Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Traveling with Cloth: Questions To Consider

'Tis the season for holiday travels- from Thanksgiving to New Years, for many families like my own, this is the time for traveling! Traveling with kids in general can be a bit of a headache, but traveling with a cloth diapered baby? That presents it's own unique set of challenges!

Many find that using disposable during your travels is an ideal solution, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that. Still others prefer the use of cloth at all times if possible. Though traveling with cloth does require some forethought, it IS possible! I've done it many times myself! Today, I'm sharing some questions to consider when weighing the decision to cloth or not cloth during your holiday or year round travels!

How long is the trip? How often will I be able to change baby?

This is super important to consider. Will you be able to stop as needed to change baby or will there be periods during which this isn't possible? Generally speaking, cloth is going to need to be changed more often, so if there is a chance that won't be possible, disposables (at least during the travel itself) may be a better option for you.

How long will I be gone? How big is my stash? Will I have access to a washer?

Thankfully in all of my holiday travels, we stay with family and are able to wash as needed. We also have an unnecessarily large stash, so should I be unable to wash right away, we still have plenty. Some do find washing by hand to be an option when staying in hotels, etc, but this is something you'd have to decide if you are comfortable doing. Also, consider how much time you will have to wash. Even having access to a washer doesn't help much if you've got a million holiday festivities filling every minute. Again, if you have a large stash, this won't be much of a problem but if you have a smaller stash that requires more frequent washing make sure you will actually have the time!

How much room do I have?

I don't know about you, but when we travel for the holidays we are often pretty packed down with luggage and gifts- coming and going. Cloth diapers do tend to take up more room, so be mindful of this in your decision and your packing! (I personally find all in twos to be ideal for traveling because they do tend to take up less space! There are also disposable insert options that can be rather convenient as well!)

If after asking yourself these few questions, you've decided cloth is still the better option for you, these tips will make your travels even easier:

  • It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Want to try using cloth on the road, but concerned it might end badly? Use both! Go with disposables for the actual travel and have them on hand once you've arrived but use cloth once there!
  • Keep them easily accessible. When packing your vehicle for the road, make sure to leave your diapers where you can get to them easily when you stop!
  • Bring several wet bags. We tend to have a lot of visits to make when we're home for the holidays so multiple wet bags are a must. I have my large wet bags which stays where we are staying, and several small bags so that I can have empty/clean bags wherever else we go.
  • Don't be afraid to over pack. It's better to have too many diapers than not enough.
  • Always ASK about washers beforehand. Some people aren't comfortable with having diapers washed in their machines, unfortunately. So, even if you know that there IS a washer where you are going, make sure they are okay with you washing diapers. Know what type of washer they have as well, and pack your own detergent!

Do you travel with cloth? What other tips do you have?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cloth Diapering Stages: How Many Diapers You'll Need

When we make the decision to cloth diaper, one of the most important questions each of asks is simply, 'How many diapers do I need?'

If only the answer to this question were as simple to answer! The truth is the answer varies depending on a few factors- how often do you plan to wash? what type of diapers do you plan to use? how often does your little one go? will you be using cloth full time? All of these factors will weigh into the exact number that is right for you and your baby. But another important factor to consider is baby's age!

Today I'm sharing about how many diapers your little one may need for each stage of their diapering days!

24-32 Diapers

During the early stages, your little one will go through more diapers than any other stage! For my oldest, he pooped after each and every nursing- at LEAST once every two hours! That's 12-15 diapers a DAY. For a bare minimum washing every day, I would suggest going no less than 18- remember babies have a great tendency to go JUST after you change them, right? But let's be realistic... who has time for laundry daily with a brand new baby? Chances are, washing every other day is going to make more sense! So, 24-32 is a much safer idea!

18-30 Diapers

As your little one grows, MOST babies will start needing less frequent diaper changes, so you could get away with starting with fewer. Personally, I do tend to err on the side of caution and suggest more than necessary because babies are rather unpredictable! My daughter definitely slowed down on diapers past the newborn stage, while my son continued to need them more frequently, so it really does vary! If you're starting cloth diapering at this stage, consider how many disposable diapers your little one goes through a day and add a few to that to find the right number for you!

12-24 Diapers
Since my daughter was about 18 months to now (she's 2 years, 2 months), I have found we need increasingly less diapers day to day! Again, I still like keeping those numbers a little high for those unforeseen accidents or sicknesses that may pop up- its better to have more and not need them than to run out! Still at this stage, more than 24 diapers is usually not all that necessary!

Potty Training
6-12 Diapers

For the little one learning to use the potty, don't toss out those diapers just yet. Even if you switch to training pants during the day, you're probably going to want to have some diapers on hand for longer trips and bedtime! And one of the advantages of cloth is that they typically allow baby to feel more when they are wet, making them ideal for those early potty training days!

Again, these numbers are just a rough estimate to give you an idea (and many leaning towards the higher end)... you may find that you need more or you may find that you need less. It truly depends on your baby's habits, wash preference and more. Still, this guide can give you a great place to start!

How long have you been cloth diapering? What have you found to be the perfect number of cloth diapers for your little ones?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cloth Drying Alternatives for Cool Weather

No matter how simple or complicated our wash routines may be, there is one thing that most cloth diapering parents can agree on when it comes to laundry--- line drying is the best way to dry! For starters, it covers both primary reasons most of us choose to use uses less energy making it eco-friendly AND better on the budget. Beyond that, the sun is also a great natural stain remover and line drying is gentler which keeps our diapers in better shape longer. It seems like a no brainer, doesn't it?

