I set up a page along the top of my blog, right under the title, that is a collection of all my cloth diapering posts. That way, if you need to refer back to something, you can easily find it. :-) Just to let you know!
I had a friend email me a while back about cloth diapering accessories – what do you need besides the diapers? I love it when people email me like this, because it makes for great blog posts! Fortunately she got an answer from me must faster than the writing of this post. :-) I hope she has had a good transition and was able to get everything she needed!
As with anything, there are many accessories that you can get to make your cloth diapering journey a little easier. Here’s the rundown on what I think you’ll need, though of course everyone is different so it’s most important that you do what works for you!
The first thing you’ll need is a place to store the dirty diapers until wash day. On the recommendation of friends, I went to Walmart and bought a simple 13 gallon kitchen trash can with a lid that opens when I step on the pedal. It was $12 I think? But really, any simple trash can with a lid should work fine. I keep it next to the changing pad so I can easily toss the dirty diapers in during diaper changes. You can buy special diaper pails made for cloth diapers, and I think the only advantage is that they have a place where you could put some deodorizers. Otherwise, I would just pick up a simple trashcan locally.
Inside the trash can, I use a pail liner made for cloth diapers. I would recommend having two (one to use while you’re washing the other). I went about a year with only one, and I think it’s worth the money to get a second. :-) I really like my PlanetWise pail liner. It comes in many different colors (important in my book, as you know!), and has elastic around the top to keep it in place in the trash can. I also have the GroVia pail liner which is a drawstring, and I don’t like it as much. The drawstring is difficult to adjust quickly, unlike the elastic which is right there.
Some people prefer to skip the pail and just use a pail liner. If you think that’s going to work best for your family, you might be interested in a pail liner with a drawstring. Also, I know FuzziBunz has a hanging diaper pail that I’m told is very nice – it has a loop to hang on a door knob, and unzips at the bottom for easy transfer to the washing machine (for those of you with top loaders).
Why not just use a plastic bag? Well, a pail liner is reusable, which helps further reduce waste. It is made from a waterproof material to keep smells and liquid in. It is also anti-microbial, which is a good thing!
A wet bag is useful for storing dirty diapers when you’re out and about. It can also be repurposed for things like wet swimsuits, so it’s not a bad thing to spend money on now! I actually have four bags, three zippered ones and one drawstring. I dislike the drawstring one only because it doesn’t completely close, which I don’t really like because it’s in my diaper bag. I like having all four, but you probably could just get by with one or two. My favorite wet bag is made by FuzziBunz (called a “diaper tote” on their website) – I love the fabric (a little bit stretchy!) and the handle. And, it keeps my diaper bag dry.
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, you don’t need to worry about a diaper sprayer just yet. This comes in handy after the baby has started solids and the BM consistency has changed. Some people say a diaper sprayer isn’t necessary, but I don’t know how you could cloth diaper without it! We have low-flow toilets (required by law in our county), so dunking really isn’t possible. You’ll want to get all the solid waste off the diaper before throwing it in the washer, and sending it through the toilet is the most sanitary. (This goes for you disposable diaper users too – did you know you’re supposed to dump all solid waste into the toilet before throwing away the diaper?)
A diaper sprayer (also called a portable bidet) is a handy device that makes it easy to rinse off the diapers. I would highly, highly recommend you do it immediately and do not let dirty diapers sit. :-) Not only is rinsing off the diapers more sanitary, but it helps keep the diapers from staining. The diaper sprayer is easily installed on the toilet – you can do it in a rental house too without damaging anything, and take it with you when you leave. There’s a bit of a learning curve when you first start where you spray your entire bathroom with water. :-) But I’ve gotten to the point where I get very little water outside the toilet.
I have to admit, I only use cloth wipes about half the time. We use disposable wipes for all the dirty diapers, and cloth wipes for just wet diapers. (Paul uses disposable wipes all the time.) Most of my wipes were made for me by a friend – just pieces of fabric surged around the edges. They are easy to make! You can also cut up flannel (like an old receiving blanket!) or use baby washclothes.
Dry cloth wipes aren’t very effective, though, so you’ll need to somehow wet it. Right now, I am using California Baby Diaper Area Wash (you can get it at Target), which comes in a little spray bottle. I spray it directly on her skin and then use a dry wipe. Some people spray the wipe itself first, but this way is easier for me. You can also dilute the solution with water to make it last longer (according to the back of the bottle).
A friend of mine loves using Baby Bits for cloth wipes solution. She gave me a few to try out, but I need to get a spray bottle first. Some people just use plain water, but I am hoping that some of the natural ingredients in the solutions will keep Savannah from getting her frequent diaper rashes.
I personally think wipes warmers are unnecessary, but I know a lot of cloth diapering moms who love them. A friend wrote about them in detail here, if that interests you.
I am not going to cover any detergent in this post… So I think that’s about it. :-) Am I missing anything?