Modern Cloth Diapers: Not Your Grandma’s Clothes-Pin Style!

I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to use cloth diapers; for the environmental part but also that babies are able to ‘potty train’ that much faster. BUT there were so many questions, the feeling of overwhelm, and tons of unknowns–I mean, where do you even start!?


So, I turned to an expert for help. Anna from Bumbini graciously agreed to answer all of my questions, and in doing so was able to inform me about the trial kits available for rent. Trying before you buy–genius!! I will tell you all about my own adventure with the trial kit in the new year when my own little arrives, but in the meantime, the answers to your pressing questions:


Cloth Diapers 101: An Easy Alternative To Disposable


What are the best cloth diapers for newborns?

I usually ask parents how much effort they want to invest in cloth diapering. If they want something like a disposable it could be best for them to try an AIO (all in one), however, it is bulkier and you would need more of them as your laundry will increase. An AI2 (all in two) such as ‘Best Bottom’ or snap insert will allow you to change only the inserts without necessarily changing the diaper cover. For parents that feel comfortable, a prefold and diaper cover is the way to go. One thing I tell parents that come to me, is that no matter what style you choose (prefold, AI2 or AIO), to remember is that cloth diaper is not at all complicated–unless you want it to be complicated.


Do I have to buy bigger clothing for my baby?

Either way you decide, cloth diapers are not much more bulky than disposable so you shouldn’t need to size-up baby’s outfits to accommodate diapers, but babies grow so fast anyway, you may want to for that reason alone! Certain covers of course, especially if the size range is bigger, may create a little more bulk in the beginning, especially if your newborn is very tiny, so I recommend looking into “grow with me clothing” since they last much longer as baby grows. A great local vendor is Mouse & Hatter Designs or CeeGee Couture.


What about leaks?

Leaks do not have to be a fact of life when using cloth diapers! Although there are more reasons they could happen in cloth than in disposables, they don’t have to happen. There are a few reasons that can be easily fixed:

Absorbency Maxed Out: Even the most absorbent diaper has a maximum amount of liquid it can absorb.

Not Fully Prepped: You will notice that on all natural fiber diapers that there are directions for prepping before use; the world will not end if you don’t follow these directions, but they are there for a reason.

Improper Fit: It can be a learning process to get a good fit, especially with tiny wee babies, and most diapers have multiple ways to adjust the fit so that they will be leak free on any shaped babies.

Wicking: If part of the absorbent inner of the diaper is sticking out or some clothing is tucked into the diaper, pee will very quickly travel out of the diaper and onto your kiddos’ clothes.

Residues and Repelling: Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may have a problem with diapers getting buildup and repelling moisture. This can be for a variety of reasons including improper wash routine, mineral buildup, detergent buildup, someone using a non-cloth diaper safe diaper cream or fabric softener, etc.


What do you recommend for heavy wetters?

There are many great choices for heavy wetters. You can use a combination of microfiber as that is a fast absorber (be sure to keep the microfiber side away from skin as it soaks up moisture, and that is what irritates the skin) and team it up with a Bamboo or Hemp, which are both slower absorbers, but they will soak up the excess of liquid. I would suggest that you want to diversify, as you will want a fast absorber and slower absorber to get the job done.


What do you do with all the poop?

For solid poop (not until several months down the road once baby is eating food), simply shake the diaper over the toilet and toss diaper into wetbag. For any exclusive breast-fed poop or urine diapers, it is liquid so there is nothing to do just toss them directly into the wetbag. Spray Pal is a great sprayer to also help with the poopy diapers and find that spouses love them as well as its a gadget for them to use. I am for anything if everyone pitches in to help. Its simply fastens to the tank of your toilet and the sprayer sits in a cradle ready to use it whenever you need it. Think of it as a kitchen sink sprayer just on the side of your toilet. Just a caution, not to soak your diaper too much and toss into your wetbag. If parents have lined their diapers with biosoft liners, simply remove that deposit solid in toilet and toss the tissue in your receptacle to avoid any clogging of toilets.


What do you do with the dirty diapers while on-the-go?

Two words: wet bag. Yup, that simple. The short answer is essentially the same as disposable diapers, except instead of throwing out your cloth diapers, put them in the ‘wet’ compartment of your on-the-go wetbag, and bring them home to the laundry pile. The ‘dry’ compartment is just that, and keeps the new & used diapers separate. If your baby’s diaper is mostly soaked, there is nothing more to do, but be sure to deposit any solids into the toilet before putting the diaper in the bag. Wetbags also help contain odor, so your diaper bag won’t smell like an outhouse. When you get home, you simply put both the soiled diaper and used wetbag into your larger ‘laundry pile wetbag’, just make sure you empty the on-the-go bags or the diapers will commence to breed bacteria in a closed environment.



