Cloth Diaper FAQs
If you’re familiar with my family over the years, you’re well aware that we cloth diaper all our kids. Over the years, I’ve done a few blog posts about why we decided to cloth diaper, the amount of money you could pocket, how you’re saving the planet, & all that jazz. But they’re all so dated, they just don’t seem relevant anymore. However, I still love cloth diapering! Fluff butts are always adorable, but it absolutely is a lifestyle.
As a result, I get A LOT of the same questions over & over & over, so I figured I’d consolidate them in one place to help everyone out. If you have another question that wasn’t addressed, feel free to leave it in the comments or on my Instagram post so I can make another post :)
WHAT BRAND OF POCKETS / LINERS ARE YOUR FAVORITE?
We primarily use Alva Baby pockets with a combo of Alva Baby Charcoal inserts & Naturally Natures Charcoal inserts. I love them all because I can get them on Amazon & have them in a couple days [thanks Prime].
HOW MANY COVERS / POCKETS DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE?
I actually counted a portion of them the other day specifically for this & I had 54 sitting in front of me. We also had a hamper with some dirty diapers in it, as well as some nighttime diapers upstairs. So safe bet: 70 cloth diapers [pockets] & at least 150 inserts.
DO YOU ALSO USE REUSABLE WIPES?
Not anymore. We did for a short period with Jackson but it didn’t work in our reality. We would have a plastic baggy of washcloths we’d plan to use, but then we’d have to bring water to wet the washcloth [we were not gonna walk around with wet washclothes in public].
WHAT AGE DID YOU START TO PUT THEM IN CLOTH?
As soon as their umbilical cord fell off, they’ve been in cloth.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF THE FIT IS RIGHT WITH SO MANY SNAP OPTIONS?
Trial & error. If you’re seeing creases on baby after taking a diaper off, too tight. If baby is leaking through diaper, too loose. When you’re putting the diaper on, lie baby down flat & move diaper around them & snap when things of snug but comfy. We base our fittings around the center 2 buttons in the front. We make sure to mirror the sides so baby is most comfortable & not unbalanced. I would also recommend getting a brand / size that grows with babe. I couldn’t tell you the size ANY of my kids are in right now because we’ve been using the same diapers since they were newborns.
HOW OFTEN ARE YOU DOING LAUNDRY?
Literally every single day. No exaggeration. If I miss a day, we realize the following day by running out of diapers & it’s a rush to finish a load.
DO BABIES NEED AN EXTRA LINERS AT NIGHT?
All my kids have extra liners in their nighttime diapers. Usually, we have 2 liners in a pocket for everyone during the day. This is what we know works for us. At night, everyone has 3 liners in their diapers. It’s very padded & bulgy, but it works. Alva Baby diapers are smaller & can’t handle 3 liners [understandably], so we have Lil Bums pockets designated to be the nighttime diapers. They stay upstairs in their bedroom so we know they’re only used for night.
HOW MANY WOULD YOU SUGGEST A 1ST TIME MOM PURCHASE?
This is a personal decision. On average, I feel like babies go through 12-14 diapers a day. So you could either get a lot of diapers & not do laundry as much, or get enough to last through 2 days & do laundry every day. It’s been years but I believe my first purchase was a package of 20 pre-used diapers that I found on FB Marketplace. [Don’t say EWWW to preused. It’s a REUSABLE DIAPER.] She charged me a fraction of what they should have cost so I’d recommend first time Moms checking things like that out first before splurging on brand new things you’re not even sure about yet.
DO THEY SMELL WEIRD AFTER SOME TIME?
They sure do. But this is also why you need to be diligent with your cleaning routine. I’m talking about cleaning out the washing machine every week, bleaching & stripping the liners so they stay fresh & absorbent. Over time [years], they will start to breakdown over so much use & that’s completely normal. However, poop & pee are in constant contact with these items so you HAVE to make sure you’re cleaning them properly.
DO THEY DECREASE THE OCCURANCE OF DIAPER RASHES?
I would say yes, but I have a biased opinion. Because all my kids have only been in cloth [disposables a handful of times when traveling], I don’t feel I have enough information to compare the 2.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A BRAND OF DIAPERS?
I ONLY buy ones One Size Adjustable [different sizes/grow into concept]. If I’m dropping a pretty penny on this diaper, I will get my use & then some. Also, I’m not a fan os AIO’s [All in ones]. I understand it’s convenient to have the liner automatically attached to the pocket but what if I want to move it? What if I want to add another liner?
