October 16, 2013

An Adventure in Cloth Diapering: How to Start

Now that you've been through The Beginning, Resources, and Stash & Supplies, let's talk FINALLY about how to start cloth diapering!!

It was very intimidating to start cloth diapering because there were SO many opinions and ideas out there on how you should do it. I personally followed the advice of the Facebook group The Cloth Diaper Asylum (which was talked about in Resources, link above). The admins of that group are experienced mama's, WAHMs, and have relevant backgrounds to cloth diapering (like Chemistry degrees). Join the group and you'll see in their files many links on how to do everything cloth diapers! I highly suggest getting into their files and reading up on the details they have on these subjects. They are also continuing to edit, add and update their files, since switching to this new group, so keep checking, or ask about anything!

Ok, so where to start? Prepping!
*My advice and wash routine is based off of The Cloth Diaper Compendium group files!!*
First you need cloth diapers. I talked about how I purchased my stash here and there in both previous posts, The Begninning and Resources, plus you can see details of my stash at my post Stash & Supplies. Before putting anything on your baby you need to wash the diapers and inserts, just like how you wash (or should!) your new clothes before wearing them. This is called prepping your diapers. 

I washed my store bought and second hand diapers on a REGULAR wash cycle with 2 rinses using Tide Free & Gentle and Clorox (to help sanitize). Bleach really is ok on your diapers. If you purchase a new BG diaper, they even say on the tag to use bleach once a month.

Then I dried everything in my dryer on medium heat. Done.

*I did nothing special to prep my diapers! Easy, right?!*

Now what?
Alright, now everything is almost ready to go. Make sure to stuff your diapers (aka put the inserts into the pockets if you have these). A quick how-to-stuff-diapers video here, <- PLUS I show how to quickly and easily disassemble a diaper for wash! If you have adjustable inserts (that snap up or down to make smaller/bigger, like the BG inserts shown below), I stuff these with the snaps at the back of the diaper. 
This makes it easier later when you have a soiled diaper. You can easily unsnap the insert while still in the diaper, grab the other insert inside with it, pull it out, lay it in the diaper, fold it up and put it in the pail.  No messy hands! (Check out video link above to see this in action)

Then, diaper the babe! (Don't know how to work a cloth diaper? Check out this how-to video on putting on a cloth diaper and getting a good fit).

Troubling Shooting a Good Fit
No matter the diaper you use, you SHOULD NOT have a gap at the back by the waist band or a gap around the legs. You want the diaper fitting snug but not too tight.
No gaps, good!

Around the belly there might be some gaping but that will be ok. Just make sure to pull the diaper wings tight, and not leave them loose.
If you have OS diapers with the 3 rise snap down in the front, you can play around with the snaps to find the right fit. If you snap in 2 on the left and 3 on the right, so be it! One thing that someone suggested for my son, was to have the snap down rise on the middle snap setting, but leave the middle snap undone to get the rise in the middle. Perfect fit! (shown above)
No gaps around the legs when he stands or sits.

Time for a change, but what do I do with the soiled diapers?
After you change your baby out of a soiled cloth diaper you need to put it away to wash at a later time. I use a Planet Wise Pail Liner. When you're ready to wash, you can just dump the diapers in the wash with the bag, done!

-Pee and EBF (exclusively breastfed) poo diapers- Since I use mostly pocket diapers, I take out the inserts and unsnap them before putting them in the pail. These diapers can just go straight into the wash as they are. No rinsing needed!

-Poo diapers- All poo needs to be dunked/swished, sprayed, or plopped off into the toilet (inserts taken out first for the first two options so they don't absorb any water). No chunks or clumps should be left behind, although residue on the diaper is fine. Throw them into the pail to be washed at a later time!

Soiled diapers will smell, so you need to make sure you have a diaper pail that will keep the smells in. I'd suggest a pail liner with a PUL (polyurethane laminate) coating (not plastic or even nylon). This is a heavy duty medical grade liner and can take a beating and is GREAT with keeping smells in.
PUL on the inside of a pail

I hope this helps you have more confidence with starting out with cloth diapers! They really are a lot easier than I thought they would be! Happy cloth diapering!

Visit the previous mini-series cloth diaper posts: The Beginning, Resources, Stash & Supplies. Soon to come: Cloth Diapering Favorites! 


  1. None of the admins are chemist. Generally they give good advice but apparently the own of the group "has changed cloth diapering more in one year than anyone could have ever imagined". She must have invented bleach or something. She is extremely arrogant with no education, so just be careful.

    1. Thanks! When the original group (cloth diaper compendium) started blowing up with all the business of who did what with what money, and Jennifer from Cottonbabies called her out, everyone starting leaving, including me. I agree that that woman was all the things you explained. This new group however has different leaders and she thankfully isn't affiliated with this group!


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