Baby Series (Part 1): 
Our Experience with Cloth Diapers


NOVEMBER 21, 2019



Sad fact: It takes over 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose.


Being a new mom, I knew I had to give cloth diapers a try. The reactions my husband and I got from friends, family, strangers were mixed but we got a lot of:

“Oh wow… that’s brave!” OR “Seems like a lot of work, think you’ll be able to handle it?” OR “Isn’t your house going to smell?!” OR … my favorite reaction… “Good luck!”

We also had a lot of people telling us that their parents used cloth diapers on them! Which made me realize that using cloth diapers wasn’t a new phenomenon. Traditionally cloth diapers were seen as more cost effective and better for the baby so a lot of parents saw value in that. Now with climate change and waste increasing exponentially, cloth diapers are a topic of conversation again.

I personally never thought about diapers most of my life. Honestly don’t remember ever changing a diaper previously till I changed my own baby’s diaper! So my experience was… novice to say the least.

But with zero expectations and an open mind, we were committed to giving cloth diapers a try.

So here’s what we learned.



BABIES USE A LOT OF DIAPERS!


This isn’t a new fact but for us it was crazy to think that disposable diapers take 500 years to decompose.

- A newborn uses about 15-20 diapers a day. As they get older they use 8 to 10 a day.
- Multiple that by 365 days...it could be around 3500 to 7000 a year.
- Multiply that by how many years a babies wears diapers. Average is 2 to 3 years. That could range from 7,000 to 20,000 diapers!!
- Multiply that with how many babies we have in the world at a time.

WOW. Just wow.

Just by pure facts, it was imperative that we tried to do cloth diapers as long as possible. Even doing it for the first couple of months makes a huge difference.



IT IS EASIER THAN WE THOUGHT. YOU JUST NEED A SYSTEM.


One of my favorite things to do is create a system. Efficiency is exciting to me haha. I know I’m weird. But lucky for me this task to create a system for cloth diapering was a challenge I was ready to figure out.

There is not a “one size fits all” when creating a cloth diaper system. It heavily relies on your particular day to day, your housing situation, laundry access, budget and more.


But here’s what we decided to do:

  • We chose to do laundry every other day because our laundry access was in our building and not in our apartment. That meant more diapers to wash at a time but less trips to the laundry room. This is about the max amount of time you want to leave your cloth diapers sitting anyways.
    • Note: There are diaper washing services that exists in case you’re willing to pay and need the extra convenience.
    • Sometimes the diapers don’t dry all the way/ we want to conserve drying time so we have these laundry hangers with clips that are super useful to air dry anything.
  • We had one diaper bag in a bin near the changing pad area for the pee diapers and one diaper bag that went in a built in laundry hamper in the bathroom for poopy diapers. You just grab the bags when you’re ready to wash.
  • Poopy diapers need a pre-rinse before washing. Basically to remove the poop ahead of time and treat stains and smells. For smell and stain treatment, we use white vinegar and baking soda. Rubber gloves are a must.
    • We would collect a few of poopy diapers and pre-rinse them all at the same time.



  • When we’re on the go, we have a separate wet bag that we use and carry in our diaper bag. When we get home is when we pre-rinse and put in their respective bins (pee vs. poop).
  • Cloth wipes are just as important as the cloth diapers. We haven’t had to pre-treat them before washing so they just go in with the pee diapers after use.
  • We also made our own wipe rinse solution that we spray on the cloth wipes before using. This keeps the baby’s areas clean. We just use a glass spray bottle.
    • Solution recipe: 2 cups of warm water, 1 tbsp of coconut oil, 1tbsp of unscented castile soap, 1 tbsp of witch hazel and ~ 1 tbsp of fresh aloe juice (I have an aloe plant that I use by breaking off a piece of the plant.)
  • Depending on which cloth diapers you use, you’ll need diaper covers. We are currently using Cloth-eez cotton diapers with Babee Greens wool covers. You only need a few wool covers since they can be reused multiple times unless they got soiled. We rotate our cover every couple of days and hand wash the cover.
  • Having everything you need within easy access in your changing station area is super helpful. We have these cotton rope baskets that hold the wipes and diapers. Luckily our changing station is located right by the window so we have a ledge where we keep the spray and other towels (just in case there’s an accident outside the diaper).



THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF CLOTH DIAPERS CAN BE SIMILAR TO DISPOSABLES SO EXTRA THOUGHT IS REQUIRED.


There is the conversation that cloth diapers use just as many resources as disposables. Honestly, when you think about the amount of water that is needed to create cotton for the cloth diapers or how much water is used for laundry… I mean, it is hard to deny the environmental impact.

At the same time, disposables are depleting our ozone layer and contributing to climate change as it tries to decompose for over 500 years!

So what then?

Well. I believe that cloth diapers do make a difference when you take the time to think about the process in which you go about your system.

  • Choose secondhand. If you’re buying things secondhand you are taking out the amount of natural resources to produce the diapers or wipes out of the equation. That is huge.
  • Natural fabrics vs. Synthetics. There are many cloth diaper options that are polyester which shed microplastics when you wash them. Either use a Guppyfriend bag if you go the polyester route or choose natural fabrics.
  • Energy efficient washers/dryers. You can even shorten drying time and hang dry.
  • Choose better detergents. Castile soap or natural laundry soap options are much better for the environment and just as effective when coupled with other natural options like vinegar or baking soda.

As you see, you have many areas that you can control with cloth diapers. With disposables, unfortunately you don’t have as much control whether how it is produced or how it decomposes.



100% SECONDHAND IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE & IMPORTANT


As mentioned before, choosing secondhand can significantly contribute to a more positive environment impact.

The usual secondhand marketplaces like Craigslist or Ebay weren’t showing any promise when it came to enough secondhand cloth diapers, wool covers or cloth wipes options. So honestly I thought getting them through friends or acquaintances would be my best best to acquire the brands we wanted and the quantity we needed BUT soon I discovered my best friend when it came to cloth diapering… the app Mercari.

Mercari is like an Ebay meets Craigslist and surprise surprise, the gold mine for cloth diapering needs. They had plenty of brand options, people were selling cloth diapers in lots which saved time acquiring the amount we needed and it could easily be done in the comfort of being home.

Maybe TMI but I even got several nursing bras through Mercari cause as much as I refused to buy “maternity” items for myself I quickly realized how much easier it was to breastfeed with them.

Needless to say, Mercari has been a great resource for baby stuff and convenient as it is shipped right to your door when you’re unable to leave the house easily with baby.



So we’re 5 weeks in with our lil baby Nelly and still have plenty to learn and experience but hope this sheds some light on our experience with cloth diapers so far. We are in it for the long haul and have saved about 500 diapers so far from the landfill.

We’ll let you know how it is once she starts eating solid food and things get smelly. Our system may have to change. ;) Lets just say potty training will happen sooner than later!! Haha.

If you want a more exact breakdown of our process I may do a little video of our process but TBD as things are a little coo coo with the store opening and of course… baby. Till then feel free to DM me on instagram and I’ll do my best to give you the breakdown.

Thanks for reading!

Natasha
Copyright 2020 The Consistency Project
Copyright 2020 The Consistency Project