Cloth Diapering FAQ
Why Cloth Diaper?
There are many reasons to cloth diaper! We have highlighted a few of the main considerations we feel have the most impact on the decision to cloth diaper.
- Easy! – Today, cloth diapering can be quick and simple! We offer the Bummis Organic Cotton Dimple Diaper, and the Mother-ease One Size Organic Diaper as fitted Diapers which require no pins or fasteners! The diapers have snaps to adjust to each baby’s size and fit nice and snug to the contours of the baby’s shape. We also offer non-fitted diapers that may have an extra step or two but are really easy and have their own great benefits too!
- Economical! – There is an initial investment in purchasing cloth diapers but in the long term, studies have proven substantial savings! Even considering the water and hydro used to wash cloth diapers, the cost savings is incomparable in the big picture. We have selected brands who have both a history and wonderful reputation for quality materials used in the construction of the diapers. The diapers will last from newborn to preschool age and through multiple children! Think of the savings compared to disposable diapers!
- Healthy for your Baby! – Disposables are full of chemicals and harmful toxins that are next to your baby’s skin for the first few years of their lives. The options we offer are made with organic and natural materials ensuring that your baby’s skin can breathe with no chemicals or toxins against the bare skin.
- Enviromental! – Cloth diapers are washable and re-useable. They do not add to the over growing landfills of non-biodegradable waste like disposable diapers do.
- Comfortable for Baby! – Natural organic cotton in the options we offer will feel soft against your baby’s skin. The natural fibres will provide air circulation, less build-up of high temperatures inside the diaper, less ammonia build-up and less skin rashes than disposable diapers!
What options do you offer?
In our quest to find natural and organic options that resonates with our company’s philosophy we selectively chose the Bummis Organic Cotton Dimple Diaper and the Mother-ease One Size Organic Diaper as our fitted diaper product line. Both are made with natural and organic cotton.
We also offer as part of our organic product offering, the Bummis Organic Cotton Pre-fold inserts. These pre-folds can be used alone with a cover or as an additional insert with the fitted diaper options. We love the bummis inserts as they are both organic and a modernized version of the tried and true flat square diaper!
In addition, one of Birdie’s Room’s favourites – a traditional type of cloth diaper that is very popular in Europe – the Disana Organic Cotton Knit Tie Diaper! This organic cotton tie cloth diaper is comprised of a very long piece of stretchy knit cotton that is wrapped and tied around your baby. The concept is similar to a flat or prefold in that it consists of one flat piece of organic cotton, but it also features a stretchy knit cotton tie that is wrapped around your baby’s waist to keep the diaper in place. This diaper is made from soft, stretchy organic knit cotton that “grows” with your baby, which makes it truly a one-size diaper. It is one of the most economical choices in cloth diapers because it will fit your baby from birth through potty training. The knit cotton is absorbent but is fairly thin, so we recommend using this diaper with a doubler for extra containment and absorbency. You can use any doubler or insert directly against the baby’s skin or in between the two folds of the diaper. For a very effective night time system, we recommend using this this diaper “stuffed” with a cotton prefold, folded into a trifold (or a prefold + doubler of your choice for more absorbency), with a thick wool cover such as Disana’s merino wool covers. This is a wonderful night time system because it is breathable for your baby and when tied properly, it contains leaks very well. This also works wonders at night because it takes a long time for this particular cotton to feel wet on the outside, especially when you have stuffed the diaper with an extra prefold or thick doubler. We love this combination because it is provides your baby with 3 or 4 layers of 100% organic fabric!
Why should I choose organic cotton?
Organic cotton is hands down the greenest and most sustainable choice when it comes to cloth diapering fabrics. Organic cotton is grown without the use of fertilizers or pesticides. Growing cotton organically is environmentally sustainable: it protects water quality, conserves biodiversity, and reduces soil erosion. Not only that, organic cotton is very soft, very absorbent, and entirely free of toxic chemicals – all very desirable qualities in a fabric that will be spending a lot of time in direct contact with baby’s tender skin! In addition, natural cotton fibres have smoother strands which make them less prone to ammonia build-up.
How many diapers will I need?
Newborns and infants will use about 10-12 diapers per day while toddlers may need 6-8. Ideally, we recommend that you have 24 cloth diapers and 4-6 covers for a newborn and 18-24 diapers and 4-6 covers for a toddler. This quantity allows you to launder every 2-3 days.
Do I need inserts for the diapers?
