Monday, December 6, 2010

Cloth Diaper Starter Stash

There are a thousand different lists on various sites, some complicated and some simple, concerning what you need to start using cloth diapers; how many to keep in rotation, and what accessories are essential. Since there are so many opinions, it might seem like this is a complicated, highly subjective issue, but it is really pretty simple. (If you don't believe me, skip to the bottom of the post)

You need as many diapers as your baby will wear in two days, plus 2 or 3 extras for those days when they need extra changes, or to wear during the laundry. Most will agree that 24 is Newborns will go through 10-14 diapers in a day, so you might want a few more. As baby grows he or she will need fewer and fewer changes throughout the day, and you will use less, but it never hurts to have extra.

Some may argue that a larger stash allows you to do laundry less often, but most diaper manufacturers recommend washing every other day. Going longer in between washes leaves stains, and staying wet so long can break down fabric fibers. Who with a house full of kids can go much longer without the laundry taking over anyway? Even detergent companies, and other sources for laundry instructions recommend washing in loads of no more than 24 diapers.

Next, if you are using prefolds, or fitteds, you will also need covers. I have heard many people recommend six, but Baby Beehinds has the best explanation for this number, "We recommend rotating between two covers throughout the day- one worn by baby, and one airing after you've done a nappy change, with one clean spare cover in case of an accident and then the other in the wash. The other 2 are for night time use; one tonight, the other tomorrow night. Hence the need for at least 6 covers. It really does make life easier to have the recommended number of covers on hand- it is very frustrating when you discover that you don't have enough because they are all in the wash!"

As far as accessories are concerned it is up to you. Starter Stash implies the basic requirements, so we'll start there.

The only things, besides diapers, that you need to use cloth instead of disposables are a place to put your laundry, both at home and on the go, and cloth diaper approved detergent. If yo want you can just use any plastic trash can with a lid for your diapers pail, but most people feel it is a lot easier if you have a pail liner you can throw in the wash with your diapers and not have to wash the pail each time. You will also need a wet bag for bringing wet diapers home when you are out.

Cloth Diapers can't be washed with detergents that have softener, brighteners, or enzymes as these leave a residue that will cause your diapers to smell bad after a while and/or repel water. We love Allen's Naturally Biodegradable, but there are many brands. Country Save is another that is very popular. You can look in the laundry section on cloth diaper websites, or even look on Google to find homemade recipes.

Beyond that you may choose to use cloth wipes, which is really no extra trouble, in which case you would need a container to put them in and possibly a solution for them, although you can wet as many as you use in a day or two with just water without them mildewing.

The other main concern is what to do about poop. Newborn poop can be put straight into the wash, and most solids can just be shaken off into the toilet. As far as stickier situations, you may choose to get a diaper sprayer, or use fleece or flushable liners to keep your diapers cleaner.

So I said this was simple, and then gave you several paragraphs, but it's all to say this:

24 diapers per baby
6 covers for every 24 non-waterproof diapers
2 pail liners (so you have one to use when the other is in the wash)
2 wet bags

2-3 dozen wipes
recycled wipes container
wipes solution
diaper sprayer

You can find nearly all of these things in EtsyClothDiaper team shops. Just click on the links to the left!

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