Do I have to do laundry every single day?

You can if you really like to do laundry, but it is not necessary. It is recommended to get 30 cloth diapers, since that will allow for you to do laundry every 2 days or so. It is not recommended to wait beyond the 3rd day because your diapers will begin to stink, and become much more difficult to thoroughly clean. A great way to monitor this is to cycle the wetbag in the laundry room daily, so that all of the diapers in the one bag are from the one day.

How do you know if the cloth diapers are clean enough? What about stains?

It might seem obvious, but give them a sniff. Do they smell clean? If not, you might have to tweak your routine. If that doesn’t work, it might be time to try a new detergent.  If your diapers are coming out clean, and you aren’t having problems with bum rashes, unreasonably stinky diapers or leaks, keep doing what you are doing. Stains do not mean that your diapers aren’t getting clean! They are just one of those things that happen when you have a kid pooping on stuff, and can often easily be sunned out–it is NOT a reflection of a bad wash routine. Using the cold-hot-cold wash routine will help.


Any detergent recommendations?

You can absolutely use the same detergent you are currently using for your own laundry, as long as it doesn’t have fabric softeners. If you are concerned about chemicals or environmental factors, detergents like Rockin’ Green or Nellie’s are a good place to start, especially for sensitive skin.


How do I know which cloth diapers are best for me and my growing baby?

Trial and error. Yup, that’s the best way. Every baby is different, and most families are too, so the only sure way to know is to try as many as you can, and find which ones you prefer. The new generation of cloth diapers offers you so much choice: prefolds, fitteds, pockets, all-in-ones, all-in-twos, hybrids, wool covers and PUL covers! While this may leave you feeling quite baffled, it is truly a blessing to have so much choice. BUT going out and buying all of these kinds of diapers can get expensive, and the hassle of reselling the ones you don’t like isn’t worth it for most. This is where a trial kit or cloth diaper rental service will come in handy–they let you try before you buy. Lucky for us Canadians, we have Bumbini who offers just that!


Try Cloth Diapers Before You Buy – Bumbini’s Diaper Trial Kit


How does the trial program work? What comes with it? What if I have questions?

Simply order the Diaper Trial Kits through our website, and we take care of the rest. It even contains everything you need to ship it back, including a prepaid shipping label. Your kit will arrive at your door with everything you need: a large selection of diaper brands and styles, a diaper pail liner & wet bag, instructions for using all of them, detailed washing instructions, a sample package of Nellie’s laundry soap, and contact information in case you have any questions along the way.

These kits give you the opportunity to try out all of the styles of diapers that Bumbini offers for 30 or 60 days, without the commitment to buying, for about the same price as a month of disposable diapers. The Newborn kits are made up of 24 Motherease diapers, diaper covers, and All in One’s (AIO’s) diapers. The Baby / Toddler kits contain approximately 20; which are a variety of prefolds, snappi, diaper covers, All in Two’s (AI2’s), and pockets, dependent on which styles we are carrying. Both kits will have everything that parents need to commence to diapering their babies.

These kits are wildly popular, so we recommend booking at least a few weeks ahead of when you would like to receive the kit. We know it is difficult to predict how fast baby will grow, so feel free to book ahead with an approximate date and let us know when you are ready for your kit. We know you will have additional questions during your rental period, so we answer your questions promptly through email, phone or even Skype to make sure you are on the right track.

And because we know you’re thinking it… Even though they are returned clean, when a kit arrives back at Bumbini, we give it a thorough ‘bleach soak’ (a bleach alternative to ensure no harmful chemicals are being used) followed by several hot washes. We then carefully inspect all the diapers for stains, wear and defects and replace anything that isn’t suitable for ongoing use.


What if I still have more questions after the trial?

Bumbini offers ongoing private or semi-private cloth diapering workshops within the Ottawa area; perfect for parents that are starting out and want to learn the basics. At our workshops we explain each of the cloth diapering options, let you see and play around with examples of them, and give you simple steps to make the care of your diapers super easy and not time consuming or dirty work!

These cloth diaper workshops are free! Babies are welcome to attend, and we are a breastfeeding-friendly environment. The workshops last approximately 1.5 hours, with lots of time allotted for questions, with no pressure to make a purchase. Be sure to bring your partner too–anyone can be great at cloth diapering!



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