Cloth diapers for toddlers: an update

Cloth diapers for a newborn are one thing, but what about using cloth diapers for toddlers? Are we still happy or is it starting to stink? Here’s a follow-up to my original how-to post on cloth diapers.

Back when cloth diapers were all there were – “Baby Show” c. 1938.

How are the diapers holding up?
Great! All the diapers are still intact – no tears, no broken snaps. They get dingy every once in awhile (and had some diaper cream buildup from the day care transition, see below) but a round of stripping with Dawn, adding bleach, and sunning outside whitens them up again. (We follow the directions on the BumGenius site for this).

Are you able to use cloth diapers at day care?
When we started Bee in day care at 6 months I was really hoping we could continue to cloth diaper her during the day, and her lead teacher was really supportive. She encouraged us to get a note from our doctor saying Bee needed to be in cloth, which our doctor was willing to provide. Bee would be pioneering cloth diapers in the infant room, however, and we could tell that her primary teacher and others had concerns — the main one being the limited diaper changing space, and cloth diapers would require two additional bins. We also were finding ourselves a bit overwhelmed with our new routine, and adding extra laundry and packing up diapers every morning to the routine of packing up breastmilk and remembering to retrieve the empty bottles at the end of the day was daunting. And we didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot with her teachers. So Adam advocated for letting go of cloth diapering while at day care, and I agreed, and we were fine with it.

When Bee moved to the toddler room at 15 months her lead teacher was very passionate about cloth diapers (and had cloth diapered at a previous day care facility) and had already thought through how it would work. The large bathroom area in the toddler room made it possible to add a couple of small garbage bins for the used diapers (another incoming toddler was pioneering cloth diapers there with us) and two bins of unused diapers and wipes. It was a little learning curve for her teachers, figuring out how tightly to snap her diapers and how to put a cloth wipe in between Bee and her diaper when using diaper cream so it doesn’t build up on the diapers. We’ve been really happy with the change and think the consistency might help Bee as she navigates potty training.

How much laundry do you do?
One load about every other day. We do a quick cold wash followed by a hot wash.

Will you need more diapers for Baby #2, or how will that work?
We’re waiting to see how Bee does with potty training. If she’s still in full-time diapers we’ll buy some more BumGenius to see us through (probably in some bright, gender-specific color this time!). We still have our supply of newborn and size one prefolds and covers, so we won’t have to buy twice as much —  maybe four more or so.

Any other tips you’ve learned with time?
We just realized that having two large wetbags for our main diaper pail would improve our lives immensely (as we have to either remember to bring the bag back up and put it in the bin after starting the diapers or live without it until they are washed and dried). We feel a bit foolish for not realizing this sooner. We also stopped carefully drying the diapers on a rack in the guest room. Since typically we are drying diapers overnight we’ve just started hanging them in our main area and retrieving them in the morning — streamlining the process every little bit helps! We also have learned to set our kitchen timer to remind us when to switch cycles, so we don’t have to keep track.

Do you love love love it all the time?
No. I don’t mind dealing with dirty diapers when we’re at home or out and about, but no one could claim to love cleaning up the stack of used diapers that comes home with Bee from day care. Adam is good about taking on this duty most days, but one day when I was doing it I opened one up and immediately thought, “Just throw it out.” I didn’t of course, but it made me laugh that it even occurred to me.

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