But then comes the cool weather!

The good news is that there are many great solutions that allow us to hang dry inside, no matter the weather outside! Take a look:

  • Clothes Drying Rack. Perhaps the easiest, most classic solution at all. These can be found for anywhere from $10-$15+ and can come in handy for drying needs long beyond the cloth years. Place in front of fan or fireplace/heat for faster drying.
  • Ikea Octopus Hanger. A clothes drying rack might seem like the ideal for most, but if you're limited on space may not be the best solution. We personally use a wonderful hanging rack from Ikea that is perfect for diapers! It will hang anywhere, takes up little space and quite honestly, is absolutely adorable! We even take this along when we travel! Once the diapering days are over, this would still come in handy for hanging delicates...or for drying kids crafts!
  • Repurpose Pants Hangers. Do you know those store clothes hangers that pants come on? I have found that these work great to hand diapers to dry. Depending on your diapers (how thick they are and how long it takes to try), you can hang two together on each side! 
  • Use What You Have. Are drying racks and fancy hangers not in your budget? No need to worry, just toss them over your shower curtain need to buy anything additional, use what you already have. Other options could be hanging in your laundry room, curtain rod...whatever works. (I don't suggest this method when expecting company, but hey...what a conversation starter!)
  • When all else fails, use the dryer! Honestly, yes, hang drying may be better for your diapers, but drying in the machine isn't going to kill them. Use the lowest heat setting/most delicate cycle and they'll be just fine! (We actually always dry our inserts and just hang the covers. If you use pockets or all in twos this is a great time saving option as well!)

Do you continue to hang dry diapers in the colder months? What tricks have you found?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Repurposing Cloth after Potty Training

You've built up your cloth diaper stash through the years, put them to good use...and now your little one has potty trained! So, what do you do with your diapers NOW? Perhaps the most common answers are to either a) sell them or b) save them for future babies. But what if you're done having babies and don't want to/cannot sell (due to wear or personal preference)?

Cloth diapers are all about being green and preventing waste, so rather than throwing out your worn out cloth diapers, today I'm sharing some practical and fun ways that you can recycle your cloth diapers to give them an all new life- post potty training!

  • Keep Your Wet Bags. First and foremost, let's talk wet bags! The great thing about these is that they serve so many purposes well beyond cloth diapering days have passed. Take them to the beach for wet clothes! Going somewhere where the kids will get messy? Keep the mess contained! Even potty training can have its share of accidents so don't toss them out just yet!
  • Night Time Protection. Speaking of accidents, overnight accidents are not uncommon for young kids. If your child is prone to accidents overnight, you may consider keeping them in cloth-inserts and all. If it's just an occasional trickle, the waterproof diaper cover can provide a little extra protection!
  • Clean It Up. Microfiber inserts are most often used in cloth diapers because they are super absorbent... this doesn't just make them ideal for diapers, but for cleaning up too! Have a spill? Soak it up! Super crafty? Attach elastic and create reusable pads for your Swiffer-type mops!! Prefolds and flour sack towels make great cleaning rags! From home to cars to pets, old cloth diapers can keep your home sparkling clean!
  • Cloth Pads. Looking for reusable feminine hygiene options? You can reuse the materials in cloth diapers (PUL, etc) to make your own cloth feminine pads! 
  • Baby Doll Diapers. Perhaps our favorite way to reuse old diapers is to turn them into baby doll diapers!! This is especially great for newborn diapers, but can work with one size, depending in the doll as well. My daughter loves putting her pretty diapers on her baby dolls!
  • Get Crafty! Most of us cloth diapering mamas have a print or color we absolutely love, right? So again, reuse those materials to create fun works of art. Make a key chain, create a shadow box of baby memories, decoupage a Christmas ornament... the possibilities are as endless as your imagination!
Just because your cloth diapering days are ending or over, doesn't mean the fun has to end! What other ways can you reuse your cloth diapers?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Snaps VS. Velcro with Randi

If you've been shopping for diapers, you've probably already seen that many cloth diaper brands offer two closure options- snaps and velcro (also know as hook and loop or aplix). So, which is better? Which should you get? Like many things with cloth diapers, it all comes down to personal preference. Both closure types have their pros and cons, and ultimately it's all about what meets YOUR needs.

Let's take a look at some important factors to consider:

Ease of Use
When it comes to being easy, Velcro takes the cake. Snaps- though not necessarily difficult- certainly are the more time consuming option, and when you have a wiggly, on-the-go baby it can get a little complicated. For those new to cloth diapering, Velcro is an easier transition from disposables.


Velcro may be the easiest, but snaps tend to hold up the best. If you've ever owned anything with Velcro, you know that it tends to attract anything and everything. Personally, I have the WORST hair when it comes to staying on my head and am always finding my own hair getting tangled on it...yuck! In time and after many washes, I've also found it becomes less and less sticky...under a onesie, less than sticky Velcro doesn't seem to present much trouble, but if you're like me and like to leave diapers out for the world to see, you certainly want them to stay put on their own. Snaps, in my experience, last MUCH longer.

When it comes to adjusting the fit, snaps can sometimes be a little tricky. There is only so much room for adjustment, and if baby is between snaps...good luck! Velcro makes for a much more custom fit. This is especially great for small newborns.

