7 things you need to cloth diaper that aren’t cloth diapers.

First, two points:

1. I put the words “cloth diaper” right there in the title twice so that I wouldn’t sucker any of you people who are SO NOT INTERESTED IN CLOTH DIAPERS SHUT UP ABOUT CLOTH DIAPERS into reading words that don’t apply to or interest you in any fashion. So. If you proceed past this point and complain, you will be pointed at, and then laughed at. Because, come on.

2. Let’s address the word “need” here right off the bat. I’m using the word “need” in the way that normal people use “need.” You know, in a basically standard but non-completely literal sense. The way that people who don’t have blogs get to use the word “need.” Okay? I’m using it in the non-blogger fashion. I know that YOU didn’t neeeeeed any of this stuff and that I’m just ridiculous with all my highfalutin baby gear, and YOU just neeeeeeded a running stream and a couple of rocks. I’m sure there’s a medal waiting for you in Heaven, the Spartan Sector. Really. But I’m using “need” here as in, “I’ve found these items necessary, and you might as well.”

Moving on. Seven things you need to cloth diaper that aren’t cloth diapers.

1. A cloth diaper safe butt cream.

While rashes do tend to appear less often with cloth diapers than disposable for MOST (I hate you, Internet, for making me qualify every damn thing ever) kids, they do still happen. And you can’t put A&D or Desitin or Triple Paste or whatever ass spackle you like best on your kid when she’s wearing a cloth diaper. It will not cause you extra hassle, it will not be a difficult situation, it will ruin the diaper. Well, not ruin if you’re willing to go through an elaborate process of boiling and washing with Dawn over and over and over, but — yeah, ruined. Don’t do it.

Personally, we use coconut oil. It’s a solid oil with a low melting point, so you scoop a little out of the jar and it melts right on your fingers. Then you apply it to the buttular area. It’s a good skin protectant and will help cure minor rashes as well.

When I was out looking for coconut oil, I found this:

This is not what you are looking for.

There are a lot of options out there. You don’t have to use coconut oil. If you do, though, some of them have no smell and some will conjure up images of tropical vacations and baby butts. So. Your choice.

2. Fleece liners.

Fleece liners to go inside of your diapers because of exactly the opposite of what I just said. Sometimes there are rashes that tropical fruits (nuts? what?) cannot cure. And you will need/want to use the heavy duty butt cream. So you’ll need to either put your kid in disposable diapers until the rash cures (which is a bit backwards, if you ask me, which you didn’t), or you can put down a fleece liner to keep the cream off the actual diaper. I use Bummis.

Another benefit of fleece liners is that while fleece is not waterPROOF, it is water RESISTANT and also pulls moisture away from its surface with pressure. So, if you have a kid who is especially sensitive to being wet at all, as in will shriek at the merest hint of dampness, fleece liners can help you extend nap time by providing more of a dry feeling.

You do have to change cloth diapers more often than disposable because they don’t hold the moisture away from the skin as much as disposable does, and I definitely don’t advocate delaying diaper changes, but naps. Come on.

ALSO? Fleece liners are… ahem. Non-stick. Not so much for breastfed baby business, but when your kid starts being a little more solid in her production? A fleece liner will allow you to shake the mess off right into the toilet. So. There’s that.

3. Cloth wipes.

If you’re going to cloth diaper, just go for the full buy in with cloth wipes. If you’re cloth diapering for cost benefits or environmental benefits, it’s a no brainer. If you have other reasons, you should still use cloth wipes because of the convenience of just throwing everything into the laundry together. Phil has finally converted over to cloth wipes, not because he wants to, but because I just didn’t bother to keep track of his disposable wipe needs and he can never remember to keep track himself. I’m happy he switched because I have fished several disposable wipes out of the washer, and that is ridiculous.

I got my cloth wipes on Etsy. They’re cute. You can also cut up receiving blankets or baby towels or t-shirts or use cheap baby washcloths. Whatever. Get some cloth. Wipe butts with it.

4. Squirty bottles.

Cloth wipes need to be wet. You can do this in any of a thousand different ways. Wet a wipe in the sink whenever you need one. Keep water by the changing station. Keep damp wipes in a plastic baggie or in an empty disposable wipes box or go fancy with a wipe warmer. We use squirt bottles. Sometimes I squirt the wipe, sometimes I squirt Penny’s butt, and then yell “BUTT PUCKER! BUTT PUCKER!” until she starts smiling like a loon.

Loon.

Your squirt bottles could have water in them, or you can buy concentrated wipes solutions in all kinds of scents from places like Etsy – here’s a good shop. A lot of diaper brands also sell their own line of butt wash as well. Personally, I make our cloth wipes solution. There are recipes all over the Internet, but it’s basically mostly water, a touch of baby soap, and some kind of oil.

I even have a travel squirty bottle for the diaper bag, but it’s empty now because a few days ago we came home and there was this ENORMOUS YELLOW JACKET on the door knob and I had to jump in bravely and squirt him away.

