I have too many to count (ok...I could totally count them, but I am kind of afraid to - I might have to admit I have a real problem if I find out how many I actually own!). I have every accessory under the sun. I cloth-diapered my son as an infant and a toddler, and cloth-diapered my daughter from birth.
In the past three years, I have learned a thing or two about cloth diapers. Mostly, which ones I like the best, which hold up the longest, how to wash them properly...that sort of thing. But the lessons that stick with me are the ones that I had to learn the hard way.
So, I'm hoping I can help you out here.
Here are a few cloth diaper lessons I learned the hard way.
1. Bring the diaper bag in from the car after a day out with baby. Specifically? BRING IN THE DIRTY DIAPERS. And then, throw them in the diaper pail. This little step takes only a few extra seconds.
You know what takes a lot longer than a few seconds? Power-washing poop off a diaper that has been balled up for weeks in a wet bag in the back of your car.
Some might just throw the diaper away. But not when it's a bumGenius! In your favorite color! That you thought you lost! And were excited to find when you *finally* cleaned out the back of the car, until you realized, "OH. There's something...in there..."
(I suppose this is would be a good advertisement for wet bags...they can really hold in the stinkies).
2. Always turn the diaper sprayer on the LOWEST SETTING when you go to squirt poop off a diaper.
A really messy diaper doesn't necessarily require fire hose-pressure from the diaper sprayer to get it clean.
Seriously - trust me on this one. Don't make this mistake. Unless you want to be like me, cleaning poop splatters out of every single crevice in your bathroom and then needing to take a shower afterwards, too. It's really not fun.
3. If you are using diaper cream (even cloth diaper safe cream!), use diaper liners.
I have an assortment of cloth diaper-safe creams that, on occasion, I use on my daughter. Well - a few weeks ago, she had a rash and I was using cream with every diaper change. And I got lazy. It said on the container, "Safe for Cloth Diapers!" and so, I decided to forego the liners and just put the diaper on her bare/creamed bottom.
A week later and all of my diapers are leaking/repelling. So fast-forward to now - several weeks down the road - diapers have been stripped (more than once) and I am *still* having issues with some of them.
So, here's what you do instead. Buy some disposable liners. Or, buy some reusable liners (you can make these yourself, and it's super duper cheap). USE A LINER EVERY TIME YOU APPLY DIAPER CREAM. And (I think this is just as important), if you are using reusable liners - throw the dirty ones in their own wet bag and wash them separately from your diapers. I can't say for sure, but I think that washing liners covered in diaper cream with all of your diapers is likely to cause repelling issues (all that diaper cream floating around in your washer!).
4. If something's not working for you, change it. Cloth diapering should make your life easier, not harder.
If you are sick and can't get to the laundry, use disposables for a few days (but throw that last load of dirty diapers in the laundry first...trust me...a diaper pail with three-day-old dirties, ummm, stinks).
If you can't sun your stained diapers every day (or even every week), let them have stains (in my experience, they'll come out whenever you do find the time to sun them).
If you are tired of spraying poop out of your dirty diapers, use disposable liners (hey, I think I'll take that advice myself tomorrow).
Cloth diapering should fit your lifestyle - not make you feel guilty or overwhelmed or overworked. There are no rules for cloth diapering!
But seriously, take it from me - turn that diaper sprayer down.