Staying On

Every baby at one point or another reaches the streaker phase. You know, when they cannot help but to remove their diaper? Disposables or cloth, it doesn't matter! But for the cloth diapered baby, a diaper with snaps is much more difficult for baby to remove themselves...which means less surprise messes for mommy to clean up.


What does closure type have to do with laundry? That goes back to everything getting caught in Velcro... Every Velcro diaper I've ever seen DOES have a laundry tab, but this does add an extra step in your routine- making sure this is closed. I'll be honest, I usually forget and find my few Velcro diapers getting snagged on an insert. This can add some wear to your other diapers and inserts as well.

Resale Value
One of the great things about choosing cloth diapers is that when your baby is done with them, you can resell them and get some of your money back. Because snaps tend to stay looking and working better longer, you can generally sell them at a higher price than a Velcro diaper used the same amount of time.

So, what do I prefer?

While you will find a few Velcro in our stash, I most definitely prefer snaps. I personally think they look nicer, hold up better and I don't have to worry about making sure they don't snag anything in the wash. I do like having those few Velcro in our stash for those (rare) instances when someone other than myself is changing the diaper. They are more grandparent/babysitter/non-cloth diaperer friendly. They are also great for newborns to get that perfect fit (and because newborn diapers are worn for a shorter time frame than one size- you won't see the wear and tear so much!). To me, it is worth that little extra work for something that will last longer while looking better...and stay on!

If you want the ease of use and an easier transition from disposables, Velcro might be your preferred option. Or you can have a mix of both for all your cloth diapering needs. The possibilities are endless. As with all things cloth, it is always a good idea to try a variety to learn what works best for you and your baby!

Do you use snaps? Velcro? A combination? Why did you go that route? Any advice on closure types for the mommy out there just beginning to use cloth?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Are NEWBORN cloth diapers worth it?

This is a question I'm commonly asked. and one that to be entirely honest I'm still not 100% sure how to answer. Why the uncertainty? There's really not one correct answer- it all comes down to a baby to baby basis. Still, in an effort to provide the best advice, I've compiled a list of a few pros and cons of newborn cloth diapers:

The Pros:

  • Great Fit...From Day One! If you plan to cloth diaper from the very beginning, having newborn diapers are most likely to fit the smallest of babies. Many one size diapers have a minimum weight of 8-10 pounds and don't fit for the first few weeks, or even months in some cases. For babies that do fit one size right away, they still provide a trimmer fit.
  • Resale Value. If you choose to sell your diapers once baby outgrows them, they hold their resale value quite well as they are used for a much shorter time period and see less wear.
  • Cheaper than disposable. If your primary concern is saving money, newborn cloth can still be a cheaper option than disposable despite the need for essentially buying two different stashes. This is particularly true if you buy cheaper options (like prefolds and covers or buying used). Let's assume your little one is one of those that cannot fit one size diapers well until 6-8 weeks inexpensive, modest stash of newborn cloth can easily be cheaper than buying disposable until that point. Especially when you consider that you're able to resell when you're finished. (We personally got back more than half of what we paid for our newborn stash...which made our investment after the fact equal to about two boxes of newborn disposables. WELL worth it!)
  • Less Likely to Change Your Mind. Perhaps this is personal to me, but I've found if I put something off until later, I'm much more likely to get used to my current routine and not go back to that original plan. I can't say that this would have been the case should I have waited to use cloth, but I could certainly see it happening. Starting from the very beginning made it just another part of the routine, not something I had to transition into.
  • Try Before You Buy. Newborn cloth can also be a great introduction into using cloth diapers. You can try several varieties in newborn diapers- all in ones, pockets, covers- to get a feel for what works best for your baby BEFORE buying a full stash of one size diapers. (Of course, you may find what works for baby at one stage may change in the next, but it gives you a good starting ground at least!)
The Cons.

  • The Cost. Sure, it's still cheaper than disposable, but buying TWO cloth diaper stashes can still be quite a lot to fork out...especially when your reason for choosing cloth is for financial reasons.
  • OS Works...For Some. When I bought our newborn cloth stash, I fully expected that my daughter would be one of those babies that would take a bit to fit into one size. The reality was, she fit into SOME of her one size at just a few weeks old. Had we known that, we probably could have skipped the newborn diapers altogether.
  • Baby Outgrows Them Quickly. With my daughter, I found that while her newborn diapers still fit until about 6-7 weeks old, she started outgrowing the absorbency somewhere between 4-6 weeks.
  • Stuffing Stinks. Some (but not all) newborn pockets can be VERY hard to stuff with their small opening. So, if you're already not a fan of stuffing, newborn pockets are probably not going to be your best bet.
As you can see, there are certainly pros and cons to each side. So what do *I* recommend? Are they worth it? Would I purchase newborn cloth again?

Personally, I think so. Despite the fact that we probably COULD have skipped the newborn and put Finley straight into the one size, I was glad we went the route we did. Sure, she didn't NEED them, but had we not had them, perhaps we would have. I was able to resell after she was finished and we really weren't out very much at all! We'd have paid more for disposables. Unless you can know for certain just how big your little one is going to be, you're kind of taking the chance either way. Buy them and not need them? Or not buy them and need them? Personally, I'd prefer to have them and not need them than scramble to get them later- or throw money away with disposables.

Did you use newborn cloth? Do you recommend it? What tips would you share with new cloth diapering parents?

