I was first introduced to the concept of cloth diapers by a coworker in Chicago, years before I was pregnant myself. She was telling me how great it was that there were several babies at her daughter’s daycare that were cloth diapered. I nodded along as if I was following, but the truth is I had no idea what a modern cloth diaper looked like. Then I started noticing other friends, coworkers and bloggers mention cloth diapers. When I found out I was pregnant, that was one of the first things my husband and I discussed when it came to parenting.
The reasons I love cloth diapering my daughter are simple: It’s easier on my wallet, on the earth, it’s not hard to do, they are really effective, and they are cuter than many disposable diapers. Truth be told, the first two on that list were my reasons before my daughter was born. The others have been a lovely bonus.
My #1 piece of advice for anyone thinking of cloth diapering their child is to do their research to understand the different styles out there, but then just DIVE IN. I was overwhelmed and felt anxious at the prospect of finding the “perfect” system. The truth is, there are many perfect systems. I’ll say it again: There are many good ways to cloth diaper! If you ask a bunch of cloth diapering parents a question, you may get several different answers, but all might be great. There are so many great ways to do the same thing. Try out different things if you want, but it was helpful for me to keep that in mind as I first did research and felt confused by how similar many diapers seemed, and how passionate parents were about “the best” solutions. There are many “best” options.
Another option if you’re curious about different brands and styles, you can also sign up for a cloth diaper trial to test out specific diapers with your baby.
We have a variety of styles and brands and my favorites aren’t necessarily my husband’s. That being said, I like all of the diapers we own because they do their job well. That’s the bottom line – even if you prefer one brand/style/system over another, if they do their job…great!
Here’s the set-up that works for us! My daughter is a year and a half old. I’ll do a follow-up if things change.
When my daughter was a newborn, we used Green Mountain Diapers ClothEze prefolds + a snappi + a waterproof cover. We had two popular, high quality brands of covers: Rumparooz* newborn covers and Thirsties* Duo Wrap Size 1 covers. We liked them pretty equally, but my husband preferred the Thirsties while I preferred the Rumparooz.
We have about 28 pocket diapers for using during the day. The majority are BumGenius*.
We also have a couple of all-in-ones and all-in-twos from smaller brands. I like them, but many smaller diaper makers can only create a few diapers at a time and it can be a little more difficult to buy them. It is pretty fun to “stalk” a site or maker you love to try and snag a diaper you want during their stocking (a pre-determined day/time when you know the diapers will become available for sale) but since my collection (often referred to as “stash” in the cloth diapering world) was a good size, I stopped hunting for hard-to-score diapers.
The microfiber inserts that come with most diapers are not very absorbent in my opinion. We grew out of them very quickly, when my daughter was a few months old. We started stuffing the pocket diapers with prefolds, and slowly upgraded to better inserts, typically made of hemp/bamboo/cotton.
We stuff our pockets with an assortment of things, but primarily:
- Geffen Baby Super Absorbers Plus*
- Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefolds* (<—–my husband’s favorite, hands down)
- When my daughter was smaller, we also folded in our smaller-sized cotton prefolds*
We use super-absorbent “fitteds” with a cover at night. They are basically a diaper where the entire diaper is made from an absorbent material. The fitteds we like most are by Twinkie Tush, called FUSION Hybrid Fitteds. I think the “fusion” and “hybrid” words in there make it a little confusing, but basically they are really absorbent and have worked well for us for a long time, so hopefully that’s all you need to know.
Another brand we like, but find it to be bulkier is Truly Charis nighttime fitted. (Note: I no longer recommend Truly Charis as our fitteds have ripped and look terrible, and Twinkie Tush fitteds we bought at the same time are still in excellent condition.)
