Notes on cloth diapering so far

Now that A-‘s umbilical cord stump has fallen off and things have settled down a little, it’s time to figure out the next step in my curriculum for surviving life with a newborn: cloth diapering. We’ve been thinking of going with cloth diapering as a way to reduce waste, save money, and have more flexibility, with disposable diapers for overnights or trips out.

2016-03-03b Notes on cloth diapers so far -- index card #parenting #diapers

2016-03-03b Notes on cloth diapers so far — index card #parenting #diapers

Over the course of several months, I had raided thrift stores for flannel sheets (two queen sheets at $6.99 each, one twin sheet at $5.99) to cut up into roughly 30″x30″ squares. I converted the remnants of the sheets into stacks of reusable wipes. I also picked up a number of flour sack towels. For comparison, I ordered some diaper flannel from the Internet. It’s a little denser and less nubby than the flannel sheets I picked up from thrift stores. Looks like the thrift store flannels are doing fine, though. I washed everything on hot to sanitize and shrink them before cutting the diapers, so the flats are actually mostly square. I sewed some one-size covers from the 1mil 72″ white PUL I ordered from Wazoodle, following the Little Green Bear tuckable diaper cover pattern.

The midwives also passed along some cloth diapering supplies donated by other families: small gPants and inserts, a couple of covers, and a stack of cotton prefolds. A- seems to be too big for the gPants. (Already?! She’s less than two weeks old! Maybe I’m not putting them on correctly… I’ll give them a try again before we wash and return them to the midwives.) As it turns out, I was putting the gPants on backwards. They fit, yay! We haven’t tried the prefolds yet.

We were a little worried about potentially poking her or us with safety pins, but it’s actually pretty manageable. I sharpened the pins on a whetstone, and we use a little coconut oil to lubricate it as well. Some of the flat diapers are more tightly-woven than others and require a bit more pressure, but keeping a hand between the diaper and her skin helps me feel more confident about pinning. The kite fold we started out with was a bit bulky in terms of both pinning and lying down. The happy anteater fold that W- found seems to be working wonderfully. There’s less fabric in the back, and it’s easy to pin in front – we’ve been getting by with one pin! I might still order those fancy diaper pins with locking heads when she’s more mobile and more curious, but in the meantime, things are working fine.

Laundry-wise, we’ve been doing a small load daily. It was a little ridiculous when it was just wipes, pads, baby clothes, but now that the diapers are in the rotation, it feels like less of a waste. Clothespins are great for increasing our effective line-drying density, especially for the small wipes.

It’s a good thing friends handed down larger baby clothes. In cloth diapers, A-‘s definitely out of newborn sizes! =) She can still fit into them if she’s wearing disposables or if we don’t snap the bottoms closed. She’s gaining weight nicely, though, so that won’t be true for long. I’ve ordered a few white bodysuits in a larger size, which should tide us over until we’re settled enough to check out thrift stores or fabric shops. =)

On a related note, it looks like knits are definitely the way to go for baby clothes, I think. She didn’t fit at all into the newborn kimono top I made (sleeves too small!), although some of the larger ones might still be okay. Now that she’s here, I can make things based on her proportions. (Well, eventually, when she’s less of a barnacle. =) ) Good thing I mostly focused on size-independent accessories such as wet bags and wipes!

  • Interesting choice, but I think I prefer Huggies myself. The worst thing to deal with is a large mess while another mess is being created.

  • Jay Dresser

    When I had my first child my mother made some diapers with cloth from the fabric store. It wasn’t flannel (which seems like a logical choice since it’s so soft) but fabric that was meant to be for diapers – cotton but more durable, since it needs to be laudered so much. She took several layers of it and sewed it together.