This post is for those of you that have decided to use cloth diapers and want to do so on a budget.
I knew with my first that I wanted to use cloth diapers. I liked that they were better for the environment and could also save you money. The problem I ran into though was that there are an overwhelming amount of cloth diaper choices. A lot of the choices are also expensive. So while they might save you money in the long run it can be hard to part with that much money up front. I also disliked that many of the options could never be used for anything else. For example, an all-in-one diaper can only ever be a diaper. It couldn't be a cleaning rag after the kids are out of diapers. I wanted a system that was simple, budget friendly, and multi-purpose.
After a lot of research and trial and error I have finally come up with a system that has worked for both of my kids. It is fairly inexpensive and the inserts can be used long after your kids are out of diapers. This little guy seems pretty happy about that!
The covers that ended up winning me over are the Flip covers. They are one-size fits all and so far have fit both of my children. It is great that the same group of diapers can get me from birth to potty training. The only reason I could see needing a different cover is during the first month or so if your baby is on the smaller side. The waist and rise is adjustable using the rows of snaps. The back of the waist and leg holes have elastic that has done a great job containing any blow outs. I am able to get a good fit without it feeling too tight or leaving any gaps. I get by with four covers but I would recommend having five or six if you can. It makes life easier.
What turned me off to a lot of the newer style inserts was that most of them were just that.... inserts. They look like a large rectangle and after their life as a diaper, can't be much else. The inserts also tend to be much more expensive than prefolds or flat diapers. I decided on using flats. I almost decided against them because I thought you had to fold them in some crazy difficult way. But you don't. You can fold them up into a rectangle, just like the other inserts, and lay it in the diaper cover. Super easy! By the way, I did learn some of the folds and they are easy too once you get the hang of it.
Flats are great in other ways too. They are only one layer thick so it is easy to get them clean and they dry very quickly. In a pinch, you can also use them for other purposes. I have used them as a diaper mat, blanket, handkerchief, and burp rag. Once I am done using them as diapers they will make great rags. Oh, and they also make great capes!
You can probably get by with twenty-four but I find it really helpful to have thirty-six. That way during the newborn phase when they are going through diapers like crazy I have some wiggle room if I miss a wash day.
Whether it be for bedtime or during the day when you know you'll need to go a little longer between changings, sometimes you need extra absorbency. At first I would just use two flat diapers but that can be a little bulky. I looked at a lot of the doublers sold online and realized they were either microfiber or a hemp blend. In talking it over with my husband, he suggested instead of buying the special inserts why not just try the microfiber rags. I purchased a bag of twenty-four and let me tell you, they are awesome! I fold one up (one when we go out or two for overnight) and place it under the flat diaper. It provides a lot of extra absorbency without a lot of bulk. And just like the flat diapers once I am done using them as diapers they can be used as rags.
One complaint people have with cloth diapers is that they do not wick moisture away from the skin like disposables do. The constant wetness can be uncomfortable to the child and could possibly lead to diaper rash. I have found the best way to help the situation is to use a liner. Most of the liners are a fleece material. The fleece allows the warm pee to pass right through to the diaper but the fleece itself will stay dry and provide a barrier so the wet diaper won't touch the skin. Liners are also a great way to keep diaper cream off of your diapers. I went the DIY route and bought some fleece from the fabric store. I cut it into twenty-four rectangles that are about the same size as a folded up flat diaper. Fleece won't fray so there is no sewing involved. Easy peasy!
I like to avoid chemicals when I can, especially for baby items. Most commercial diaper wipes come with a long list of questionable ingredients. I figure since I am already using cloth diapers it really isn't any more work to use cloth wipes as well. Plus, it saves you money. Cotton flannel is a great choice for wipes. It is absorbent and soft. You can buy flannel wipes already made or you can save on costs and cut your own from cotton flannel fabric. I chose to make my own. I simply cut the fabric with pinking shears. Again, no sewing involved. The wipes will fray a little bit but hold up really well. I cut mine into about 8 inch squares. To use I simply wet the wipes with warm water and spray with my diaper wipe solution.
That is my cloth diaper system in a nutshell. Of course everyone is different and what works for me may not work for you. I hope it provides some inspiration though and you can at least use it as a jumping off point.
Tune in Thursday to learn my cloth diaper wash routine and get the recipe for my wipe solution!
Do you use or plan on using cloth diapers? What works for you?
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P.S. This post may be linked up with the following blog hops: Monday- The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Tuesday- The Homestead Blog Hop, Wednesday- The Homemaking Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Thursday- Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Friday- From the Farm Hop, Awesome Life Friday, Saturday- Simply Natural Saturdays.