Monday, June 2, 2014

Cloth Diapering: how to do it well for cheap.

          Cloth Diapering was daunting for me, so much that I decided against it in the beginning. I despise laundry, and I am surrounded by a mountain of it at all times...the idea of adding more to that was met with a resounding no. That is until I realized how damn expensive disposable diapers are and how long they sit in landfills. So, I ran to google and started searching. You can find all kinds of helpful information about the types of diapers and on the care options of cloth diapers all over, I particularly like the group Cuties with Cloth Booties on and youtube. What I'm going to tell you here, is how to make a starter stash for as cheaply as possible without punishing yourself with a messy system. 
 I already had found my wipe system through trial and error...and look, I tried them all and hated them all.. the gallon pitcher, the sawed in half paper towels, the spray bottles, none of them were portable and actually cleaned. Here's what actually works: 
Get a bunch of these, or make your own....I find mine at yard sales and the dollar tree for cheap

Now, go to any grocery store or pharmacy and get yourself some handsoap in one of these bottles:

while you are there, grab some of this in whatever scent pleases you...I started with baby mild and now use almond. Do not get peppermint for your babies butt...that may irritate them a bit. You can also find this online, its about $15-$18 a bottle, but its super concentrated and that bottle will last us like 6-8 months using it as both wipes and bath soap for the baby.
Now, I add about 2 tbsp of soap to the empty and rinsed out foam pump bottle and fill the rest with water. This it completely portable, lasts a while, and is easy to use. Just squirt some foam on the rag and wipe. The foam sticks to all the poo and cleans so much better than just spray! This whole system will cost you  (taking into account that you will need to replace the soap dispenser every few months)...about...$45/yr. Comparatively, it costs about $14 for a case of wipes at walmart that will last you about a month or so.

Now: diapers.
* I've found that there are a TON of giveaways regarding cloth diapers...enter all of them :) Maybe you will win, maybe you won't, but its a free shot at a free diaper!
* newborns dont fit well in one size (os) diapers so this post wont help you much, but I personally prefer disposables on newborns for convenience. Sorry.
* If you know how to sew, you can make your own. I personally dont love daddy flats, but thats just me and my horrible experience with them.

If I were to do it again, I would invest in some prefolds...the shipping prices scared me off so I didnt with this kid, but if I were doing it again...I would. That doesnt mean I wouldnt do it the way I'm about to explain as just means that I would also be using prefolds as inserts.

Okay, here is the cheapest way to cloth diaper well, to save yourself laundry time. You need:

You will need one for now, once baby starts eating solids (we did blw so around a year old) and you need to spray diapers (we use a multi-speed shower head like that one linked and its awesome) then you will want another near where you are spraying the diapers in order to transfer them to your laundry area.  You could use a nice wetbag...but we are going for cheap here a bucket it is! 
The diapers I personally would use: 
A diaper cover that has flaps in the front and back, snaps, and leg gussets like this:

 There are a few options like the WolbyBug covers (pictured), Diaper Rite covers, or even some amazing ones on etsy or hyenacart (those those tend to cost a few dollars more, but for good cause, you help a mom put groceries on the table vs help some big box company).
You will need a few of these, I would say like 5-8 for a day or two, since they will wash up fast. 
And you will need inserts. This is the cheapest way to do inserts and I personally love it because it washes up super fast, requires no prep, and is basically stain proof for some reason lol. 
Go buy a few packs of these from walmart for $6/5
 (my apologies to whomever posted this pic originally)
You can also get receiving blankets from relatives/friends/yard sales/thrift stores for super cheap or even free. These are your inserts and you will need a LOT of them. At least one per diaper change. So go with 24-36 for 2 days worth in the beginning months. 
 You just fold up the towel (you can fold up a wash rag in thirds and put it under the towel if you want for extra absorption) and lay it in the cover and snap it onto baby. When its time to change the kiddo, you unsnap, wipe baby using rag and foam, throw the rag in with the diapers in the bucket, throw the insert in the bucket too and put another insert in the cover (you can wipe it out, and if its messy just use a new cover) and snap it back on the baby. 
You're probably wondering what to do if the bucket is messy (rinse it in the bath tub until you can afford a pail liner) or what to do when you are out and about...Some people collect wetbags..and that's great...but I am cheap so I just use these: 

You just throw the messy inserts in there and dump them into the washer later. 

There is another option for inserts that cost a little more, but is one of the better options, you can join a co-op on facebook and get some charcoal bamboo inserts for a little over a dollar each in most cases. They are super absorbent after prepping them!!! 

Now if you plan to cloth diaper at night, I cant recommend wool strongly enough. I was afraid of it until I looked into it. Care is easy, and honestly, after making my own wool wraps (I tried a few tutorials and they never fit right) I never had a leak! I had to make it huge and add an extra layer to the wet area so that it would fit well when it shrank, but it was awesome! I also recommend woolie pants if you can make your own or know someone who will make them for the cost of the yarn. Wool doesn't have to be expensive, just go to goodwill and get a sweater that is 80% wool or more. I prefer mine lanolized, but you really don't even HAVE to do that. 

On the off chance your baby gets a rash, do not use any commercial brand cream, it will destroy the diapers (kind of how fabric softener does!), we have had great success using baking soda baths, fresh air, breast milk, more fresh air, and coconut oil. If you start noticing reoccurring rashes, change your wipe foam...then strip your diapers.

So, there you have it, the cheapest way to cloth diaper easily! If you have any questions, just drop them in the comments section. 

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