This post is sponsored by Diaperkind, an online shop and cloth diaper service for New York City.
My name is Erin, and I’m a cloth diaper enthusiast. Promise, I’m not a weirdo. I’m not going to wax poetic about the beauty of the diaper change, but opting to use cloth diapers has been one of the easiest ways our family has found to cut down on the waste that we produce. And, well, that’s been kind of beautiful.
We used Diaperkind, a New York City diaper service, for all of our diapering needs with Faye, and we recently started our service up again when Silas was born.
Yes, it’s very sweet to wrap a bit of organic cotton around a tiny bum, but the very best part about cloth diapering is knowing that the enormous bag of diapers we dirty each week is headed to a washing machine and not a trash can. The truth is, even disposable diapers marketed as green alternatives use sodium polyacrylate gel, a petroleum product that doesn’t break down in landfills. Cloth diapers are gentle on baby bottoms and gentle on the environment. They’re hands down the most eco-friendly option out there (and if you’re able to launder them yourself, they’re the cheapest option, too). Since we don’t have a washer or dryer in our apartment (or building), we rely on Diaperkind’s Weekly Cloth Diaper Service.
As service subscribers, managing cloth diapers is as easy as getting our diapers into the diaper pail after changes, getting the diaper pail out the door on pickup night, and keeping a rotation of diaper covers washed, dried, and at the ready. Using Diaperkind’s Weekly Prefold Diapers Service means that each week we put our pail of dirties outside our apartment door and someone from the service swings by to pick them up and deliver a bag of freshly cleaned ones.
Even for a family like ours, with two working parents, we’ve found using cloth diapers to be super simple. It’s a many-times-a-day habit that we (and the other caregivers in our life) got used to quickly. Still, like many things related to parenting, cloth diapers exist in a bafflingly tricky-to-talk-about space. For folks who use them, the choice seems relatively mundane—like deciding to use a swaddle, or breastfeed—but I’ve found that for folks who don’t use them, misconceptions abound. I’m here to tell you, cloth diapers are just diapers that get washed instead of thrown away. Cross my heart, they’re not scary and we’re not super humans for using them.
Pictured above: The Diaperkind prefold diaper (Diaperkind Weekly Prefold Diapers Service; Pre-fold Diapers for Home Launderers).
I love the analogy that Diaperkind co-founder, Liz, uses to explain the cloth diaper work load: “We often tell people to imagine it like washing dishes: Sure, sometimes they are really gnarly after they’ve been sitting in the sink overnight, but no one would ever really consider replacing all of their dinnerware with paper plates! Why? Because it’s just not that big of a deal to wash them and the experience of using something non-disposable is far better.”
Pictured above: The Diaperkind fitted diaper (Fitted Diapers Service; Fitted Diapers for Home Launderers).
Diapers and Covers
Diaperkind offers two models of cloth diapers for their service customers and in their online shop. There’s the classic prefold diapers that we use (available in either conventional or organic cotton options), and a new fitted diaper with a contoured shape that doesn’t require folding. (We took the fitted diapers and cloth wipes for a test drive recently, and they’re both terrific.) Both diapers get secured with diaper clips and both get used in conjunction with a waterproof cover of your choice to ensure everything stays dry (and contained).
Pictured above: Flip Diaper Cover.
There are tons of different cover options in the Diaperkind shop. They run the gamut from 100% wool covers to waterproof covers with snaps and waterproof covers with velcro. Many of the covers are adjustable and made to expand along with the growth of the baby so that you don’t need to buy new covers each time you size up with diapers.
Pictured above: Babee Green Wool Longies, Babee Green Wool Diaper Cover, Thirsties Snap Duo Wrap Cover, Thirsties Hook + Loop Duo Wrap Cover, Flip Diaper Cover, and Imse Vimse Organic Cotton Diaper Cover.
For pattern-phobes like me, there are plain, neutral-colored covers and for folks who want something a bit more playful, there’s no shortage of cheery designs.