Really good, effective fitteds for nighttime use can be expensive, but you shouldn’t need very many. The sticker shock is enough to make most parents try to make other systems work, but you might just come right back to dropping serious cash on a good fitted. Most cloth diaper users do diaper laundry every 2-3 days, which is true for us as well. We only have a few “top of the line” fitteds and a few others that are also good but work less well for a heavy wetter like our daughter. We either just use those for naptime or boost up the absorbency by laying in a Geffen Baby Super Absorbers Plus insert.
Most fitteds are not fully waterproof and require a cover. We use a cover over them to make them fully waterproof so there’s no leaking overnight onto pjs or sheets, but some people use them without covers, they just might be a little damp when baby wakes up. We typically use wool covers* (<— click for one of my favorite affordable brands of wool). Sloomb/Sustainablebabyish and Yooki Wool are also great. But expensive! Wool keeps up really well so buying from B/S/T pages on Facebook or local cloth diapering parents is a good idea. We also like Blueberry Coveralls* because they are really roomy to grow with baby and cover a bulkier fitted. We have a few other ‘back up’ covers from smaller makers and larger companies, but those are our favorites.
We store our diapers in a dresser. One drawer has all the stuffed pockets, one has the fitteds and other miscellaneous inserts, and one has extra wet bags, cloth wipes* and then some other random accessories for our daughter like hair clips and socks. Not diaper related, but necessary, plus you might see a peek in the photos so I wanted to explain 😉
My fitteds drawer is not usually this tidy … but I’d love it to be this way all the time!
You may be thinking… what about poop? If you weren’t… you are now! There are a few different ways to deal with it but we’ve found the “dunk and swish” method or using a diaper sprayer* to be the easiest. We keep a wet bag in the bathroom for diapers that we cleaned off in the toilet.
What about our wash routine? We keep it simple:
- RINSE: Warm light wash without detergent (many people do a cold wash, we find a warm wash is a little more effective for us)
- WASH: Hot, heavy/longest setting on your washer with detergent (there are lots of detergents that work)
- EXTRA RINSE: Optional. Some people also do an extra rinse but we dropped it and haven’t seen a difference in our diaper cleanliness/smell so we don’t do it anymore
p.s. I find this site (and it’s corresponding Facebook group) to be overwhelming and sometimes quite negative, but the truth is that when we got our new washer/dryer, we looked to this site for our washing routine. It works well. They know what they’re talking about 🙂
RECAP (TL; DR):
- Favorite pocket diapers: bumGenius 4.0s* (Note: the brand has since updated to a slightly different design called bumGenius 5.0s – currently on SALE at Sweetbottoms Baby)
- Favorite absorbent insert for pockets: Thirsties Hemp Prefolds* (Size 1 for smaller babies and Size 2 for larger babies)
- Favorite booster/versatile insert: Geffen Baby Super Absorbers Plus
- Favorite cloth wipes: TooshieWipes* (or these are nice* and not too overpriced)
- Favorite Nighttime diaper: Twinkie Tush FUSION Hybrid Fitted + Wool cover OR Blueberry Coveralls
- Favorite pail liner: Kanga Care or Monkey Foot Designs
- Favorite hanging wet bag: Planet Wise Large
- Favorite smaller wet bag for diaper bag: Logan & Lenora
- Get a diaper sprayer* – they are all pretty similar, honestly
I could talk about cloth diapers all day. I’m no expert but I’d definitely say I am a cloth diaper enthusiast. If you have questions or want to know more about my set up, leave a comment below or get in touch with me on Instagram.
p.s. I’d love your support! Here’s my affiliate link for where I get most of my cloth diapers and diapering supplies: SweetbottomsBaby.com*
What questions do you have? What do you want more information on? Leave me a comment below!
*Hi friends, this post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate links are indicated with an asterisk. If you click, a shark will EAT YOU. Just kidding! Your shopping or browsing experience doesn’t change, but I might get a teeny tiny commission.
