Note: I’m not sure that anyone cares about this, but I read tons of posts while pregnant to get an idea of how other people were doing cloth diapering. So here we go!
Years before I was even pregnant, I bought cloth diapers from a friend when she was finished with them. They were FuzziBunz, which were recommended to me by my friend, Sarah. I moved those diapers to North Carolina from Nashville and then to all three of the places we’ve lived in NC. But our current place, our favorite place we’ve lived in NC, with the best landlord, the fantastic location, and the awesome neighbors, has a front loading, high efficiency washer. And as I started to read the mountains of info that was available online about washing pocket diapers (diapers that require you to stuff an insert into a two-layered diaper shell), it seemed like it was going to be a real pain to wash the microfiber inserts that had come with the diapers I bought from my friend and get them really clean.
I sold those diapers on Craigslist and started looking into what might work best for our set up. I knew I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, and that I wanted the diapers I got to last through toilet learning for Plum and then to be able to reuse them should we have another child at some point.
I don’t remember what I was like before I did a PhD, but now, at least, I like to research things completely to death. Lucie’s List, Amazon reviews, YouTube videos, and blog posts are my absolute jam. It borders on compulsive, but I’m just rolling with it for now. I’m sure that I could do way less research and be happy with whatever I decide, but the fact that I spend so much time investigating baby gear means that is it really validating when things work how I hope they will. And this diaper situation has so far worked great!
The diapers: I ordered size large, organic Cloth-eez Flat Birdseye Diapers from Green Mountain Diapers. I went with flat diapers because they are so easy to wash (more on this below) and because they are so versatile. You can fold them up into pretty much any shape and there are lots of tutorials online. For daytime diapering, we used a mini kite fold when Plum was little and now we do a modified version of the regular kite fold. We use a Boingo to fasten. For night time diapering, we used to fold one diaper into a rectangle/pad shape and put it inside of the kite fold. Now, we just do two diapers folded together into a giant pad.
These diapers get softer and more absorbent as you use them more. To prep them we washed them something like four times, maybe a few times without detergent and a few times with detergent. This part is kind of hazy because our postpartum doula did most of it. If Plum hadn’t come two weeks early, I would have done it myself.
The covers: We started with six Buttons covers and four Blueberry Coveralls. I’ve been happy with both covers for different reasons. I chose these types because they can be reused to cover a fresh flat diaper multiple times before washing and both brands have double gussets (an extra layer of PUL—polyurethane laminate, a plastic-y waterproof fabric—and elastic) to hold poop in at the legs.We have never had a poop blowout in either cover, and I cannot say the same for disposables we have used while traveling.
The Buttons covers worked really well for day and night early on and for day time until recently, when they stopped fitting my [98th percentile for weight] baby. I think if we’d been using the snap-in inserts for the Buttons covers, they would have fit for longer, but fitting them over the large flats stopped working for us.
I definitely don’t regret starting with the Buttons covers because the Blueberry Coveralls were too big at first. The Blueberry Coveralls are marketed to fit children 10-40 pounds, but they didn’t fit well until Plum was around 12-13 pounds. We’ve been using them at night to cover the giant two-diaper situation for a while now, and just switched to using them during the day. Plum has plenty of room in them, and I think we should be able to get through to toilet learning.
I recently picked up a few more Blueberry covers on ebay, some Coveralls and also some Capris in size two. The Capris are nice because they have flaps at either end of the cover, so you can stuff them with something absorbent, kind of like you would with a pocket diaper. We just tried using a Capri cover at night with two flat diapers folded together into a giant pad, and that worked pretty well.
Wipes: My mom made us a bunch of cloth wipes from old flannel pillow cases and receiving blankets. They have been awesome. I highly recommend cloth wipes if you’re cloth diapering because then everything can go into one laundry bin. We wet ours as we need to with plain water using the peri bottle I got after Plum was born. We also use this weighted wipe dispenser box, which we received as a gift.
Laundry: We keep dirty diapers and wipes in a plastic food storage bin with a lid that seals (we used to keep cat food in it), and wash them every three-ish days. The flat diapers are great in our high efficiency washer. Because they are just one layer, they wash as well as a cloth napkin or a dish towel. We do a double rinse cycle to remove the poop and pee and then run a regular wash cycle with hot water. After the introduction of purées, we also had to add a rinse for poop diapers using a diaper sprayer so that anything more solid goes into the toilet. Then we dry the diapers on the line. They dry fast in the NC heat. Sometimes I give them a quick tumble (about five minutes) in the dryer to soften them up, but sometimes I skip this step and it’s fine. Diaper covers get wiped of any poop with cloth wipes, and then washed with normal laundry.