Pictured above: Thirsties Snap Duo Wrap Cover.
Creams and Cloths
I get a lot of questions about non-toxic diaper creams and I find Diaperkind’s philosophy on this to be incredibly refreshing. Like me, they recommend a coconut oil-based cream and sell one that they call Organic Coco Balm. In case of diaper rash (something I admit we’ve had to deal with only when we’ve occasionally used disposable diapers while traveling), they sell a basic zinc-oxide-based Rash Relief Cream in their shop.
For folks using cloth wipes (or for cleaning up any particularly impressive poops) Diaperkind recommends their Castile soap cleaner—Sudsy Bottoms Foaming Solution—for easy cleanups. Diaperkind service customers can subscribe to the Diaperkind Weekly Cotton Wipes Service and home launderers can buy a pack of 12 Cotton Wipes for washing at home.
Pictured above: Diaperkind Coco Balm, Diaperkind Rash Relief Cream, Diaperkind Sudsy Bottoms and Cotton Wipes.
Extra Help, Etc.
If cloth diapering is still seeming daunting, Diaperkind offers a monthly hands-on Cloth Diapering 101 class in their Brooklyn space. For folks who aren’t local, Diaperkind isn’t only a diaper service for families living in New York City, they also offer private consultations to help families around the country get set up for home laundering. And they stock Pre-fold Diapers, Fitted Diapers, and Cotton Wipes in their online shop for home launderers looking to get started. For anyone with gifts on the brain, Diaperkind sells Gift Certificates that can be applied to their shop or weekly service fees.
Pictured above: Silas hanging out on a Kaiser Natural Lambskin from Diaperkind.
If you’re interested in giving cloth diapers a shot, mention “Reading My Tea Leaves” at checkout to receive either 50% off your Diaperkind diaper service registration fee, or 15% credit back on your first retail order of $100 or more. Details here.
PS. If you have any other questions about my experience with cloth diapers, shoot! We’re in the thick of middle-of-the-night changes right now, so I’ve got diapers very much on the brain.
This post is sponsored by Diaperkind, an online shop and cloth diaper service for New York City. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Reading My Tea Leaves.
What do you do with the dirty diapers when you are not at home (out during the day?)
We have a zippered wet bag that we bring out with us in case we need to do any on-the-go changes! The bag locks in the moisture (and odor) and we just add it to the diaper pail when we get home!
Those little feet!!!! Your Silas is just the sweetest. I hope newborn-hood is treating you all well.
What a fantastic service! I would totally have paid for that! We cloth diapered both kids, who are now 7 and 10. We do have a washer/dryer so we bought our own diapers and washed them ourselves. We handed most of them down when we were done and I am happy to report that many of our diapers are STILL in rotation among family and friends. One issue that we had was finding pants to accommodate the size of the cloth-diaper bum as most baby clothes are designed for the slimmer disposable diaper. Maybe that’s not an issue anymore?
So great! We’ve never really had an issue with pants! The cloth diaper bum is still pretty impressively large, but I guess we just always stretch whatever we have over to fit! (Admittedly, never tried any baby skinny jeans, so slimmer pants like that might be trickier!)
Baby skinny jeans – haha!!! 🙂
I used to have trouble finding pants for my one son, who was a chubby round little thing. It was tricky to sometimes find athletic pants or leggings that were boyish or gender neutral. That boy did not wear jeans under the age of 12 months! He wasn’t able to bend at the hips and sit upright if I had!
haha! i had the same problem! my little guy was so chubby + the cloth diaper. i don’t normally put my babies in jeans, but even in soft/athletic pants i kept sizing up and they would be so long and then tight around his hips!! so funny!
Cloth diapers are the best (in terms of diapers, that is)! Thanks for sharing this great cloth diaper information and spreading the word.
I love this idea for someday. Please ask them to expand to Jersey City at some point in the next couple of years!
Just in case you didn’t see Sarah’s reply! You’re in luck!
We do! Diaperkind services all of Hudson County. Woohoo!
