Carmen has been in cloth diapers for about three months now. That's not long enough to make me an expert, although I wouldn't claim to be one anyway. Dude, it's scary to make the decision to cloth diaper. There's this entire community with abbreviations and nicknames for materials and excrement and detergents and it's so unbelievably overwhelming that I almost decided not to do it. I spent about four consecutive hours one evening when Carmen was still in the NICU on a cloth diaper troubleshooting forum reading about all of the things that could go wrong and all of the solutions that I didn't come close to understanding now matter how many times I reread them. That was it, I decided, I'm not smart enough or savvy enough to cloth diaper. Sure, I had friends who cloth diapered and assured me that diapers are literal crap holders and it wasn't exactly rocket science but, I don't know, I'm not good trying new things.
It was the thought that Carmen is 99.9% going to be our last baby that made me take the plunge. In my heart, I wanted to try. It was important to me and this would be my last chance. Plus, like I tell my kids, it's not failing if you at least try.
Can I just say that even though it hasn't been that long at all, I'm really happy we made the decision to cloth diaper?
I thought I would share some of my pointers for anyone else who is standing at the cloth diapering shore with me, toes in the water and nervously watching the experienced diaper-ers frolic in the deep ocean. (It seemed like a happier analogy than one involving urine and fecal matter, okay?)
GIMMIE THE CUTE PANTS.
I'm a little bit (okay, a lot bit) particular about the clothes my kids wear. Ethan has been wearing Joyaltee harems for well over two years now and I couldn't wait for them to become a staple in Carmen's wardrobe, too. What I didn't realize was what a lifesaver they'd be to cute up Carmen's cloth diaper friendly wardrobe! Joyaltee harem shorts and pants are hand sewn from upcycled thrift store tees by super mama Alix Joyal, who is the coolest. These shorts and pants are not just comfy for playtime (and yoga, as Ethan always insists I need to point out) but they're adorable and the drop crotch is perfect for that cloth diaper tucchus. Yes, sometimes you do need to size up with a onesie and, yes, sometimes you'll want to cover your kiddo up in more than just a t-shirt. That's where these come in. Joyaltee harems are the most fun, comfortable and totally cool shorts and pants ever and that's why they're a cloth diapering must!
CHARCOAL BAMBOO OR BUST
I actually got to give my charcoal bamboo inserts a test drive before Carmen was big enough to start her cloth diapers. Ethan still night wets and, frustrated and out of other ideas, one night I tossed one into his training underwear before bed. They did their job with big kid pee and kept him dry, comfortable and (most importantly) confident until morning so I myself was feeling pretty confident they'd do their magic with Carmen, too. They didn't disappoint. We have a few microfiber inserts that were gifted to us or came with some of our diapers, but we use charcoal bamboo exclusively. I'm glad I took this recommendation from a friend because it took a lot of the guess work out of cloth diapering. (We use Happy Endings Eco Diapers inserts with all of our diapers.)
TRY ALL THE DIAPERS
Before we took the plunge to start hoarding cloth diapers, my husband and I thought we should just pick a kind and go with it. I thankfully decided to listen to a friend who suggested we buy a few different types and see which works best for us, our schedule and, of course, Carmen. It was a good pro-tip to listen to. A few months in and our favorites are universally Happy Endings Eco Diapers. My husband loves the AIOs, and I love the AI2s. I also really like our Alva Baby pocket diapers, which are inexpensive and great for bulking up a diaper stash.
LAUNDRY ISN'T HARD
Really, it's not. Even for someone like me who is almost always completely behind on my laundry. (You can't sit on my couch. At all. That's just where the laundry pile lives.) We have enough diapers to wash every other evening. Usually I toss in my diapers before dinner and by the time the kids are in bed, they're in the dryer and ready to be prepped. Sometimes I do this while sitting in front of crappy TV reruns -- but you'd be surprised how much fun kids seem to think diaper laundry is. Ethan is always so excited to help with the diapers.
We store our diapers in a regular ol' Rubbermaid trash bin with a diaper pail liner in the laundry room. I spray them with Bac Out before tossing them in to the bin (and all poopy diapers get sprayed into the toilet with the diaper sprayer). Usually I pop my diapers into the dryer but every now and then, I like to sun them in the backyard on a clothing rack before the HOA fines me. It's like a challenge. #suburbanmomlife, or something.
We wash our diapers with original Tide powder and have never had any issues with stains or stink. Granted, we've got a long time left in our cloth diapers (a long, long, LONG time if Carmen takes as long to warm up to the idea of a potty as her big brother) and still really have no idea what we're doing.
But I'm really glad we decided to try.