Sunday, October 16, 2011

So you want to use cloth diapers

Pregnant or a new mum and interested in cloth diapering? Here's what you'll need to cloth diaper your baby from newborn to six months of age (before your baby starts eating solids) and an estimation of how much you'll spend.

1. Cloth diapers
I recommend TotsBots Easyfit diapers because they are easy to care for, they fit well and they are absorbent. However, there are lots of other great diapers on the market. Educate yourself: attend a cloth diapering workshop, ask your cloth-diapering friends for advice, or hit the Internet.

Babies use roughly 8-14 diapers a day. Calculate how many diapers you'll need based on how often you want to do a load of diaper laundry and how often you'll need to change your babies diaper (this depends on how absorbent your diapers are and how much your baby pees and poos). Start with 18 diapers and buy more based on this calculation.

If you plan on cloth diapering exclusively and you buy all-in-one diapers (these diapers can be adjusted to fit your baby as she grows), prepare to spend $350-$450 on diapers.

2. A dirty diaper pail with tight-fitting lid
Forget a diaper genie, or other fancy diaper pails. You don't need to spend $50 (or more!) on a diaper pail when you cloth diaper. All you need is a regular garbage pail that has a tight-fitting lid.

I bought my diaper pail at a drug store for $8.

3. Diaper pail liners
You'll need a bag to line that diaper pail. I recommend a bag made of poly urethane laminate (PUL). It's waterproof so it will keep the pail from getting wet. Every time I wash a load of diapers I simply pull the bag from the pail and toss the bag, with diapers, into the washing machine. I turn the bag inside out, to empty if of the diapers, once it's in the barrel of the machine.

After the wash is completed, I hang the liner to dry. And this is why I recommend having two liners. You need a second liner for the diaper pail as you'll inevitably accumulate more dirty diapers while the first liner is being washed.

Liner cost anywhere from $10-$35 depending on the size and fabric. Buy two. (BTW you can easily make these if you get your hands on some PUL. Google diaper pail liner to get pattern ideas).

4. Diaper ointment
If a baby wears a diaper, no matter what type, the baby will develop red, irritated skin in the diapered area. Irritated, red skin is usually caused by urine. Changing your baby's diaper often and allowing your baby some naked bum time will help the skin heal. Using a cream or ointment as a barrier between your baby's skin and urine will also help the healing process and prevent further irritation. However, if you're cloth diapering, you'll want to steer clear of ointments containing zinc-oxide. Zinc-oxide can cause your cloth diaper to be become less absorbent.

Look for natural balms and creams. I use a calendula-based ointment, Bum Bum Balm.

There are lots of different natural diaper ointments on the market. You could spend $5 or $25 per bottle.

Optional cloth diapering accessories:
  • Wet bag to store soiled diapers when you're out of the house
  • Doublers or boosters to increase the absorbency of your cloth diapers
  • Detergent specially formulated for cloth diapers
  • Deodorizer for the diaper pail or wet bag
If you're interested in purchasing cloth diapers and accessories online, check out New & Green Baby Co. and Cozy Bums.

If you have any questions on how to use or care for cloth diapers, just ask me! Or if you have any further advice, please send it along.

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