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8 thoughts on “My Cloth Diapering Set-Up”
This is a great post! I am a cloth diaper enthusiast, too. I really love your point about how there are many great options. That is so true! You can easily drive yourself crazy trying to pick the BEST setup, when really you should just dive in and see what works for you. 🙂
We used Bumgenius 4.0s, too. (I didn’t know they just came out with a new model!) My daughter only wears diapers at night now, but I’ll have to check out your insert recommendations when I diaper future children. I ended up double-stuffing her diapers because just one wasn’t absorbent enough as she got older.
We used the disposable liners, which were soooo helpful for dealing with poop, but I know they’re zero-waste so not exactly up your alley.
Thanks for the comment Meghan! I think it’s easy to become an enthusiast. I’m happy I’ve (mostly) been able to keep my spending in check – there are just so many great diapers out there!
I’m a soon-to-be first time mom. I have a similar set up as you, but I’m wondering, what do you do when you’re changing a poopy diaper and you’ve got a wiggly baby that you need to watch. How do you run to the toilet to get rid of the poo? I’m trying to figure out the logistics. 🙂 Also, what is your wipe solution? Is that for baby’s bum or for the diaper? I’m trying to learn all I can before baby is here. Thanks for the post!
Hey Michelle! Congratulations on the baby!
If you’ll be exclusively breastfeeding (often abbreviated as ‘EBF’), you can just throw poopy diapers in the diaper pail/bag next to the changing table along with everything else. It washes out easily. Some people still prefer to spray/dunk EBF diapers too, though. It’s a personal preference but I didn’t find that it had any adverse effect on my washer or diaper laundry. However, if you prefer to wash everything, if you’ll be using formula at all (even part time), and definitely once baby starts to eat solids after 6 months, I’d fold up and place the poopy diaper on the end of the changing table next to me (out of reach of kicking baby feet!) while I finished changing the baby. You can also put it in a little bin or wet bag and leave it there until a more convenient time if you want. Typically I’d bring the baby and the diaper to the bathroom right away, though. If she was cranky, I’d just leave the diaper on top of the toilet or on the edge of the tub to be dealt with later. By my husband, ideally! Haha. If she seemed calm, though, I’d spray off (or dunk/swish) the diaper into the toilet with the baby right there in the bathroom with me. The logistics of having the baby with you while you’re cleaning off the diaper will depend on your set up. When the baby is too little to sit up, I’d lay her either on the floor inside the bathroom or just outside the door on a little baby rug or blanket. Or if her Rock and Play (any seat/swing you might have will do) was nearby, I’d stick her in that. The diaper shouldn’t take very long to de-poop. De-poop? Haha. Hopefully you get what I mean. Please let me know if you need any more info – happy to help clarify!
My wipe solution recipe is in this post: https://meredithtested.com/2016/01/11/meredith-tested-cloth-baby-wipes
Though now I primarily use distilled (or boiled and cooled) water, maybe with a squeeze of the Dr. Bronner’s baby castille soap. I spray it on a cloth wipe and then use it on the baby’s bum. Easy peasy, and with cloth wipes you usually only need to use one or two. When I’ve used disposable wipes I feel like you end up using like 7 at every change!
I really appreciate you taking the time to reply and share your experiences! Thanks!
Hi Meredith! It’s Emily (oneplanetproject). This post is SO helpful! Thank you. My biggest hurdle is going to be doing cloth diapers without a washing machine. I’m looking into a diaper washing service, but it’s expensive. Also looking into buying a portable washing machine that looks up to my kitchen sink. I’m determined to find an easy and inexpensive way to do it though! Thanks again for this post, I’m going to be registering soon and it’s great to know all the products & methods that have worked for you. 🙂
Hey Emily! I’m glad you found this post helpful! Yes using a laundry service or laundry mat can get expensive! I do think it will still be overall less than disposables, though! Another option is to look into making at least part of your stash flats and covers, which can be most easily hand washed and dried at home. You might Google “flats handwashing challenge” to see how other parents have handled not having a washing machine. Congrats again on the pregnancy!