Yes! Both the Bummis and the Mother-ease fitted diapers come with a liner. We recommend purchasing additional liners for night time diapering needs or using the Bummis organic cotton pre-folds as additional inserts for heavy wetters.
Will I need a diaper cover?
Yes! Our fitted diapers and pre-folds are very absorbent but are not waterproof and do require a cover. We recommend using one of our natural fibre wool covers. We are advocates of using natural products and fibres as much as we can. Using wool follows our brand philosophy as well as providing a very breathable natural fiber against your baby’s skin. Wool is a homeostatic material which adjusts to accommodate body temperature i.e. – warm in winter and cool in summer. Wool holds three times its dry weight in urine before feeling wet and when wool is wet it only needs to be air-dried and it will no longer smell like urine! Wool is also self-cleaning with its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal lanolin.
The Disana Wool Diaper Cover
We LOVE the Disana pull-up diaper cover! They not only look adorable but are highly functional too! They are made of a light-weight, fine, soft organic, double knit, merino wool which is soft and comfortable for baby and can be worn over any size of cloth diaper.
The wool cover absorbs urine, which binds with the lanolin, the natural wax found in the wool fibres, and is neutralized – basically acting like soap! No more urine smell! Wool naturally contains lanolin which attracts and absorbs moisture into the wool fibers, and also repels dirt. If the pants become a little damp, they can simply be left to air dry and be ready to be used at the next diaper change (TIP: flip your cover insg liide out to air dry!). Once treated with lanolin, as long as it isn’t soiled, a wool cover can be used over and over without washing for weeks! Once washed, it must lay flat to dry.
The Diana wool covers do contain lanolin but in order to make them water resistant to their full capacity, we recommend that you lanolize the covers before wearing and then repeat when diapers show signs of needing to be lanolized again ( You will know it is time to wash and lanolize when it starts feeling damp on the outside quicker than usual, or starts to stink after air drying.) This will ensure that diaper being worn underneath the cover will absorb until it is completely saturated. Once the diaper is at it’s limit of absorption, the wool takes over and starts absorbing as well! Wool can absorb quite a bit of moisture without feeling wet on the outside! Wool can absorb up to 30-40% of its weight before feeling wet!
The high knit waistband and generous leg bands help prevent leaks and keeps baby lovely and warm when needed, and helps regulate body temperature when too hot. These covers are an excellent choice for both day and night cloth diapering, for any season!
Wool is highly breathable, helps regulate body temperature, is anti-bacterial and is very absorbent. Since wool is a so breathable, it can be worn all year round! It helps retain heat in the winter, while also helping to keep baby cool in the summer. It’s breathability and absorbtion helps to prevent diaper rashes, by wicking moisture away from baby’s skin.
These are wonderful diaper cover as well as a beautiful piece of clothing for your child. Available in an array of colours, with six sizes to choose from which will give a perfect fit from newborn to preschool age!
Do I need to prep my diapers before using?
You do not need to prep your diapers before using. However, for best results immediately, we do recommend prepping before using as this will allow accelerate the fibres to their maximum absorbency. We recommend washing three to six times before drying and using for best results immediately. However, washing once, using and then allowing for the regular laundering washings to gradually reach maximum absorbency can also be done. Especially for light wetters and newborns where diapers are changed frequently in any case, the prepping may not be necessary!
How will I know when to change my baby?
Newborn babies are typically changed every 2-4 hours during the day. Older babies are changed any where from 2-6 hours during the day. All babies are different so the best way to monitor your baby’s needs is to check their diaper visually or by feel. Natural fibres will feel harder and denser. Therefore, quick pinch of the diaper should give you an accurate judgement of the warmth, weight and hardness. Sometimes your baby will require a diaper change for a poop rather than a pee. Depending how your baby is fed (formula, breast, solids or a combination), the smell may signal a changing or it may not be as noticeable right away. A quick peek in the front and back should give a visual of a required soiled diaper change!
Is Daytime Diapering different than Nighttime Diapering?
Newborns tend not to sleep through the night and therefore nighttime diapering with a newborn is very much the same as daytime diapering. Once your baby starts to sleep through the night nighttime diapering will require some extra protection. We recommend using our highly absorbent extra inserts or our organic pre-folds for additional layers of absorbency. Ensure you use a wool diaper cover especially at night! Wool is a miraculous natural fiber that is super absorbent, wicks moisture away from the skin and is naturally waterproof. Natural fibres used in all of our options will absorb more and decrease the chance of rashes and ammonia build-up in the diapers. However, if your baby has very sensitive skin, you may want to use a diaper cream which you can find here. Otherwise, nighttime changes may be required.