Hopeful cloth diaper novice here! How many diapers/covers would you recommend getting for a home launderer? Do you need the inserts with the pre folds? Thanks!!!
Not a home launderer, so I might let the women at Diaperkind answer the first question! As for the insert question, I find there’s often funny lingo confusion with cloth diapers! With both the “fitted” and the “prefold” cloth diaper, you use the cloth diaper in conjunction with a waterproof cover. (The cloth is super absorbent, but does get saturated, so you want something to make sure you’re not holding a wet bottom all the time!) There’s no disposable insert for either kind of diaper! Does that answer your question?
Hi Juliana –
We had about 20 diapers, which lasted ~2-4 days depending on the age of the kid. I think we washed diapers every 3 days or so.
Hi Juliana. We cloth diaper our 15 month old and have 24 diapers. We could probably get by with 18, but this way we’re sure to not get ourselves in a pinch. We launder them every 2-3 days in mild Charlie’s soap detergent.
Inserts are used when the waterproof shell has a pocket style opening. We stuff ours with organic hemp inserts as we’ve found those to be the most absorbent. With a prefold or fitted diaper, the waterproof shell goes around the outside of a fully covered cloth bum. Hope this is helpful to you! Happy to answer any other questions you may have.
Thanks for chiming in, Lauren.
Thanks Lauren, this perfectly answers my question! How many waterproof shells do you have?
We rotate 6 covers in the infant stage (one of which stays in the diaper bag in case we have a leak when we’re out and about) but found there were far fewer leaks once the poops firm up with solid food and we could get away with fewer covers!
It sounds like other have chimed in on the number of waterproof shells and fitted/prefold diapers needed. I can comment on the style we use, which is the pocket style BumGenius 4.0.
With the pocket style diaper, the insert as well as the shell get soiled and both are replaced each time the diaper is changed. We have 24 “diapers,” waterproof shells lined with microfiber cloth containing an opening, and 30 “inserts.” The inserts slide into the pocket. We use just one insert during the day and double up at night. It all sounds way more complicated than it is in practice. You’ll get your system down very quickly!
I also used Charlie’s Soap to launder our cloth diapers when our babies were in diapers. It worked really well and a tub lasts a long time.
For home laundering you’ll want to have 24-30 diapers and 6 covers. That’s the sweet spot in terms of quantity and will have you laundering every 2-3 days. For more info, please check out our Home Laundering FAQ page http://www.diaperkind.com/home-laundering/faq
And, of course, please give us a shout if you have any further questions!
The more you have the longer they’l last (less wear and tear) and better likelihood that they’ll make it till the next kid. I would recommend at least 24 🙂
For covers – I started with six, but newborn poop is pretty runny, so if you can get 8-10 that would be good !
I love cloth diapers and have happily used them with all six of my children (and currently have two using them now). This has been a wonderful frugal option for us, as we couldn’t afford doing disposables for two kids! I completely agree with everything you say about them being healthier for kids and the planet. However, I often hear arguments from critics saying that diapers are such a small percentage of waste, and cloth diapers use so much water, that actually disposables are better overall. I have no intention of ever switching, but I was curious if anyone has done more research on this or has any answers to those claims?
Diaperkind has a really nice chart tracking the cost and environmental impact of different diapering options: http://www.diaperkind.com/skin/frontend/diaperkind/child_theme/pdf/Diaperkind_Deciding.pdf
Such an excellent (and common) question! The amount of water used to launder cloth diapers twice a week is the equivalent of a few toilet flushes per day. Which is something your babe will do sooner than later when diapered in cloth!
Be proud of your sustainable diaper choice, Annaleah!
We used cloth diapers for all of ur children, 30, 26 and 22 years ago and loved it. So happy to hear from NY parents today the same. 🙂
Unrelated to diapers, though if we ever have kids, I like this idea.
