Two kids in cloth diapers can be all-encompassing. That said, it is manageable if you stay on top of it. For those parents-to-be out there who may be weighing the merits of cloth verses disposable diapers I strongly encourage you to go with the cloth and yet… there are some things you should know.
1. You’ll need to choose the diapers. This is harder than it seems. Many parents opt for trying several different styles of diapers first (you can buy a sampler pack) to see which kind fits the baby the best. If you are registering for the diapers in advance this is impossible so it’s a bit of a gamble to just choose one. We have had great success with Flipz diapers. You can see a good review of them. They come in two pieces- the waterproof covers and the cloth inserts which you can buy in packs of three. They are one size fits all and are adjustable using a variety of snaps and/or velcro if you choose. We have found that the ones without velcro have longer lifespans. Our set of about 15 covers and 25 inserts lasted a year and a half with our daughter until she began to hold her pee for hours and hours. Then when she finally did go she overwhelmed the poor diapers and they had leakage problems. This probably could have been resolved by doubling up the inserts but around that time we received a set of BumGenius cloth diapers from someone whose daughter had just finished potty training. They are pocket diapers which means that someone needs to take the time to stuff the inserts in them. It is most useful if this step takes place right after laundering them. Otherwise they’re never ready when you want them. We now also have a 4 month old and he has been using the Flipz since he was 2 weeks old. They fit great and the inserts can be adjusted down for infant size. In all the use they’ve had only one diaper cover has lost a snap and it didn’t really cause any problems. In addition the Flipz fit our skinny daughter and our plump son equally well.
2. It is highly useful to invest in a diaper sprayer which attaches under the bathroom sink or behind the toilet. This makes it possible to pre-spray the solids off of the diapers before they go in the wash. Here is an example.
3. Figure out your collection method for the dirties. We discovered 10 gallon buckets with gasket lids which seal in all of the smell. The wet bags that can be hung on the back of the door are also good but when you go through as many cloth diapers as us you need something a bit more industrial. We do have a large wet bag that we use on day trips to collect all the dirties in. The gasket lids can be purchased at hardware stores and online from Amazon. It is very easy to clean out the buckets in the tub on laundry day but if this grosses you out then choose a wet bag which can be washed with the diapers.
4. There is a miracle spray called Bac-Out by a company called Biokleen which we squirt on the diapers before tossing them in the dirty bucket. It has live enzymes which help eat the bacteria and it keeps down the smell at the same time. It may help prevent staining as well but if you plan to line dry the inserts the sun will take care of the stains for you. We used to purchase this at our grocery store but after moving to the country we now order it from Amazon in one gallon containers.
5. Talk to your parent friends about their diapering systems. There are lots of ways to go about it and the most important thing is to find one that you’ll be able to keep up with. Cloth diapers are a big investment and if you’re not sure you’ll be able to follow through with it then that money might be better spent elsewhere.
A. Occasionally your child might go through a phase where they just don’t seem to fit in their diapers very well. The leg holes seem to big or too small. For these periods of time disposables can be very useful.
B. If your child likes to sleep on their side the cloth diapers can leak right out of the leg holes, particularly if your kid has skinny legs (ours did).
C. The parents we know seemed to find that their children tended to sleep longer in disposables. If your child struggles to sleep through the night the last thing you want is for them to wake up because they feel wet. We put our kids in disposables at night and sometimes for naps.
7. Most children’s clothing is not made with cloth diapers in mind. They are much bulkier than disposables and they add quite a bit to the waistline. This means that your kid will probably need to wear a size bigger if they’re in cloth.