Unpopular opinion: disposable diapers are not easier than cloth diapers.
When I was pregnant, I had breakfast with a friend who had a baby and was currently cloth diapering. She talked about it so casually, and really encouraged me to try it if just for a little while. The internet had SO much information that it had been overwhelming–Kayla’s living example that it was all possible was all I needed.
I started for a lot of reasons, some more rational than others. I like saving money, I like saving the planet. I think disposable baby wipes smell really gross and hate touching them. I was anxious about our trash situation in Japan–they enforce mandatory recycling and if you have non-burnable items in with burnable they will just leave your trash on your driveway. We’d had a few bags of cat litter getting smellier in the hot Okinawa sun, and I was worried about living in a house surrounded by diaper trash. Japan also famously has few trash cans in public, and I figured that if I was gonna be carrying around a used diaper anyway, I might as well have a system in place.
There were a few tips I’ve found that have made cloth diapering easier for me and have made it sustainable in the long run–we’re currently at 19 months of all cloth!
- Buy enough diapers. Popular internet wisdom states that 25 diapers is enough to get by, and if you’re doing “all-in-two” diapers, you really only need 2-4 shells with the rest just liners. This was not a situation that worked for us. We have at least 60 “all-in-ones” which are just one piece like a disposable. This is the most expensive route of cloth diapering, and usually considered the most convenient.
- Use cloth wipes, too. Because we have cloth wipes, I don’t have to separate disposable wipes out of a used diaper to throw away. They sell cloth wipe solutions online, but we tend to use a mixture of coconut oil, baby soap, and water. This mix has kept T’s booty rash-free! When it’s time to do laundry, the pail liner+diapers+wipers all get dumped in the wash.
- Diaper pods are cool and worth it. I really didn’t get the hype–it’s just a little bag made of PUL fabric which makes it waterproof. I thought that a grocery bag could do the same thing. I ended up getting three during a labor day sale and LOVED them. I tend to pre-pack three diapers, wipers, and a wet bag into each. When it’s time to go somewhere for the day, I’m all ready to go.
- The sprayer is also way worth it. We went without a sprayer for six months and I didn’t know what I was missing. We’d been using a detachable shower head to spray into a diaper pail, but it never really got everything off and we still had to dump the water into the toilet. The sprayer improves your quality of life by 1000x.
We didn’t get into special folds or stripping or lanolizing. There are a million experts on a hundred million diapering topics. This is what worked for us–if I can be someone’s Kayla that would make my day. It IS totally doable and in my opinion, easy! Well as easy as diapering can be, I guess.