Cloth Diapering {The Set Up}

Cloth diapering can seem daunting to newbie mamas {it was to me!} but I have found that with right set up, it can be just as second nature as using disposables. The products I decided on and bought evolved over most of my pregnancy and the first three months of Ethan's life. I think it will always be a work-in-progress! These products work for us, in our home, on our time, this is by no means a "how-to." I want this to be a jumping off point that helps new mamas develope their own set up.

There are quite a few cloth diaper brands on the market to support the growing interest in cloth. It is nice that if one brand doesn't work, there are still options. After a few weeks of research, we settled on BumGenius. My cousin had used these with her babies and always had great reviews. I even had a chance to use her set while babysitting her son. I am addicted to customer reviews! I poured over any reviews I could find, whether on the manufacturer's website or in the blogsphere, all of which helped me make my decision. Because not only do you have to choose the brand, you also have to pick a style. Exhausting! I have 22 bumGenius 4.0 diapers and 1 Elemental. You can check out a good explanation of the different cloth diaper types here. I received the elemental as a shower gift and bought the 4.0s for my stash. At first I thought I wanted to buythe diapers that allowed the "least amount of work possible," which would have been the all-in-ones, but I read many testimonials that the all-in-ones take so much longer to dry. Up to two days! I don't have that kind of time. I am very happy with my decision. I don't mind stuffing the diapers at all. It is something I can do while watching TV with Dan. Having both diaper styles I have found that the all-in-on takes forever to dry and because the insert is semi-attached, and it gets all bunched up and creates a hard ridge across Ethan's lower back. Not ideal. Also, I should mention that I chose to get the snaps, not the hook/loop {Velcro}. This was a decision that was affected by customer reviews. Many said they loved the hook/loop as it is super easy and imitates disposables, but the Velcro wore out much quicker and they had to replace the Velcro tabs. That was something I didn't want to fuss with. The snaps have been a learning curve for my husband, but he is getting the hang of it. Although BumGenius has been a good fit for our family so far, they are expensive. There are cheaper options on the market that don't mean sacrificing quality. If I need to add more diapers to my stash, I will try Alva Baby next. They are a "China cheapy" brand whose diapers are priced around $7 for an all in one, but I have heard great reviews. Just do the research to pick the right diaper for your budget and routine.

I have heard/read that this is thought to be superfluous. IT IS NOT! I love my sprayer! I probably wouldn't be as gung-ho about cloth diapering if I hadn't made this purchase, especially in the earlier weeks! Honestly, I don't think it is a huge investment at 60 bucks, especially when it makes life so much easier! I got the bumGenius sprayer at buybuyBaby.

I think the wipes are my absolute favorite part of cloth diapering. I love knowing that Ethan is getting a toasty  wipe on his bum and that he is getting clean {it's basically a washcloth}. It's just a bonus that we only need to use one wipe per change, even if E has a big job. There are also so many fun colors and designs to spice up the changing table! I use water and Dr. Bronner's castile soap to wet and cleanse. As for where get the wipes, I received one package for a shower gift, I bought one package of bumGenius wipes from buybuyBaby, and bought another package on Etsy. In total, I have about 52 wipes. I bought the third package when Ethan had an issue with diaper rash and I was needing to put a barrier between his buttpaste bum and the cloth diaper. If you are into DIY, there are many tutorials that walk you through making your own. Here are my thoughts on buying versus DIY.

I received my wipe warmer as a gift after Ethan was born and honestly I thought it was completely unnecessary. I still think it is unnecessary if I were still using disposable wipes. The disposable wipes don't hold the heat well and by the time the wipe is out of the warmer and on E's bum, it is already cold. However, using it in conjunction with cloth wipes, I have come to view it as indispensable! The cloth holds the heat so well, I think I am spoiling Ethan! It has been so good through this crazy Minnesota winter, I couldn't imagine having a tupperware full of wet wipes. They would be freezing! Check out how I use my wipe warmer with my cloth wipes here.

I was first considering the bumGenius white diaper pail liner until I found PlanetWise. They have such fun patterns for all cloth diapering wet bag needs! I was able to get all my wet bags and diaper pail liners in one place. Man, do they work! The diaper liners really don't let any "wetness" seep where it is not supposed to. I have to dump water out of the wet bag when it comes out of the washing machine! The care of the bags is so easy too! I have two diaper pail liners, three medium wet bags, and two small. I had initially bought the small wet bags for the diaper bag but after a few weeks of use, I realized that they were to small to function for an outing. The pail liners and wet bags are easy to care for as they can go in the wash right along with the diapers. Just dump the bag out in the washer and throw it in!

The diaper pail was an on-the-whim purchase and boy did it pay off! By the time I was looking at purchasing a diaper pail, I was sick of researching products that seemed to not vary between brands. I chose our pail purely on looks. It was the only pail that I liked aesthetically and I still wasn't sure if I wanted to keep it. In hindsight, if I actually took the time to research the available diaper pails, I would still choose a Dekor. By chance it happened to be the best choice with a cloth diapering system. The wide mouth on top makes it so I can put my own wet bag in the can and a front panel opens up that is large enough for me to pull a full liner out easily. As for the smell, the pail does wonders as an odor barrier. I have never had an issue, but I am washing the diapers every other day so dirty diapers are not sitting in the pail as long as disposables would. The Dekor Plus is a bit more expensive than your typical DiaperGenie, but totally worth it!

Finding the right detergent was a tougher nut to crack. I wanted a detergent that was safe for baby and safe for the diapers but didn't break the bank. I couldn't bring myself to buy the cloth diaper detergents that are on the market. They seemed so expensive! And any "baby" detergent at a typical Target was still brimming with scents and other additives that could make the diapers repel. When I finally settled on Country Save I was faced with the challenge of tracking down where to purchase it. I called every co-op in the Twin Cities and finally found it at the co-op a mile from my parents house. Score! I bought the 10 lb box {160 loads} and after 4 months I am not even halfway through the box. Unfortunately, it is much more expensive online. I only paid $23 for the box in-store, so check your local co-ops first! An interesting fact, Country Save partnered with bumGenius to create their diaper detergent. Might as well buy from the source if you can handle using the standard scoop.

If cloth diapering isn't daunting enough at first, taking it on the road seems impossible! I hope throughout this post, it is clear that cloth diapering doesn't feel much different than disposable diapering and outings away from the home are no different! With the right items in your diaper bag it can be a breeze. On a standard day out, I pack one or two medium wet bags, about five wipes, a spray bottle filled with water and Dr. Bronner's soap, and a few clean diapers. I have either used the dry wipes and the spray bottle for short trips or I have put wet and folded wipes into an old Huggies package {has an opening on the top that works with the pop-up fold} for longer days away from home. For extended trips, I will use disposables so I don't have to lug a bunch of diapers in a suitcase.

Whew! That was long winded! But there it is folks! Hope it helps you, even just bit, on your cloth diapering journey!

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