This is a typical picture you might see attached to a diaper-selling posting. Nothing fancy, but it does the job!
There is a large market for used cloth diapers. If you’ve never thought about using used cloth diapers before, your initial reaction might be: eww. I mean, I wouldn’t buy used underwear. And diapers take a heck of a lot more punishment than underwear.
However, unlike most modern cotton underwear, cloth diapers can hold up to some hardcore cleaning. A couple of good washes and some bleach and cloth diapers are basically as good as new (assuming your washer or dryer doesn’t catch fire and char everything to a crisp in the process; unlikely, but always a vaguely potential possibility when working with electrical appliances). The advantages to buying and selling used cloth diapers are many: when you buy used, you save more money than you would buying new diapers, you will want to wash them but you don’t need to prep them six or seven times before using them, and you can try different diapers for cheaper than it would be to buy them all new. Once you’re finished cloth diapering, you can sell off your diapers to make back some of the money you spent buying them. Don’t think that just because your diapers might have holes or stretched out elastics that they’re unsellable—many thrifty people look for cheap, worn diapers that they can repair themselves, if they happen to be handy with a sewing machine! But where should you sell these cloth diapers once you’re done with them?
As you are currently reading this article on a website called Diaperswappers.com, you may have guessed that this website is one place to sell your diapers, and you’re right. Diaperswappers has several forums and subforums you can sell your diapers on. You can also use sites such as Craigslists or Facebook to sell diapers locally, if you’re not up for paying for shipping diapers across the country (or even internationally!).
It can feel like the absorbency of your cloth diapers decreases as your child grows from infant to toddler. That’s not really true. It’s just that the deluge of bodily fluids a toddler can unleash on a cloth diaper is so much more. Toddlers use more energy, water, and space and as a result your cloth diapers just don’t hold as well. This is particularly true during bedtime, but with a few tweaks to your nightly routine, doesn’t need to be a problem.
The Bedtime Changing
Cloth diapers should be changed right before everyone’s bedtimes. Once, right before your little one goes to bed and once before you go to bed. This is to limit the amount of saturation and uric acid your little one’s sensitive skin is exposed to. Multiple night changes also helps your little one stay comfortable and increases the chances for a better night sleep for all parties involved.
These are the softest, cutest Disana overalls ever (I mean, I’m sure the fact that my son is adorable helps). Like, I’d give up chocolate for a year to buy a million pairs of these in every color.
Wool is well-known as an (often pricey, but not always) alternative to standard PUL diaper covers that dominate today’s modern cloth diapering market. There’s plenty of resources about wool covers out there. One funny thing is that once you get addicted to wool covers, both long and short, you might start wondering what other wool is out there. Some people make ridiculously awesome wool pants or wool skirts that work great as diaper covers, but also as a cute piece of fashion in and of themselves. If you start thinking you might want some more wool in your child’s wardrobe, the good news is that there’s plenty out there to choose from! Read on to learn more.
We just addressed “prepping” diapers. But what about being a “prepper?”
I promise you I am not one of those crazy people that is building an underground bunker in her back yard. Still, I admit to being a preparedness junkie. I like to know that if we ever get snowed in, or if the power goes out for a while, we have what we need to still live comfortably. Cloth diapers and breastfeeding fit right into my prepping plans.
For one thing, if we are home bound for a while there is a good chance that the garbage pick up trucks may not be running during that time. One thing that you don’t want building up in your home are stinky diapers. In a home where disposable diapers are being used that’s just what could happen. Using cloth diapers aren’t just about being eco friendly, in an emergency situation they can be a sanitary problem. As long as you have an electricity free washer and soap, they can be soaked, washed, and reused. There won’t be old soiled diapers laying about the place you are living.
A long time ago people used pins and flat diapers to diaper their babies. One of the biggest concerns with diapers then was accidentally poking the baby with the pins used to keep the diaper in place. Nowadays, with larger, safer pins and other alternative diaper closures, jabbing baby with a sharp object is far less of a diapering concern. Instead, one of the biggest worries I see parents ask is, “I took off the cloth diaper and there are red marks on my baby’s skin! What gives?”
There are many, many reasons for red marks caused by cloth diapers, and most of them are harmless. If you’re using fabric that can bunch up, like flats or prefolds, and the red marks are on the part of the body where your baby has just been sleeping on, there is little cause for concern. You know how sometimes you wake up and you smile lovingly at your partner, pleased at the luxury of waking up together, and he or she looks back at you and bursts out laughing because you have sheet marks all over your face, and then the loving moment is totally gone? Sometimes red marks from diapers are just something like sheet marks, where the fabric folds press against baby’s soft skin while he or she sleeps. They will fade shortly.
Elastic comes in multiple shapes and sizes on modern cloth diapers. It’s pretty good at the whole poop-containing thing.
Diaper sprayers initially seem like one of those cloth diapering accessories that one absolutely NEEDS. For the uninitiated, a diaper sprayer is a hose that attaches to the water line on your toilet. At the end of the hose is a nozzle that’s basically a mini garden hose, so you can hold those dirty diapers over the toilet and spray them off before tossing them in the diaper bag. Genius, right?
