How To Use Cloth Diapers – The Basics (Everyday Tips You’re Overlooking)
Making the choice to use cloth diapers can be overwhelming, especially for a first-time mom. There’s a lot of benefits to using cloth diapers but there are also a lot of systems to think of when thinking of how to use cloth diapers. This read will help you navigate through the basics of using cloth diapers, how do cloth diapers work as well as some major tips I’ve learned along the way.
Even if you’re not a crunchy mama, I’m sure you’ve at least thought about cloth diapers! Although I think most mamas think of them in a “way back when” type scenario and are utterly petrified by them 😉 -check out these cloth diaper myths.
But the options, systems, and protocols have come a long way since back in the day so learning how to use cloth diapers comes with a ton of perks (and doesn’t make you cringe nearly as much!).
Note: This post is sponsored by Omaïki, all opinions and photography are my own. I received no compensation for this blog post other than a free sample of a product I already had ;). Thank you for supporting companies I believe in.
My Experience Using Cloth Diapers
Even before I was pregnant with I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers. I’m a crunchy mama and it just made sense. Plus, opting for cloth diapers comes with a ton of benefits, like fewer diaper rashes, environmental perks, etc.
My hubby, however, was a little less won over on the cloth diaper front and much more concerned about how to use cloth diapers!
One of the biggest myths when it comes to cloth diapers is that we’re still rocking the “pin method” from the older generation. I assure you.. we are not. In fact, when it comes to how do cloth diapers work, we’ve upgraded to some pretty butt-kicking cloth diaper systems!
We debated this issue quite a bit in the early stages of pregnancy. And eventually, we compromised on getting a cloth diaper service for the first couple of months. This allowed us to see if we truly liked the cloth diapering system without washing.
With a diapering service, you only have to buy the diaper covers and they do the rest. So basically, I got to pick out all sorts of cute diaper prints and I was in heaven. I mean look at that baby bum! 😉
While we went with a diaper service we also had times (like on vacation) when we still used cloth and were all on our own.
And while I adore cloth diapers, I won’t deny that there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to how to use cloth diapers.
When we first began, using cloth diapers was overwhelming. Once we figured out how cloth diapers work, it was fine but there’s definitely a few lessons and tips I wish I had known before jumping in (read about what I wish I knew before I started using cloth!)
Lesson: There Are Different Kinds Of Diapering Systems
This is probably the aspect that confused me the most when learning how cloth diapers work The lingo just didn’t make sense to me and there’s about a zillion types of diapers. So here’s the easiest way to understand it:
This is a two-part system. It means you need to have both the cover (which is a waterproof barrier) as well as the actual cloth diaper.
You change the actual diaper every time but you only have to change the cover when it seems wet (two to three times a day). With our service, this is the one we use the most and you can check out how it works in the video below
Apple cheeks I liked because they offered smaller sizes (my girls were TINY and thus needed smaller than eight pounds) and they fit nicely. Omaiki I loved because they hold in the wetness of the diaper really well and that they’re made with Canadian fabrics (more on that below).
Tip: if you opt for the two-part method (diaper and cover) you don’t need an insane amount of covers! We’ve only ever had ten to twelve covers and that works just fine.
All In One
The all in one system is exactly as it sounds. Buy a bunch of all in one diapers and use them similar to disposable ones.
Meaning, you’re changing the entire diaper each time and putting on a new one. It’s simple and again, still cute!
All in one diapers tend to fit a variety of sizes (about eight to thirty pounds) which is nice so that you’re not buying diapers every time your babe grows! These are an awesome option if you don’t have a diaper service because they come with a lot of choices.
A couple of things I liked about the Omaïki all-in-one was:
- There’s a detachable insert if you have a babe that pees a lot (both of my girls somehow pee insane amounts!)
- They fit teeny babes pretty well because they have a double row of snaps
- And the main reason I originally opted for a few of these diapers was that they’re made from bamboo and organic cotton- so super soft!
With the all-in-one system however, you do need a fair amount if diapers depending on how many you want to be washing each day.
My recommendation would be around 20-30. This sounds expensive but if you look at the cost breakdown in this blog post it’s worth it – especially if you plan to have more than one baby.
How To Use Cloth Diapers -Lesson: There Are No Pins!