Would you mind sharing the sources of your moon prints and that darling hanging basket? I love how intentionally you curate your rooms. It showcases the objects you have selected like little artistic vignettes. You can really appreciate the design of each piece. You have such a well executed space. <3
Thanks so much! The moon calendar is from the year that Faye was born! The artist makes a new version each year! The basket was a wedding gift! It’s from Pigeon Toe Ceramics!
Good topic! How did you deal with diapering an older walking baby? I feel like it’s smooth sailing while they’re infants, but gets tricky when they start walking and can’t patiently stay still through the diaper-snappy-cover sequence. I often just let my one-year-old rund around in undies and loose cotton pants, as it’s easier to wipe the puddle off the floor and throw the pants in the wash…
Ha! We potty trained at 22 months and definitely also had plenty of diaper-free time around the house! Still, by the time Faye was old enough to be super squirmy for changes, we were real cloth diaper pros and could do those changes in no time!
For us, now that our twins are more wiggly and mobile, we don’t bother with the snappy. If using a pre-fold, we just tri-fold it and lay it in the cover like an insert. We also have a stash of pocket and all-in-ones that are great for these more mobile months.
I wanted to chime in that using cloth diapers doesn’t have to be an all or nothing endeavor. You can still help the planet by using cloth part-time. We cloth diaper our twins (already a year old!), but we found the way to make it sustainable for us was to use a disposable overnight and disposables when we are out and about. They are in cloth the majority of the time, and we have to wash our diapers about every other night, BUT we give ourselves a break at night and with outings. It works for us, and we still feel like we’re doing the planet a solid ;-).
Great point!! I could only imagine the diaper laundry and time with twins. It is definitely not a black and white issue. I was totally afraid of cloth diapering until someone mentioned to me that it did not have to be all or nothing. I started small, one cover and a dozen prefolds, and as I got more comfortable with it transitioned to it full time.
I completely agree with you on this one. We mostly used cloth diapers when our first was less than 6 months, but we used disposables when out and about and overnight. It was the perfect solution for us. It really doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing! I think that’s what scares people away and makes them think they could never do cloth diapering–that if they go out, that they have to carry around dirty cloth diapers all day.
I loved cloth diapering ! Especially the newborn phase, before they’re eating solids and you don’t even have to scoop anything into the toilet (although, now that I use disposables [see below], I still empty them out into the toilet before throwing them away). I loved it and did it as long as I could, even though, to be honest, I’m not totally convinced that the water/energy that goes into washing cloth diapers isn’t comparable (in terms of environmental impact) to disposable diapers. But nevertheless, I personally preferred reusing to throwing away, even if environmentally it’s a bit of a wash (no pun intended).
I was sad to discover, once I had to go back to work, that a lot of daycares won’t work with cloth diapers. So unless you and/or other family members/friends are the full-time caregivers, or you can afford to employ your own caregiver, cloth diapering might not be an option.
Definitely true that it can be tricky to sort with daycare, but there are definitely also daycare options that welcome cloth diapers! My sister even visited one once that *required* cloth diapers during “school” hours!
We had the same issue with our first child when I went back to work. Our childcare provider was not willing to work with cloth diapers and I think that is fairly typical (although I am sure there are places that are more accommodating). We are about to have our third kiddo and plan to use cloth diapers while I’m on maternity leave and then continue using them in the evenings/weekends at home. During childcare the baby will use disposable, so it’s a compromise, but a step in the right direction. I’m hoping #3 will magically be potty trained early as well so we can be free of diapers forever!!!!
Home daycres will often take cloth. I knew one woman who insisted that children in her care used cloth diapers as she did not want the garbage of disposables in her home.
On another note, breast milk works wonders on a diaper rash!
We use pre fold cloth and launder ourselves. We are busy professionals and use combo of nanny and day care for child care. Both were fine with our use of cloth diapers. I’ll admit that once our baby girl started sleeping through the night we switched to disposables at night time. We just could not find a cloth diaper that would keep her dry and comfortable. We also use disposables when travelling. I find there are many myths about diaper rash and cloth diapers. Our daughter has sensitive skin but find that diaper rash is not a problem provided she is changed often and we apply a homemade bum balm with coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax every time. Great post as always Erin. I think people would be surprised how easy cloth diapering is. I found this site had great tips. http://detoxinista.com/2014/05/the-easiest-cloth-diapers-everything-youll-need-to-get-started/
Not sure if it would have made a difference, but once Faye was sleeping through the night (or close), we started using cloth “doublers”—basically a cloth pad that doubles the absorption of the cloth diaper—and they made a huge difference!
