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What's your diapering method? Are you all cloth, all disposable, or some combination of both? What tricks of the trade have you learned, no matter your method?

As I try to make the decision, my biggest concern is our incredibly hard water and a front-loading HE machine. We are very committed to using natural detergent, and I won't add Calgon to the wash. Sometimes I don't even feel like our grown up clothes are as clean as they could be. I wonder about diapers.

I thought this would be a good place to collect tips and tricks. Not just for cloth, either, although it seems like those often require a few more tricks. Whatever your method, let's talk diapering!
 

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I never had a problem with my front loader getting diapers clean, but I did have hard water issues. Our inserts went to hell really quickly with buildup, so I had to replace them a time or two because stripping didn't work. There are some tricks to help an HE machine clean diapers better - I would run a rinse cycle just to get everything good and soaking wet, then run the real cycle. The weight of the water tricks the machine into thinking it's a bigger load than it is so it uses more water. I also heard recently that the delicate cycle uses the most water.

I'm stuck on what to do this time. We have all our old cloth, but we live in a different house where our laundry isn't tied to septic, so our laundry water just dumps into the back yard, in an area where we walk often. So washing poopy diapers isn't really an option unless we tie our laundry into our septic system - $$$. I think we'd come out even on either fixing it or just using disposables. Ugh.


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One of my favorite topics! Seriously, I fell completely, madly in love with cloth diapering with my youngest. It's one of the things I'm most looking forward to, as odd as that sounds, with the next babe. I just wish I had my old stash back. :(

As for tips & tricks, the BEST, most crucial advice I have is to buy good liners- I mean the disposable kind that you buy on Amazon. I tried a few brands, but my favorite was Imse Vimse. They look a lot like dryer sheets (but no chemicals, of course). All you do is stick one (or half of one for little babes) over the diaper as you put the diaper on (like a panty liner), and when it's time for a change, if it's a pee diaper, just throw the whole thing (liner and all) into the wash/pail. If it's a poop, just tip the liner with poo into the toilet, and flush- then put the diaper into the laundry/pail as normal. This is THE trick that made me love CD. I was ready to give up before I learned it. If you CD from the beginning, use a liner for the first few days, when meconium is so sticky, but after that, it isn't really needed for an exclusively breastfed baby's diaper, because their poo is all liquid, and not stinky. Once you start seeing those little mustard kernels, though, think about using a liner, and certainly once baby starts solids. I wash the liners with the diapers & sort them from the dryer. I found I could get 2-4 uses out of the Imse Vimse ones. Just toss the shredded ones in with the dryer lint & fold the still-whole ones with the diapers.

I can't help you with the front-loader or hard water issues, since I don't have either (well, maybe a little hard water, but not enough to cause problems). I did buy a HE machine recently, but it's a top-loader, so I'm hoping not to have too many issues with it. I did learn that the best detergent for my washer/water/diapers is Charlie's Soap powder. I'll outline my typical washing routine for you, in case it helps anyone. It was for a traditional top-loader with mildly hard water, and worked for 2 years of CD.

1. I used a smallish lidded garbage pail (bought at Big Lots)- bigger than an office-size, but not as big as kitchen- maybe 16 gal? I started out lining it with a PUL bag I made, but eventually just ditched the bag & used the pail alone. Worked great- I just rinsed it with the hose & a little bleach or Kitchen spray once a week or so. Big enough to hold several days worth, small enough to make you wash before they get too stinky.
2. Diapers went straight into the (dry) pail, all-inclusive, except for poopy liners (as discussed above). I only rinsed a diaper first if it was a major blowout. I used primarily prefolds & covers like Bummis or Thirsties, but I also had some FuzziBunz pockets, which I rarely stuffed, but used as covers. If you have a pocket, you have to shake the insert out first. AIO's go in, too.
3. Washing was done whenever the pail got too full for the lid to close (1-2 x/week, depending on the size of baby & # of changes).
4. I just held my nose & dumped the contents of the pail into the machine, added a scoop of Charlie's, and ran it on heavy. If I thought about it, or if it was a particularly stinky load, I'd stop it to let it soak 1/2 way through (newer machines have a soak setting, I think). This was not often necessary, though.
5. This is crucial: I ran the load 2-3 times. If I was planning 3, I'd leave the soap off the 3rd run, or 1/2 the ammount (which, with Charlie's is just a dash). I think I usually ran it on warm, but honestly, I can't remember for sure.
6. After the final run, I'd pull out the liners/prefolds & throw them in the dryer, and put the covers on the line or on hangars in my bedroom. I dried the prefolds on high heat for a regular cycle.
7. Another crucial step: The Sniff Test. Seriously. When I pulled the prefolds out, I'd stick my face right in a couple & breathe deep. If it was fresh-smelling, all's good & put them away. If there is any funk, it might be time for a strip- usually at the next wash.
8. The Strip: Not everyone likes using Bleach & I understand that- there may be a good alternative, but it's what I used. If the prefolds/inserts get funky, which happens about every 3 months (?) or so, I run them in the washer with bleach the first run, then wash them 3 more times with just Charlie's soap (as above). When you pull them out of the dryer after this, they should be fresh. Only bleach prefolds/inserts- never covers!

