All you need to know about cloth diapering

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One of the biggest pain about being a parent, is no doubt changing a diaper. It’s safe to say that diaper changing is the most repetitive task as a parent. At least, that’s what I think. Especially when they are newborn. Well, no pain no gain.

Pros & cons of cloth diaper vs disposable diaper

Cloth diaper (4 Pro’s & 3 Con’s)

Pros:

  • Higher initial investment but more cost effective in the long run
  • Easier for potty training
  • Less diaper rash as it’s more natural and gentle on baby’s skin provided you are able to change it often enough
  • Environmental friendly

Cons:

  • A big loads of laundry to do
  • Time consuming
  • Less absorbent than disposable resulting in more diaper change

Disposable diaper (3 Pro’s & 4 Cons)

Pros:

  • Easily available anywhere and convenient
  • Less diaper rash if you’re unable to change the diaper as often as it’s more absorbent.
  • No washing required

Cons:

  • Higher cost
  • Difficulty in future for potty training
  • Very bad for the environment and planet earth
  • Possible skin irritation for the baby

What do you need to buy to begin cloth diapering?

Now to start cloth diapering, you will need 3 items. The waterproof diaper pocket, the insert and the diaper liner. In the beginning, between the newborn stage and 6 months old, I used the cotton cloth diapers, nowadays you can find them as pre-fold in the market. But I prefer to fold mine by myself, that way we can ensure a snug fit to minimize the diaper leakage.

Buy them in small quantities at first, if this is your first time trying cloth diapering. Buy several different brands of cloth diaper pockets and inserts to try. I’ve bought several different brands and tried them all personally. The below brands are recommended after using them for a year now. I personally really liked using Anakku brand.

I prepared about 50 cloth napkins with 20 waterproof diaper covers, I used the brand Alvababy (MYR18/ US$5 per piece) & B&B (MYR 5 / US$1 per piece). With this stash, basically I still need to do laundry every single day for my baby. On average we are using 15 diapers per day, so you will have to have 15 for one laundry cycle, 15 for usage, 15 for storage… so minimum of 45 pieces of cloth napkins at all times. This is with a cloth drying dehumidifier running so I can ensure to have my diapers dried within one day.

In order to make our life easier, with every diaper we also used a diaper liner. It makes it much easier to remove the poop stain when washing, take it from me. Be reminded that newborns poop their pants after every feeding. It also helps to keep the diaper more dry hence more comfortable for the baby. Apart from that, you will be needing the diaper fasteners as well. I bought 6 Anakku diaper fasteners. (Lesson learnt: You will only need 2 maximum).

Which type of inserts is better?

Personally I’m using these 3 diapers insert. After using them for almost a year now, my personal preference will be bamboo cloth diaper and my least favorite is charcoal bamboo. Bamboo cloth feels more soft to touch, also it is more absorbent compared to microfiber diapers. The only downside is this insert is more thick, and hence takes longer time to dry compared to the other two. For some reason, charcoal bamboo does always feel dry, however I’m not really sure about the absorbent efficiency. But the material feels hot after a while, hence it is less comfortable for babies especially in summer. As for the microfiber insert, it is pretty thin and hence can’t hold much pee. It also feels less soft compared to the other two, so it’s less comfortable.

How many diapers and inserts do you actually need?

On average, I change a diaper every 2 hours, so that makes it about 12 diapers a day. Not including those that as I lay the new diaper down, my son excitedly peed or pooped on the fresh clean diaper. So say 14 – 15 a day. Yes, my son loves to use a clean diaper immediately. Then again, even as an adult you would rush to use a freshly clean loo, wouldn’t you? So who are we to judge babies?

So this 14 – 15 diaper changes a day phase lasted for about 3 months. After that, we replaced the overnight diaper changing with an overnight diaper. You can’t do it earlier than that, because during the first three months, your baby will poop after every feeding. And they feed every 2-3 hours because their stomach is so small. Hence, the 3 months of pain before you can finally transition to an overnight diaper. Hallelujah, finally you don’t have to wake up every 2 hours to change the baby’s diaper overnight. Now, you have upgraded to waking up every 3 – 4 hours instead. Congratulations, that extra 1 -2 hours sleep meant a lot to parents.

Now, in order to build your own stash, you can make your own calculations based on my experience above. It depends if you want to continue using cloth diapers overnight and how many laundries you want to do per week. Like myself, I don’t mind doing it daily hence I don’t need a huge diaper stash.

How do you actually do cloth diapering?

With cloth diapering, it is recommended to change the baby’s diaper every two hours. But if you find that the baby pooped, then it has to be changed immediately. After a few washings, you may find that the diaper is turning reddish and doesn’t feel as soft. These are due to the mineral build ups from the urine and can be worse if you’re using baby detergent as baby detergent’s are generally mild.

Hence for us, under the changing table there’s a covered container for the diaper where we throw the soiled diapers inside. At the end of the day, we rinse these dirty diapers with water to remove the poop / pee on it, and then soak these diapers overnight with water + white vinegar solutions. After soaking them overnight, we rinse it again with clean water and then finally into the washing machine with laundry detergent. After several trials and errors, we found that this way is the most effective way in preserving the diapers. It may not be the easiest way and can be time consuming, but it effectively removes stain and keeps the diaper soft, comfortable for the baby.

Do you think you are up for it?

Personally, I would strongly recommend you to go with cloth diapering. Not only is it saving you a lot of money in the long run, it’s also much better for the environment and more comfortable for the baby. Don’t say that you couldn’t care less for the environment, remember that you are preserving mother earth for your child and the next generation to live in future. Also, my baby’s bum is sensitive hence cloth diapering is best for him. Buy a small stash and try it yourself. You don’t have to buy expensive ones like Charlie Banana or Grovia. Buy Alvababy or Anakku like myself. It’s not that expensive. Once you get a hang of it, it’s not that bad. It is definitely doable.

Have you thought about the feeding part of your baby yet? Be sure to read about baby high chairs here.

Parenting Pain: It’s definitely when you unsuspectingly opened up your baby’s diaper and your baby decided to do a projectile poop… it does travel far. And the stain doesn’t go away when it’s on your fabric chair. I don’t wanna talk about it.

Featured image photo credit by Laura Ohlman on Unsplash (2019)

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