Contributed by Randi! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

5 COOL Things About Cloth Diapering in the Summertime

Summer is officially here! So, what does summer mean for cloth diapering? Does it

change what you do and how you use your cloth diapers and accessories? It sure

does for me. Here are 5 COOL things about cloth diapering and summertime:


Those pesky stains that built up on your diapers over the winter are a thing of the

past now that summer and sunshine are here. If you’re not already line drying your

diapers, now is the time to get started. Not only will you extend the life of your cloth

diaper elastics and PUL, drying outside in the sun will remove stains without using

harsh chemicals – your diapers will look as good as new by the end of the summer!


Cloth swim diapers are great, but not a necessity. If you have an old pocket diaper

that’s not a favorite or has deteriorating PUL, you can breathe new life into it by

using it as a swim diaper. The function of swim diapers is to keep solids contained,

and an old pocket diaper or cover can easily do the job.


I can’t tell you how many times I was glad to have moistened cloth wipes on hand

for use other than wiping my little one’s bum. I’ve used my wipes to clean up a

messy table at a restaurant, and more importantly, give my son and myself a nice,

cool wipe down on a hot day. Pack extra wipes for your outings and you’ll be

amazed how handy they come in!


You’ll get your money’s worth out of your wet bags over the summer, to be sure!

The remainder of the year you use your wet bags for on-the-go diaper changes and

travel, but summertime kicks wet bag use into high gear. The entire family can make

great use of wet bags after spending time at the pool or beach, allowing you to pack

all of your wet suits and towels (and keep everything else dry). I also find wet bags a

huge help while potty training because accidents are bound to happen.


Perhaps one of my summertime favorites – wool comes in incredibly handy over the

summer. While many people assume wool will be super hot and scratchy, wool

soakers actually breathe more than PUL diaper covers, allowing your little one to

stay cool all summer long. I used wool at nighttime with my son, and then full time

in the summer (no need for overheated “bits”).


Warm weather is also a great excuse to show off all of those adorable cloth diaper

prints you’ve been covering throughout the winter. If you collect cool prints,

summer is the time to show them off. You never know, you may just convert another

person to cloth by putting them on show!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tips for Finding the Perfect Stash Size!

How many diapers do I need?

This is perhaps the most common question for anyone starting out with cloth diapers... and it seems like it'd be pretty simple to answer, right? And yet, when you ask several cloth diapering parents this same question, you're likely to get a variety of answers! Why the confusion? The truth is, like all things cloth- what works for one, isn't the best for all. The perfect stash size truly looks a little bit different for everyone.  Some can make do with a modest stash of 24 diapers (perhaps less), while others have upwards of 40 and still want/need more! It all comes down to your lifestyle and your diapering needs! 

Today I'm sharing a variety of questions to consider when choosing the right stash size for YOU.

What type of diapers will you be using?

If you're using pockets or all in ones, you will need a larger number than if you are using covers. Covers can be used 2-4 times (or more) between washes, so in theory, you would need at most half- depending on baby! You may find you need to use a variety of types for different occasions as well (grandparent/daycare friendly diapers, for example), so keep that in mind.

How often does baby go?

If you're starting later, your baby likely won't go as often as a small newborn, so you can get away with less. If using covers, consider how often they go #2. Typically, I've found that we end up needing to change covers each time. Some babies- like my daughter- go only 1-2 times a day, so covers last longer. Other babies- like my son- go after every nursing, so we'd have needed more for him! 

How often are you using cloth?

Personally, we cloth full time- home, night, out and about- even while traveling! Others opt to choose disposables for overnight and on outings...or are required to do so at daycare. If this is you, you will generally need fewer diapers than the family who uses cloth full time.

 How often can/do you want to wash?

Twenty-four diapers is generally thought of as the minimum stash and is a perfectly workable amount. This typically would have you washing about every other day (depending on your baby of course). If you don't mind and can do laundry frequently, this works out well. If you'd like to do laundry a little less often or don't have constant access to a washer, a larger amount may be wiser. (Keep in mind that more frequent washing is still best for keeping away stink...especially in the summer!)

How long do you want your diapers to last?

If you intend to use these diapers for future children, or keep a higher retail value, keep in mind that the smaller the stash, the more each diaper is worn...and the quicker they show wear. (Many brands do offer refresher kits for a very minimal price, so even if you choose to stick with the small stash, that doesn't mean you cannot keep them in good shape!)

Overall, it all comes down to preference. If you want to stick to the minimum, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially if your primary concern is saving money! If you chose to cloth diaper for the fun prints and cute fluff then by means 'buy all the diapers!'. Truly, there is no right or wrong stash- just the stash that works for YOU. My best advice is to start small. Again, enough for 24 changes is the typical minimum recommended so start there. You may find that's the perfect amount for you and choose to end it there. Or you may discover you need a few more and you can build up until you reach the point you're happy with.

Contributed by Randi, mom and blogger via A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tips for Using Cloth Swim Diapers

The warmer months are getting closer and it's time that many of us start thinking about swimwear that is! How adorable is a little one all dressed in their swimsuit, little hats and sandals, sunglasses?.... a picture perfect moment! But that picture perfect moment can quickly be ruined with a swim diaper mishap!

Have you ever used disposable swim diapers? Back when my son was a baby, we were given a few packages, and honestly, we were not fans! Not only were they horribly overpriced, but they also seemed as though they'd be horribly uncomfortable too! The good news is, you don't have to throw your money away by buying disposable swim diapers...and if you're already cloth diapering you probably have just what you need already in your stash! To help you get started, here are a few quick things to know about using cloth diapers as swim diapers!