How do I store the dirty diapers between laundering?
We recommend storing the soiled diapers in a wetbag! We offer small, medium and large. The small to medium sizes are an excellent option for portability when out and about. The medium to large sizes meets the needs of the required storage between laundering cycles. Our fabulous wetbags are waterproof, eco- friendly and made with non-toxic fabrics. The bags can be used as a hanging diaper pail, as a pail liner or as a regular laundry bag. The zipper closure and drawstring makes it easy to cinch around a pail or hang on a doorknob. They can also be thrown in the wash too!
Some diapers will require a rinse or shake prior to putting into the wetbag. For pee, no rinsing required! For poop, well it depends on the consistency of poop! For early newborn meconium poop that can be sticky and difficult to clean, a bio-degraeable disposable liner may be handy. Otherwise, along with early breastfeed poop
How do I launder the cloth diapers and inserts?
We recommend laundering your cloth diapers and inserts every 1-3 days. The diapers and inserts should be washed separately from your regular laundering. We recommend using your highest water level beginning with a cold rinse cycle followed by a hot wash cycle and then followed by a cold rinse. For heavily soiled diapers or diapers requiring stripping, several hot washes may be required.
Do not use fabric softeners or detergents with optical brighteners as these will degenerate the fibres and cause build-up. Use minimal detergent as any detergent can build-up in the fibres over time. We recommend Rockin’ Green as an excellent detergent for all of our cloth diapers and inserts.
Both cloth diapers and inserts can be dried in the dryer or line dried.
What if my diapers start smelling funky even after being washed?
Your cloth diapers and inserts should smell fresh and clean once washed. However, sometimes even with frequent laundering build-ups can happen. If you are noticing any funky smells or your baby is getting rashes, it could mean that the diapers have an ammonia build-up or a detergent residue build-up and therefore need to be stripped. Try using less detergent with your regular washes, higher temperature for the hot washes and additional cold rinses. If you are still having a problem, try more frequent laundering cycles and/or changing detergents.
How do I strip my diapers?
Stripping is basically “stripping” the build-ups from the cloth. There are many different opinions of what are the best techniques to use to do this. We recommend following the manufacture guidelines for washing. Stripping will require several hot washes with several rinses. Sun drying is also recommended as an additional stripping step if possible.
How to remove stains
To minimize stains, rinse soiled diapers promptly before putting in your diaper bag or pail. Some prefer a diaper sprayer or rinsing from the tap. Others even have a designated poop spatchula to assist in getting the soft poop off of the diaper and/or liner! If the poop is solid, it can just be shaked out into the toilet and flushed away! Another option is to use a disposable liner in conjunction with the regular cloth liners. Hot, frequent washes as well as sunning assists in alleviating stubborn stains
Why does my baby get a diaper rash?
Some babies simply have sensitive skin. Using cloth diapers are the best choice for babies all around but especially if baby has sensitive or allergy prone skin. Cloth diapering is more breathable and babies who are cloth diapered are usually changed more frequently. If your baby develops a rash, try letting your baby’s skin get some air by either having naked time. Change your baby’s diapers more frequently. If your baby spends a long time in a wet diaper, this could irritate the skin especially when starting new foods or teething. Avoid unnecessary chemicals on your baby’s skin by cleaning with just water and cloth wipes. Use natural creams to aid in prevention and remedying the rash. Our recommended choice for diaper rash or irritations is Baby’s Bum Calendula Salve! A superb prevention and cure for diaper rash – tested and raved over by Mums and Dads for over two decades! Baby’s Bum™ is also effective in cases of baby’s cheek rash, blisters, wounds nd eczema (this same cream also goes by the name Eczema Suprema™, it’s that good!). Baby’s Bum™ is gluten-free, and contains NO lanolin, emu oil, mineral oil or nut oils (known to set off allergic reactions and exacerbate the rash); NO petrochemicals, phthalates, synthetic fragrance oils, dyes or parabens. Normal use won’t damage cloth diapers. Every nappy bag and medicine chest needs a Baby’s Bum!
The other cause may be that your baby may be having a reaction to your detergent. If you think this might be the case, be sure to completely rinse the old detergent out of your diapers before switching to a new detergent. In addition, as mentioned above, there may be a build-up of detergent or ammonia in the diapers (see stripping diapers above).