra work. Yes.No.Yes. Haha! It’s all about having the right system with cloth diapering. *I also want to say we used disposables exclusively the first 2 months and we use them at night as well as on the go. On average we go through 7-10 disposables a week. I’m getting brave with cloth when I’m out with baby boy but it also depends on if he’s working on a giant poop. (Remind me to share the pooping into my hand, in the chiropractor’s office- story sometime) I learned from my own research, reading cloth diapering blogs and some hands on with cloth diapering about setting up the right system to have success. A few things I find absolutely necessary for my journey with cloth diapering and what I’ve learned thus far are as follows:
- Get a diaper sprayer or bidet-this one has worked GREAT for us! It was fairly easy for the husband to install and it gets the yuckies gone! More on that routine later.
- Have at least two large wet bags as well as one or two travel size ones. I use these in baby boy’s room. They are safe to throw right in with the diapers when I wash them. More on containing smell later.
- RUBBER GLOVES-unless you wanna be touchin’ the gross stuff all the time. No?
- ENOUGH cloth diapers!! Unless you want to be doing laundry every day, you need to have enough diapers to last you a few days. You will want to wash dirty diapers every 2-3 days because they are marinatin’ in all the gross stuff. I have a great stash now, thanks to my sista! I would say I have enough diapers to go for a week but I still wash diapers every Wednesday and Saturday.
- A solid but simple wash routine. I have found powder Tide to be the most effective. I have also learned to use the least amount of water and MORE detergent. I also throw in 1/2 a cup of Borax because we have horrible hard water and hard water will build up on the micro-fiber inserts, causing them to eventually repel liquid-NOT GOOD. (I’ll talk about hard water, stripping etc. another time.) I dry my diaper covers on LOW heat during the winter (high for inserts) and I will hang those bad boys come summer!
- A sense of humour. It’s going to stink at the start-poop and pee SMELL. It’s kinda normal. You will touch poop at some point. I had a moment the other day where I wasn’t sure if I there was mustard or poop on my sweater. Same colour. Seriously. What are you going to do? WELCOME TO PARENTHOOD.
- It’s an investment of both your time and money. We didn’t start cloth diapering until 2 months in because being a brand new parent is enough work to begin with. I didn’t want to add a complicated wash routine to new life as mom. Also-newborns poop A LOT. This factors into much more laundry with cloth diapers. By 2 months baby boy’s poops were a lot less which made the transition to cloth that much easier.
- If you aren’t organized, don’t have enough diapers and don’t do your research then cloth diapering probably won’t be something you stick with. Also, if you are a mom who works another job (you are my hero, go mama!) outside the home, cloth diapering can be tricky. It’s doable but more work.
Part 2 of cloth diapering is coming up! I’ll talk about the different types of diapers, inserts, homemade wipes, DIY diaper cream and I’ll give you a tour of my changing station. I really have come to love cloth diapering. That being said-it’s not for everyone and that is ok! Do you cloth diaper? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!
This contains some affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of those links I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. As much as possible I try to recommend products/brands I’ve used and love or the closest alternative. If all this bothers you feel free not to use the link. Thank you for the support!