Before I get too far, two things:
(1) Yes, I know the below is not health or fitness related.
(2) No, I'm not going to turn this website into a baby blog.
Ok, with that being said, let's move on...
FYI - This will be post 2 of 3 in regards to cloth diapering. Today's topic is about cloth diapering accessories. Previously, I discussed the range of diapers I tried and what I use for my regular daily rotation (or what most cloth diaper fans refer to as their "stash"). Stay tuned for the final post about cloth diaper washing routines and a discussion about the "real" cost to cloth diaper versus disposables.
Cloth Diapering Accessories
Regardless of how you diaper, you're going to need a handful of accessories in order to make life easier like diaper pails, wipes, etc. However, with cloth diapering, you do need a few extra things that you wouldn't need with disposables. Today's post is going to talk about products that fall into both the disposable and/or cloth diapering realm of needs.
NOTE: click on the title of each section if you want a direct link to where I purchased each item.
While wipes aren't specific to cloth diapering, reusable wipes do complement the conversation of cloth diapers quite well. But, to be honest, this concept had never even crossed my radar prior to ordering cloth diapers. And even after I learned about it, I was actually hesitant to use cloth wipes at first.
The only reason I even thought about MAYBE using reusable wipes was because my Baby Goal diapers came with a 4 pack of free wipes per dozen diapers (side note: you could easily just make your own wipes out of old t-shirts or buy dollar store baby washcloths). And even with the free wipes, I still wasn't really eager to give them a shot.
It wasn't until I was well into cloth diapering that I finally realized ... I was already doing cloth diaper laundry, so what's the difference if I add a few wipes into the wash as well? May as well stop paying for wipes, right? So finally, I decided to give reusable wipes a shot.
To make this set up work, I purchased a fill-it-yourself travel hairspray bottle from the travel section at Target (over where they have the tiny toothpastes and deodorants), and filled it with a wipe formula I found online.
To make the wipe formula, essentially I fill the hairspray bottle about 20% full with witch hazel, add a tiny drop of baby wash - whatever you use at bath time is fine, and then fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. Gently shake the bottle before each use. That's it. (Side note: if you want to see a great Youtube video about making wipes and spray, check this one out.)
A lot of people seem to like keeping their wipes pre-soaked either with water or spray formula, or like to spray their wipe to saturate it before use. I've found the best success personally by just setting the dry wipe on the changing table under my baby's bottom (to absorb over spray) and then spraying the wipe solution directly onto his skin. Then I just lift him up and wipe. He doesn't seem to mind this method, and it tends to get less messy / you use way less solution this way. But ... personal preference. Do whatever works for you.
Oh, and a word on witch hazel. A lot of people balk when I say I use that, as they compare it in their head to rubbing alcohol and think it will sting on contact. Witch hazel is a TOTALLY different product. The reason I was OK with using witch hazel originally is because it was the soothing agent the hospital recommended for me after delivery. But funny enough, I stumbled across this later and was even more sure I made the right choice.
Diaper pails, too, aren't specific to cloth diapering. In fact, the pail I got to help with cloth diapering I'd actually recommend for disposables, too, since it fits a standard kitchen trash bag and will save you the ungodly expensive stupid diaper genie refills that cost you $5-7 each. I actually got the above Dekor brand pail at Target Online, but it doesn't look like they carry it anymore, so I've liked to the Amazon offering instead.
There are pluses and minus about this pail, so I don't particularly recommend it or not for cloth - but what I like most about it and why I picked it initially is it doesn't LOOK like a diaper pail. That means if I want to repurpose this as a kitchen trash or something in the future, I can. In case you're wondering, this fits about 2 days worth of cloth diapers and reusable wipes, which is actually perfect since it keeps me honest in my wash routine.
Now we're getting into something you DON'T need for disposable diapers: wet bags. And let me tell you - there is a world of options when it comes to wet bags. In the end, despite all the options, I simply recommend you have bags that work for each of the following situations:
- 2 bags that hold 2-4 diapers each for your diaper bag (allows for wash rotation)
- 2 bags that hold about 2-3 days worth for your home diaper pail
- if you think you'll do cloth at daycare, 3 bags that hold 6-10 diapers each (allows for wash rotation)
- if you think you'll do a weekend away from home with cloth, one large bag that zippers shut (keep that stank in!!)
