Pocket diapers are so easy to use! When we first learned that we were expecting back in April of last year, I immediately knew that I wanted to cloth diaper. My zero waste journey has been an ongoing process and I felt that I would be taking giant steps back if I didn’t give cloth a go. So began our experience with pocket diapers.
Why we chose pocket diapers?
Originally I wanted to go the old fashion route and use flats, snappis, and covers. That went out the window after watching some YouTube videos with my husband. I knew I wasn’t going to win him over with baby origami. I jumped in and did some research. Initially I was intrigued by the idea of using all-in-ones because I felt they would be the easiest for my husband to get adjusted to, but I quickly decided that these were out of our price range.
We actually have a few all-in-ones in my stash. I hoped that I could keep a couple on hand for when we had babysitters watching our little one. Excitedly, I picked up some Bumgenius Freetimes from our local Breast feeding Center but unfortunately, it turns out that these do not work for us. Our little guy (who weighed in at 16 lbs, 10 ounces at his 12 week appointment) soaked through these in mere minutes. I made the fatal mistake of putting him in one overnight and lets just say it wasn’t pretty. Changing sheets in the middle of the night is not a fun task.
One day I was browsing through the different options on amazon and stumbled across Mama Koala’s. The amazingly cute prints the company had to offer were darling and the collection of bee themed diapers were irresistible. Luckily, my husband thought so too. The moment he saw our bee bottomed baby he was hooked.
What about Inserts?
Those of us who choose to cloth diaper to save money might initially scoff at the notion that the microfiber inserts that come with the diapers won’t suffice. I was one of those newbies who was convinced that other cloth diapering parents just weren’t doing it right. Boy was I wrong. Our little guy is a heavy wetter and those microfiber inserts didn’t last long. So, what did we end up using?
Hemp! My all-time favorite inserts are Thirsties hemp. These inserts are made from a combination of hemp and organic cotton. Hemp is SUPER absorbent and makes excellent inserts. The drawback is that these inserts don’t absorb liquid quickly so sometimes you end up with leaks. The solution? We combine a thin microfiber on top of one of our thirsties.
Okay! I hear you. Hemp is expensive. The thirsties hemp inserts ring in at over $5/insert. That isn’t doable for everyone. We decided to make the investment and buy 10 thirsties hemp inserts. We have added to our stash by keeping our eye out for deals on eBay BUT if you aren’t in the position to spend a bundle on hemp inserts I would recommend buying flour sack towels. You can buy them for less than $1 apiece. The ones we use are from Ikea. Simply, fold your towel in half so it is shaped like a square and then fold your square into thirds. Voila! Some people get buy with using a FST on its own, but we usually wrap them around a thin microfiber.
We also got a stack of tri-folds from our local no-buy group. These are super absorbent but a bit bulky. We use these when we run out of our hemp inserts however, they are a good option for those of us who need to cloth diaper on a budget. All you do is fold the insert into thirds and you have your insert ready to go.
How do you care for Pocket Diapers
So, what about the poop? This seems to be the first question that comes up when I tell people that we are cloth diapering. First of all, babies that are exclusively breastfed have water soluble poop so all you have to do is plop the diaper into the wash. Your machine will take care of the rest. For babies that are formula or partially formula fed, you are going to have to rinse the pocket diaper.
Many people use diaper sprayers but my husband and I opt for the dunk and swish method. Here is what our wash routine looks like.
How to clean Pocket Diapers
First, we take the inserts out of all the diapers and put the inserts and the wet diapers into the wash. I put the poopy ones to the side. I start the rinse cycle with cold water and take the dirty diapers to the bathroom. Don’t start out with hot or warm water. This will bake the stains into your diaper!
Okay. This is where things start to get graphic but I promise you it isn’t that bad. We just put the diaper into the toilet and swish. You might want to flush in-between diapers to keep the water clean. I also like to turn on the bidet cleaning function for some additional agitation.
Add these diapers in with the rest of the wash. I do one complete rinse cycle with no detergent followed by a wash in warm water with All Clear and Free detergent. I finish up with one more cold rinse cycle. From time to time, I add some oxiclean for some additional cleaning power.
There seems to be some disagreement in the cloth diaper community on whether or not drying your diapers is harmful to the elastics. I choose to tread on the side of caution and hang mine on a drying rack. They usually only take a couple hours to dry anyway. I throw caution to the wind with the inserts. I find that a lot of our inserts end up feeling “crunchy” if we don’t fluff them up in the dryer so we throw them in at medium heat for a full cycle.
How many diapers will I need?
We started our cloth diaper journey with a stash of 24 diapers that got washed every other day. This was working well! Then I went back to work and washing every other day seemed hopeless. Luckily, we stumbled across a sale on amazon and bought 12 more diapers for $50. I’ve been watching the sales for over a year now and it seems that Mama Koala offers their best sales around days that celebrate women. For example, Mothers Day and International Women’s day. Keep your eye open and you can snag your pocket diapers for around $4 apiece. We now wash our diapers every two days or so. Keep in mind that our little guy uses less diapers now than he did when he was a newborn. For older babies you can get away with a smaller stash. For us, 36 diapers seems to be our sweet spot.
Why Cloth Diaper?
A couple reasons: 1) You are helping the environment. It takes disposable diapers hundreds of years to decompose, 2) disposable diapers are fully of chemicals that I would prefer keep away from my babies tush, 3) they are economical (so long as you don’t become pattern obsessed), and 4) they are just too cute.
I plan on sharing some tips on using cloth wipes soon and make sure to keep your eye open for my next post on my favorite DIY diaper balm.
What is your favorite brand of cloth diaper and insert? Leave a comment below on why you are or are going to try to go the cloth route.