"That [One of the Best Choices I've Made For Baby Is...] is a wonderful article! It really made me realize maybe I should try clothe diapers. Do you have any articles telling a clueless mom how to do it! lol"
Her comment made me so happy! I was thrilled to know that I had helped someone out, and that she liked my writing so much that she wanted me to write a how-to article. Thank you Brittany for making my day, and here is a response to your question.
Here is the way that I started out with cloth diapers. Well, I had decided to do it even before baby was born, and it started out as a money thing, but then I came to realize all of the additional benefits besides saving tons of money.
You will pay a good chunk of change upfront, but it pays off in the end. You have quite a few options in choosing what type of cloth you would like to use for your baby. There are flats, pre-folds that you have to get covers for, fitteds, all-in-ones (AIOs), and pocket diapers. The different types are explained in more detail here. I also decided to use Happy Heinys One-size and I don't regret my decision in the least! They were about $20 (I got a couple of my Happy Heinys on black friday for $15ish a piece) per diaper. With proper care, they have held up very well. I have about 15 Happy Heinys diapers. They last for about 2 1/2 days. So, I still end up using the occasional disposable, but I have gotten it down to only a few a month. Hopefully, someday I won't have to use any 'sposies at all. On the HH diaper you also have the choice to get either a snap closure, or hook and loop (velcro, also called aplix) closure. I got the hook and loop, because I couldn't find the snaps available anywhere. But I have heard from another CDing mama that the hook and loop provides a better fit. These diapers are also made with PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric) which make the fabric waterproof, and keeping leaks out. I have never had a huge leak. Sure, I've had the situation where my baby has over saturated the insert, and the pee has nowhere to go but out, but for the most part, leaks have been minimal. To try and avoid this, I always have made sure to change my daughter's diaper at least every 2 hours or so. Every hour-and-a-half when she was newborn. Cloth diapers don't stink like pee (like disposables do) when baby's wet. Also for a heavy wetter, you also have the choice to stuff the diaper with more than one insert. The Happy Heinys come with two microfiber inserts (and infant and a toddler insert), you can also buy additional inserts (like hemp inserts which are supposed to be super absorbent).
Happy Heinys aren't confusing as to how to put on I did a ton of research when I was pregnant on which brand to get, and these were rated very high. These diapers are also daddy and babysitter friendly. I have had my mom watch my daughter a lot, and my mom loves how easy they are to deal with! For nap-time, I use a Happy Heinys diaper stuffed with 2 inserts (both the toddler and the infant inserts.)
At bed-time I use a different diaper: I use Fuzzibunz One-Size diaper which are rated extremely well for night-time use, and they have stood up to that rating. For night, I stuff my fuzzibunz with both the toddler and the infant inserts that come with the diaper upon purchase. My daughter has slept through the night (8-10 hours) from about 6 weeks old, and fuzzibunz holds up all through the night, and I have never, not even once, had a leak with my fuzzibunz! I would still stay on the safe side, and order enough for two throughout the night. So, I have four fuzzibunz, since I do a load of diapers every 2-3 days.
When it comes to washing diapers, here is how I go about it. I store my soiled diapers in a diaper pail. This pail is made of heavy duty plastic, and it has a locking lid. You can also buy laundry bags that go inside of the pail. They make lifting the diapers and transporting them to the washing machine easier. To store the diapers in the pail, I take the insert(s) out of the diaper. If the diaper is poopy, I wash the solid stuff off (if baby is exclusively breastfed, and its that liquidy poop (like you see when they are newborn), you don't need to wash it off) sometimes I get lucky, and the poop falls off, sometimes I have to take extra measures. When it comes to rinsing diapers, you have a few options. You can go for a diaper sprayer which attaches to your toilet, and you spray the diaper clean, or you can go for disposable diaper liners which are very handy, but they do cost about $10-20 every couple of weeks, or you can opt for the dunk-and-swish method, where you dunk the diaper (without the inserts) into the toilet and flush until the solid is all gone (this method sounds the messiest, but really, its not that bad).
The diapers must be washed at least every three days. This is how I wash mine. First, I make sure that the inserts are taken out of the pockets. Then I run the diapers through a rinse cycle. This rinses the pee out, so that you aren't washing your diapers in pee-water. Every once-in-a-while (like once a month or so) I will run it through two rinse cycles before I wash them. After I rise, I will run my diapers on the hot cycle using all free and clear laundry detergent. There are other choices for detergents, and I have heard before that all free and clear is not a good choice. However, I have not had a problem as of yet. After the wash cycle is done, I put it through the rinse cycle one more time. By rinsing again, I am ensuring that all of the detergent is really out. Then I dry my diaper on low. This is very important if your diapers have PUL, drying them on high can damage them.
Hope this article is helpful to you Brittany, and to all you new CD mamas out there!