So, you've decided to cloth diaper. You've done your research, decided on the perfect stash size to fit your needs, know the type of diapers you want to try out first. You've got this.
And then you see all of the available accessories. So many accessories, where do we even begin? Are they all necessary? What are the most important to have? What can be done without?
When you're cloth diapering to fit your budget, you certainly don't want to buy a bunch of unnecessary products that you don't really need and won't get used. So, today I've put together a list of some popular cloth diaper accessories, and am sharing my thoughts on them. Of course, this list is just my personal opinion, based upon my own needs/preferences, so you might find your own needs are completely different. Still, I hope this gives you a good starting point:
Wet Bags.- Love Them.
Honestly, these are probably the absolute #1 must have cloth diaper accessory. You are going to need somewhere to store your soiled diapers between washes, and wet bags are a great place to do so. I personally recommend having several in a variety of sizes- a few smaller ones for the diaper bag/travel and some larger ones for home too. The other great thing about wet bags is that they can be used long after cloth diapering days are gone- for potty training accidents, for the beach, spills and more!
Diaper Pail. - Leave Them.
Now, some might disagree with me on this one, but personally we have never had a pail, and have never found we needed one. Like wet bags, pails are used to store diapers between washes. We never really had a great place for one, and never found one that I liked, so instead we used extra large wetbags/pail liners instead. I found these to be a lot more portable, and made for less cleaning as I just toss them in with the rest of the diaper wash. If you truly want a diaper pail, they are certainly handy for many...but if you decide to go without, that's perfectly workable too!
Diaper Sprayer. -Leave Them.
This is another one of those that is commonly debated, as many swear by them. But my criteria for this post is 'Do I absolutely, positively HAVE to have these to cloth diaper successfully?' and to that point the answer is no. In the early stages of cloth diapering, if your little one is exclusively breastfed there really is no need to mess with the poo diapers at all. Just toss them in the wash as they are. Now, if your baby is formula fed or has started solids, this will change. You'll want to have some way to remove the poo before washes. Now, we have never used a sprayer, but have heard that they can be quite messy, spraying water/poo everywhere. Yuck. For us personally I have found that it wasn't really all that necessary. Instead, we are able to just plop many, and for those stuck on messes and old, designated spatula helps scrape any remaining messes. So, are they nice to have? Perhaps. But do you have to have one? Not at all.
Spray Pal. -Leave Them.
Now, this is primarily only in the 'leave them' category because I don't believe the sprayer is needed either. That being said, if you choose to use a sprayer, a Spray Pal would certainly be a welcome addition. Remember those messes I talked about? This will help keep those under control. So, while neither are 100% necessary, if you are going to have the one, the other would be handy.
Additional Inserts. -Love Them.
If all diapers come with inserts, do you REALLY need to buy more? In my experience, yes... but there is no rush to buy them before starting, especially for a newborn. During my daughter's newborn days, we found that the included inserts were more than enough. But as she got bigger, we found we needed a little more absorbency. Extra inserts are great for that! Personally I recommend having a variety of microfiber and hemp inserts. The microfiber are inexpensive and absorb quickly, where as the hemp- though more costly- absorb a LOT making them great for heavy wetters and overnights. Again, don't buy a ton to start- watch your baby and determine your needs to decide the best options for you!
Cloth Wipes. -Love Them.
When you're using cloth diapers, cloth wipes just make sense, right? Initially, we planned to use cloth wipes at home and disposable on the go. This is a great option too, but honestly, I found that for us it was just much easier to use cloth all the time. It is so much easier to just toss the wipes in the wash with the diapers, rather than separate them out to toss in the trash. But while I do recommend cloth wipes as a must- that doesn't mean you have to spend a ton of money on them. Have old t-shirts? Cut them into squares for cheap, easy wipes!
Premade Wipe Solutions. -Leave Them.
Sure, a premade wipe solution can be convenient, but necessary? No, not really. A spray bottle with water is really all you need, but you can also add just a bit of coconut or baby oil and a bit of your favorite baby wash for a little more in depth solution.
Honestly, my thoughts on cloth diapering and cloth accessories are to keep it simple. You might find you prefer to have all of the accessories available and that's fine, but I say start with the basics and then add more if/when you discover its needed. Don't overwhelm yourself with all of the options!
Do you agree or disagree with my love its and leave its? Any I missed? What are your favorite cloth diapers accessories? Least favorites?