So many people avoid cloth diapers because they think we’re still on the pinning method. But not to worry, we’ve evolved 😉 This is one cloth diapering myth we’ve easily overcome.
The new cloth diapers have the wonderfully easy options of snaps or velcro. This makes it so you can change a cloth diaper easily in under a minute.
In my experience, it’s definitely better to opt for the snap method.. not the velcro. Not only does the velcro get attached to everything in the laundry (which drives you insane) but by fourteen months your babe will also probably be strong enough and smart enough to take that cover off… so go for snaps!
Plus, I find that the snap option tends to fit better. You can check out why all in one diapers are pretty great and how easy they are to put on in the video below.
Tip: You’ll Be Changing Frequently
One thing I didn’t realize when I was learning how to use cloth diapers is that you’ll be changing diapers.. a lot.
Cloth diapers don’t have the chemical that “pulls the urine” away from your babes bum. This means your babe will realize she’s wet. And then she’ll want to be changed. Naturally, babes go through 10-16 diapers per day in the first 6 months. My girls were always on the higher side of that.
Personally, I don’t mind this fact. It means your baby won’t be sitting in their own urine for prolonged periods of time (ew).
It means that they begin to understand what “wet” is at a younger age. This leads to earlier potty training. And lastly, if they’re not sitting in a wet diaper you’ll have less diaper rash (win).
So yes, sometimes it sucks that you’re changing diapers all the time. There was a time that we changed upwards of seventeen diapers a day. It may not be awesome but it’s much better for your babes bum!
Tip: If Your Baby Is Breastfed Exclusively, There’s No Scraping
This is something I didn’t know until my second because Baby bear needed formula pretty early. But if your babe is only breastfed, all you’ve got to do is double wash the diapers.
No scraping, no crazy soaking just double wash in hot water (the hot of the hot water part is important!). Breast milk is very water-soluble so if they’re breastfed exclusively this is much easier.
Once your babe starts solids you’ll need a bit different of a washing routine. I would personally scrape the poop into the toilet before washing. This diaper sprayer makes this way easier FYI! I still double washed and it worked perfectly.
Tip: If you really can’t do the poop thing, you can buy these Nappie Diaper Liners that you just flush! So basically you would flush that part and then just wash the diaper. I didn’t even know about these with my first.
Tip: Choose Quality Diapers
Like everything else, quality matters. You’ll be much less frustrated if you’re not having blowouts all day long or freaking out about poop. I’ve tried a couple of brands of both diaper covers and all in one cloth diapers and it truly does matter.
We had a bunch I bought that felt like sandpaper after about four washes. Imagine that on your poor little babes bum!
One of the reasons I got in touch with Omaïki was because their diapers are partially made from bamboo which is insanely soft.
They’re also ethically made right here in Canada (and with Canadian fabrics) which is a huge deal to me.
I had actually already tried out their cover before reaching out to them and having really enjoyed them I wanted to give the all-in-one diaper a try also. And look at how cute that big cloth diapered bum is below! They really do have adorable prints.
Choose High-Quality Lotion
Don’t forget to use a quality/compatible lotion on your babes’ skin! You’re avoiding all the icky stuff in diapers already so opt for a baby-safe lotion and diaper creams.
I personally make my own homemade baby lotion with beeswax (it’s kind of my thing haha). But if you’re not into the DIY aspect check out the baby products from Primally Pure (especially the baby balm!).
They’re all-natural, skin-safe, and made with ingredients I can both pronounce and buy. Use code fitasamamabear to save yourself 10% on your entire first order.
You can also peep the natural baby products certified by the EWG I found worked best!
Mega Perk Of Cloth Diapers
Basically, it let’s you try out different systems without having to purchase and commit to one immediately.
Don’t forget to pin these tips on how to use cloth diapers!
Honestly, cloth diapers are an amazing option for both your babe and the environment. They work well, are easy to use, and obviously just so freaking cute.
Once you figure out a system and learn how to use cloth diapers it becomes a breeze.
However, If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Mum In The Woods recently did up an Ebook on cloth diapers. It goes over the best washing systems, troubleshooting, heaving wetting, and systems. Even after two babes, I found it helpful.
If you have questions I’m more than happy to help, just drop a comment below 🙂