For anyone looking to cloth diaper at home, we have loved the OsyCozy better fit prefolds, as they can just be folded in thirds and placed into a snug fitting cover (we use the Flip covers pictured here)–no need for a fastener of any kind.
I think this is a great, but only if you don’t have to wash them at home! The thought of running soiled nappies into our washing machine daily in-between our laundry loads has put us off cloth nappies completely. Unless we can find a collection and drop of service, as you have!
A good wash routine has two washes per bath of diapers – cold first and then a hot one. The washing machine is totally clean after – no smell/residue. I can’t imagine that diapers are much more dirty than the dirt on our underwear/clothes (e.g., sitting on the subway, etc.).
We have a toilet diaper sprayer, which is easy to find on Amazon for about $30 and I’m pretty sure would attach to any toilet. The sprayer has some great water pressure and does all the work for you. All the mess goes right into the toilet. After, just wring out the diaper and wash.
I’ve cloth diapered both of my older two and are definitely planning on doing so again when our next one arrives in May. As a home launderer I’ve just discovered the website fluffloveuniversity.com that is a very thorough how-to space for all your laundering questions. I realized I did a lot of things wrong the first two times around!
I love cloth diapers–I used them with my second kid. I didn’t use a service, but that would have been awesome. Now I have thirty diapers that I need to put on ebay or something, because my kids are both potty trained!
I had wanted to cloth diaper my daughter and had even rented a newborn set of CDs when she was first born. She loved them (in fact, I joked that she always went as soon as I put a soft, fresh diaper on her). Being a single mom made it difficult and without a diaper service (which I longed for but they didn’t have in my area), I ended up switching to disposables. To this day I still feel rather guilty about that.
We cloth diapered both of our sons and used Diaperkind for the 2nd. We recently switched to disposables (at 24 months) but found it to be easy and worth any extra effort. The Diaperkind staff is super helpful and responsive if there are any questions or concerns. Also their coconut oil and other diapering accessories are awesome! Highly recommend their service!!!
Hi Erin, did you reach a point with Faye where the snappi clip no longer worked (i.e., she was too wide for it)? Our chubby 11-month old is now too big for us to stretch a snappi across her without it being very restrictive, so we’ve just been folding the pre-folds inside of the covers and I feel like it’s a lot harder to manipulate the fabric into place and get everything tucked inside properly without having the snappi to keep things secure. It’s been so annoying trying to fold it in place that I’ve contemplated switching to disposables, but this post has given me motivation to continue! Maybe we need a different size pre-fold that fits better inside the cover without the excess fabric I’m dealing with?
Hmm! We didn’t have that problem! Possibly a bigger prefold so you don’t have to stretch the snappi so far to get it to catch both sides? Or a different kind of clip? We used to use two when Faye was little; could work here!
Hey there Rosie-
I’m happy to help!
The snappi will actually “grow” with your baby from birth to potty training. You just need to break it in! The way to do that is to grab both sides and stretch over and over again. Put some muscle behind it to really soften and loosen it up. This will permanently make it bigger.
Hope that helps! And please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at diaperkind if you have any further questions.
Awesome, thank you!
Rosie, we had two sizes of Snappis. Perhaps check you are using the bigger size.
I use prefolds inside flip covers without a snappi for my 16 month old. I use a smaller size prefold than if I were fastening it, so it fits really nicely in the cover. Not sure what covers you have, but the flip covers have little pockets on each end to keep the insert in place. I bet it would work ok even with a different style of cover. No fasteners also helps to keep the changes quick for my very wiggly guy!
