This is the third part is series I'm doing on cloth diapering. After a few emails and lots of questions about our experience with cloth diapering Henry, I'm trying to cover everything. So far I've talked about our reasons for cloth diapering and all the diapers in our stash. Today I'm going to talk about some other supplies we use in cloth diapering that make things easier. Some of them are must-haves, and some of them are just nice-to-haves. I had originally planned for this to be part of yesterday's post, but it was so long I decided to break them up a little.
Ok, here goes!
Obviously if you're going to cloth diaper, you need diapers, but you'll also need a few other things too. The most important being somewhere to put the dirties. There are mainly two options for where to keep dirty diapers pails or wet bags, and from what I've seen online the cloth diapering community is split about 50/50 on this topic.
We use the pail method with reusable liners.
I did lots of cloth diaper research before Henry was born on the merits of wet bags vs pails and decided a pail would work better for us for a few reasons. First of all when you have a dirty diaper all you do is drop it in the can instead of having to zip and unzip a bag. This just seemed easier and quicker to me, especially when you're trying to wrangle a wiggly baby. Secondly, I read a lot of places that using a pail actually helps cut down on the odor of dirty diapers because it allows air to circulate a little better. It kind of seems a little backwards, but I really think it's true. Because our diapers aren't completely closed off it's not like a smack in the face with dirty diaper stench every time we unzip a wet bag. Even though I swear to you used cloth diapers do not smell anywhere near as bad as disposables!
Once we decided to go with a pail, it was time to pick one! We picked up this kitchen trash can with a swing top lid from Target. It makes it super easy to just drop in the dirty diapers hands free, and allows a little bit of air to circulate. Although, I will say Henry has lately decided it's fun to swing the top:
but he's not touching the dirty diapers, and I clean the lid regularly, so it's really not a big deal to me.
We have two Planet Wise pail liners so that one can always be in the pail while the other is in the wash or line drying. The one shown above is the blue giraffe print and we also have a gray one. I honestly don't see the point of getting a printed pail liner now that we have one. I originally ordered a second gray one, but they were out so I subbed a blue giraffe print because it sounded cute.
The print is cute, but it's all on the inside of the can, so you can't even see it! The few giraffes that you can see are actually the underside of the liner. Oh well.. ;)
We've been very impressed with the PlanetWise products, in addition to the pail liners we also have a few wet bags, and we've never had any odor leaks out of any of them. Great products that are all made in the USA!
PlanetWise Wet Bag Diagram
People seem to be curious about how we handle diaper changes on the go. I know there are lots of people who only cloth diaper while they're at home, but use disposable diapers while they're out running errands. While that works really well for some families, I actually think it's easier to just use cloth all the time. We tried the switching to disposables for errands for a few weeks, and I just thought it ended up being more hassle than it was worth. Keeping up with one diapering system instead of two took less brain power, especially in the early sleep deprived newborn days.
Medium, Small, & Large PlanetWise Wet Bags
When we leave the house I just make sure we have a spare cloth diaper and a little wet bag in the diaper bag. We have a medium size Planet Wise wet bag and a small size Planet Wise wet bag so that we can always have one available if the other one is in the wash. The medium one was the first that I bought because I read lots of reviews online that said the small was just too small. For us the medium was too big! I think it would be great if you were planning on being gone all day and had to do lots of diaper changes, or if you had multiple children in cloth diapers at once. We're hardly ever gone with Henry for longer than one diaper change, and he's our only child, so a couple months ago I ordered a small wet bag and it works great for us! It holds one used diaper generously, and I'm pretty sure I could get two in there if necessary!
And finally, we also have one BIG Planet Wise hanging wet/dry bag. We bought this when we were traveling every other weekend last summer when we were getting ready to move. This puppy will hold 3 days worth of dirty diapers! It's awesome! You can use these at home instead of a pail, but we pretty much just use it when we go out of town.
A diaper sprayer is one of those things that you could technically live without, but we consider it a must-have. There's no "dunk and swish" going on in this house! The diaper sprayer is just what it looks like, an over sized kitchen sprayer that is run through the plumbing on the back of the toilet. It is pretty powerful! We use it to spray off every "dirty" diaper so they don't get stained. Because of this guy, our diapers still look nice and clean after 10 months of use! I've actually never seen diaper sprayers on sale anywhere, but we bought ours using a 20% off coupon at Buy Buy Baby.
Cloth Diaper Safe Diaper Rash Cream
Diaper rash happens to everyone at some point. Cloth diapers can be a little finicky when it comes to diaper rash creams and ointments. Some of the most popular diaper rash ointments, (A+D!), are big NOs for cloth diapers! The original A+D can RUIN cloth diapers! This list from Pin Stripes and Polka Dots is the best resource for figuring out if a diaper rash cream is safe for use with cloth diapers. I have looked at it so many times!
Instead of using a traditional diaper rash cream, we use cocounut oil.
I cannot express to you how great it works on diaper rash! It washes out of our cloth diapers great, so we don't have to worry about liners.
If you really want to use a diaper rash cream that is not cloth diaper safe, or you would rather pick up "solid waste" and dump into the toilet without having to spray out a diaper, flushable liners might be for you. We have a roll of the Bummis Bio-Soft Flushable Liners. It basically looks like a roll of toilet paper that you just lay down a sheet on the diaper before you put it on the baby and it acts as a barrier between baby and the diaper, for whatever reason you made need it. I originally bought these thinking we would use them a lot more than we do.
You can also buy non-disposable liners, but I won't go into all of that because we don't have first-hand experience with it. I will say that my Mom and Nana talk about how they used to cut up old, worn out t-shirts that were headed for the trash anyway and use them as liners.
Talking about liners, inserts, and doublers is where a lot of people get totally lost, I think. It took me a while to get the difference. While a liner is a thin piece of cloth or flushable "paper" that goes between baby tush and the diaper, an insert goes inside a pocket diaper, and is made to be the only absorbent part of a diaper. They're usually made of a material that quickly absorbs liquids. The most common material is microfiber, but there are bamboo, cotton, and hemp inserts available also. Most pocket diapers come with two inserts that you can use either by themselves or together for increased absorbency.
Doublers can look like inserts, but they're not made to be the primary absorbent part of a diaper, like an insert is. Doublers are often thicker and are made to be used at times when you need more absorbency, like at night. Is this making any sense at all???
At night time we use a BumGenius One-Size insert with a BabyKicks Hemparoo Joey-Bunz Premium insert. We've tried several combos for overnight and this one seems to work the best for us, for now. Henry's a pretty heavy wetter, but it's worked great for the last 3 months. Overnight solutions are always a tricky thing to figure out, and it's the reason some cloth diapering families use disposables at night. It takes a little trial and error, but we're perfectly content with our overnight solution and have never had any leaks. I was a little scared of using cloth overnight for a while because I'd heard so many stories about how hard it can be to figure out something that works, but my thought on it is that you're never going to figure it out if you don't try! Plus, I already had a pretty sizable stash of diapers, I figured spending $10-20 on some new inserts for overnight beat the heck out of buying disposables just for overnight.
So there you go, a pretty random list of other non-diaper essentials for cloth diapering. I really hope I haven't bored you all to tears with all of it. I know it's kind of a lot to take in all at once.
The next post in this series will be on our washing routine.
P. S. Keep the questions coming! I've been trying to answer them below the comments y'all are leaving, but I'm also going to do a recap Q&A post at the end of all of this! :)