  • Swim diapers aren't meant to be absorbent! Perhaps you're thinking a cloth diaper in the pool sounds crazy...won't they be heavy the moment your little one steps into the pool? But a swim diaper isn't meant to absorb for just that reason. Instead, it is just meant to keep messes contained. So, no absorbency is needed!
  • Swim Diaper or Regular Diaper? There are many diapers on the market designed specifically for swimming, which can be a great addition to your stash... especially if you swim often. However, if you already have cloth diapers, there truly is no need for anything special. Simply remove an insert from a regular pocket diaper and you are ready to go!
  • Delaminated diapers? Don't toss them out! If you've been cloth diapering long, chances are you've met the dreaded delaminated diaper. These diapers are no longer waterproof, making them no good for normal every day use, but ideal for swimming! So if a beloved diaper starts to delaminate, designate it as a swim diaper- you'll get to continue using it, and will save money on special swim diapers as well. 
  • Chlorine & Cloth. Personally, I've had no problems using our regular diapers for swimming, but we also only swim in a little kiddie pool in our yard. If you are swimming in a chlorine pool, it's a good idea to set aside a few diapers specifically for swim. Over time, the chlorine can cause the PUL to break down making them useless for everyday diapers. 
  • Washing Swim Diapers. When the fun is over, throw your diapers in the wash with the rest of your swim clothes! Because absorbency isn't a problem with swim diapers, there is no need to take special care in washing (aside from skin sensitivities, of course!)
Using a cloth diaper as a swim diaper is a great way to save money, give new life to old diapers and of course, keeps your little ones looking their most adorable as well.

Do you use cloth for swimming? What tips do you have?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cloth Accessories: What to Buy and What to Skip

After cloth diapering for almost three years, I’ve seen my share of cloth diaper trends and accessories, and have amassed a great deal of simplistic cloth diapering experience. If you wish to take a minimalist approach to cloth diapering, here are a few cloth diaper accessories that you don’t really need to be successful cloth diapering your little one.

Now, you’ll find a lot of differing opinions on this accessory, but the reality is that you can easily cloth diaper without a diaper sprayer (I have!). In my opinion, diaper sprayers add an additional [unnecessary] step to what can [and should] be a simple routine.
If you are concerned with removing solids from your diapers, or avoiding stains (I HATE stained diapers myself), I suggest using diaper liners. I prefer fleece liners, but they do make disposable liners for use (they just never seemed like they would be comfortable for my little guy).

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: cloth diaper laundry isn't terribly complicated, nor do you need 'special' detergents. Again, this is a hotly debated topic in the cloth diapering community, but the truth is that you can use the same detergent you use for your clothing on your diapers [as long as it doesn’t have fabric softener in it]. Many manufacturers require you to use cloth specific detergent, so as not to void your diaper’s warranty; I’m not here to tell you that you should void your diaper warranties, but I will say that special detergent isn’t necessary, especially if you’re diapering on a budget.

If finances are tight, you do not have to purchase a wet bag to successfully cloth diaper. I’ve used disposable grocery bags many times in a pinch and they worked just fine. If you do want to add wet bags to your cloth diapering routine, I would suggest purchasing two medium-sized bags, so that you have one readily available while the other is in the wash. If you have more than one child in diapers, have a baby in daycare, or are using a hanging wet bag in lieu of a diaper pail, I would recommend having more than two wet bags at your disposal. Adding some wet bags to your diapering routine? Check out the Smart Tote!

I've used cloth wipes from the very start, as they seemed more economical and just, well, made sense to use with cloth diapers. I used a wipe solution in the beginning (one my midwife recommended), but ditched the solution for plain old water once my wipes began scorching in the wipes warmer. Unless you feel absolutely compelled to wash your little one with soap after each diaper change, ditch the expensive diaper sprays and stick to water (or a homemade solution).

On the flip side, there are accessories that I would say you can’t have enough of.
In other words, if you find a good sale, or come across a great deal, you can buy as much or as many of these items as you can, with absolutely no remorse; trust me, you'll put them to good use!

If you’re going the cloth wipe route, and I absolutely urge you too, then my philosophy is that you can’t have enough. With well over fifty wipes, I still find myself running low from time to time because I use them for everything! I keep a small wipes wet bag in my diaper bag, which comes in handy for wiping mouths at restaurants, gently wiping runny noses, and cleaning messy hands when eating out.

Even if you're not using flats, fitteds, or prefolds, diaper covers (or even an empty pocket diaper) come in very handy. I know one of the perks of cloth diapering is that you, technically, won't have to worry about running out of diapers, but trust me, it happens sometimes. A receiving blanket and an extra cover literally saved my son’s bum when he was a newborn [and an errand run took much longer than expected]. Check out the Smarti Pants Smart-Fit Diaper Cover collection!

If you see a sale or a good deal on inserts, grab them! At some point, you’ll likely need a little more absorbency, so it makes sense to grab a few when you see a good price. I grab inserts whenever I see them used or on sale – I can’t have enough! I recommend purchasing natural fibers to get the most bang for your buck with inserts, but if you’re on a tight budget, microfiber will also get you through. Stock up on Smart Sleeve inserts HERE.

Balm is not just for the bum, my friends. I've always kept multiple containers, stashed in different areas (nursery, bathroom, diaper bag), because diaper balm has so many uses! If you've ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, then you'll understand when I say that diaper balm is my Windex. Cracked/chafed lips and cheeks (teething), nipple relief, lotion, hand salve, cuts, oh, and diaper rash too; I've used diaper balm in SO many situations. Even better, if you use coconut oil, you can also use it in the kitchen, on your hair, for oil pulling, so many things! I like having two dedicated coconut oil sticks on-hand: one for the bum, and one for everything else (my son likes to schmear it all over himself as lotion).

