A few years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was really interested in educating myself on what to expect during birth and after. Some mamas don’t take any classes, which I can understand. However, in the absence of living in communities with mothers, aunts, and grandmothers who educate us on what to expect, we often find ourselves having to seek out information.
I was interested in educating myself on what to expect. I took classes in hypnobirthing with my doula, which were amazing, and breastfeeding, which were essential. It was especially good to have my spouse take them too even though we were both not sure that it would be necessary. It was.
Another class that not many people take but was important to me was on cloth diapering. I was committed to cloth diapering our baby for all of its benefits, including less impact on the environment, less money and waste, and better potty training outcomes for baby. It takes 500 years for diapers to decompose and most babies go through 2,500 diapers in the first year. These benefits were enough reason to pursue the goal of cloth diapering.
The class was eye opening as others moms and I learned together on how to cloth diaper, clean the diapers, and about all the purchasing options. Frankly, the most overwhelming part were the choices. We added cloth diapering items to our baby registry, which worked out well.
After our baby was born, though, we didn’t cloth diaper right away. Weeks were going by with her in disposable diapers and I was getting impatient and frustrated. The advice of my husband helped me manage my expectations and be okay with us not starting right away. There was so much to figure out as a new mom and it was okay that not everything happened at once. It’s nice to have a voice of reason by your side, especially in the 4th trimester, where you’re feeling all the pressure of a new mama.
Once my daughter was a few weeks old and we were more in a groove, we took out the cloth diapers and put them to use. We experimented with a couple types but the all over diaper with removable inserts worked best for us. Once an insert was soiled, we threw it into a wet bag (a must have) or in a bucket of vinegar water.
For poopy diapers, we emptied the contents into the toilet first. In those early days of being primarily breastfed, babies poop is water soluble and the process was not any more gross than if we were using disposable diapers. My husband was on board too, which made it easier, and he was on top of the cleaning during laundry day.
My daughter was born in the winter so we used the dryer primarily but also utilized the natural sun, especially when diapers were stained. This was a trick I learned in one of my classes and I was amazed when it worked. The sun can remove most stains, including turmeric, and it worked wonders on our cloth diapers. We now say we’re putting something through the “solar cycle”.
When my daughter turned 9 months and started daycare, I was relieved that they too were open to using cloth diapers. The owner was from South Asia and attested to how beneficial cloth diapers can be, especially for potty training.
We didn’t cloth diaper full time though. We used eco-friendly disposable bamboo diapers at night and disposable inserts when we were on long car or plane rides.
I understand why the prospect of use cloth diapers can seem daunting but it really was a lot easier than we expected. If full time cloth diapering is not an option for you, you can pick days or occasions where you can do it. Any reduction is helpful to your wallet and the environment.
You can also do the same for wipes, especially as many babies react to the chemicals in wipes and often get a diaper rash. We cut up old receiving blankets and made a spray of water and oil that we used for pee. The soiled wipes we then threw in with the diapers. For poopy diapers, we used eco-friendly wipes.
Next time around, we will continue with cloth diapering and be ready to start sooner. We will also be learning about elimination communication and incorporating that as well so that baby can be diaper free much sooner.
Here is my recommend list of cloth diapering supplies:
All In One Diapers (you can find so many cute designs)
Diaper Cover (better option for newborns)
Disposable inserts (best of both worlds, especially if you’re traveling)
If you’re interested in cloth diapering, check out Cloth Diaper Podcast on Instagram