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Lessons Learned: Cloth Diapering Trials and Errors

You did the research, you bought the diapers, and you jumped in head first...ready to rock this cloth diapering business! But after a few months, you probably came to discover what most of us cloth diapering parents have had to discover at one point or another...cloth diapering is all about the trial and error! No matter how researched or well-prepared you think you are, some things can only be learned by experience! To ease the learning curve, here are a few quick lessons cloth diapering moms have learned firsthand:

Fit is Everything...and One Size Does Not Fit All.
When it comes to cloth diapering without leaks, having the proper fit is everything. You don't want gaps around the waist or legs, but don't want anything tight either...both can cause issues. So, you asked your cloth diapering friend for her suggestions on the best fitting diaper, bought an entire stash and discovered...they don't work for you little one at ALL! The reality is, what works well for one baby may not be what works best for another- like adults babies are all built differently and diapers must be adjusted accordingly. It's great to ask around for some starting points to try out, but don't buy an entire stash on just one type. Buy several varieties to try and wait to buy the entire stash until you have the chance to learn what works. (For troubleshooting fit issues, YouTube can be a GREAT resource.)

All Inserts Are Not Created Equal.
Just as all diapers don't work the same for all babies, the same is true for inserts. For some, one microfiber liner is all you will need. Others may need a little extra boost like an additional microfiber booster, or something with a little more umph like hemp. A heavy wetter may pee right through the microfiber, and a fast wetter may pee quicker than the hemp can absorb. We have personally found the ideal solution for us has been microfiber on top of hemp...the microfiber absorbs quickly and the hemp absorbs more. Some babies may also be senstive to various types of inserts as well. Again, try several varieties to discover what works best for your baby!

Washing...It's Not THAT Complicated!
Perhaps the most overwhelming aspect of cloth diapering for many new cloth diapering parents is the laundry...I mean why would it NOT be with all of the crazy wash routines you see online!? The last thing you want are diapers that smell, but how are you supposed to keep track of all these steps? In my experience I have found there really is no need to make it that complicated. This is again an issue where there may be some trial and error involved as no two wash routines are alike (different water types, different washers, etc all factor into what detergents will work best and how diapers should be washed).  Play around until you find what works for you, but I've found to avoid issues the two most common problems are too little water or (more commonly it seems) too little detergent. Find the best detergent for your area and machine, make sure you have enough water and chances are your wash routine will become fairly simple.

The Don'ts: Just Say No To Ointments & Fabric Softener.
Oh sure, if you look up cloth diaper don'ts on the web, you'll probably find many more...and many of those may even be true or partly true as well, but these are certainly the big ones. Let's start with the ointments. When your little one has a rash, of course you want to provide relief for them. The problem? Typical rash creams contain ingredients which can cause staining and repelling- leaving your diapers pretty well useless! If you really need to use the creams, a liner can be a great solution. Still, I have personally found the best solution for diaper rashes is something many of us have in our pantries- coconut oil! It's cloth diaper safe and smells great too! Fabric softeners can also cause absorbency issues and should be avoided as well. Wool dryer balls are a great alternative. And while we're on the subject of laundy, one more quick don't worth mentioning: Do NOT use the santize cycle. Sure, this sounds like it'd be a great fit for diapers, but the reality is they can do more harm than good. This cycles uses extremely hot water which can actually damage your diapers. They may not be ruined after just one use, but such extreme temperatures will certainly wear your diapers much faster if you do.

Buying Used? Do Your Research!
Most of our trial and errors have been about fit and laundry, but one mistake that many new moms have faced has been overpaying for used diapers. In fact, many newbie moms have found themselves paying even MORE for a 'china cheapie' than what they could have purchased it for brand new. If you plan to purchase your diapers used, be sure to know the value of said diaper new!

Have you learned any cloth diapering lessons the hard way? What advice would YOU share?


  1. These are great tips for new moms. No little ones ones here but interesting post!


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