I love cloth diapers- got a big set when my daughter was a newborn- but I found that I hardly used them, because they made my daughter’s clothes look funny. Ha! I guess we wear too many jeggings and leggings around here.
i have two little humans (one two, one four months), and although we’ve used cloth diapers for both, we cannot for the life of us figure out how to avoid night leaks for our two year old son. we’ve double-stuffed, and short of waking him up in the middle of the night for a change, are at a bit of a loss. have you had any trouble with this?
I’m with you – my girl drenches both layers of PJs, plus her sleep sack and her sheet when I’ve tried to have her sleep in cloth. Additional inserts didn’t help, “waterproof” covers were, um, not at all. We ended up doing cloth part time like someone else mentioned above. I think some babies must just produce more liquid than others, because her caregiver also prefers disposables since would go through multiple clothing changes a day when we tried cloth at daycare too. I love and prefer cloth so I’m glad I’m able to use them when we do!
I inherited my sister’s stash of diaperkind prefolds and fitteds (she lives in Queens and I live in Massachusetts) that I’ve been using on my four month old since birth – so seeing photos of Silas hits home 🙂
Try wool at night – I have some but haven’t used it yet – but several people swear by it. Also – the only time my daughter leaked was when I did a double stuffed pocket at night (she’s 4 months). I do a prefold with a doubler and she goes 12 hours.
I loved how soft and comfortable cloth diapers were, compared to plastic-y, paper-y, weird smelling disposable. Potty learning was a breeze too, kiddos could feel the difference between wet and dry.
Thanks for spreading the word about cloth Erin!
Great pics! So cute seeing squishy cloth covered baby bums. We used cloth with both our boys and I couldn’t be more happy about it. I actually miss the diapering days. The prefolds with snappies were our favorite choice for newborns and I mostly used fitted or AIO’s when they were older. We’ve used typical diaper covers as well as wool and fleece which were amazing in their own right.
So many, many choices are available in the world of cloth diapers that no one bothers to think about or look into. Both my hubby and MIL thought I was nuts when I told them we’d be cloth diapering and they both came to love using cloth. So much so that my MIL ended up doing diaper laundry for me while she was watching our boys and my husband would tout all the benefits of using cloth to practically anyone who’d listen! My daycare even had no issues with the AIO’s.
The best was…well there are a lot of positives! No waste, never once did my kids have diaper rash and they both potty trained early and easily. You can spend a ton on beautiful, stylish cloth or you can go bare bones. But there are numerous sites out there to calculate for you and either way you save on your diaper budget if you go with cloth. I’d say I spent around $1800 -$2000 total for diapering both kids. Two kids from birth to potty training. When they were both done I was able to sell the majority of them for a profit of $900 and I gave away the rest which were still in great condition. The average family who buys disposables for a kid from birth to potty training with wipes will spend roughly $2500 and they can recoup $0 of that money, not to mention the heap of trash and human feces (which technically should be put in the toilet anyhow because it pollutes ground water) that gets thrown into the landfill!
Sorry, I could go on and on about my love and the sensibility of using cloth. So happy to see someone else doing it too!
Hooray, Erin! I remembered you cloth diapered last time too so its great to see you still do it on the go with a second child. We have day care kids but we’ve been cloth diapering at home with both of our children since day one. Its amazing how laborious most people think it is to use cloth! We wash at home so our experience is a bit different, but I still think it couldn’t be simpler.
Baby feet! Gah, so lovely.
Wonderful post, as usual, but applause for the subtle but important detail of a man (your husband?) changing Silas in these pictures. Love, love, love that.
Me too! Thanks for noticing!
I really appreciate that you said this: “For folks who use them, the choice seems relatively mundane…”
People often looked at us in disbelief when we told them we cloth diapered, our parents were convinced we wanted to martyr ourselves, and we even had a landlord tell us that children in centuries past died because of the bacteria that abound when using cloth diapers (!!!!!). But for us, it was as simple as putting a diaper on a baby and then doing the laundry. That’s it.