Above are photo examples of what I have. Regarding what I purchased, I have a few comments:
- Although they are more expensive, I do recommend the kanga wet bags for daycare (white w/rainbow dots above) - they're a great size. Plus, they are a round cylinder shape, which makes them easier to get in/out of than a flat envelope style. And as an added feature, the handle on the bag has a snap on it, which makes it easier to hang from a towel bar or similar.
- At first glance, the elasticized style I show above seems great for a diaper pail ... and then you need to get the diapers out and into the wash. Let's put it this way: you just pushed a baby out - do you really want to push their dirty diapers out as well? With the elastic edging, I've found that the bag opening is naturally narrower when the elastic relaxes, and often the diapers get stuck inside the bag when I go to dump them into my washer. If you like the concept of a bag that cinches around the diaper pail, consider looking into a drawstring option that will let you cinch and then loosen when you dump to wash.
- Regarding colors/patterns on your wet bags: after buying a few that I thought would be "so cute" for the nursery, I realized something ... these grow with your kid. From wet swimsuits to stinky sports clothes and all the in-betweens, you will likely use these bags for things other than dirty diapers in the future. Knowing this, I now regret some of the baby-ish patterns I chose. Consider instead just solid colors or patterns that your teen won't mind using in the future.
- If you are crafty and can sew, try going to a fabric store and buying supplies to make your own wet bags. Many stores now carry PUL backed fabrics, so you might find you can save money by making your own bags.
Again, this is another thing that is neither disposable or cloth specific ... until you start talking about repelling. Most main stream diaper creams are NOT good for cloth diapers, as they can essentially clog the pores of the fabric and cause cloth diapers to leak.
So far I haven't had to deal much with rashes (knock on wood), but I have tested out one recommended cream on a little red spot my baby had on his waist line - the above seemed to work well. Whatever you decide to use, make sure you do some research first to make sure it's cloth compatible.
So that's about it. The above summarizes pretty much all the basic accessories you need for cloth diapering. From a cost perspective, if you're keeping tally on what cloth diapering costs versus disposable, essentially the only thing you'd need to buy differently is wet bags. Wipes, cream and diaper pails are a wash, since you'd use them with both cloth and disposable (though on the plus side for cloth - you won't need to buy throw away wipes or trash bags since you'd be reusing the above cloth versions instead ... so technically, you're saving more money there too).
Depending on what you buy for wet bags, cost can vary quite a bit, but here's what I spent:
2 wet bags for your diaper bag - free with Baby Goal 12 pack of diapers
2 wet bags for your home diaper pail - $12.99 each
3 wet bags for daycare - $18.99 each (received as a gifts, so technically free)
1 wet bag for weekends away that zippers shut - $14.50
Recalling where we landed cost wise last time - just on cloth diapers:
My total cost to test out cloth diapering and then invest in a stash of the style I preferred was under $450 ... or about 3 months +/- worth of disposable diapers. (Of course you could get this down to $200-300 if you eliminated some of the unnecessary buying I did).
Adding in the above wet bag purchases, the new total cost for my exact cloth diaper and wet bag stash is about $525. Still well below the 6 month cost of disposable diapers, and I've even eliminated the cost of wipes and diaper genie trash bags as well!
Of course $525 still doesn't factor in the cost of washing (which I'll talk about in a few days). But even if you throw in $50-75 for a year's worth of water and soap, rounding your overall investment up to the equivalent of about 6 months worth of disposable diapers, a cloth diaper set up still seems like a no brainer versus paying for at least 2-3 years of disposable diapers and wipes.
But more on washing and final cost reviews later. For today, we'll call it. More to come!
So ... what do you think? Would you be interested in adding cloth wipes to your diaper routine given the above? What are your favorite wet bag styles? Feel free to comment below.