5. Toilet sprayer.

A toilet sprayer attaches to the toilet and is super easy to install. It sprays. Not everyone uses one of these, but we do. Some people dunk and swish their diapers in the toilet, some people have utility sinks, and some people don’t rinse at all, especially for exclusively breastfed babies. Penny is exclusively breastfed so we don’t strictly need to rinse, but… ah… sometimes you just want to anyway. Rinsing can help prevent staining, and maybe just also make you feel better about that diaper sitting until your next washing.

In the future, into solid food, again, still not strictly necessary, but you WILL need to rinse off/scrape/clean your diapers in some way before they go in the washer at that point in your kid’s digestive life, and we’ve decided on a sprayer. We use the BumGenius one, but there are others and you can even rig up your own if you’re talented with with hardware store type activities.

6. Cloth diaper safe laundry detergent.

Everyone has one they swear by, but to be honest, it comes down to what your water is like and what your wash routine is like and some other kind of magic invisible factors that lead to a lot of trial and error. Pick the wrong detergent and you will have the “stinkies” (actual thing!) or problems with repelling, which is pretty much exactly what you don’t want with a diaper.

Right now, we use Charlie’s. It smells terrible (cat pee) in the bottle, but smells like nothing on clean clothes/diapers. What should you use? No earthly idea. You’ve just got to screw around with it until you find what works. This may be the first one you try, or it may involve a lot of angst and Internet searches. Good luck to you, intrepid launderer.

7. Bags

You’re not going to want to use one of those fancy diaper pail jobbers because the last thing you really want is a plastic sausage casing of poop-filled diapers you intend on using again. Yeah, good idea. Wrap it in plastic. Let’s keep it fresh.

Anyway, you need bags. You can get a hanging bag, which I think is pretty cool – FuzziBunz makes one, and it’s just like an old fashioned, non-automatic diaper pail straight out of 2002, without the actual can. Personally, I use a Planet Wise  pail liner and had every intention of buying a pail to line, but I didn’t. The bag either sits in the laundry room or the bathroom, depending on situations. It’s a great bag, though. Super sturdy and well made and does great in the wash. When Penny fully moves into her own bedroom (when I put my bed in the living room), I will probably get a pail, because it seems disrespectful to her to go into her room and throw gross diapers on her floor.

I also have two travel size bags as well. I don’t care for them, because they have drawstrings and I’d rather have zippers, and they also haven’t held up too well in the wash. I don’t care for mine, but I do care for the smaller bags in general. We keep one in our bedroom at night so we don’t have to get up and walk to the non-pail, and obviously I carry one in the diaper bag when we go out. This is another thing you can buy on Etsy if you want. Go for zippers, though.

So. Aside from, you know, cloth diapers, those are the things I use for cloth diapering. If you’ve got something else to recommend, I’d love to hear it, because I’m in that early stage of parenting that basically totally revolves around my kid’s butt.


21 thoughts on “7 things you need to cloth diaper that aren’t cloth diapers.

  1. Delicia

    >apply it to the buttular area.<

    HA! Buttular area!!

    So, I know you've used both disposable and cloth.. are cloth worth the extra "hassle"? I mean, eventually I assume they will save you money after the initial outlay, and if cute pirate ones aren't available for additional purchases.

    I understand the whole Save The Planet thing and disposables are Evil. They are, however, a hell of a lot easier to use (other than the occasional blow-outs, for which I still need therapy). If you’re already dealing with trying to figure out breastfeeding (assuming that’s the route a new mom takes), it just seems like this would be even more complicated stuff to add into the mix.

    TJ Reply:

    I REALLY don’t see cloth as that much of a hassle. It’s just something I decided to do, and we do it. It’s not really a thing at all.

    I’m not really a rabid environmentalist and cost isn’t a HUGE concern, and I don’t think disposables are evil. I just wanted to use cloth. I like the idea for all of the reasons combined, it wasn’t any single reason that I really felt strongly about.

    I can assure, you, though, if it was too much hassle, we definitely wouldn’t be doing it!

    (And we haven’t had a single blow out.)

    Nancy Reply:

    We HAD to switch to cloth with my first son. He started getting blisters resembling chemical burns from every brand of disposable we tried so cloth it was. I will be using it again for the next baby as it really isn’t the hassle many think. Added bonus – you don’t have to worry about being on your last diaper at 2 am or at a time when you can not get to the store.

  2. Jessica

    I’ve had coconut oil recommended to me as an excellent lubricant for intimate activities, if you know what I mean. I bought some, but haven’t ever worked up the courage to try it. Maybe I’ll start using it as diaper cream! I don’t think I could use the same jar for both, it would seem weird…

    Cayt Reply:

    It’s also great conditioner for your hair.

  3. Jen

    “sometimes I squirt Penny’s butt, and then yell “BUTT PUCKER! BUTT PUCKER!” until she starts smiling like a loon”

    This alone almost makes me want to give up my disposable diapering ways. ALMOST.

  4. Carrie

    Yay, cloth diaper talk! I enjoy it, mainly because I have no one to talk to in real life about CD. Though I have to admit we have moved to part time disposable use this summer since it is so freakin’ hot and my baby’s cute little shorts won’t fit over the diapers. She was having so much diaper rash that I didn’t know what to do, and I finally figured it out. She was allergic to the wipes solution I was using and she was super allergic to coconut oil. Who knew that was even possible?

