Before getting pregnant I didn’t even know that cloth diapering was a thing. During the early stages of pregnancy I learned cloth diapering existed, but thought it was only something hippies did. It was towards the end of my pregnancy, when googling how to save money on diapers, that I really became aware of modern cloth diapering and learned that it’s not just for hippies but a practical, fun, cheaper, and healthier alternative to disposable diapers that many moms are turning to these days (don’t worry, in a week or so I’ll write a post on the many benefits of cloth diapering).
Still, I wasn’t sure that cloth diapering was for us. I purchased about 6 have on hand when MG came, figuring if they didn’t work for us I could use them as swim diapers or diaper covers.Then Maddie Grace came. We had a beautiful baby girl… with some serious skin allergies to disposable diapers and wipes. We found that the only disposable diapers that didn’t really irritate her were Honest diapers. But where they mostly cleared her rash, they also were clearing our bank account. Around 8 weeks of age, Maddie Grace started to fit into the cloth diapers I purchased. After one day in her cloth diapers her rash went away completely, which had never happened before! That night I order more cloth diapers, and ever since those arrived we have been on a cloth/disposable system. That means we use cloth when at home, during the day, and when we aren’t too busy. We use disposable at all other times, or when we have a babysitter. So far, this has worked really well for us. If Tom is traveling and I have a lot going on and know I won’t have time to wash diapers for a few days, disposable it is. But if we don’t have much going on and are going to be at home we might as well use the cloth and save some money, as well as help MG’s skin out. Cleaning the diapers hasn’t been too hard. Because MG is exclusively breastfed, her poo is water solvable, meaning I don’t even have to dump it out or anything before washing. I have a cloth diaper pail liner that I throw the diapers and inserts into, and then just throw everything, including the liner, into the wash. I wash on hot/cold with All Free and Clear detergent, and use the 15 minute soak and the second rinse option. Almost everything comes out from this with no stains. If there are any stains, I simply lay the stained diaper/insert in the sun, and the stains magically disappear.
There are so many questions to ask when choosing which cloth diapers to build your stash with.
How important is price to you? Do you want American made? What type of diapers are you most comfortable with? What type of inserts do you want? It can be overwhelming!
When I first looked into cloth diapering, one thing that turned me off to it was the price. They can be really expensive! After talking to some friends who cloth diaper and doing some online research, I found a way to build a beginner’s stash and not go broke. The answer? Alva Baby and Sun Baby diapers. Both are manufactured in China, which is definitely a downside. However, for just testing the waters and seeing if this was something we really wanted to pursue without spending too much money they were perfect. So far I have not tried any of the American made brands, but have plans to do so in the near future. There are also some great handmade ones – right now I’m crushing on Trains and Tulips.
Alva baby has really cute styles, and run around $5-$6 per diaper for diapers with microfiber inserts. They do also offer diapers with bamboo inserts, which are more absorbent, but also more expensive. From Alva Baby we ordered mostly microfiber inserts, but a couple bamboo as well. The bamboo is definitely more absorbent, but the microfiber ones work just fine for us as long as we change MG’s diaper every couple hours. If you are going to be using cloth diapers overnight, it may be best to use two bamboo inserts in one diaper.
The Alva Baby website offers free shipping, and free express shipping, which only took a few days, for orders over $50. Sun Baby on the other hand works a little differently. You have to buy a certain amount of diapers from them, starting at 6 with 12 liners, which kind of confused me as I wasn’t sure why one would need twice as many inserts. We ended up going with the 12 diapers and 12 microfiber inserts for $63. Sun Baby does have free shipping, but it took about a month for my diapers to arrive, so be prepared for a long wait. Like Alva Baby, Sun Baby offers bamboo liners as well as mixed liners.
Where both companies have cute prints, Alva Baby has significantly more prints to choose from, and in general I find their’s to be cuter than Sun Baby. However, Sun Baby is constantly changing up their prints, where Alva Baby doesn’t seem to change theirs up as much.The styles I have of each Alva Baby and Sun Baby are pocket diapers with snap closures, meaning there is in insert inside the diaper that you pull out to wash, and you figure out how to do the snaps to keep them on. They are adjustable to fit your baby from newborn to whenever they are potty trained, so they claim. The Alva Baby diapers we ordered were too large to fit MG as newborn, but started to fit her around 8 weeks. The Sun Baby diapers didn’t arrive until MG was already two months old, and fit her as soon as they arrived, and would have fit her earlier. Alva Baby diapers come in only one size, whereas Sun Baby come in two sizes, Size 1 for skinner and Size 2 for chunkier babies, both designed for birth through toddler years. We went with the size 1, not realizing how much Maddie was going to chunk up after I ordered! The Sun Baby diapers definitely have a more snug fit, which I do like, but the Alva Baby diapers aren’t bulky and fit MG on the smallest setting.
Both Alva Baby and Sun Baby diapers come in super cute prints, and have water resistant PUL outer layers and fleece inner lining that wicks the moisture away from your baby, keeping them dry. The Alva Baby diapers do a particularly good job of this. I have taken off the diapers to change them, touched the inner lining and felt nothing but dryness, and yet the liner is soaking wet! Cloth diapers don’t absorb quite as well as disposable diapers, so they do need to be changed more often. However, we haven’t had any leaking problems with ours so far and they have contained all MG’s big blowouts!
Left is an Alva Baby Diaper, Right is a Sun Baby Diaper.
As far as how many cloth diapers you are going to need in your stash, it depends on how often you are planning on using cloth. We have been using cloth slightly over half of the time. We currently have 18 cloth diapers and never seem to run out if I wash them every other day, or even every 3 days. If you want to switch to exclusively cloth diapering, you are going to need more. But say if you work full time and only planning on using cloth diapers when you are home and on weekends, and not overnight, you could get by on less.
In summary, it is very possible to build an affordable yet quality stash of diapers. 12 is enough for you to test it out and see if cloth diapering works for you, and $63 is less than you are going to spend for a month of disposable diapers. For all my mamas out there who have or are cloth diapering – what brands did you like most? Are there any other tips and tricks for building a good stash?
What our stash looks like now – ready to add to it!