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).
CLOTH DIAPER DETERGENT
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.
CLOTH-SAFE DIAPER OINTMENT
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 Care.com, 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, lo-wren.com.