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.
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.
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.