When I was pregnant, I read and read and read about cloth diapers. We wanted to try them, to save money, because diapering twins was looking to be a very expensive and intimidating endeavor. Besides the financial issue, I hate wasting things, and the idea of throwing away 15-20+ diapers a day was giving me a stomachache.
But I couldn't quite wrap my mind around all the options. It seems simple, right? Fold a piece of cotton fabric around your baby's bum and put something waterproof over the top. Wash when dirty.
I was partly right, but wrong about its simplicity only because there are so many different ways to cloth diaper. Prefolds, fitteds, AIOs, hemp, bamboo, microfiber...and with twins, I was figuring that we would need double the number of diapers! At times, it felt like an impossible task.
I sought out some "basics" that laid out how many I would need and what kind with the least amount of fuss. One of the most helpful Cloth Diapering 101 articles I found is on the Re-Diaper site. She gives simple options to fit your budget and how often you want to wash, and from there, it's all about experimenting with different kinds and also seeing which brands you prefer and fit your kiddos the best. The Cloth Diaper Basics section on the Cotton Babies website (makers of bumGenius, Flip and Econobum) was also a good resource.
What it came down to for us was the up-front investment. We didn't have a lot of money to spend, but I wanted to give it an honest try, so I had to be creative about our method and purchases. I also couldn't wash the diapers every day - we live in an apartment and pay for both washing and drying. My goal was every other day, or 3 times per week. Using the Re-Diaper guidelines, I estimated that we'd need around 30 diapers and 5-7 covers. I could get away with buying a few less because we'd be using disposables at night.
I searched around our local Craigslist, resale and consignment shops, and Re-diaper.com. There are also other sites you can use to buy gently-used diapers, like Diaper Swappers, but I found that a bit intimidating and I didn't understand all the lingo. The only caveat to Craigslist shopping - check out the diapers before you commit to buying to make sure the quality matches the price. Cloth diapers hold their value only if they're in good condition! Some people don't understand this.
Another thing I learned: every kid is different, so diapers will also fit kids differently. Don't commit to one brand of cloth diaper until you try it out for a bit.
Here's what we've done, from birth until now:
Our Initial Investment:
15 bumGenius 4.0 One-Size Cloth Diapers - bought piece-meal off Craigslist. These are pocket diapers and have rows of snaps to resize them as the babies grow, starting at 8 lbs and up to 35 or 40 lbs.
I stripped them, and bought BG diaper refresher kits for $1 each from Cotton Babies to renew the elastic and velcro. Tutorial for doing this is coming soon!
12 Kissaluvs Cotton/Hemp Fitted Diapers - these were generously gifted to us from a mama who was done diapering. The girls started wearing them after they grew out of the small prefolds when they were around 12-13 lbs and are still in them at 19 lbs, with more snaps to go. They'll be in them for a while.
19 Unbleached Infant-Sized Prefolds (4x8x40) - purchased off Craigslist in like-new condition.
13 Unbleached Toddler-Sized Prefolds - purchased off Craigslist in like-new condition.
2 Snappi Diaper Fasteners - for securing the prefolds.
5 Kawaii One Size diaper covers - bought off of Re-Diaper.com for use over the Kissaluvs and prefolds.
4 Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap Covers - Size 1, 6 - 18 lbs, to be used over newborn/small prefolds.
2 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap Covers - Size S, 8 - 15 lbs, used with the newborn/small prefolds.
2 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap Covers - Size M, 15 - 30 lbs, and are used over the Kissaluvs and the prefolds.
We also tried some Gdiapers but didn't end up using them much.
Other Useful Things:
1-2 zippered or drawstring wet bags
1 large pail liner and pail
Doublers that add extra absorbency in a pocket diaper (if you are using your diapers at night)
Cloth Wipes - you can make your own from old receiving blankets!
How They Wear Them:
The girls were born at just shy of 5 lbs each, and we waited until they were a few months old before we actually started using cloth (besides cloth wipes, which we used from the beginning). I was giving myself a lot of room to get used to having two babies to care for - no sense in stressing myself out for no reason.
During the newborn phase, I loved using the prefolds with the Thirsties covers. Once you figure out how to fold them, it takes the same amount of time as putting on a disposable, and we rarely had blowouts. This was a very easy stage.
Once they gained a bit of weight, they moved out of the infant prefolds and into the Kissaluvs/Covers and the bumGenius diapers. I was already used to using covers with the prefolds, so the Kissas were an easy transition, and they fit my girls' chubby legs extremely well. The only drawback to my covers is that my girls' legs are so chunky (and getting chunkier by the day) that sometimes the gussets give them red marks. I don't like this. For that reason, I've been relying on the bumGenius diapers more and more.
Tomorrow, I'll continue the fun with our washing and care routine (like how to wash in an apartment building with communal laundry facilities!) and I'll list some more cloth diapering links that have helped me figure this thing out.
Questions so far? Do you have a favorite cloth diaper that I should try? Email me or leave a comment below.
And if you're thinking of purchasing cloth diapers, you can take the plunge and help support this blog by using the affiliate links listed above. Thanks so much!