We also transitioned to using liners when the poop became more abundant—they look like a dryer sheet, very thin, that you put inside the prefold. It collects the solids, so you can flush it or throw it away, and the liquids pass through to the diaper. For anyone who is skittish about poop, it’s incredibly helpful (and yes, produces slightly more waste than just using a cloth diaper, but nowhere near as much as using a disposable. )
We have had two in cloth nappies (as we call them here), some of which had already been used for two children, some of which we bought new, and cloth wipes were also among the best choices we made. Now the nappies are off to a fifth child, and will come back to us if we have more. Thankfully we had a washing machine at home, but no drier, and we managed just fine, even with a newborn and toddler both needing the nappies. They are such an easy choice.
I cannot even BEGIN to handle the Silasness of this post. Look at his teeny feet!
Pardon the off-topic nature of the comment, I’m neither a parent nor soon to be one (though I fully intend to cloth diaper if a newborn ever enters my life), so I’m content to squeal over your little dude.
Squealing encouraged!!! xo!
What a little cutie your new guy is!
Has anyone noticed their baby being a little less mobile with cloth diapers? We use mostly cloth (prefolds and waterproof covers) but do a disposable overnight and if we’re out of the house for a while. My 3 month old has just started rolling over, but so far she only does it in the disposables or when diaperless. With the bulky cloth diaper it seems like she doesn’t really bend at the waist when she’s wiggling on her back.
I’m sure she’ll figure it out eventually, but for now its giving me competing mom/earth guilt, so I’m mixing in disposables during her more active periods of the day. Has anyone found a less bulky cloth option?
Ha! We did notice that Faye was a little more wiggly without the diaper on, but we just gave her plenty of naked baby time (the sheepskin comes in handy for that!) and didn’t worry about it! She definitely figured out how to move 😉
I live in Toronto where disposables are composted– does anyone know what the most environmentally friendly option is in this case?
Hey Kate- We at diaperkind feel that while composting disposables is most DEFINITELY better than throwing them in a landfill, they are still not quite as eco-friendly as a reusable cotton diaper. Compostables are single use disposable items that require a large amount of resources to produce and then even more resources to break down (turn them into compost). And currently there are no compostables on the market that break down 100% (most claim to be approx 80% compostable). And eco-factor aside, cloth diapers come with other perks! The prefold and fitted diapers that Erin writes about are virtually leak proof (no blow outs!), it feels great to swaddle your baby up in soft cotton and opposed to plastic and SAP gel, and babies in cloth tend to potty train approx 1 year sooner than babies in disposables/compostables.
Hope that info is helpful to you : )
Thank you for this post! I cloth-diapered part-time with my first child – in the end, I did not have in-unit laundry machines, and no cloth diaper services covered my area, so once I went back to work the laundry just overwhelmed me and I saved cloth diapers for weekends or at-home days. But the bright side is that I still have all those diapers I invested in, and now I live in a home with laundry in-house, so I can re-use the diapers with my new baby (coming this summer).
When I was shopping for cloth diapers the first time around, I was overwhelmed by all the options and by the way some people treat diapers as almost some magical mystical item that must be maintained and laundered JUST SO in order to be preserved. I found myself wishing desperately that there was a diaper service in my area, just to take some of the burden of the decision-making off my shoulders. But even just in the four months I used them exclusively with my son, and then part-time use after that, I came to see that they really are not difficult to use at all and that laundering them is really not much different than laundering other dirty items. I also found it interesting how my real-life experience differed from what I imagined. I’d thought I would love pocket diapers -I imagined they would be the best of both worlds – but I ended up preferring prefolds or inserts with covers, or else all-in-ones, basically going to one extreme or the other – pocket diapers ended up feeling like the worst of both worlds instead of the best, to me!