Alright, I think that's a long enough post for now. I'll come back and share more tips another time. I really do love CD! Thanks for starting this thread, @indiana!
 

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full disclosure: this is my sister's website. (mostly recipes and natural parenting stuff)

here is her post on how she set up her cloth diaper station: http://babybirdsfarm.com/everything-you-need-to-set-up-a-cloth-diaper-changing-station/ I'm sharing since some people have found it very useful.

I'm getting hand-me-downs for some of this stuff so we might have a similar setup. I def changed a lot of my niece's diapers when I lived in SoCal so I have used the g-diapers before. They are really nice but definitely an investment $$ in the beginning. My sister would dry the waterproof liners and the absorbent liners in the sun which would also bleach them. That is not really possible in the PNW 9 months out of the year... wish we could for energy saving and longevity of the fabric.

She doesn't mention it but for her second baby she used disposables until the meconium was done... maybe even for the first 2-3 weeks. Also, I don't know if she washed and reused the diaper liners so I don't know how that brand would hold up.

It was kinda annoying to me to have to warm up water from the sink in order to use a cloth wipe so I think I will just buy disposable wipes.

As for hard water. Does doing a vinegar soak every now and then help?
 

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One thing I have found is that natural fibers hold up really well. I am making my own diapers this time around again, but bamboo and organic cotton are the ticket. It cleans better (in my opinion) and I have never had stink issues.
 

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Thanks for the link to your sister's page, PortlandRose. What a beautifully organized sister you have!

I'll say that I used some gDiapers (used on ebay or craigslist) and some GroVia, too. I wasn't overly impressed with either. I thought that they worked really great for certain periods, and then leaked constantly for others (I mean growth-periods of baby). Honestly, I upcycled several gDiapers to use as swim diapers. They work GREAT for that- they keep poo in, but not water!

As for wipes, I used store-bought wipes with both my kids, but I'm planning to do better this time. Read the ingredients list on those wipes before you buy! I have a couple of things I'm planning to try. One is keeping a spray bottle of distilled water and diaper solution (I bought some at greenmountaindiapers) near the changing station to spray the bum/wipes with. No need to warm it, or to use the tap. I've also read about people using wipes warmers for their cloth wipes (if you live where it's cold). Another thing I'm going to try is homemade wipes using Bounty paper towels & an all-natural solution (just Google it). You can keep them in a plastic coffee tin or a Rubbermaid container & use them like regular wipes (but no chemicals). Simple & cheap, too.

Do you use the spray thing, @Rosemarino? I had one on a wishlist forever, and never purchased it. I only wished for it a very few times with the last kid (like when I forgot a liner or there was a major blowout). I'd love to hear how it really works. I was always afraid it'd be messy.
 

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I did really use the sprayer! It is a forceful spray and you have to aim right. I got it before I knew about liners, so there's something to what you say about maybe not needing it if you use liners. But I still love it because I use it to clean the bath/shower.
 

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Wipes: there's a product called Water Wipes and it's just water. They are oddly kind of $ but they are non-irritating.
 

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The spray thing is awesome. For the BF poops, I just put the diapers in the washing machine. But when the poopies get nice an smelly and sticky in month 7 or 8 from solid foods, the sprayer is a gift from heaven!

For the wipes, I have a craft full of warm water and baking soda. I just use old rags and cloth wipes and just throw them in with the diapers.

Thing is, I always have to change the water first thing in the morning.

I have tried presoaking and then putting the cloth in the wipe warmer, but even with an antibacterial mixture, they seem to get all moldy. I have an aversion to mold. It scares me and I don't like to touch it.
 