What are your must-have cloth diaper accessories? Which ones can you live without?

Lauren B. Stevens is a cloth diapering mom and freelance writer, whose work can be found on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy and, in addition to numerous anthologies. When Lauren’s not chasing her rambunctious toddler, she’s penning hilarious and heartwarming stories about parenthood on her blog,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Really Need Newborn Cloth?

If you've spent any time in cloth diapering forums or chat groups, you've likely seen this question posted hundreds of times, “Do I really need newborn cloth diapers?” My answer is yes and no. Confused? Read on.

Guestimating your newborn size in-utero is like a game of chance, as doctors and midwives almost always overestimate your baby’s weight. Take my son, for example, who was estimated to emerge at around nine pounds, but made his entrance into the world at a measly seven pounds, and then left the hospital at six pounds. We had to scramble to purchase newborn clothing (we had skipped that size and purchased all 0-3 months), and he ended-up wearing that newborn size for the first two months. At six feet tall, and topping eight pounds as a baby myself, I never imagined I would have a baby so small! Thank goodness for the two packs of preemie-sized prefolds I had purchased on a whim.

Most one-size cloth diapers are rated for babies eight pounds and up, featuring snaps on both the rise and the waist to allow the diaper to grow along with your baby. If you have a small baby you’ll find yourself scrambling for a good diaper fit with a one-size cloth diaper. In this case, I definitely advocate for newborn diapers. If you’re a first time parent reading this, you need to be aware of the explosive poos your baby will be having for the first couple of months, so having properly fitted diapers are important (unless you want to spend a lot of time changing diapers, clothes, and messes).

If this isn’t your first time at the rodeo, and you know that you tend to have larger babies (8+ pounds), then it’s a safe bet that you can launch right into one-size diapers from the beginning. If you’re using prefolds, you can skip the preemie size, but I would suggest adding a sized cover or two to your stash, just to be on the safe side (you never know when that diaper cover might come in handy with a cloth diapering emergency).

If buying an entire newborn cloth diaper stash isn’t in your budget, there are many ways to get creative in your shopping. Since newborn diapers are used for such a short amount of time, you can often find great deals on used newborn diapers, or even deals from people who decided that cloth just wasn’t for them. I was washing diapers daily when we started with eighteen prefolds, so I recommend having at least twenty-four diapers to start (thirty-six to be in a really comfortable position). If you opt for buying new, you’ll be happy to hear that newborn diapers typically hold their value because they’re used for such a short period of time.

If you’re newly pregnant, or anticipating pregnancy, I would advise you to set aside money each month during your pregnancy to purchase cloth diapers and accessories. I knew that I was going to cloth diaper before I got pregnant, and already had the research done when my pregnancy test was positive, so I was able to purchase diapers in monthly increments (we were on a VERY tight budget back then) and I utilized used cloth diapers to fill out the remainder of our stash.

Lauren B. Stevens is a freelance writer whose work can be found on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy and When she’s not doing cloth diaper laundry, or chasing her rambunctious toddler, Lauren writes about parenting and women’s issues on her blog,

Monday, March 9, 2015

Say Good Night with Cloth

So, you've made the decision to cloth diaper. You have all your supplies ready and choose a day to start. During the day, all seems to be going well. Then comes sleep time. You put on a fresh diaper, lay down your little one and leave them to sleep, just like you always do. But when nap time is over, you quickly discover that they have soaked straight through their diaper!

Does this sound like a familiar story?

Don't worry, you are not alone! In fact, finding the perfect sleep solution can be perhaps one of the greatest adjustments we have to make with cloth diapering! In act many opt not to use cloth for sleep- and that's perfectly fine...but if you choose to use cloth full time, here are a few overnight tips to get you started:

Make Sure You Have a Good Fit. Fit is always important with cloth diapers, but even more so at night. Keep in mind that nighttime diapers can at times be a little thicker, so what fits well during the day may not be the best solution for nighttime. Be sure to find a well fitting diaper with no gaps. You may find that you need a completely different style for nighttime. For instance, we use a combination of pockets and covers throughout the day, but have found for overnight, covers are the only thing that work for my daughter. Every baby is different.

Layering is Key. Aside from a good fit, the next big thing is of course making sure the inserts are absorbent enough. As a newborn, we found that we really didn't need too much added absorbency at all, but as my daughter has gotten older that has certainly changed. Now, we must add layers to our daytime diapers to handle the longer time between changes. There are a few different options to consider. Here is a look at our two most common choices:

  • Hemp Inserts. Hemp is the work horse of the cloth diapering world and a fantastic nighttime option. Hemp is ultra absorbent without being overly bulky. Of all the various insert types we've used, they tend to hold the most. They are also not prone to compression leaks like microfiber. However, they absorb slower than microfiber or cotton, for this reason, I personally prefer not to use them alone.
  • Microfiber Inserts. Microfiber is a great option for a few reasons. First of all, it's inexpensive- these are the inserts that typically are included with most cloth diapers and additional inserts are pretty cost effective as well. They also absorb quickly and can hold quite a bit. The downfall is that they can be prone to compression leaks, and when used in a cover cannot be placed against baby's skin.
As you can see, both of these options on their own have great qualities, but also have their downfalls. But when used together they work perfectly! On those occasions that we do go with pockets overnight, I place the faster absorbing microfiber on top with the more absorbent below. This solution works wonderfully.

