The Ultimate Guide to Cloth Diapering
As part of our on-going event series at the newly launched Retykle Studio, we hosted an informative workshop with Petit Tippi Founder Victoria Chuard on how to cloth diaper. More than ever, parents are now searching for sustainable alternatives when it comes to products for their little ones and given the enormous waste created by diapers, making the switch to reusable is a worthwhile effort. Along with Petit Tippi, we pulled together a useful guide on how to succeed at cloth diapering.
We recently spoke with Victoria Chuard, founder of Petit Tippi on the benefits of Cloth Diapering and this is what she said and why she made the choice for her little ones.
“Depending on what statistics you read, a single child can go through as many as 7000 diapers and those diapers take 500 years, if ever, to decompose. Biodegradable disposables are a good alternative, and I am a believer that there is a time and place for all kinds of diapers, but the way waste is treated and disposed of in most places in the world, it either doesn't get the right conditions to decompose or creates harmful gases in the process. So, reusable diapers, even with the extra washing, is still the most environmentally friendly option. Plus, it's also much cuter on the bum!
When I decided I wanted to try cloth diapers for my first child, my primary concern was actually the chemicals in disposable diapers that prevents them from leaking. Disposable diapers have only been around for one generation and no one knows the long term effects yet. When my son was born, we used cloth diapers part-time and even then I was horrified with the amount of trash we were producing with just disposable diapers, not to mention wipes and breast milk bags and all the rest. Cloth diapers are also a big up-front cost, but it pales in comparison to how much you will spend over the 3 years, on average, that your child will be in disposables (the savings are even greater if you have multiple children!). People ask me if they are hot because they look thick, but the truth is they're made of breathable materials so they're going to be a lot cooler and better for the skin than wearing plastic around the bum. The final point that shouldn't be overlooked is that cloth diapers are super cute, and great for photos!”
"A single child can go through as many as 7000 diapers and those diapers take 500 years, if ever, to decompose."
"Cloth diapers are also a big up-front cost, but it pales in comparison to how much you will spend over, on average, 3 years"
Q: How many cloth diapers should you start with?
A: Start with 6-12 to get a feel for what brand or system you like and build up to 24 if washing every 2-3 days, depending on how many you use per day.
Q: You can buy cloth diapers and liners - what’s the difference and do you always need to stick with the same brand?
A: No! You can mix and match disposable liners from different brands.
Q: What materials should I look out for?
A: Micro fleece shells or inserts. These are the fastest absorbing materials but hold the least amount of liquid so would require more frequent changes.
Q: Any materials to avoid for babies with more sensitive skin to wetness?
A: Cotton bamboo and hemp hold more liquid but slower to absorb, they are not as good for babies whose skin is sensitive to wetness.
Q: There are so many brands that have different attachment mechanisms. What is the best one to go for?
A: Hook and loop (aka Velcro) is more adjustable but snaps are more durable. Choose snaps if you plan to use the diapers for multiple children. Choose Hook and Loop if you need to get the diaper on quickly or if you need a more adjustable fit.
Q: How do you know it’s wet without the smart strip which is seen on disposable diapers?
A: When it’s dry, the outside of the fabric will be soft. Before leaking you can feel that the fabric has become more dense.
Q: For no.2’s, can you scrape it off?
A: With breastfed poop it’s water soluble and will wash off clean. When they eat solids, you can shake it off into the toilet.
Q: How do I go about washing them?
A: Use a washing or wet bag with a handle and drawstring or zipper closures. Do not use bleach or fabric softener. Diapers shouldn’t have a smell after washing, if there is a smell then the washing has been inadequate and could result in leakage problems.
You can also consider a pre-rinse with white vinegar every so often and then do a main wash with detergent. Avoid using a gentle detergent as you will need a full strength wash cycle. Charlie Banana is a great brand and is safe for cloth diapers as well as Tide Detergent. An extra rinse will get all the detergent and minerals out otherwise the pores get clogged over time. For a deep clean, consider using GroVia Mighty Bubbles every 4 - 6 weeks. You can then place these in the dryer or hang in direct sunlight.
Q: What about second hand cloth diapers?
A: Perfectly fine to use but it is recommended that deep sanitisation of the inserts to ensure there is no residual that could affect the functionality of the diaper.
Q: What to do when out and about?
A: Get a hold of a Wet Bag Planet Wise. It has a dry compartment for clean ones and a wet compartment for dirty ones. It’s recommended to clean them off before popping into the bag.
Q: What about reusable wipes?
A: Just water on bamboo wipes! You can also consider pre-soaking these in a solution of essential oils but that is completely optional.
Q: How many cloth wipes should I have?
A: It is recommended to have 24 on hand. Consider using an OXO Tot Perfect Pull container, pull out just like a tissue box!
Q: What about swimming?
A: For swim diapers you can use regular cloth diapers but they will absorb pool water and inflate a little bit. Their main purpose is to hold in solids. With disposables, pee just comes out into the water as they absorb water and as causing them to become more soggy and heavy. This creates bigger gaps in the thighs and waist which can result in a bigger risk of leakage into the pool.
Retykle now accepts second hand cloth diapers, visit our accepted brands page here.