Disclosure :: I am thrilled that Charlie Banana has sponsored this post because they truly are the ONLY kind of cloth diaper we use in our household.
We Cloth Diaper and You Can, Too!
When my husband and I began talking about having kids a couple of years ago, the first thing I did was research every aspect I️ thought might be relevant to the first two years of life with baby. One topic people seemed to feel very strongly about were diapers – disposable or cloth. Honestly, before I thought about having kids, I didn’t even know cloth diapers were a thing. After all, it’s 2017. Isn’t the goal to use as many conveniences of modern technology as possible? Cloth diapering certainly didn’t fit that bill. However, as I began to read more on this debate, I became more intrigued and gave more and more thought to this being a legitimate part of my child rearing days. What really convinced me was reading about how many diapers a baby would go through in his or her first year of life and how long it would sit in a landfill. To be honest, I’m not extremely environmentally conscious, but for some reason, the thought of 3000 diapers from my child’s first year of life (and let’s not even think about if we have more kids) sitting in a landfill for the next 250-500 years completely grossed me out. There you had it – I had officially decided that my child(ren) would use cloth diapers. Now all I had to do was get my husband on board and figure out exactly how I would have time to commit to this as I knew I would be returning to work soon after baby . As far as I was concerned, those were minor details that could be figured out once I got my husband’s buy-in.
Operation Convince Husband
In my current career, I spend my days convincing multiple groups of people to do things that they don’t want to do. The one thing I have learned during that time is that if you want people to buy into your idea, you have to figure out exactly what aspect of that idea will appeal to them. For my husband, that’s easy – cost. His head was already spinning at the thought of all the new costs that would be acquired as we brought our new bundle of joy home: medical bills, clothes, daycare, the list goes on. Once I broke down the potential savings, explaining that disposable diapers cost about $2500-$3000 for two years and cloth diapers cost about $500 to purchase (and would be used again with subsequent children) plus washing expenses he was sold. Now it was time to actually figure out the logistics.
Do Your Research
I have done hours of research and I am by no means a cloth diaper expert. There are hundreds of websites and articles that explain every aspect of cloth diapers and honestly, it was a little overwhelming in the beginning. First things first, what type of diaper would I️ buy? There are different types of diapers: all-in-ones, two-in-ones, hybrids, prefolds, the list goes on and on. After weeks of research, we personally decided to go with Charlie Banana diapers. While they’re a little more expensive than some competitors, the quality and feel is unbeatable. Seriously, they are ridiculously soft, even after countless washes! Also, each comes with a nifty adjustable leg gusset system (looks similar to a bra strap) that allows you to use the same set of diapers from birth until potty training. Many other brands do not adjust small enough for newborns so you have to buy an additional newborn set and the fact that you don’t have to buy that extra set actually cancels out the price difference! To make life even easier, during my research I discovered an invention that would allow me to surpass the infamous poop dump step of my cleaning routine: a biodegradable liner that catches everything and can be thrown in the garbage. While some people may not agree with the liner, as a full-time working Mom, these things are lifesavers for me and my husband and even the daycare kindly removes the liner from the diapers after each diaper change!
While I’m on the topic of daycare, having a daycare that would accept cloth diapers was key to my decision. Even after getting my husband on board, I knew my child would be in full time child care as soon as my maternity leave ended and I returned back to work. If our childcare option did not accept cloth diapers, this would not be possible as I felt it would be too much hassle to use disposables during the day and cloth at home in the evenings. While many daycares do not accept cloth diapers, it is becoming more and more common so as you are searching for child care options, don’t be afraid to ask if they have done it in the past or are willing to do it in the future.
Turning Theory Into Action
After months of talking about cloth diapers, the baby was finally here and it was time to put all of that talk into action! We had already decided that the first month we would use disposables since we were first time parents and with so many life changes and adjustments, we wanted to give ourselves the best chance for success. In hindsight, I wish we would’ve done cloth from day one and if we decide to have another baby, we will definitely take that route.
The first few diaper changes were a little cumbersome as it was a new diaper system and we weren’t completely comfortable with it yet but after a few days we got into a nice rhythm. Based on my research, our “stash” (cool cloth diapering lingo describing your cloth diaper collection) consisted of 26 diapers. Most recommend anywhere from 24-30 diapers. This provides us with enough diapers for 3 days.
The Daily Routine
My husband picks up our daughter from daycare 99% of the time. Every day when he comes home one of the first things he does is take the diapers out of the wetbag (a little waterproof zip up bag for you to carry your diapers while out) and puts them in the dirty bin. If it is a wash day, he puts the diapers in the washer as well. We wash every other day and hang dry the diapers on a rack overnight. While many diapers say you can tumble dry on low (including my brand), we chose to hang dry to preserve the integrity of the product as long as possible, and potentially use by multiple kids in the future. After drying overnight, we have to stuff our hybrid Charlie Banana diapers which takes all of ten minutes. Another thing to mention: even though we have enough diapers to go more than two days, you really don’t want to go more than that long without washing as that smell can be absolutely rancid if left any longer. There are tons of suggestions on different detergents to use and washing processes all over the internet. Fluff Love University was very helpful for me when deciding a detergent as they have an extensive detergent index. They also have tons of other helpful information on basically every aspect of cloth diapers. As Tide fans, we eventually opted to use Tide Free and Gentle. It made it simple – we could use the same detergent for every load of laundry in our house instead of having tons of different detergents lying around. And as far as the washing process, I️ knew early on I️ would not have for the multiple washes many blogs mentioned as a full-time working mom. This was the part that worried me the most when researching cloth diapers – but after talking to several people I knew, I quickly found out that the extensive washing cycles were not necessary. What works for us is simply turning our washer to the heavy load cycle with an extra rinse. This has been very efficient in adequately cleaning the diapers on a regular basis without any build up issues and keeps the staining to a minimum.
How I Went From Liking Cloth Diapers to Loving Cloth Diapers
About a month ago, we took a road trip to Houston. We opted to use disposables as we wouldn’t have easy access to laundry since we were staying in a hotel. Early on the differences between the two were clear. Surprisingly, cloth diapers hold smell in really well. We never smell when our baby has pooped in cloth diapers but on that trip, as soon as it happened the smell was apparent (not necessarily something you want when holed up in a car for 5 hours). Also, as soon as she soiled her diaper, she would become immediately fussy. This is another issue we don’t have with cloth diapers. Typically we are in a two-hour changing schedule and at night she wears the diaper from bedtime at 6:30pm to when she wakes up around 6:30am. She rarely fusses because of a full diaper and so far we have never had a leaking issue. And even more importantly blowouts are rare. I can count on one hand the number of times poop has seeped out of her diaper. She also has minimal diaper rash issues. I read somewhere that it is because cloth diapers don’t have the chemicals in them that disposable diapers do. While I cannot attest to that being the reason I can say that we are fortunate not to have to deal with it. After our trip to Houston, my husband and I realized that cloth diapers are our preference. So much so that we packed them over our Thanksgiving vacation and have plans to do so on any vacation moving forward, if at all possible. Thankfully, Charlie Banana also has a disposable insert in their product line, intended for use during travel. These made it so much easier to travel, and they’re just as absorbent as their traditional inserts, but they took up less room which helps when you’re already bringing so many items for baby!
Cloth diapering may seem overwhelming at first, but with a little research and a nice routine, it is easy enough for anyone to do, even as a working mama with a working husband. I️ would definitely say my husband being on board is a huge key to the success we have seen thus far as it simply would not be possible if both of us weren’t on the same page. I’m so glad that I took the cloth diaper plunge as my little one loves her cloth diapers. And it doesn’t hurt that they are super cute!