When using covers, we find that using either type of insert wrapped inside of a flour sack towel (cotton) has worked very well. This tends to be our go to for nighttime.

Regardless of which type of materials you find that work best with your little one, as you can see, layering more than one insert is a must for overnight diapers!

Wool Works. When all else fails (or just for added protection), adding wool can be the perfect sheet saver! Wool wicks moisture away while keeping the outside completely dry. Honestly, I couldn't give you the technical reason as to why it works this way, but I can tell you this- it does work! Use over a fitted diaper, or whatever your preferred diaper is as well. For even the heaviest of wetters, wool is ideal!

Like all things cloth, finding the perfect solution for your baby for overnight can have a little bit of trial and error. But use these tips to get you started, try a variety of layers or diaper options, and it'll soon be second nature! Cloth diapering overnight IS possible!

What tips or tricks have you found for overnight diapering?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Top Reasons Randi loves Cloth Diapers

It's February...the month of love, where we all celebrate the people and things we love. And today I'm celebrating my love of cloth. Oh, cloth do I love thee!? Let me count the ways:

  • The savings! Let's start with the most practical reason to love cloth- how much money can be saved!! With that extra money we're not spending on diapers each week/month, we can feel free to buy more things we love! (Even if that means more cloth diapers!)
  • Better for Earth, Better for Baby! Another logical reason to love cloth! I love knowing that I'm producing less waste in the landfills and giving my baby the healthiest alternatives! With her delicate baby skin, that's a GREAT thing!
  • They're adorable! A little less practical reason, but nonetheless true! There is something super adorable about a fluffy bottom. The bright colors, the fun don't get that with a disposable now, do you?
  • They're worry free. As I write this, we have a snowstorm heading our way...but am I worried about running out of diapers? Absolutely not. We've got our cloth diapers and our washing machine...and we're prepared for anything! Snowstorm? No problem! Car troubles? No problem! Zombie apocalypse? No problem! (Well, not with diapers anyway!)
  • The community! Oh, what a wonderful world this cloth diapering community is! There may be a few bad apples, but overall I have met some wonderful people through our cloth diapering experience! Like minded mommies bonding over what's on their babies bottom? Yes, please!
  • Fluff Mail. Is there a cloth diapering mama out there who doesn't enjoy getting fluff in the mail? I didn't think so! It's not NEARLY as exciting to post a photo of the package of disposables you just bought, is it?
Yes, there are certainly a million and one reasons to love cloth! From the practical to the frivolous...what's not to love!

How about you? Why do YOU love cloth diapers?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cloth Diapering in a Pinch

I’ll never forget the time I was caught diaperless, something fervent cloth diaperers 

vow won’t happen, and one of the wonderful things about using cloth. Well, it 

happened to me. My son and I were out running errands (he was around two 

months old at the time) and decided to make an impromptu stop at my husband’s 

office (about 45 minutes away from home). My son was still in the breastfeeding 

blowout stage, so we were going through at least twelve diapers a day. Needless to 

say, I had not prepared accordingly and we were caught without a diaper.

Thankfully, I was a full-time prefold diaper user at the time, so I was able to pull out 

a spare cover and use…a receiving blanket to fashion into a makeshift diaper. From 

that time on, I made sure to always keep a spare Snappi and cover in my diaper bag 

for those “just in case” kind of moments. Over time, I was better able to anticipate 

the number of diapers we would need for outings, always packing one or two extra, 

but I did find myself caught another time or two once my son entered toddlerhood 

(and diaper changes became more ‘predictable’). 

If you’re adept at cloth diapering, then you’ll find you can be very creative in 

‘emergency’ situations. We all seem to be gifted an insane number of receiving 

blankets, so keeping a few spare blankets in your car isn’t a bad idea. After 

forgetting to pack a wet bag in my diaper bag (they were still on the drying rack at 

home), I fished a spare disposable grocery bag from my car to contain a dirty diaper; 

I would later add that bag to my diaper bag, again, for “just in case” moments (and 

my spare bag came in handy on multiple occasions).

Even if you don’t diaper with flats, fitteds, or prefolds, I suggest purchasing a one-

size cover to keep on-hand in your diaper bag – you never know when it might come 

in handy! You know those cute bloomers people use over disposable diapers? I was 

gifted a few at my baby shower, and kept them, despite not knowing what I would 

ever use them for (especially because I have a boy who doesn’t wear pretty dresses). 

Those bloomers came in handy when my son had a nasty diaper rash; I folded a 

prefold or added an insert into the bloomers to give added security against messes 

while my son was able to “air out” his tush. 

So, when a cloth diaper emergency situation arises, remain calm and remind 

yourself that, by nature of cloth diapering, you’re able to become a Cloth Diaper 

McGyver – you’ve got this!

