After nearly two months of doing this full time, I think we’ve finally got the hang of cloth diapering! The whole process was definitely a HUGE change (haha!) from disposables and although they do require much more diligence and effort, I’m very happy to have invested the time and money in this product.
The first cloth diapers we ever tried were Charlie Banana One Size Cloth Diapers with Organic Inserts; they were a VERY good deal on Amazon and I could have them delivered in two days! I had briefly seen this brand at Buy Buy Baby in Langley when we visited but the expert there (who’s advice was actually completely wrong… more on that later!) strongly recommended Bum Genius Originals or Flipp as they were the store’s best sellers. Being a math nerd, I went for the Bum Genius Originals and purchased a Pink one and the adorable black Albert print!
My initial thoughts about the whole thing? What the heck am I doing! Its one thing to buy cute accessories for your babe but another to try and figure out how these things work! The first thing to get me about the Organic Charlie Bananas were also the pre-wash instructions! Holy Moly! Six to eight times before first use?? We did as we were told but wow, did that make for a long day! Glad our condo had energy efficient appliances all around!
The next step was getting them on Marina… who had had a couple of fussy days prior to the first attempt! Personally, I found the Charlie Banana diapers very snug to start (until I finally figured out how to adjust the band inside the diaper). And although very soft, our chubby little cutie was not feeling the tightness of these new diapers the first few wears! Honestly, I thought I had just wasted $100 (yes, a steal for six brand name organic cloth diapers) but I’m glad we persevered. After two days of trial and error (and rotating between the cloth and disposables), I decided to invest in more Charlie Bananas as Amazon showed more marks downs! In actuality, this is how I’ve bought 95% of my cloth diapers and why they are all Charlie Banana! I’ve paid an average of $12 per diaper on Amazon in comparison to $22 in store for Bum Genius (at Babies World’s 40% off renovation sale) and after having tried three different types (Charlie Banana Organic and Non-Organic Inserts, Bum Genius Free Time and Bum Genius Original 5.0), have found a use for each.
Brands & Styles
While I like Charlie Bananas during the day, I have found them to be unfit for nighttime use! There is absolutely NO WAY one works as an overnight diaper for us even with the use of a bamboo overnight insert (on top of the two recommended for daytime use) and especially not with the use of a cotton doubler (seriously, don’t waste your money on these! You’re better off buying more inserts, I have found). In contrast, the Bum Genius Originals are massive with plenty of room for additional inserts, making overnight use a snap.
The Bum Genius Free Time Cloth Diaper is an interesting thing; I personally use mine as back ups while the Charlie Bananas and Bum Genius Originals are in the wash, although don’t get me wrong, they are fantastic if you are in the need for a super speedy diaper change (no insert stuffing required!). While the inserts are already attached to the diaper for you, I find that the Original is larger and more suited for our little girl. I also prefer the Charlie Banana snaps over both styles of Bum Genius and while I didn’t liked the fittedness of them before, that’s actually my favourite part about these diapers now (on top of the ADORABLE prints)!
The organic overnight liners I purchased were from Amazon and came in a pack of 12 plus a wet bag! Great deal and super effective! No more waking up four to five times to change a wet diaper AND onesie (this was the part I HATED most when first making the transition). After six or more washes, your organic liners are pretty absorbent, I found, and can actually last a full eight hours (of course, in my experience, ONLY with the Bum Genius Original 5.0).
As someone new to the cloth diapering game, it would have been wonderful to actually talk to someone with experience in reusable diapers (I read dozens of blogs on the topic but everyone has their own opinion… kind of like parenting)! If I had to do it all over again, I would go to a shop that specializes in or has a reputation for an excellent cloth diaper selection and speak with a consultant there.
Unfortunately, the “expert” at Buy Buy Baby just kind of read the labels to us and shared her knowledge based on what she thought to be true; I cannot say it enough times… I had absolutely zero idea of what this process would be like before investing in it! According to the salesperson, the Bum Genius Original was NOT a pocket diaper and the micro fibre inserts were to be placed ON TOP OF THE DIAPER SHELL and then switched out for a fresh insert whenever your baby makes a mess (seriously, no idea where she got her information from)! I am EXTREMELY happy that I purchased these and didn’t give them a second thought for a month and a half! Search anywhere online and you will see yourself that baby should NEVER EVER EVER EVER have direct skin contact with micro fibre as it is very drying on the skin (and would be especially harmful to baby’s sensitive areas).
How Many Do You Need?
This is definitely a personal preference but as someone who does cloth diaper laundry at least every second day, I have found that 30 is the perfect number for me; I have four Bum Genius Original 5.0’s (we use these sometimes during the day but exclusively for nightime wear), two Bum Genius Free Times, and the remainder are Charlie Banana.
I like to change my little girl AT LEAST every two hours but I will change her more frequently if her diaper feels squishy, she poops, or right before a long sleep stretch (and sometimes just after a nap). For me, having spares is super important as pre-stuffed cloth diapers make changes during the day and the evening that much easier!
Isn’t it A LOT of Work?
Yes and no. Sure, its more of a commitment than disposables (all of that washing, stuffing, and folding) but its also more cost effective and free of harsh chemicals and preservatives making it suitable for sensitive little ones (if you take care of your cloth diapers properly)! Rounding up the price I paid to $20 a diaper, this means I spent about $600 total on cloth diapers. However, in comparison to the approximate $2350 Squawkfox estimates parents spend on disposables from the time their child is born until potty training, this is only a quarter of the price! In addition to this, you can also resell your cloth diapers for up to 50-70% of their retail value after use (youngandthrify.ca).
Personally, I make a conscious effort to read all of the ingredients in EVERYTHING that comes into our home. From cosmetics, to groceries, diapers, to clothing, I believe you are what you consume and what you interact with. For more information on products you use every day and the ingredients that are used to make them, check out https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
How Do I Wash Them?
This one is also a bit tricky!
While each manufacturer has their own guidelines for washing their product (always consult this first), I have found that the best method for us is as follows:
(1) Pre-Wash in Warm Water (Ocassionally, I also soak in warm water to fight off stubborn stains)
(2) Wash in Hot Water
(3) Rinse in Cold Water
(4) Machine Dry
I am personally a HUGE believer in killing bacteria with hot water and while I do like the eco-friendly idea behind cloth diapering, my baby’s health and wellbeing are far more important to me than saving a little bit of energy. If not taken care of properly, your cloth diapers could cause yeast diaper rash. Not a pretty thing and terribly painful for poor babe!
Your diapers should smell clean when you have finished washing but if you notice any lingering odour, don’t take a chance! Rewash those bad boys!
When drying, also be sure to close the snaps! I admit, I have been lazy from time to time on this one but unfortunately, one of our newest Charlie Banana diapers has already become a victim to the dryer; if not closed properly, the snaps could become dull from hitting the sides of the dryer and will be more difficult to close if not completely flat and non-functional (as is the one in our case).
– – – – – – – – –
As always, thanks so much for reading! And if you have any questions about cloth diapering or suggestions for articles on the blog, please don’t hesitate! Give me a shout 🙂