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We started with disposables for the first month or two, then moved into our CD stash when they fit. We used CDs exclusively for 6-9 months, then I kinda got burned out...I was also having trouble with our front loader + hard water, thrown off by dealing with the poop (I know there are many solutions to this, but the liners just didn't work for us), and LO just didn't seem that comfortable with the non-elastic waist bands once becoming mobile and sitting up (I didn't expect it to be an issue...but it surprisingly was). So after all that we went back to disposables and I have to say it's what has worked the best for us. We may revive our stash and give CDs a try again, but I'm just not as committed as I thought I would be. Finding wipes/diaps that we were comfortable with the ingredients was the tipping point for me...

If you're looking for a disposable option, then I'd highly recommend the Honest Company. They offer diaper/wipes bundles that are a "one month supply" (if you only use those diapers), but they are delivered how ever often you choose (they will cater to CD families who only want them delivered once every 3/4/5 months etc). They work very well, are non-toxic (both diapers and wipes...especially love the wipes compared to other toxic ones on the market), and it's very convenient to have them delivered (and it doesn't hurt that they come in cute patterns too). I've done cost comparisons with the other "natural" diaper lines ( seventh generation, natybaby, earths best etc) and they are the same price (if not better....especially when you factor in free delivery and wipes included). Can't say enough good things about them.

I'm probably in the minority since I've gone the disposable route...but the biggest thing I've learned is be ready to be flexible with your options based on what works best for you and baby. I wouldn't invest in a huge stash of any one kind of diapers, but instead try a few out at a time (esp bc there are so many different options for CD), and add to your collection as you learn what you like. We have a variety of CD and my preferences changed the more we used them.
 

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So true, Happymama2013! That's absolutely true about almost everything with baby! Don't get married to any one particular way of doing anything, because your baby and your family are unique, and situations will change what works for you. Although I say I CD'd DS2 exclusively, there were a few months when we did switch to paper diapers at night because DS was a crazy heavy-wetter, and none of the CD's we had seemed to keep him dry through a night (or even 1/2 a night). Then, I guess he grew a little or something changed, and we were able to go back to it. To be fair, he wet through the paper diapers as well, but not EVERY night- as long as I woke to change him early enough. I was getting stresed about all the extra work, lost sleep, and dirty laundry as I tried out different combinations until DH pointed out that CD wasn't as important as sanity & a happy baby/mom. He was right. Don't get too hung up on anything is about the best advice to any new mother. :)
 

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So, it's not a new thread. I found this one & thought I'd revive it. :)
@teamviddy, I did use cloth with my youngest DS, almost exclusively, except for the first week or so, and then there were a few months when we switched to paper for overnights during particularly heavy-wetting phases. Unfortunately, I gave my entire CD stash away after DS2 was out of them, because we thought we were done having kids. So, I had to buy a whole new stash this time. I'm going with almost all prefolds and flats (the flats are new to me), but I just bought the Babies R Us gDiaper starter kit with 2 covers, and I bought 6 inserts from Target (because I had gift cards to those places & that's about all they carry for newborns. I used some gDiapers with DS2- I got some on Craigslist. I found that they worked great some times, and were leaky other times (depending on DS's growth spurts). But they are trim, so I'm hoping that's good for a newborn. I had and used fitteds with DS2. They're great for being a little trimmer, staying in place, and if you like to let your kid go without a cover around the house, it's easier. But overall, I found fitteds to be somewhat less reliable at keeping it all in- probably because they're trimmer. Of course, you can always put a doubler/insert inside if you find that. And I had a boy, so I don't know if it's different with girls. I love Flip covers. They were one of my favorites, following Bummis SWW.
 

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I wanted to revive this thread not only to answer teamviddy's question, but also to ask my own.

So, with DS2, I knew we were going to CD from the beginning, but my mother & DH convinced me not to start in the hospital. This time I'm a little torn. We'll be there for 3 days, presumably. That's quite a lot of cloth to bring with and a lot of dirties to have sitting around. I bought the gDiapers kit, so I have 20 of their disposable inserts to use. But there is something to be said for convenience and ease of letting the hospital take care of some stuff. Plus, miconium. But, I also don't know if I want baby's brand new bum to be wrapped in chemically paper for his/her first 3 days.

So, for anybody who CD'd from the beginning, what did you do at the hospital?
What plans do you all have for diapering at the hospital this time?

Also, I want to know more about the mom cloth. I have heard about that & might not consider it for postpartum, but I did start having really light bleeding with my IUD before I had it out, and I hated using all those disposable liners & light days pads. Felt wasteful. Cloth might be what I need for that- but I don't know much about it. Who wants to educate me? :)
 

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With DS, we used cloth from ~3 weeks until he got down to 1-2 diapers a day (nap + overnight), but we used sposies (7th gen, I think) for the first few weeks, but that was more because I didn't know anything about cloth diapers yet and with all of the other brand new things going on, I was in no position to add that. I haven't decided if I'm going to try to do cloth from the start this time or not. We're having a home birth, but given that the washer/dryer are downstairs, the logistics are still something I wonder about. Hubby is completely comfortable with cloth. I do still want to hear what others have to say about using cloth in those first days!

