First things first, see if you have a friend that is selling or will let you borrow their gently used diapers. I got lucky and bought some barely used bumgenius diapers from a friend (my favorite) as well as I was able to borrow some from another friend. I also received some as gifts bringing us to a total of about 16 diapers. In my opinion you want enough diapers to get you through a couple of days but not so much that they are sitting dirty for too long. You want to be motivated to get them in the wash.
There are tons of brands out there so ask around and do your homework or try a few before you buy a bunch. I tried prefolds and found them to be really difficult and they don't wick away the moisture, I also tried a few other brands and decided on bumgenius (hands down my fave). I personally like having all the same brand (easier on anyone that may help you - ie babysitters/ husbands/ grandparents) and I like snaps. I've used velcro and it ends up taking a beating. I also like the one size because it grows with your baby and you only have to buy them once. Be aware that baby leggings and pants will need to be a size bigger to accomodate the cloth diaper booty. Phoebe is cracking me up with her faces these days. OK, so next you need to get a few things in order to have a system. Again, this is what works for me. Links below the picture.
I keep my diaper pail in the laundry room. It takes me just a few seconds longer to bring the diaper in there and that way I don't have a diaper pail in Phoebe's room (or "area" as of now). Inside the pail is the pail liner. I take the diaper and if it's dirty I shake the poop (hehe) into the toilet and flush. If it's pre-food poop then i just stick it into the pail. Shake the diaper insert into the pail first and then the shell. If you're using velcro make sure you attach it to itself so it doesn't destroy your laundry. I try and wash the diapers every other day. I also LOVE the soft, flannel wipes. I wet them with warm water and then stick them in the pail with the diapers when I'm done.
As far as washing the diapers goes I dump the entire pail liner (with diapers, wipes, wet bags etc inside) and shake it into the washer. First I rinse the load, then wash, then rinse again. I've washed the diapers in just about every kind of detergent, but in the spirit of truly being green, I love using Method detergent. I especially dig this pump bottle that allows me to do one-handed laundry, which is a real thing when you have a little baby. I also love that it's plant based and easy on the environment (ps they're giving away a year's supply here). To dry the diapers I typically stick the inserts in the dryer and let the covers air dry. About one-two times a month I let the diapers get bleached in the sun. This typically gets rid of any bad smells and stains. I love the way sun-dried diapers smell. So sweet.
I pre-stuff the diapers before I put them away that way they are ready to use when I need them. When we are on the go I keep a wet bag in my diaper bag and put them in there and then dump them the same way when I get home as well as the bag itself. It all goes in the pail. The wet bags are also great for bathing suits, etc later on. Stock up. I know some childcare providers will use wet bags with the cloth diapers too. Make sure you look into that if you're a working mom.
Special thanks to Method for sponsoring this post. I really do use and love their detergent and all opinions are 100% mine based on 3 years of cloth diapering experience. :)
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