Got the diapers...but what else do I need??
Posted by Laurie McGowan on March 15, 2012 1 Comment
One question I am asked frequently is what else do I need to cloth diaper other than diapers. It's a simple, yet semi-complicated answer. There are a couple must-haves and many nice-to-haves. I will try and keep it as simple and uncomplicated as possible here.
Must-haves are items that you truly need to diaper in cloth. Many warranties by the manufacturer rely on the list and the list is:
1. Good detergent. I don't mean good as in expensive. I mean a clean rinsing detergent formulated to be used with cloth diapers. Diapers are VERY similar to towels. For the first few washes they don't absorb well. Then after 4 or 5 washes they are great. Over time, you notice they are not absorbing as well. This is generally soap build-up. We don't notice as much as we aren't peeing or pooping in our towels (at least I don't). Diapers do see a lot of pee and poop; after time the residue reacts with pee causing a harsh ammonia odour and could result in rashes. The amount of water could also be a factor. The more water in the process the better.
2. Pail liner and pail or large seal-able bag. I recommend people have enough diapers to last 2 to 3 days at the minimum. You need a full load to get the best washing capability and really, who wants to wash diapers everyday? Cloth diapers are much less smelly than disposable diapers, but containment is necessary. Personally, I use a pail. I have one liner and one pail bag that can function as a liner or a bag on its own. Two are needed so that one can be collecting diapers, pulled out and all diapers dumped out of the bag into the washing machine without having to touch dirty diapers. Then the clean one goes in to collect the next load (and you know the next messy diaper will be soon after starting the laundry). I like having a liner and a bag so that when we leave our house for trips we have a bag that will close and not let smells escape while away.
3. Drying rack. Most diapers can go into the wash and dryer, but there are some that cannot go in the dryer on a regular basis. Also, sunning wet diapers is the best way to remove stains. A cheap rack lets you do both in the warmer months outside or inside during the winter.
Now, the next list is a lot bigger and the explanations aren't as long. There are a lot of budget friendly options as well as some that are just darn handy. The nice-to-have list is a lot of the accessories I carry, but there are good reasons for them. Cloth diapering isn't rocket science, but some people are overwhelmed. There are many items that make it easier. And most are invented or made by a parent.
1. Wet bags. Wet bags make life outside of the home with diapers easier. You can stuff 1-8 dirty diapers (depends on the size) when you are out and about and not have to smell them. You can send you babe to daycare and they will put the dirty diapers in it (for you to deal with when you get home). You can put the dirty pants and undies from your potty training babe in them. You could use them as a lunch bag (not the same one you use for diapers though). You can put wet swimsuits in them. Really, many, many uses. I suggest 2 or 3, depending on how often you do the diaper laundry.
2. Diaper Sprayer. I can live without mine, but I don't like to. Exclusively breastfeed babies do not need their poop sprayed off before washing as their poop is water soluble (gross but cool). Once food is introduced (or formula) the bodies isn't as efficient and the solids need to be sprayed off into the toilet before washing. Sometimes it will just fall in, but mostly it (sorry, this is gross) is smushed. You know, yuck. Swishing in the toilet works. Your hand is in the toilet and usually its messy. If you have a low-flow dual flush toilet, well, good luck. Been there, done that, no thank you. The diaper sprayer is amazing. You need to start off slowly with it. If it is turned up too high, your wall will be covered in poo. Take it easy and figure out where the sweet spot it. It is soooooo worth it!
3. Wool drying balls. Hmm, a way to efficiently dry your clothes without tearing them and leaving plastic knobs behind? Yes, that's what they do and that's why they are on this list. Love them.
4. Swim diaper. I know, its a diaper, but not everyone thinks about them when buying diaper supplies. ALL swim diapers (cloth and disposable) have one purpose and one purpose only...to strain poop. Neither type of diaper collects or absorbs pee. If they did, they would absorb water as well...not ideal when in water. Save yourself lot's of money and get a swim diaper.
5. Cloth wipes. If you've already made the decision to use cloth diapers, I would suggest going the extra step and using cloth wipes as well. They work better, irritate less and cost WAY less than disposable wipes. Disposable wipes are handy. I still buy them. I have a stash in the car and at day care. At home we only use cloth. It's so much cheaper. The only irritation we tend to see is from lot's of disposable wipe use at daycare. Since my babe has only been going through one diaper a day there, her bottom has been great. Did I mention the cost savings??
6. Bottom cleaner. Goes along with the cloth wipes. Many times water is enough, but for those mornings or extra poopy times, a gentle cleaning solution saves the day.
7. Liners. Whether disposable or reusable, people either really love liners or don't. Sometimes it's one spouse that really likes them. It's an item that makes it easier to deal with the idea of poop.
8. Good change pad. I love a change pad that is washable. After using one that was not only wipe-able for my first baby, I was thrilled to find a change mat that was functional, pretty and WASHABLE.
9. Good diaper bag. Lots of pockets, pretty but not too bulky...and WASHABLE!!
10. Leggings. Okay, these are not diaper related...but I find them highly FUN-ctional They make diaper changing easy, protect the legs from sun, wind & cold, allow longer use of clothing...AND they are so cute for boys and girls.
These lists are not complete; they are meant to give you a general idea of what else you need. They are all fairly inexpensive (compared to final dollar figures of disposable diapers) and help make life in diapers easier. Please leave a comment as to what your must have item is...I love to hear others opinions as each family has different priorities.
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