Based, I think, on your recommendation here back with your first, we used diaperkind till our daughter went to daycare. We absolutely would have continued longer if we could have. My mom and our babysitter had no trouble figuring it out, and the weekly diaper drop off and pickup (in a locked garbage can in front of our bushwick apartment) was seamless. Their customer service was spot-on. Heartily recommend. Congratulations to you!
oh man i could talk about cloth FOREVER…my thoughts:
– you didn’t even mention my favorite part of cloth. they almost NEVER leak! i never understood a true “blowout” until using disposables!
– i thought i was the only pattern-phobe! i love neutral diapers!
– my sister gave me her stash of cloth diapers after her 4 kids have used them. my third child is now using them and i love that we can pass them down. in some ways i feel like she’s doing life alongside me (she lives in another country) since i get to reuse her diapers. …though after 7 babies i’ve had to throw away some of the most shredded diapers. but imagine the waste we’ve avoided with one stash of diapers. beautiful!
Hey Erin this is great and we have loved cloth diapering our nine month old son. While my husband was reluctant at first, we both now love it and think it’s well worth the learning curve and the effort to launder. One thing though, so no one gets confused: using a zinc-oxide based cream with cloth ruins the cloth diaper! It creates a non-removeable, non-absorbent patch! The coconut oil based balms are great 🙂 congrats on your little one!!
Hmm! That is a little confusing! Not our experience and what’s recommended by the cloth diapering service we use!
Hi there Jenny,
We developed our diaper cream and tested it extensively for years with our service. The trick is to find the right amount of zinc oxide that is safe for the diapers…and we did! Our service families have been using it for years now and we have no problems with ruined diapers.
Hope that helps!
This sounds like a great service. I loved cloth-diapering my (recently potty trained) daughter, which was made all the more simple since we have laundry in our apartment. We purchased our diapers second-hand, and I replaced the elastics which should keep them viable for a future child of our own and possibly even another family after that!
However, there is a negative aspect of cloth-diapering that was recently brought to my attention; the many negative environmental impacts of cotton production. I had thought a lot about the post-use waste of disposable diapers, but surprisingly never considered the waste that goes into the production of cloth diapers. An opinion was published in the Washington Post in 2015 that argues that when you factor the politics of cotton production, the water used to irrigate the cotton crop, chemicals and emissions for transport, etc. the benefits of the back-end (ha) of cloth diapering are largely nullified. The article further states that some of the largest disposable diaper companies have in recent years taken steps to reduce the environmental impact of their product.
As I said, I loved cloth-diapering and I will continue to do so with our pre-used stash. But I would love to hear your take on the article (linked here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-cloth-diapers-might-not-be-the-greener-choice-after-all/2015/05/08/32b2d8dc-f43a-11e4-bcc4-e8141e5eb0c9_story.html?utm_term=.1f1f0ead7d8f) and the issues expressed therein. Thanks as always for your thoughtful and insightful postings Erin!
Ah, yes. I’ve read that too. My take on this is the same as my take on just about every attempt we all make to lighten our load on the environment. It’s super complicated. Humans suck up resources, no two ways about it. We have to constantly weigh our options and try to find the best possible route to take.
I needed Diaperkind twenty four years ago when I was trying but failed at cloth diapers. It just looks like I needed a tutorial and some support and that clip! My son wet through everything all day long. Thank you Diaperkind for this much needed service!
Would you mind saying where Silas’s yellow polka-dot shirt is from? Thanks!
It’s the top to a pajama set from Mabo!
Hi, tad unrelated – where is the changing mat on the dresser from? Love that it’s thin and not bulky like other ones!
my mom made it! wool wrapped in organic french terry covers!
Oh it’s lovely (she said, talking about a changing pad)…well done, Mom! 🙂
Went back through your Baby Proof archives to find this post as I’m getting ready to cloth diaper again, then saw your changing mat and remembered “oh I’ve always wondered where she got that,” then wondered if it would be addressed in the comments, and lo and behold, the very last one delivered. Just have one questions (if you’re ever going to see this comment two years after the original post): is this terry cover to be removed to wash, or is it all one piece to be washed together?
Yes! My mom made three covers that we swapped out when one needed washing!
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