We’ve been cloth diapering for almost a year and a half now and I’ve made some major changes since we started- some were necessary and some were just to make my life a little easier. I knew the basics before we got started, but I definitely learned so much along the way and have finally nailed down exactly what works for us including types of diapers, a diaper sprayer, wipes and more. So here’s a little update on what we’ve been doing!
The biggest change we made was the type of diaper we use. I started out with pockets, I was handed down a ton and purchased some myself. Pockets are great for a few reasons- there are tons of options on the market, you can easily customize the type of absorbency you want (hemp, bamboo, microfiber inserts, etc.) and it’s also easy to customize how much of it you need by simply doubling up the inserts if needed. I also really like the stay-dry aspect of pocket diapers since you have a layer of material between baby’s bum and what’s actually absorbing everything. It seemed like a majority of cloth diapering mamas loved pockets so I just assumed I would too. And I did at first!
We used them with great success for awhile and I raved about my favorite brands, but after awhile we started getting leaks. And more leaks. I made every possible adjustment I could think of to prevent the leaks but no matter what I did the leaks kept coming. I was getting seriously frustrated and ready to give up altogether, and that made me really sad because I love cloth diapering. (I also really love hardly ever spending money on diapers and wipes!) Weighing my options I decided a really great system to try would be prefolds and covers. I heard great things about the Cloth-eez brand from Green Mountain Diapers and while I was saving up money to buy some had some major luck of scoring a bunch for free in the size I needed from my local cloth diaper page on Facebook. I stripped and bleached all of them and paired them with the covers the lady also gave me for free. I was immediately in love- they were everything I had been longing for. We’ve had NO leak issues for the six months we’ve been using prefolds which is the greatest thing of all, but there are also other great benefits like how much cheaper they are, they are so much more trim, and putting away diaper laundry is a breeze now (I hated stuffing pockets after awhile!) The one thing I don’t like about prefolds is how there is no stay-dry aspect since the wet prefold sits right on baby’s bum, so we use microfleece liners to help with that. You can buy Cloth-eez Prefold Diapers here.
The lady who gave me the free prefolds and covers gave me a random assortment of brands for the covers and I really liked all of them, they all guaranteed no leaks. There were some Bummis and Flips, but the ones I loved most were the Thirsties covers. They just fit so great on Jack, are super comfortable, and I always have the easiest time with the Thirsties when it comes to fitting perfectly over the prefold, some of the other brands it was more difficult to get every little bit of the prefold covered. So after six months of using only what I got for free, and the few Freetimes I kept from my old stash (love those!) I decided to sell all of my pockets I never used anymore and buy more of the Thirsties covers I love. I wanted more mainly because they were my favorite and I also wanted to be able to stretch out how often I was washing a little bit (instead of washing every 3-4 days now, I can go as long as 6-7- woo hoo!) I was able to get enough money from my pocket diapers that I got all the covers I needed for Jack and even got a killer deal on Thirsties covers for baby on the way (he had still been needing covers for his stash.) You can buy Thirsties covers here.
My message isn’t how much better prefolds are than pockets, just I think so and you might think the opposite! But I would encourage someone just starting the diapering journey to try out everything before putting all your money into one type of diaper like I did. I wish I would have started off with some pockets, some prefolds and covers, some AIOs just to see what I liked best and THEN started building my stash. It all worked out in the end though! That’s the great thing about cloth diapers, you can sell what you don’t like.
Another change I made after several months of cloth diapering was buying a diaper sprayer and seriously.. life changing. I just didn’t want to spend the money on one for so long because my mentality was I can rinse dirty diapers for free by either dunk and swish or rinsing into a bucket using the bath faucet and then dumping the bucket into the toilet (which is what I did most often.) How I was doing it before the diaper sprayer was so time consuming and often messy as the bucket would drip from the shower to the toilet and then I’d have to be obsessive about sanitizing the floor. When I saw a bumGenius diaper sprayer on my local cloth diaper page on Facebook for $15 I jumped on it immediately. (Seriously buy, sell, trade pages and just local cloth diaper community pages can be your best friend when it comes to cloth diapering.) So we set up the sprayer and I’m never going back. Instead of spending ten minutes rinsing a dirty diaper, I usually spend under a minute and there’s no mess involved. I really like the bumGenius brand because it’s really easy to control the pressure of the water and I’ve never had problems with it leaking or spraying poo everywhere (I’ve heard horror stories of both when it comes to diaper sprayers.) If I had known how much easier a sprayer would have made my life, I would have bought one on day one. You can buy the bumGenius diaper sprayer here.
