cloth diaper guide

 

We've compiled all of the information we've learned about cloth diapering over the years to make cloth diapering easier for you.  We're certainly not experts, but we have spent the last 4+ years navigating the world of cloth diapers with 2 exclusively cloth-diapered kiddos.

 

Everything presented here is what has worked for us, including handy tips we've learned along the way.  However, this is not the ONLY way to cloth diaper.  It's simply the way that worked for us, and so we want to share our journey with you.

before baby arrives

 

Pre-washing Instructions

Your diapers need to be prepared for your new baby's sweet little bum. Before your baby arrives, set aside a laundry day. You will need to wash your diapers 5 times to help them reach their maximum absorbency before they are put to use. This also ensures that any oils from manufacturing have been removed.
 

  • Wash in hot water or sanitize cycle 

  • If available, add or program extra wash time on your washer

  • Cold rinse is fine, add extra rinse time if your machine will allow 

  • Use detergent based on the approximate size of the load

    • If your pail liner is full, use a regular portion of detergent (15+ diapers)

    • If your pail liner is half-full, use half portion of detergent

      • Please use a detergent that is free from scents and dyes. Don't use anything that could irritate baby's sensitive bum

 

TIP: We've used the Free and Clear detergent from Costco without issue

 
Do not dry in between pre-washings, as this is unnecessary wear and tear on your diapers. Dry them only after your 5 wash cycles have been completed.
 
Drying in the dryer is optional. To extend the life of your diapers, it is recommended to hang them to dry. That being said, who has time for that?! Dry on low heat. If you're using a dry sensor setting, make sure it's set to extra dry as the microfibre inserts hold moisture longer.
 

 

What else do you need?

Diaper pail - The pail liners will fit in a 13-gallon diaper pail or garbage can. Click HERE for an example
 

Other products - When purchasing or making products to use with your cloth diapers such as sprays and creams, be mindful to use cloth diaper friendly options. Many diaper rash creams provide a barrier on the bum, but also rub off into the diaper, reducing how much the diaper can absorb. Here are some recommendations:

  • Bum Spray - You can just use water if you want to keep things simple. We found a great recipe online that's worked well for us:

    • 500ml spray bottle 

    • 5 to 10 drops tea tree oil

    • 1/8 cup lavender castile soap (alternatively, use castile baby soap and add 5 to 10 drops of your choice of essential oil)

    • 1/8 cup oil of choice (we use almond oil)

    • Fill with water after ingredients are added to the spray bottle

 
TIP: This recipe can be scaled - we make a large batch in a 4-litre container and then refill our spray bottles as necessary  
 
TIP: Keep an extra spray bottle already filled and ready to go for when you run out
 

  • Bum Cream - Coconut oil is great as an everyday bum cream. One of the great things about cloth diapering is it's gentle on baby's skin. Should you find any redness or mild rash, coconut oil is perfect.

 

  • Rash Cream - For more serious cases of diaper rash, we recommend calendula cream. The UNDA calendula cream has been our go-to for diaper rash and sore nipples (available at Birth and Baby Needs in Burlington, The WOMB, and some natural/health stores). 

 

^ back to top

leaks

 

 

There are two common cause of leaks:

  • The diaper that doesn't fit properly

  • The diaper isn't absorbing properly


Crotch or gusset leaks are the most common and are typically caused by a diaper that is too loose. The diaper must be snug, with the leg openings snug around baby's legs. There's stretch in the diaper cover - use that to your advantage! Snug in the waistband will help prevent top leaks.

If your diapers are not absorbing well, the diapers may need to be stripped to rid them of build-up and lingering smells.  Stripping diapers is essentially the same process as prepping your diapers before baby arrives, with the option of adding in a cloth diaper stripper in one of the loads.  Diaper stripping is recommended every 6 months (approximately) to ensure maximum absorbancy and cleanliness.

TIP: We use RLR Laundry Treatment every six months

^ back to top

cloth diapering on-the-go

 

 

Cloth diapering on the go can be easy and seamless with a little planning.

  • Plan for 1 diaper for every 2 hours you'll be out.

  • You'll also need:

    • cloth wipes

    • a travel container of bum spray (a travel spray bottle works well)

    • travel container of coconut oil

    • wet bag


TIP: Tuck a roll of biodegradable pet waste bags in your diaper bag too, just in case

TIP: Remember to empty the wet bag when you get home to prevent your diaper bag from smelling like a dirty diaper

^ back to top

laundry

 

 

To avoid lingering diaper smells, the following regular wash routine is recommended: (may vary depending on your laundry machines)

  • Wash in hot water or sanitize cycle 

  • If available, add or program extra wash time on your washer

  • Cold rinse is fine, add extra rinse time if your machine will allow 

  • Use detergent based on the approximate size of the load

    • If your pail liner is full, use a regular portion of detergent (15+ diapers)

    • If your pail liner is half-full, use half portion of detergent

      • Please use a detergent that is free from scents and dyes. Don't use anything that could irritate baby's sensitive bum

 TIP: We've used the Free and Clear​ detergent from Costco without issue


Drying in the dryer is optional. To extend the life of your diapers, it is recommended to hang them to dry. That being said, who has time for that?! Dry on low heat. If you're using a dry sensor setting, make sure it's set to extra dry as the microfibre inserts hold moisture longer.

 
TIP: Hanging diapers to dry in the sun will naturally bleach your diapers, keeping them looking their best.


If you notice that your diapers are holding on to smell, or if you notice that you're having a lot of leaks and the diapers don't seem to be absorbing well, there's a couple of options:

  • Strip the diapers in the same way you did when preparing then for first use, or

  • Use a laundry additive such as RLR Laundry Treatment or Grovia Mighty Bubbles to remove build-up 

    • These types of treatments should be needed infrequently (once every six months)

    • If you find that you're needing to strip your diapers more often, adjust your wash routine (add wash/rinse, change temp)


 
Stuffing Diapers


The diapers in our cloth diaper packages are a pocket style cloth diaper. The inserts are fully removable. We recommend removing the inserts prior to washing them. We've made a habit of removing the inserts as they go on the diaper pail.
 
After everything is dry, throw all your wipes, inserts and covers into your clean diaper pail bag (this is why there's two!) and have a diaper stuffing party! Practice makes you faster, but it's also a great task to get friends and family to help with. We found having the diapers pre-stuffed made it easier during bum changes.

^ back to top

faqs

 

 
How do I know if my baby is wet?

You don't really. They may be fussy, which is a good indicator, but not all babies fuss when wet/dirty. If you fancy yourself an expert, you can grab/pinch the diaper crotch and eventually you will learn to feel how wet they are, if at all. Otherwise, plan to change them when they are fussy if feeding didn't do the trick, or every couple of hours. 

How many diapers do I need?

The number of diapers you purchase depends on how often you want to do laundry.  We recommend a minimum of 20 to 30 diapers in both the little bum and big bum sizes.  This will result in laundry every 2-3 days for a newborn and 3-4 days for an older baby/toddler.

Can I buy cloth diapers second-hand?

Yes!  This is a great cost-effective option to support a circular economy.  Prep second-hand diapers the same way you would new diapers.

Are there other types of cloth diapers?

Yes, cloth diapers come in a variety of options and sizes.  We used the pocket-style diaper and found it was the best value for our family and was the easiest to use.

Where are your diapers made?

Our diapers are purchased directly from the manufacturer in China.

Do you offer handmade cloth diapers?

How much money will I save with cloth diapering?

^ back to top

  • Instagram
  • Facebook

© 2020 by Mother and Nature   |   Burlington, Ontario