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Cloth Diapers: The Supplies You'll Need and Want for Cloth Diapering Your Baby
Cloth diapering is the best decision you could make for your baby's bottom and the planet. Now that you know you will go cloth, here are 8 things that will make it easier.
It's all about being clean!
Babies are messy. Sure, the first few poops are cute to first-time parents. "Look! It's a cute little poop!" but then there eventually comes a turning point and cute is not what you want all over your hands and jeans. You're going to want these!
1. Imse Vimse flushable liners. I bought the toddler size (they are wider and longer) and cut them with scissors to fit my son's diapers. These things are amazing! While they are flushable (great for poopy messes), they are also washable (flush the poopy ones; wash the number ones). You can easily use the same liner three times before it's too much like tissue to be of much use. And like your diapers, they are great for the environment: compostable, biodegradable and flushable! They are soft to the touch. I used these on my son well into toddlerhood and he never seemed to experience discomfort. Big thumbs up. When my son passed the one year mark, I thought we were done with messy diapers and would no longer need the liners. I was very wrong. Keep these in good supply!
2. Diaper Sprayer to rinse cloth diapers. We did not have one of these, but one day we were at a friend's house (they have four children). My husband had just changed my son's diaper and emerged from their bathroom with shock and envy written on his face. "We have got to get one of those diaper sprayers!" He loved it. My friend admitted that without her sprayer, she never would have cloth diapered all four of her children (always with at least two in diapers). We never did get the sprayer, but my husband is still in awe. This is definitely the way to get dads on board! They connect directly to the water from your toilet's water tank, blast the diaper with water directly into the bowl, and presto-cleano.
3. Wet bags, large and small, for soiled cloth diapers. A wet bag is a great invention. Use the large one to line your diaper pail for easy depositing into the washing machine. Use a small one to stuff in your purse, diaper bag or back pocket when you are out and about. The wet bags are lined, often come in fashionable patterns and prints, and contain the odor. The tops are either zippered or secure draw strings with clamps to keep them in place. To empty, punch the bottom of the bag while the top is open and facing your washer or larger wet bag. The diaper rolls out without ever having to touch it. Toss the wet bag in as well. Do the same with the larger wet bag and you're done!
4. The Scrubba Wash Bag for portable washing - not just for diapers! Have to clean just two diapers before you leave for a trip, or want to bring the cloth along but you're staying in a hotel? Or just want to wash a few of your newborn's prefolds without all the fuss? Your sisteris afraid washing cloth in her machine will damage it? (It won't!) This bag rocks. It is completely portable and easy to use, especially if you took my first tip to heart and used the liners. Take one of these, liners, a wet bag and even your diaper sprayer, and you are a cloth diapering goddess. Fill with water and soap, agitate, dump the water, fill with fresh water for rinse, and voila! Presto-cleano! Check out the video below.
5. Snappis to hold prefolds and flat folds in place. Throw your grandmother's diaper pins away. While it's true that cloth diapers today don't require pins, some people still prefer a prefold system. I especially enjoyed it when my son was a newborn. For the first few weeks, however, I could only find pins to hold his prefolds closed. It was nervewracking! I then learned about Snappis. Snappis are made of a soft rubber with three triangular parts, the backs of which are barbs to cut into the cloth of the prefold. Snag one side of the diaper, then the other, and with the third, pull down to tighten and snag another anchor point. Then cover the prefold in a soaker or cover. These are great to have around! Many cloth diapering friends cannot do without them. (And I was quite relieved to be done with safety pins).
6. Back up diaper system. Prefolds and wool soakers are a great environmental choice in cloth diapering. The wool is naturally antimicrobial and great for the environment not only because it is made of a natural fiber, but because wool soakers do not need to be washed after every use - air drying is enough. Washing about once or twice a week is all that is necessary. Wool is gentle for babies providing warmth even when wet. Wool is also breathable. The fact that it can absorb up to 30% of the liquid it is faced with, and is cleaned by air drying, these make a great choice. Already use a prefolds and soaker system? Invest in one or two all-in-one options. These diapers are one piece, including a waterproof cover, pocket, and liner. Still want more options? Check out g-diapers! These are an outer cloth system with flushable, compostable and disposable inserts. A great alternative to chemical-ridden, plastic disposables.
7. Lanolin. If you have decided on a diaper system that uses wool covers, you have to treat those covers well. Lanolin is the natural barrier that keeps babies dry. Check out this article on lanolizing your diaper covers and then get thee some lanolin! (If you're a breast feeding mama, the lanolin also helps to soothe sore nipples).
Best Drying Rack Out There!
8. Drying rack or clothesline. Diapers can get stinky because... well, they're diapers. They can also get stained. But you can keep your diapers looking and smelling like new with the best all-natural, organic cleaner ever created: the sun. I was absolutely amazed when I saw what had happened when I took a friend's advice and put my son's diapers on a drying rack in the sun. All stains were gone. Wash them in hot water, a vinegar rinse will help with odor and softness, then immediately put them in the sun at the brightest part of the day. It really is miraculous to see.
Are you ready?
There are so many options with cloth diapering. Don't be intimidated! Your baby will thank you: chemical-free, a better environmental future, fewer diaper rashes, fewer dollars spent - all add up to great savings. The cloth diapering community is huge and I have found everybody is great with advice. Ask around if you find yourself stumped or believe there's a different way to do things. And have fun!