Cloth Diapering the Old-Fashioned Way

Zero Waste Cloth Diapering | the beauty in simple

There’s this belief that modern conveniences are “life savers.” The irony in that expression. Life is not only our own, but that of every living thing on the planet. So I ask, are disposable diapers life savers? I think not. There’s a better way – cloth diapering.

Cloth Diapers

When researching cloth diapering, I initially was overwhelmed with the choices of cloth diapers available on the market today. Ultimately I chose the same diapers used by my mom and likely my grandmothers and great grandmothers. I came to the decision rather quickly to use “flat” diapers, as they are made from 100 percent cotton with no synthetic fibers (I paid a few extra dollars for organic), they are easy to wash and dry, they are the most economical cloth diaper, they have a long lifespan allowing for diapering of several babies, they can be repurposed into household rags, and at the end of their life when only shreds of fabric are left they can be composted.

I purchased my “prefold” flat diapers from Green Mountain Diapers, a family-owned business. I’ve found that two dozen diapers in the given size is the perfect amount. I don’t like to wash every day, but I also don’t want soiled diapers sitting around for too long. For night time diapering, hemp diaper inserts are great for adding extra absorbency.

Wool Diaper Covers

It’s no wonder wool diaper covers have been favored for generations. Wool is breathable, naturally antibacterial, it doesn’t hold odor, and can be surprisingly soft against the skin. Although bulky, my favorite cover is the Disana Wool Pull-On. It’s incredibly soft and never leaks. A word on synthetic diaper covers, they stink, literally. They require washing after each wear and aren’t breathable, to boot.

Cotton Wipes and Diaper Rash Salve

In place of disposable wipes, I fill a spray bottle with my own wipe solution (recipe below). For the wipes, I use squares of cotton flannel cut from an old sheet. I simply spray the baby’s bottom or a wipe, and swipe clean. The soiled wipes get laundered with the diapers.

When I was pregnant, I made a diaper rash salve in preparation for the baby’s arrival. In 20 months of cloth diapering, I may have used it once. I read, and can confirm, that cloth diapered babies (as long as they aren’t left to sit in soiled diapers) don’t get rashes.

Washing Soap

I wash the diapers and wipes with Charlie’s Soap, which I purchase in bulk in large buckets. I repurposed one of the empty lidded buckets into a diaper pail. Wool diaper covers do require hand washing, but due to the nature of the material, washes are infrequent. I was thrilled to recently find Sudz ‘n Dudz Organic Wool Wash Bar that comes packaged plastic-free. The French Lavender scent smells amazing and washes the covers beautifully. I purchased the bar from Little Spruce Organics that also has a great assortment of cloth diapering accessories.

Cloth Diapering and Daily Rhythms

If cloth diapering seems like a lot of work, I can assure you it’s not. Both my husband and I work outside of the home, and in almost two years of cloth diapering we’ve never felt overwhelmed by the chore, nor have we had emergency situations where we’ve run out of clean diapers. We’ve made it part of our daily rhythm, which we’ve never resented because the alternative is dirty.

Baby Wipe Solution
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons almond, apricot or jojoba oil
  • 3 tablespoons Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Castile Liquid Soap,
  • 6 drops tea tree oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • Place all ingredients in a quart jar. Tighten lid and shake until combined. Fill spray bottle as needed.

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