28 January, 2015

ABCs of Cloth Diapers: Accessories - What do you *really* need?


After discussing  reasons for cloth diaperingprefoldspocketsall-in-ones,  hybrid/all-in-two, and washing and stripping methods, I am wrapping up this beginners series with a final post on cloth diaper accessories.

As Ariel sings in the Little Mermaid, there are "gadgets and gizmos aplenty" with cloth diapering. I want to share a few of the things I use and what I think you could live with out.


Diaper Storage:

Dirty Diapers at home: 

I use a dog food bin from Target with a Kissaluvs pail liner.  We chose this because it's a thick plastic that's designed to keep odors in. It also has 2 wheels on the bottom which can be handy.

Dirty Diapers on the go or home:


I highly recommend investing in a wet bag. Wet bags are lined with PUL to keep moisture in. Some, like PlanetWise, have a water proof zipper that keeps the stink in too!  A wet/dry bag (see middle bag) has a lined "wet" second and a not lined "dry" section - I've never used it as such.

If you're mostly a homebody a small one will suffice (1-3 diapers). If you are on-the-go all day or take day trips I'd get a medium (8-12). For weekend trips I highly recommend a large (16-20) or extra large.  I have one of each size but I started with just a medium.  Wet bags can also be used for the gym, pool, beach, etc.  They go in the washer and dryer when you wash your diapers.

Some people put the handled ones on the back of the door and use that instead of a diaper pail at home.


Other on-the-go ideas for dirty diapers:

  • Ziplock bag
  • grocery bag
  • doggy poop bags
  • disposable diaper trash bags

Drying Diapers:


There are all sort of fancy cloth diaper drying clip thingy-ma-bobs. We use the Closetmaid shelving above our washer/dryer with a clothes pins.   I use our clothes drying rack to sun diapers outside.

Clean Diaper Storage:

I keep a bin like this under our end table downstairs and one on the changing table upstairs.  It has 6-8 clean diapers, stuffed and ready to go; a roll of liners; cloth wipes; spray wipe solution; and usually a package of disposable wipes.

I've also seen them lined up in dresser drawers, on old VHS storage towers, on small bookshelves, on cube-shaped shelve systems, etc.

When we travel for the weekend I store them like this but in a horizontal laundry basket.


Diaper Safe Rash Cream 

Basically you want to stay away from petroleum based products, like Vasaline or Aquafor; or any other product that might leave a residue like zinc based creams.  I typically use Honest Company's Healing Balm (not their diaper rash cream) if I need something like Aquafor.  I've also tried and loved Thirsties Booty Love ointment.  Here's a great post that I found with a ton of rash cream information and product recommendations.

Cleaning Accessories

Sprayer & Accessories

When I first got started with cloth diapers cleaning the diapers was my biggest hesitation.  The diaper sprayer convinced me all would be okay.  As I said in the washing post, exclusively breastfed babies poop is water soluble so it can just get thrown in the washer.  Once solids are introduced the poop must be flushed or thrown away.  The diaper sprayer hooks up to the toilet and works like a little shower or sink sprayer to get all the poop off the diaper.  This was a life saver when Evie was on formula. Those diapers were nasty.  The down side to sprayers is that they can run $60-70 for a brand name one.  You can get them at Home Depot for the $40 range.  They also can make a little spray-mess, for which other accessories have been created like the Spray Pal and Diaper Dawgs. In my opinion, these are over the top. Ha!  Shit happens.


Liners


About 6-8 months into my cloth diapering journey my friend Anne told me about diaper liners.  I remember the moment clearly because I almost kissed her right there mid-diaper change at playgroup.  Diaper liners are like a piece of fabric-meets-paper towel that traps the solids but allows the pee through the diaper.  Liners can be easily be thrown in the toilet or trash and make cleaning poop a breeze.  No seriously. I've probably used my sprayer a dozen times since I discovered these.
 These are my two favorite. Anne recommended the GroVia ones and they changed my life. I tried a few other brands in a pinch but kept coming back to these.  I only recently discovered ImseVimse thanks to The Natural Baby.  The GroVia are softer but the ImseVimse hold up better in the wash (yes you can wash them - but don't put them in the dryer) for a second use.  (note: I find the toddler size to be TOO big, even on my 40lb 3 year old. And I don't like that they're not on a roll)

I've also heard folks using half a Viva paper towel, or cutting strips of fleece.  Whatever works for you!

Cloth Wipes & Sprays!

Wipes

I am indifferent about cloth wipes, but for super sensitive baby bottoms, they're a must.  I have tried a few brands, like Charlie Banana (top left), Thristies (top right), bumGenius (bottom left) and homemade (bottom right).   After 3 years of use, the bumGenius are my favorite. I didn't think I'd like how thin they are, but they're much better at getting into all the folds and rolls. 
Some folks use thin wash cloths from the large retailers, or make their own out of old tshirts and fabric scraps.

Cloth wipes can also be used to dust, blow your nose, or as "family cloth" (read: cloth toilet paper).

Wipe Solutions/Sprays:


There are two different methods on using cloth wipes.  One is to make a water + cleaner solution and soak your wipes in it, until ready to use.  In my opinion this is a breading ground for gross things and a messy spill waiting to happen.

I prefer to use one of the three sprays below.  I had always used bumGenius just because it was all I knew, but I'm really liking the Kissaluvs and Thirsties.  I use cloth wipes probably 60-70% of the time and one bottle lasts me 10-12 months.
 You can always make your own out of distilled water and essential oils.  I'm sure there are awesome blog posts about this floating around the internet.

Other random things:

bumGenius makes this odor remover.  I bought it on a whim and used it once. I did not find it did anything more than a good stripping did. Don't waste your money.



I was getting frustrated with how long our hemp-cotton inserts were taking to dry in the dryer (synthetics dry quickly!).  The internet suggested trying wool dryer balls. I started with 6 and didn't really noticed much of a difference, but now that I have 12 our hemp inserts dry in one long cycle instead of one and a half.  Brand name dryer balls are pricey, but you can find some on Etsy or make your own. I would imagine we'll never recoup the energy cost savings, but knowing I don't have to baby sit the dryer is worth the cost to me!

 When I first started cloth diapering, I saw Baby Legs all over the blogging and cloth diaper community.  Everyone boasted that these made for easier diaper changes than pants, and you get to show off your adorable fluffy bum.  While I do still put them on the girls around the house, I don't let them out of the house. Every.Single.Time they wear them out, folks ask why the girls are wearing casts! haha.

BumGenius makes a series of Baby Legs that match the colors of their diapers. Check them out! Cloth diaper essential? No, but fun to have!


Thank you for hanging out and reading along!  Eventually I'll do a follow up post with information specifically on newborn diapers.  

Anything I missed? Leave a comment and we'll chat!

Don't forget to enter the give away!  Visit any of the posts in this series to enter to win. Giveaway ends tonight!


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