Saturday, May 1, 2010

How to get started cloth diapering

So you have thought about cloth diapering and want to get started?  What do you need?  How do you prepare the diapers?  How do you wash them?  Don’t they leak easily? Getting started with cloth diapers is not as difficult as it may seem.

First you have to decide on how often you plan to wash.  Some people wash daily while others wash every two to three days.  In order to avoid diaper stink you shouldn’t let the diapers sit for more than three days.  If you have a newborn you will need about 12 diapers per day.  If you have an infant you will need about 10 diapers per day.  If you have an older infant or young toddler you will need about 8 diapers per day.  An older toddler will need about 6 diapers per day.  Add in a couple extra diapers to allow for washing time.  So if you have an older infant and plan on washing every two days you should have 20 diapers plus 2-3 extra diapers to allow for washing time.

Along with diapers you need a few accessories including wipes, a wet bag, and a diaper pail liner.  You will need a lot of wipes for the newborn stage – at least 1-2 wipes for every diaper change.  As your baby grows you won’t need quite so many wipes for diaper changes, but those same wipes can be used later on to wipe messy faces and sticky fingers.  A wet bag will give you a place to put your soiled or wet diapers when you are out of the house.  A diaper pail liner will help keep your diaper pail clean.  Many parents use a kitchen garbage can as their diaper pail and purchase a waterproof liner to line the pail.

Most cloth diapers need to be washed and dried several times prior to using.  This will help remove the natural oils in the diaper and cause the diaper to become absorbent.  This will also help soften up the diaper because some diapers are stiff before they are first washed.  You should follow the washing instructions for the diaper brand you are using.  In general you want to wash the diapers on hot and dry them on hot for at least three times before using them. 

Washing soiled and wet diapers doesn’t have to be difficult.  Simply shake off the soiled diaper before placing it in your diaper pail.  On wash day put all your diapers in the washing machine and run a cold rinse.  Follow that with a hot wash with half the recommended detergent.  Run an extra cold rinse at the end to make sure there is no detergent left in the diapers.  Then you can line dry or run them in the dryer.  While most diapers can be washed and dried this way, be sure to follow any specific instructions for the diapers you purchase.

It is important to have a good fit and an absorbent diaper to help prevent leaks.   You can have the best diaper cover ever made that fits your baby perfectly, but if the diaper underneath is not absorbent enough you will have leaks.  You can use the best and most absorbent diaper ever made, but if it is too big at the legs the diaper will leak.  Follow the sizing recommendations for diapers to help you find a good fit.  You can find a wide assortment of quality cloth diapers at Thanks Mama.

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