  5. Miriam

    My daughter was allergic to the surfactant in one brand of disposable diapers. As in huge blisters/rash and screaming daughter whenever urine, poo, wipes or washcloths touched her backside when or after wearing that brand. Thank goodness we used them only for the diaper bag and had very few of them. (They were shower gifts.) Every time I tried to use them, she got a very angry looking tush. Every. Time. (She got a lot of baths to clean her up.)

    So yeah. I chose cloth diapers and didn’t mind the laundry. My girl’s bottom thanked me!

  6. Tric

    As a non-parent who is considering getting hutted up with a fetal-type organism in the next year I’ve been taking notes of your suggestions of all things baby/boob/to buy. I can’t thank you enough for posting stuff like this. I realize you aren’t doing it just for me and I feel super ridiculous thanking you for it. But here we are. Anyway, have the diaper non-pails been effective in keeping your house from smelling like a sewer? I am really keen to use cloth diapers (for my non-existent hypothetical fetal critter, mind you), but it seems to me that I’d want to quit taking my allergy meds just so I could avoid the smells. Is it as a situation as one would assume? I realize no diapers smell like roses, but I mean poop in my washing machine…?

  7. Caroline T

    I am not a parent nor do I ever intend to become a parent (already-teenager-bonus kids for the win!) but I still enjoy the cloth diaper posts – guess I just enjoy your writing TJ, whatever the subject :)

    OH, and thanks for the Toilet Sprayer section – I have wondered if you really where suppose to throw any degree of pooped-on-diapers straight in the washingmachine.. it felt like I was missing something so thanks for clearing it up! :)

  8. LemonFresh

    I just had to say. Ass spackle. *snort*

    Also, about halway through this post I suddenly stopped wanting to eat the turd-shaped chocolate bar (with coconut!) I had been eating.

  9. LizScott

    See, now this was helpful. For some reason cloth diapering has always seemed so daunting because I have NO context for it, and then it’s all “make your own detergent! it’ll be fun!” and I’m all “Whaaaa?”

    For whatever reason, this post slammed me right up side the head with context and now it seems fairly reasonable and realistic. So that’s cool.

  10. Tempest

    =D Coconut oil! That stuff is friggin’ amazing. I have seborrheic dermatitis (pretty bad dandruff) that consumed my scalp and spread to my forehead and nose (making me feel wonderfully scaly. I think I’m becoming a lizard).

    Coconut oil is a moisturizer AND is anti-fungul and it has pretty much CURED any skin-issues. I also use coconut oil to treat my hair, and it’s awesome.

    =B And apparently the stuff is awesome for babies in cloth diapers. I swear, coconut oil will take over the world.

    LemonFresh Reply:

    It’s good for cooking, too! Apparently there was a study done where women who supplemented with coconut oil had thinner waistlines than women who supplemented with other vegetable oils (I think it was soy). I just started using it when I fry things.

  11. Ale

    I wish I this was around when My kids were born because you make it seem less daunting with your explanations and links then when I barely scratched the surface in a not too interested way 11 years ago. This would have really made me lean towards cloth had I been reading yoru pre baby type blog that suddenly included all these tips corresponding to when I was having a baby. The only issue would have been, not being a stay at home mom, the daycare I went with would only use disposible and all of the others I checked into were the same. I did like how the daycare went about assisting with toilet training though as they would not use pullups at all. It was underwear and if you chose a cover which actually worked awesome and both kids were trained in no time flat. (I did use overnight pullups at night for a time though, mostly until they got the hang of daytime potty rituals.

    Anyway, if I was going to have a 3rd (which I upon occasion have crazy notions of) and was able to stay home for the diapering years, I would totally go for it. You really make it seem doable and some of those diapers are soooo cute. Disposable diapers are not cute except for those faux jean huggies which I mostly laugh at the “I poo in blue.”

  12. Nicole

    We used disposables the first 3 weeks or so, as the little thing was too small for the cloth diapers. We use prefolds and Thirsties covers now, and honestly, I think it’s just as easy as the disposables were.
    She got a rash while she was still in disposables, and we just threw caution to the wind and used butt paste. We weren’t slathering her entire butt with it and it did leave a few tiny stains on the diapers where it smeared off, but rash finally cleared up and we haven’t had any more.
    We use a Planetwise hanging bag, do laundry every 2-3 days, and it doesn’t smell. Promise.
    That was my mom’s concern, and the fact that she was standing a foot away from the full bag while asking completely escaped her.

  13. Nancy

    Thanks for the link to the cloth wipes. Those are adorable and I have been looking for some. I love reading your CD posts as many CD women online seem to be a bit more (read way more) green and crunchy than I am.

  14. thanksmngmt

    This post has been Book Marked!! I never thought of a toilet sprayer, didn’t know they even made such a thing. So it has been added to the list! If not for saving the earth while saving Money the picture and expression of Penny included should be motivation enough to choice cloth alone! Serious get that kid on a Diaper cover!!

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