I can't even count how many looks of disgust I received when I told people that we'd be using cloth diapers on Ronin. people act as if your kid is going to be covered in poop or something.
before I even got pregnant, I knew I wanted to cloth diaper, for a variety of reasons. the most obvious reason is the money savings - the average family spends $1,000 on diapers for the first year, meaning (assuming the child potty trains at two and a half) one child will cost the family $2,500 in diapers alone. I think by the time we're done building our stash, we may spend as much as $800 in cloth diapers, which will last us until Ronin is potty trained AND will last us through future children.
also, cloth diapers are ideal for sensitive babies' skin, and studies show that cloth diapered babies potty train earlier and easier than those that use disposables. and finally, it's so, so, SO much better for the environment to use cloth diapers.
(disclaimer: for the time being, we are using disposable diapers on Ronin at night, simply because I've been spoiled with a baby who sleeps through the night and I don't want to ruin that by having him wake up from being wet. I am doing some reading and investing in some bamboo inserts to stuff in his pockets.)
when I found out I was pregnant with Ronin, I immediately went into research mode to find the best way to build our stash. I knew that I wanted to cloth diaper from the beginning, which meant that I needed to have teeny tiny newborn size diapers to start with.
but before we get into the details of our inventory, let's cover the essentials that are needed for cloth diapering.
keep in mind that these are all items that have worked for OUR family. not every CD mama uses Charlie's Soap or ditched the disposable wipes. some moms prefer using a diaper pail with a liner instead of wet bags. it's all in what works best for you.
most mainstream laundry detergents contain ingredients that will build up in diapers and cause them to repel. here's a great list of detergents to use as a reference. we use Charlie's Soap and have had no problems with it. we are actually still using the first tub we purchased and Ronin is six months old (almost).
2. Wool Dryer Balls.
if you want to avoid static and soften your clothes/diapers, dryer balls are the way to go. dryer sheets like Bounce leave a film on diapers (as well as other clothing) and cause them to repel. wool dryer balls are also better for the environment and they shorten drying time.
we chose to use cloth wipes instead of disposable wipes for a few reasons. first off, like using cloth diapers, it's cheaper. secondly, it's just easier. instead of having to separate the disposable wipes from the diaper and throw it away, I just tuck the cloth wipe(s) into the dirty diaper and throw it all in the wet bag to be washed. it just makes more sense that way. I like the Thirsties wipes because they're super soft... and fun colors.
4. Hanging Wet Bag.
as I mentioned above, some folks prefer having a pail with a liner & a lid, but I love having wet bags. they have a little strap that I use to hang on the Pack N Play (or a door knob) for convenience. I use the large Planet Wise bags and have yet to have any issues with smell. I toss all the wet and dirty diapers, along with wipes, in the bag and when it's time to do diaper laundry, I unzip and dump the contents into the washing machine and just toss it in with the diapers. I have another wet bag that replaces the one in the wash.
I like these wipes because they get the job done and they're cheap, and I didn't have to make them. there's nothing special about them, but I tend to use them more often than the Thirsties wipes for quick changes.
regular diaper rash creams create a barrier on the inner portion of the diaper, which causes repelling of liquids. we just had our first experience with diaper rash and Nature's Baby Organics Diaper Ointment cleared it up overnight.
7. Spray Bottle.
if you're using cloth wipes, you'll most likely want to make a wipe solution to use for dirty diapers or just to rub your baby down if they're soaked in pee. I just fill this spray bottle up halfway with hot water, a teaspoon of baby oil, and a teaspoon of baby wash. I then just spray the wipes (or the baby) when it's time to change a poop diaper. when I'm out in public, I just wet the wipes with plain old water and it does the trick just fine.
8. Travel Wet Bag.
along with the two wet bags I keep at home, I also have a smaller one that I keep in the diaper bag for outings. it can hold 4-5 diapers (max) but is small enough that it doesn't take up too much room while we're out and about.
let me just say that CDing has been a great experience for us so far and not nearly as difficult or time consuming as I imagined it might be. I look forward to putting Ronin in cloth for the day (remember, disposables at night), because they leak SO MUCH LESS than the disposables. and let's face it, it doesn't get much cuter than a big fluffy baby butt.
if you have any questions about cloth diapering, I'd more than happy to answer them. feel free to leave them in the comments! I also recommend Jillian's Drawers as a good place to get started.