One easy way to save at least $1,000 in your budget is to switch from disposable diapers to cloth diapers. And that’s just savings on the diapers themselves. Don’t forget that you’ll be saving on trash bags, and reducing the amount of trash that goes into a landfill along with reducing the amount of oil needed to make disposable diapers.
I used cloth diapers with 4 of my 5 kids. When I had my 2nd son 7 years after having my first one, I decided to try breastfeeding again and cloth diapering. I was successful with both, though it took me a little while to get the hang of both. Even though we hadn’t planned on having more kids, we were able to use our cloth diapering supplies on four kids over 6 years time. I replaced the diaper covers halfway through when the velcro wore out from washing.
Cloth Diapering Supplies
There are at least 2 ways to use cloth diapers: all-in-one diapers and prefold diapers with covers. My husband and I used the prefold diapers with covers for all 4 kids.
All-in-one diapers/diaper covers are popular because of their ease of use. When you use an all-in-one, you have only one piece to use and launder.
The other option is go with a diaper and fitted cover. Both types of diapers usually come in small, medium, and large based on a baby’s weight. Both systems have adjustable snaps for skinny to chunky babies, and both feature elastic around the legs to prevent accidents or blow-out poops.
In addition, you’ll need wipes. If you go with disposable wipes, have a plastic-lined trash can near by for disposal. Most people use flannel wipes which can be purchased or quickly made with leftover flannel and a sewing machine. If you go with flannel wipes, you’ll need a spray bottle filled with water for wetting the wipes before using. The wipes can be laundered with the diapers and covers.
Setting up the System
Before your newborn comes home, launder all the washable supplies and set up a cloth diapering area. I set mine up in the baby’s bedroom using a shelf on the wall for holding the diapers, covers, and the basket of wipes with the spray bottle. On the dresser, I put a changing pad; a large padded towel works well, too. When the kids were toddlers and too big for the dresser, I laid a small pad on the floor and changed them on that during diaper changing times.
Next to the dresser, I had a lidded pail for pee diapers and one for poopy diapers. Since we occasionally had outside help for babysitting, I marked both diaper pails clearly. I lined the pails with washable laundry bags I picked up at Target. You can also use bags designed for diaper pails. Some people like to sprinkle baking soda in with the poopy diapers to prevent odors.
When I had a poopy diaper, I always dropped the poop in the toilet before tossing it into the poopy diaper pail. Some people install a sprayer by the toilet to rinse the poop off. Personally, I found my system worked fine, plus I didn’t have to worry about the older children playing with the sprayer.
Laundering Cloth Diapers
I washed my diapers every other day, especially during the times when I had 2 children in diapers. First, I rinsed the poopy diapers, wipes, and bag in cold water. If they didn’t come clean, I rinsed them again in cold water. This can happen with yucky poops.
Next, I added the pee diapers, wipes, and bag to the load, plus detergent and baking soda. All the diapers were washed in hot water with a cold water rinse. Since I use environmentally-friendly laundry detergent, I use the same detergent on the diapers as I used on our clothes.
The diapers and wipes can be dried in the dryer; the all-in-one diapers can also go in the dryer. I found the dryer to be hard on the diapers, and preferred to hang mine outside in the sun or on drying racks by our furnace. Occasionally, I would fluff the diapers in the dryer for 5 minutes.
I dried my covers outside on the line or on drying racks because they’re made from material designed to prevent leaks. I also found that the elastic in the leg gussets lasted longer if it wasn’t exposed to dryer heat.
When your cloth diapering days are over, if the diapers and covers are in good condition, it is possible to recoup your money by selling them on Ebay or Craigs List.