A freelance writer and skilled ghostwriter, Lauren Stevens proudly, and dually, wears 

the hats of both toddler-wrangler and wordsmith. You can find Lauren’s writing in The 

Huffington Post and Scary Mommy, in addition to her blog,

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cloth Diapers: Trail & Error

You did the research, you bought the diapers, and you jumped in head first...ready to rock this cloth diapering business! But after a few months, you probably came to discover what most of us cloth diapering parents have had to discover at one point or another...cloth diapering is all about the trial and error! No matter how researched or well-prepared you think you are, some things can only be learned by experience! To ease the learning curve, here are a few quick lessons cloth diapering moms have learned firsthand:

Fit is Everything...and One Size Does Not Fit All.
When it comes to cloth diapering without leaks, having the proper fit is everything. You don't want gaps around the waist or legs, but don't want anything tight either...both can cause issues. So, you asked your cloth diapering friend for her suggestions on the best fitting diaper, bought an entire stash and discovered...they don't work for you little one at ALL! The reality is, what works well for one baby may not be what works best for another- like adults babies are all built differently and diapers must be adjusted accordingly. It's great to ask around for some starting points to try out, but don't buy an entire stash on just one type. Buy several varieties to try and wait to buy the entire stash until you have the chance to learn what works. (For troubleshooting fit issues, YouTube can be a GREAT resource.)

All Inserts Are Not Created Equal.
Just as all diapers don't work the same for all babies, the same is true for inserts. For some, one microfiber liner is all you will need. Others may need a little extra boost like an additional microfiber booster, or something with a little more umph like hemp. A heavy wetter may pee right through the microfiber, and a fast wetter may pee quicker than the hemp can absorb. We have personally found the ideal solution for us has been microfiber on top of hemp...the microfiber absorbs quickly and the hemp absorbs more. Some babies may also be senstive to various types of inserts as well. Again, try several varieties to discover what works best for your baby!

Washing...It's Not THAT Complicated!
Perhaps the most overwhelming aspect of cloth diapering for many new cloth diapering parents is the laundry...I mean why would it NOT be with all of the crazy wash routines you see online!? The last thing you want are diapers that smell, but how are you supposed to keep track of all these steps? In my experience I have found there really is no need to make it that complicated. This is again an issue where there may be some trial and error involved as no two wash routines are alike (different water types, different washers, etc all factor into what detergents will work best and how diapers should be washed).  Play around until you find what works for you, but I've found to avoid issues the two most common problems are too little water or (more commonly it seems) too little detergent. Find the best detergent for your area and machine, make sure you have enough water and chances are your wash routine will become fairly simple.

The Don'ts: Just Say No To Ointments & Fabric Softener.
Oh sure, if you look up cloth diaper don'ts on the web, you'll probably find many more...and many of those may even be true or partly true as well, but these are certainly the big ones. Let's start with the ointments. When your little one has a rash, of course you want to provide relief for them. The problem? Typical rash creams contain ingredients which can cause staining and repelling- leaving your diapers pretty well useless! If you really need to use the creams, a liner can be a great solution. Still, I have personally found the best solution for diaper rashes is something many of us have in our pantries- coconut oil! It's cloth diaper safe and smells great too! Fabric softeners can also cause absorbency issues and should be avoided as well. Wool dryer balls are a great alternative. And while we're on the subject of laundy, one more quick don't worth mentioning: Do NOT use the santize cycle. Sure, this sounds like it'd be a great fit for diapers, but the reality is they can do more harm than good. This cycles uses extremely hot water which can actually damage your diapers. They may not be ruined after just one use, but such extreme temperatures will certainly wear your diapers much faster if you do.

Buying Used? Do Your Research!
Most of our trial and errors have been about fit and laundry, but one mistake that many new moms have faced has been overpaying for used diapers. In fact, many newbie moms have found themselves paying even MORE for a 'china cheapie' than what they could have purchased it for brand new. If you plan to purchase your diapers used, be sure to know the value of said diaper new!

Have you learned any cloth diapering lessons the hard way? What advice would YOU share?

Monday, January 5, 2015


Wool and cloth diapering, often the cause of fear and avoidance, are a natural 

combination. Despite common misconceptions, wool is actually pretty easy to care 

for and can require less maintenance than your PUL covers, pocket diapers, or all-in-

ones. What if I was to tell you that you need only wash your wool covers/longies 

every couple of weeks (given that you have no blowouts)? You need only air out 

your wool covers between uses, as the lanolin in wool possesses self-cleaning 

properties. After a couple of weeks of use, or if a blowout occurs, simply hand wash 

your cover in lukewarm water with a mild soap (no “special” wool wash needed), 

and air dry. Honestly, it’s that easy!

Wool really is an incredibly natural fiber, lending itself to cloth diapering. Wool can 

absorb twice it’s weight, is able to both repel and wick away moisture, and regulates 

temperature like a champ! Because of it’s ability to both absorb liquid, and repel 

with lanolin, wool is an ideal choice for tricky overnight diapering. Paired with a 

prefold, fitted diaper, and/or inserts, wool covers and longies are a wonderful 

solution to overnight leaks with most commercial diapers. If you don’t want to give 

up your favorite diaper, simply place a wool cover over your pocket or all-in-one 

diaper to prevent leaks.

While many people associate wool with colder temperatures (think longies for little 

ones), wool is also an excellent fiber to cloth diaper with in the summer, when 

temperatures soar. When I was using prefolds and fitteds exclusively, my son lived 

in wool covers, longies, and shorties in the summer. Not only did the wool allow for 

greater air flow than PUL covers, diaper changes were much easier with longies and 

shorties doubling as both a diaper cover and bottoms (no need for extra steps).

If you’re interested in exploring more cloth diapering options, or are having 

difficulty finding a nighttime cloth diaper solution, I would strongly encourage you 

to give wool a try. If finances are tight, many work at home moms offer upcycled 

wool soakers, longies, and shorties for a fraction of the price of commercially cound 

wool. So, what are you waiting for?