We had a complete stash of cloth diapers well before our baby was born. We were so excited about them that we just couldn't stop buying them and also won many free diapers in giveaways (check out my giveaways, there may be one that includes cloth diapers right now!). I had read reviews about almost every diaper ever made from various blogs. I read about wash routines, troubleshooting smells and stains, and the best nighttime solutions to prevent leaks. I had done so much research that I got a little cocky and thought everything would be smooth sailing. But with anything, a little practice makes perfect!
Here are the 3 biggest lessons we learned in our first 3 months of cloth diapering
1. There is no universal cloth diaper wash routine.I read every blog post I could find on washing cloth diapers. I knew it would be more difficult to wash in an HE machine but I didn't expect to have an ammonia problem after just 3 weeks. In addition to having a top-loading HE machine we also have hard water since we have a well. Obviously the ever-popular cold rinse-hot wash-cold rinse with a very well known cloth diaper detergent was not enough to get our diapers clean, though it is a good place to start. We had to troubleshoot what would really work for our machine and our water type to eventually find what works. Don't be afraid to experiment!
2. One-size cloth diapers do not exist.Ok, this is an exaggeration. But they definitely do not work on an 8 pound baby as many say they will. Not only were they ridiculously uncomfortable looking on my baby because of all the bulk but the legs were way too big that there were often leaks simply because there were gaps around her little chicken legs. I was so happy we had a separate newborn stash because many of our one-size diapers did not fit comfortably until she weighed 11 pounds (and even then still were bulky).
3. Cloth diapering is very easy.A lot of people have the misconception that cloth diapering takes getting used to or is really a lot of extra work. I just haven't found this to be the case at all. Modern cloth diapers can be changed as quickly as disposables. The dirty diaper is then thrown in the wet bag/pail the same as a disposable is thrown in a trash can. Then you "take out the trash" by throwing them in the washing machine and letting it do all the work. You'll spend some time putting the diapers together with stuffing pockets or folding All-In-Ones to be put away but it doesn't take any longer than folding a regular load of laundry. I honestly don't feel as though they are a burden at all. My daughter is not old enough for solids yet, so her poop is easy to deal with at this point. Once baby starts solid foods you'll have the extra step of removing the poop from the diaper. But if you have actually read a pack of disposable diapers you are supposed to dispose of poop in the toilet anyway to keep it out of landfills so removing solid poops from diapers should be done regardless of what diaper type you choose.
Did cloth diapering live up to your expectations when you started?