Something else I would have done from day one had I known- cloth wipes! It was actually kind of a pain in the butt to use disposable wipes with cloth diapers because then you have to deal with separating the diapers for the pail and the wipes for the trash. Not that it’s the biggest deal, but it’s easier throwing everything in the same place. I knew it would be easier and it’s not like I was intimidated by more laundry or anything, I was just super lazy about either buying them or making them for the longest time. When I realized I had some credit on my Glow Bug account I knew immediately that’s what I wanted so I got myself 24 bamboo cloth wipes (more than we need for how often we wash diapers.) I love these so much! They are so soft and thick, they feel like a little more than what’s necessary for a wet diaper (not that that’s a bad thing) but so perfect for more dirty diapers. I only need 1-2 wipes for dirty diapers and that would be impossible for me with disposable wipes. I don’t use a super fancy wipe solution like a lot of people like do, I just use water and run it under the faucet right before I use it. When we are on the go, I still bring cloth wipes for if I have access to a sink but I end up changing diapers in the back of our car a lot. For situations like that I still depend on the same disposable wipes I’ve used since Jack was six weeks old- WaterWipes! If you want to read more about why these are the only disposable wipes I’ll use, you can jump back to my All Things Bum post! (Also still using Waxelene religiously every night which I also talked about in that post.)
I really encourage anyone who is cloth diapering to look into cloth wipes if you haven’t already. It’s so much easier, and the wipes aren’t just great for bums- I also love them for wiping off Jack’s hands and face and.. I can’t be the only one who gives their kid “wipe baths” some nights, right? I’m so happy with the quality and price of mine, here’s where I got them- Glow Bug Cloth Diapers. If you are ordering from them for the first time, that link will give you 5% off your purchase (and not just on cloth wipes, everything on their site including pocket diapers and diaper sprayers!)
Because I just use water for my wipes, sometimes I feel like Jack needs a little extra something for me to know his bum is extra clean and fresh after a particularly messy diaper so I turned to California Baby like I always do. I started using their Calming Diaper Area Wash and it’s exactly what I was looking for. It’s a soothing, super gentle fine-mist spray that I spray directly onto Jack’s bum after I’ve cleaned it up and then I just wipe off the solution with a clean wipe. It’s plant based, contains organic ingredients, and is made up of things like tea tree oil, calendula, aloe vera, and witch hazel. I feel like I bought this stuff forever ago and spray his bum with it usually once a day, sometimes every other, and it looks like I’ve barely made a dent in it. So glad I found this, it has a permanent spot on my changing table now! You can buy the Diaper Area Wash here.
I’ve also made a few changes to my laundry routine. I’ve gone through so many (SO MANY) different plant-based detergents and was never really satisfied. Some were too weak, some worked great but I wasn’t fond of the scent, but I finally found one I’m truly happy with- Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus in Fresh Scent. It’s plant-based, strong enough for my cloth diapers, and even though it is scented it is so mild it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s definitely really satisfying to find a great detergent after looking for so long. I also add Borax to my diapers since I have hard water and that also helps keep odors at bay.
I like to line dry my Freetimes and covers, but always throw my prefolds, wipes, and microfleece liners in the dryer and recently started adding wool dryer balls. I love these! I’ve heard great things about wool dryer balls in general so when I saw these Babyganics ones I decided to give it a shot. They hold true to everything I’ve heard which includes reduced drying time and they help soften your clothes or diapers. I’ve seen proof of both. I stopped using dryer sheets a long time ago and this is such a great natural way to get the same effect when it comes to softening the laundry. You can buy the Babyganics Wool Dryer Balls here.
And when Jack isn’t using his diapers, he’s using the potty pretty consistently! Still not in undies full-time but these days when we are home he’s often in underwear and using the potty a lot of the day. Yesterday he was in undies all day except for the two hours we were at a friend’s and he went in the potty every single time, but some days are better than others. He goes back and forth between favoring his “little potty” and the “big potty.” Any potty is great to me, but I do prefer when he uses the big one because there’s no mess for me to clean up (especially since he often uses it for pooping) and he’s more prone to sit longer on the bigger potty since it isn’t as easy for him to get off. I love this Prince Lionheart potty seat we got for the bigger toilet, but his Fisher-Price potty is great too. I especially love the arm rests and back rests on it so he can feel secure and comfortable. I really wanted to avoid a little potty with fun gadgets or songs that play when you “flush” because I thought it would just be a distraction.
I think I covered everything I wanted to! If I missed anything you have a question about, feel free to comment below- I love talking about everything cloth diaper related, maybe too much. I really just wanted to share everything that works for me because it can be tough navigating the cloth world! Sometimes issues come up that are hard to solve and it can be so frustrating, I’m just so happy we are at a place now where everything is easy and working great. I can’t wait to cloth diaper Baby B from the start this time with a great stash and way more knowledge than I had a year and a half ago.
Some links may be affiliate links through the Amazon Associates program, you can read the disclosure for more information.