I <3 my prefolds, though a friend lent me her stash of tiny adorable newborn all-in-ones.

And, @Yalina, I did mama cloth pp after the first few days. Before the birth, I sewed I think 7-8 pads from a pattern I found online and used old flannel pajama materials with terry cloth inside, though I know you can buy them on etsy, etc. I loved it. Just gave it a quick rinse after use and washed it with cloth diapers. It was soft and comfy.
 

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Thanks for the input, teegan.

My GMD orange edge prefolds and the flats I ordered came in the mail today. I'm so excited! They're in the washer now, getting prepped. :)
 
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Thank you @Yaliina! Glad for the information. We were gifted some super pricey Seventh Generation sposies, and only in newborn sizes. I just went through and registered for stuff at Target without paying much attention to prices. When my cousin told me how much she paid for them, even on sale, my jaw about dropped. Then shopping for mega pads for me for the first few days postpartum. Dag. Anything that is "natural" is SO expensive.

I think we are ready. I have 25 NB sized fitteds and 4 NB covers from a rental service. 12 cotton flats and 12 small prefolds for experimenting. 2 wool shorties in newborn size.

Then I have a variety of other things to experiment with once baby grows, and we will determine from there what we need-- small workhorses, covers, AO1s and pockets, one small (but not newborn) wool longie and one wool shortie.

And for mama cloth, I have my old stash of maybe 6 Glad Rags, and added a set of overnight/queen sized Party in My Pants. Very cute but the reviews were mixed, because of the fit and the waterproof backing. I love the feeling of Glad Rags- they are very soft flannel- but the design of the overnight/postpartum pads just looked weird to me so I passed them up.

ETA: We have been using wool dryer balls for a few years now and love them, and I am glad we didn't have to buy that too! But when thinking of something to get for both of my former partners who are expecting babies, and plan to CD, I knew that was the right present. I got some really pretty colored wool dryer balls from an Etsy seller and both of them LOVED the gift, and of course no one else got them something like that... So that was good :) I will remember it as a good gift option in the future!
 

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I love my wool dryer balls, too! I bought a pack of 2-3 years ago, and then finally bought more recently. Using 4-5 is way more efficient. And I really like to put a few drops of essential oils on them to keep my laundry smelling nice. I use the cheap Amazon EOs for that, though.

It sounds like you are well-prepared, teamviddy. I have a similar-sized stash to start. I have 1 doz GMD newborn prefolds, a dozen preemie size prefolds (OsoCozy, I think), and 3 newborn covers (one Blueberry and two others). Then I have the 2 gDiaper covers & 6 cloth inserts, with 20 disposable inserts. I also have 8 or so one-size covers of various brands (mostly Flip), 6 GMD flat folds, and 3 dozen size small/medium prefolds (Osocozy).

I have to say, I've had a lot of fun figuring out how to fold the flats. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest, and have pre-folded 5 different folds & pinned them so they're ready to go when baby is home. Can't wait to see how I like them with an actual baby. :)
 

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Nice! Yeah, I was practicing with my flats and watching YouTube videos last night! We have a little stuffed elephant who has endured months of cloth diapering, swaddling and wrapping/babywearing practice ;)

I am really curious what this will be like when baby is really here. I got the flats really recently and hand't really considered them an option until I kept seeing them suggested as a super versatile option. And with the price, it was easy to make an impulse purchase and know they will still be useful if I don't like them as diapers. I was loving folding them and they do seem more trim, etc., and right now I imagine I will really like the flats. But I might feel different when I am super tired and don't want to fuss with folding them!
 

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I know what you mean, teamviddy. I loved playing with them, and they look super cute & like they'll fit well, etc. But when the chips are down, as they say... who knows. Might be one of those things you fold as you pull out of the dryer & then they're always ready in your favorite 1-2 folds. Or maybe they'll turn into doublers or burp cloths. Or even dish rags or face towels. I actually use the flats I got from Babies R Us for DS2 as my face towels. They were never even used as diapers- they aren't really the right size. But they're really nice face towels.

My favorite folds I've found so far are the Mini Kite, the Happy Anteater, and the mini Neat Fold. I think I found all of them through Pinterest. Some had videos & some pictures. I can't wait to see how they really work! ;)
 
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