my cloth diapering tips and tricks

Monday, January 13, 2014

I'll be the first to admit that I used to think cloth diapering was too much work. Now, I'm a total convert and what's worse… I'm a proselytiser as well. Cloth diapering is just not. That. Hard. It quickly becomes part of your everyday rhythm and it makes an enormous difference to your child's environmental footprint (it takes approximately 500 years for one disposable diaper to biodegrade in a landfill). I really believe that even using cloth diapers part time, as we do, is better than nothing.

We've been cloth diapering on and off since Clementine was a few weeks old. We started with a nappy service, then went travelling and used only disposables. When we came back, we borrowed a stack of different brands to try, and now, finally, I'm happy to say we have a system.

After trying the 3 different styles that Bumgenius makes, I decided that my favourite was their one size pocket diaper, the 4.0. I bought 15 of them - half with snaps, half with velcro. I do wish we had a few more, and I'll probably buy another 3 or 4 sometime soon. They're so simple to use, the colours are great and there really is nothing cuter than a cloth diapered bum.

Here are a few tips and tricks I've learned so far. This is by no means an exhaustive how-to post; if that's what you're after I would recommend this one, this one and this video.
  • Liners are your best friend. If you have a baby who poos as often as ours does, these will make your life so much easier. They catch the mess, and you simply pick it up and flush it down the toilet. 
  • Snaps vs velcro. You'll hear a lot about snaps versus velcro, and because they each have their advantages, I bought half and half. I have to say though, that for now, I prefer the velcro. Clementine is tough to change because she hates holding still, so I just find it easier and faster with velcro. I also find the velcro makes for a more secure fit with Clementine's skinny legs.
  • Wash every other day. This will keep the smell at bay, and ensure you don't run out of diapers!
  • Separate the dirty insert from the diaper before placing in your bucket. This means that when you're doing laundry you won't have to go through the dirty diapers one by one taking the inserts out (if you're using a pocket diaper, that is). After they've been stewing for a day or two, you do not want to do this. Trust me. 
  • Line dry. We live in an apartment without a balcony, but I always line dry our diapers. I hang them on a drying rack in our living room, and they dry in 5 or 6 hours.
  • Size properly. The reason I wanted to give up on cloth diapers initially, was that every time I used a cloth diaper on Clementine, it would leak and I'd have to change her whole outfit. I know now that this was because I wasn't fitting them to her properly. 
  • Go up a size in clothing. Cloth diapers are much bulkier than disposables, and you'll probably find that you need to go up a size to accommodate them.
  • Don't be afraid to leave the house. So many mums I know won't leave the house with their baby in cloth, and while I don't either if I know I'll be gone for more than 8 hours or overnight, I find it pretty simple for any kind of regular outing. I have an awesome wet bag that Kate gave me, and if I need to change Clementine I put the dirty diaper in the wet bag and that's that. 
If you have any other questions feel free to ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer you...


  1. I'm bookmarking this for when it's my turn with a little one (which I hope isn't too far down the line). Thanks for sharing, Gaby!

  2. I read, and re-read this, and have opened all the links in separate tabs. I'm 17 weeks pregnant with our first baby and we'd like to use cloth, so just beginning our journey. Thank you!

  3. I love cloth too. I've only ever used a disposables when we've travelled overseas. I've heard lots of good things about bumgenius. I'm a big fan of prefolds for when they're little combined with a wool soaker and a mix of baby beehinds fitted nappies and grovia hybrids. Both awesome brands too :) I agree, once you get into a routine, it's not that hard. And sometimes it can actually slow me down...which is a good way to be with little people. x Nicole

  4. oh, and cheeky wipes are great too. disposable baby wipes are so expensive! x nicole

  5. Yay for cloth diapers! I'm gearing up to cloth diaper number two and getting pretty excited about it. I totally agree with your recommendation of velcro vs. snaps. I'm also really reassured to hear that you manage to cloth diaper and line dry despite having no balcony. I'm in the same situation. I live in Asia where dryers are not really a thing. Our last apartment had a big balcony perfect for drying clothing, but this apt, nope! So glad to hear that it can be done without!

  6. Great info! I'm planning on cloth diapering. I've got 34 all up. One question I have; what do you soak the inserts/diapers with? Also, do you use normal washing detergent for them or something special?

    1. I don't soak them at all. I just put them in a nappy bucket until I wash them and then I wash them with eco detergent (but not especially made for diapers). I think people go a bit overboard with the whole washing thing and my advice is not to worry too much :)


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