This lovely image of a Bumkins diaper sprayer from bumkins.com is not the diaper sprayer I bought. I regret this fact immensely, as you will see as you read on.
For the first few months I cloth diapered my daughter, there was no need for a diaper sprayer. Newborn poop doesn’t really need to be sprayed off, and I didn’t think I really needed to spend $45 on something that I might not use. However, once she started eating solid foods, and each diaper change brought forward new and horrifying substances, I began to rethink certain life choices. Before investing in a diaper sprayer, I decided to try disposable liners. They are thin little paper liners placed inside the diaper to catch solids. Then in theory, you just dump the liner into the toilet, flush it all away, and place your diaper in the laundry, smug at having cleaned out a poopy diaper while barely touching it at all.
However, theories basically exist to be disproven. While using a disposable liner was much easier than doing the dunk-and-swish method of rinsing out a diaper, I quickly found that they often bunched a bit in my now-mobile baby, and thus ended up not covering the entire diaper. I usually found myself dumping the liner in the toilet but having to rinse out the diaper anyway. It saved a little bit of work, but not much time, and I started to feel like maybe I was throwing money at something I *wanted* to work, but wasn’t *actually* working. Finally, I sighed and bought the cheapest diaper sprayer–to the tune of a whopping $9–that I could.
Diapering at the best of times is only an okay chore. The up side is tickles and giggles. There is a time, however, when there is no fun to be had while diapering. That time is when your little one has the runs.
It Can Hurt
Cloth on a rash, especially when it’s a texture like a towel, can be very uncomfortable. If you add this to a child that is mobile, even when they are sick you end up with chafing along with a higher chance of infection. It may be best to find or make inserts with a gentler texture. Also try to only use one insert and change your child more often. This will reduce the amount of area that the cloth will rub on, the amount of saturated body acids in contact with your child’s skin, and the length of time the body acids have contact with your little one’s skin.
Keep It Snug
Keep your cloth diaper snug. It’s wise to do this for one very good reason. You want to keep your and your child’s environment clean. A loose bowel movement can and will leak everywhere. It will get on your floor and carpet. It will ooze into your little one’s bed clothes and even get on beloved stuffed animals. While you don’t want your cloth diaper pinching or blocking off any part of your child’s body they may experience gas, you do want your cloth diaper snug enough to keep leakage minimal.
All-in-one diapers are very popular, for good reason. Every part of the diaper comes sewn together in one neat piece, rather than having multiple pieces, such as inserts or covers, that must be assembled to make a complete diaper. The convenience comes at a price—they are more expensive than other diaper types—but they are especially well-liked by daycares and other temporary caregivers that may only be familiar with disposables. However, because all-in-ones are all one piece, they require a little different care and look different than other diapers. To make things even more confusing, some diapers that are actually pockets, especially foreign-made ones on eBay, are often labeled as “all in one diapers” even though they are what we call “pocket diapers.” Let’s look at the parts of a true all-in-one diaper below.
One of the biggest concerns with cloth diapers is how good they are to travel with. With disposables, you have your diaper bag with diapers and wipes (and possibly additional things like trash bags and creams). After a change, you throw it all away whenever you find a trash can, which we’ve found is sometimes harder than others. At someone’s house, you may have to be creative since they don’t want stinky diapers in their trash can.
It’s not that much different with cloth, and I actually think it’s better. You still have your diaper bag with diapers and wipes. You will change the diaper, just like you would disposable, but instead of throwing it into your closest trash can (complicated or not), you pull out your travel wet bag and dump the diaper in that. It is water proof (same PUL material as some cloth diapers), locks in odors, and zips or ties shut. And they stay in there until you are ready to do a load of laundry.
I recently wrote an article here about my woes with my cloth diapers in a hard water location, namely the entire state of Utah. Since I had recently moved, I had not yet found the way to clean my cloth diapers and hoped that someone would be able to give me the answer since my research had not found anything that worked. After talking with my sister-in-law, who works at a cloth diaper store, and consulting with many other cloth diapering mothers, I have found what worked for us – Tide original powder and Calgon.
Calgon is a liquid water softener found in the laundry aisle in Walmart. I haven’t found it anywhere else besides online. Calgon contains the active ingredients zeolite and polycarboxylate, which interact with the hard water ions in water to prevent them from forming limescale or interfering with soap lathering. The bottle says that it can also be used as a laundry enhancer, making whites more white and all that jazz. I’m not as fussed about those benefits, but I thought it would be nice if it helped my laundry be better overall.
I started off with a strip where I did a cold rinse to remove all the icky stuff and then added one tablespoon of Blue Dawn Original dish soap and did a series of hot washes until all the bubbles were gone, which took all day. I used a capful of Calgon with every wash. When I was done with the strip, I did one more wash using the Tide Original powder, then threw them all in the dryer for a low heat spin. And VIOLA! It worked.