I think the most overwhelming part of cloth diapers (aside from the sheer number of types of diapers and resources available) are the logistics of cloth diapering. When I first started, I just had so many questions…like, “how many diapers do I need?” and, “what do I do with dirty diapers when I’m out running errands?”
I’m going to try to simplify a few of the cloth diapering mysteries that used to baffle me in my early cloth diapering days so that you can have a simpler cloth diapering experience!
How many cloth diapers do I need? I started with just two cloth diapers and slowly built my stash from there. This system worked great for me. But if you want to go all in, I recommend at least 24 for a newborn and around 18 or so for an older baby.
How often will I need to wash my cloth diapers? I wash mine every day or every other day, depending on how many are dirty. When Claire was a newborn, I was washing them every day. Now that she’s older, I usually go a day (and sometimes, two days) between loads.
Tip: I do all of the diaper laundry around here, and by choice. But *just in case* I need assistance, I’ve made it as easy as humanly possible. I’ve labeled my cloth diaper detergent and written the instructions on the container, so there should never be a question on how to wash them!
How often do I need to change my baby’s cloth diaper? I change Claire every 2-3 hours (and of course, whenever she poops!). You can always adjust the diaper’s absorbency if you need (or want) to go longer between changes (just remember that the more absorbency you add, the thicker the diaper will be).
What cloth diaper should I use on my baby overnight? There are lots of overnight options out there, and cloth diapering overnight is totally doable! I have used many solutions – a fitted with a wool cover, a Lollidoo “overnight” fleece pocket diaper, covers with different inserts, and even regular pocket diapers with super-absorbent inserts. You’ll have to play around and see what works for you. Don’t be discouraged if your first choice doesn’t work…you might have to try a few things to find that magic nighttime solution!
If you’re nervous about trying cloth overnight because your baby is a heavy wetter, I recommend a Flip cover with a Flip organic insert, topped with a Flip stay-dry insert. I’ve yet to have a leak with this combo.
What do I need to keep in my diaper bag for cloth diapering on the go? I keep 2-3 extra diapers, a wet bag (to store dirty diapers), about 10 cloth wipes, and a squirt bottle of “butt spray” that I made using a wipe cube (basically, a teeny little piece of soap designed for this purpose) and water. Not much different than the things you’d pack in a diaper bag for a baby diapered in disposables…except it takes up a little more room!
Where do I put the poop if my baby poops when we’re out and about? You can dump it in the toilet if you’re changing your baby in a restroom. Worst case scenario, you roll the diaper up and put it in your wet bag and dump the poop in your own toilet when you get home. Gross, yes…but not any grosser than carrying around a poopy disposable because you aren’t near a trash can (and on that subject, it’s kind of gross to think about putting poop in a trash can!).
What do I do with all these cloth diapers after my children are potty trained? Here is another great thing about cloth diapers…they hold their value! I have sold tons of diapers on ebay and Craigslist, and always for about half of what I paid for them (or more!). If you’re done diapering your own child, or children, you can sell them and recoup some of the money you spent buying them. Or, you can donate them…there are several organizations that provide cloth diapers to low-income families (disposable diapers are expensive, and some families will actually dry and reuse disposables to save money). An example of a group like this is the DFW Cloth Diaper Project - they’ll even take diapers in need of repair (this is where I send my diapers in need of new elastic or with worn-out velcro…they are handy and can repair them).
You can read the first of my cloth diapering series here.
What questions do you have? What logistics are you trying to sort out?