DO ALVAS GO FROM NEWBORN TO POTTY TRAINED SIZE?
The Alva’s we have are the One Size Adjustable diapers. We’ve used them from newborn to 4 years old, & they are TIGHT on Jackson [which makes sense]. They still fit Miles pretty comfortable & we’re currently in the middle of potty training him, so I would say yes. Because Jackson isn’t showing signs of being potty trained soon, we’ve purchased larger sized cloth diapers from Lighthouse Kids & even though they are AIO, the sizing is perfection.
HOW DOES SIZING WORK?
That’s something you’re going to have to look up on your own depending on the brand. But I can only imagine the short answer is “comfortable”. Know your babes height & weight.
HOW MANY DO YOU BUY AT ONCE?
I bought a bunch preused & it was about 20. I didn’t keep all of them for my own reasons but it was also cheaper this way. If you plan to purchase brand new, you’re going to spend a good amount of money on like 6 diapers. I would recommend going through FB Marketplace first. It also can’t hurt to have too many.
TIPS FOR OLDER BABES & EXCESSIVE WETTING?
Add liners. Cut off drinks sometime before bed. That’s all I got.
WHEN DO YOU HAVE TIME FOR LAUNDRY?
75% of the time, it’s happening in the background. Disclaimer: I genuinely enjoy doing laundry. Even putting it away. So I’ll easily do 3 loads of laundry a day [start to finish] like it’s nothing. But I usually start a load as soon as I wake up & keep things in rotation as the day goes on. Again, we have just the right amount of diapers / clothes so if I miss a day or 2, nothing really piles up. We just run out. It’s a sweet spot.
IS THERE A SPRAYER YOU SUGGEST? OR ARE THE THIN, DISPOSABLE/FLUSHABLE LAYERS WORTH IT?
We have never had a sprayer & have never used the additional layers. I would only want a sprayer if I had a utility sink. The point of a sprayer is to remove the poop into the toilet. Have you used a sprayer on a toilet? Because I have & maybe I can’t get my angles right but water [& poop particles] were everywhere & I was not feeling it. We’ve also never used the extra layers because if the poop is plop-able, I’ll just empty it in the toilet then fold it up. if it’s not, I just fold up the diaper & toss it in the poop bin until poop laundry day.
HOW DO YOU CLEAN THEM?
THE MOST POPULAR QUESTION! This is also the one that has so many damn ways. There are so many blogs about how people wash their diapers & I guess I’m about to add to the list.
We have a large, closable trash bin next to our changing table that has a large wet bag in it. All dirty diapers get thrown in there. Throughout the day, someone changes out the wet bag & takes the dirty one upstairs to the laundry room & places it in the laundry bin in there. Come wash day, I separate the pee from poop ones. How do I know which is which? We wrap poop diapers up so they can’t spill open in the bin. When I’m separating, I find the rolled up ones & place them in a separate air tight bin that is specifically for poopy diapers. The pee diapers get separated by removing the liners out of the pockets then being thrown in the washing machine. We wash with both detergent & detergent pods.
The poop diapers get washed in their own separate load & I do this probably every 3-4 days. [Yes - I’m well aware its gross to let poop sit like that but this is what my family does because I’m not washing poop diapers everyday]. I plop any poops that can go into the toilet, separate the liners from the pockets then soak the pocket in the tub for about 10 min with soapy water. Then scrub the diapers & throw them in the wash with extra rinse cycles & extra pods. After 2 poopy diaper washes, I do a bleaching load through the washing machine. It’s a PROCESS but I always feel accomplished afterwards.
WHAT DO YOU WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD YOU WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED?
Oooooooo good one! Mk.
1. You will touch SO MUCH POOP - Get comfortable with it.
2. Traveling with cloth diapers is stressful - I’m not only talking about planes & car rides [imagine sitting with wet/poopy diapers in a confined place], but also just going out like day to day. You HAVE to have multiple wet bags to hold the diapers in. Also you only have a limited amount which leads me to my next one…
3. Cute diaper bags don’t work - I see all those cute, SMALL diaper bags that let you hold all the things. Well that’s not a thing with cloth diapers. 3 diapers take up the room of 10 disposables alone.
3. Daycares don’t like cloth diapers - I understand why but it sucks.
4. This is a lifestyle, not just a cute picture online - probably the biggest thing. I knew this going in & cloth diapering has become such a regular thing to my family, we don’t know anything else, but it took adjusting.