Cloth Diapering a Large Family

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Susan lives in Utah with her family. She has been blessed with 5 beautiful children and has used cloth diapers since her first was born!

Here she shares her many years of experience with us…

How many children do you have and what are their ages?

I have 5 children named (left to right) Bryce (10), Gina (18), Robert (14), Patricia (10), and Jordon (12)

How long have you been cloth diapering?

8 years.

When did you decide to use cloth diapers?

I began cloth diapering my oldest daughter Gina pretty much right from birth. My mom told me about how she always kept a few cloth diapers on hand just in case she ran out of disposables when I was a baby and I thought that was a great idea. I didn’t see any diapers for sale in stores in my town so I started surfing the internet to order some diapers.

I googled cloth diaper and found Kelly’s Closet right away. At the time the big thing was Kooshies diapers (now Kushies) and I order 12 fitteds (called classics) and 2 wraps in small. As soon as they came in the mail I was in love! When we brought Gina home from the hospital I started using them immediately. I didn’t use them full time until I became a stay at home Mom when she was just about a year old. I was already expecting my son Bryce and my last paycheck was spent ordering 2 dozen Kooshies All in Ones in Large and in Newborn for my two children. I also ordered 4 bumkins wraps in small and large to use with some Gerber prefolds I already had on hand. I just enjoyed never running out of diapers and rushing to the store and that I can control the absorbency.

What are your favorite types of diapers/system to use?

After 8 years of diapering and trying out all the systems available I find that I enjoy a simple prefold and cover system for daytime. Either Snappi’d, pinned or just tri-folded depending on my mood. Fleece and wool covers are fun for a change. I also LOVE my pockets for Daddy, diaper bag and night time diapers. I’ve found that not all covers fit the same. For my chunky sons, I loved Bumkins and Bummis covers. For my petite youngest DD, the Thirsties duo is perfect as well as the Blueberry Onesize coverall. As for pockets my sons fit nicely into Fuzzibunz and Wonderoos. And my dd fits well into Haute Pockets, Bumgenius, and she is STILL in a small Fuzzibunz! I prefer to stuff my pockets with prefolds as well. Microfiber is not my friend. 🙂

Tell us what’s in your diaper stash?

My birth to potty stash:

Newborns:

  • 4 dozen Preemie Prefolds
  • 10 newborn covers
    *I have several different types of covers that I’ve picked up over the years. I always buy them used online very inexpensively. The preemie prefold’s need to be doubled usually after the first week so 4 or even 5 dozen is nice. I’ve also used baby washcloths as a doubler that works nicely.

Infant:

  • 3 dozen Infant prefold’s
  • 8 small covers (brand depends on baby’s build)
  • 18 small Fuzzibunz

Premiums:

  • 3 dozen premium prefold’s
  • 8 covers
  • 12 Medium/Onesize pockets

Toddlers:

  • 2 dozen toddler sized prefold’s
  • 6 covers
  • 12 Large Fuzzi Bunz

After potty training, I use my “toddler” stash as night diapers until they outgrow them. Usually, my kids have been non-bedwetters by then. The ones who weren’t I used XL Snap-ez diapers. But they don’t make them anymore so I’m not sure what I will do next as I sold them off some time ago.

I also have a few pieces of wool lying around that I pull out for a change occasionally. But wool for me and my large family is not practical. I don’t have time to hand wash things often enough.

What are your favorite diaper brands and why?

My favorite brand depends on the baby and the build. I’ve never been disappointed with Little Lions prefolds, Haute Pockets, Fuzzibunz, Bummis, Thirsties, and Bumkins. Of course fit is an issue but these brands have stood the test of time. I have no room in my wash routine for diapers with special instructions. If it can’t handle it in my wash routine then out it goes! 🙂

What does your washing routine look like?

I’ve ALWAYS had a changing table. It helps keep things organized in one location. All my diapers from birth to potty can fit on in if need be but usually, I keep the ones that aren’t being used by someone in a rubber maid storage tub.

I have a wipe container filled with wet wipes (just baby wash clothes that I get from baby showers + 2 cups water, 2 tbsp baby oil, and 2 tbs baby wash).

I have a toddler-sized prefold laid down for baby to lay on. I have a small container with pins and Snappi’s as well. It’s actually an old bouillon cube container.. 🙂 I also keep the diaper pail next to the changing table.

All pee diapers go directly in my dry pail. I just bought my first pail liner this year and it is a God-send! I have two Wahmies liners that I rotate. I bought them used. I dunk and swoosh all poopies. I used to think it was gross but I’ve been doing it so long now that I think it’s gross to throw away poop!

Usually, somewhere during toddlerhood, I find that my diapers aren’t getting clean and I use a wet pail in my bathroom to soak all poop diapers. I just fill a paint bucket I bought new from a hardware store with water and a splash of vinegar. I still dunk and swoosh but then I toss the toddler poo diapers in the wet pail instead of in my dry one as I do for small baby poop.

I wash whenever the pail is full. Sometimes a week sometimes every 3 days. I have a HE front loader. My wash routine is hand wash delicate cycle, cold, with vinegar. Then a sanitary cycle with Tide to the “1” line. Then another delicate cycle with nothing. Its quite a long routine but it works EVERY time! When I had a top loader I did a rinse cycle cold with vinegar. Hot wash with Purex or All free Clear. Then another cold wash with nothing. I never had an issue until I read on a diaper board that enzymes and brighteners were bad.. LOL/ Then I changed my routine and it took me forever to realize that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

I dry HOT after removing anything with elastic or PUL. I hang those to dry. Occasionally I will get to feeling old fashioned and line dry but I’m pretty busy so that isn’t often.

Do you have a diaper store you prefer to buy from?

I prefer For Sale or Trade forums personally. I will buy something new depending on the price. But mainly I buy from Diaper Swappers. I used to buy from the Diaper Pin forum as well. If I buy new I generally buy from Amazon. Amazon is wonderful and has free two-day shipping with prime! Whooot!

What problems or issues have you had while using cloth and how did you fix the problem?

I never had an issue until I started to use pocket diapers. The synthetic material can be hard to wash. The solution I’ve found is not to use them often. They are nice to have but are rather sensitive as far as wash routines go. And I need a hardy diaper that is no fuss. So I purchase good quality pockets with snaps. The velcro used in some pockets pill badly and the elastic in some go out quickly. So using them less frequently helps. As well as the fact that you WILL get build up but if you aren’t using them all the time then it’s easy to pull them all out and deal with the issues without resorting to a day in disposables. I haven’t learned how to travel with cloth. I’d like to someday. Besides, there is nothing cuter than a prefold!

Tell us a funny, cute or memorable cloth diapering story.

Oh my, there are so many! My husband is my #1 CD supporter! There was a time when I hid the cloth diapers because I was pregnant and sick to my stomach and didn’t want to deal with it. And he found them! And was sneaking them on my son (Bryce) and then stacking them in the laundry room! I asked him why and he said he thought the paper was itchy and bad for his man parts. 🙂

Another time, again I was pregnant and sick to my stomach and he begged me to use them. And my favorite of all, I was posting on the forum about my favorite type of diaper and he said “Post for me that I prefer prefolds and pins” and I had said that he liked pockets!

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I don’t know if I’d do much differently except maybe that I would not buy disposables. I’ve had several “breaks” in my time and I think that if I didn’t know another way to diaper I wouldn’t have used them at all.

What’s the best advice you have for someone just starting out?

It’s so easy you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it before. Stick with what works. Don’t go out and try everything that is coming out. Once you find a system or wash routine just do that.

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