10 ways to make cloth diapering easier

1. Just get a diaper sprayer already. Stop pretending like the dunk and swish isn't that big of a deal. Because once a diaper sprayer is in your possession, you will see that it is. Diaper sprayers are magical contraptions that everyone who cloth diapered fifteen plus years ago wishes they had. The lack of a diaper sprayer is the only reason you hear grandmothers say, "You want to WHAT? Oh, Sweetie, just use disposables. Trust me." Trust them. Get your hands on a diaper sprayer.

2. Use a giant trash can with a lid for dirty diapers. The giant trashcan with a lid will make cloth diapers 58% easier than it is without one. As soon as you've rinsed the diapers, you just tilt the trash can over to the toilet and drop the diaper right in. No drips. No leaky wetbags. With the lid closed, the smell is contained. On washing day, you just dump the contents in the machine.

3. At first, only use cloth-diaper safe detergent. Before going and testing out all different types of detergent, buy a trusted brand that is known to be safe for cloth diapers. Half the heartache in our first two years of cloth diapering was from using the wrong detergents because we were trying to save money. Not every brand will work for your situation -- it'll depend on how often you wash, how well you rinse, the pH balance of your water, etc. But at least use a brand that is known to be gentle on cloth. After you get the hang of it, venture off and try more brands. You'll learn within a wash or two if a new brand of detergent is going to work for you, based on stinks or leaks.

4. Rinse out those poopy diapers immediately. If you don't, ohhh girlfriend, that's shit's gonna have to soak. Literally. You will have to soak the shit off the diapers. It gets crusty and sticky if you don't rinse it right away. And sometimes, "I'll rinse it tonight," really means, "It'll get rinsed in three days and become a biohazard." I'm telling you -- as soon as you've got a clean diaper on that little booty, rinse the poop out of the dirty one. It's easier to knock off into the toilet, and you'll be more inclined to keep up with the laundry when you don't have a stack of five poopy diapers to rinse all at once. (Don't pretend it hasn't happened to you.)

5. Keep wet cloth wipes in a container. The easiest way to do the cloth wipe thing is to have wet ones ready at all times. Wet disposable wipes are a pain because you will forget to throw them away and they'll get tossed in with the wash and leave paper fuzz on everything. Dry cloth wipes are obnoxious because you'll have to wet a few every time you need to change a dirty diaper, and it's just one extra step. Nothin' like opening a diaper to discover a special surprise inside, and trying to convince your baby to lie very still while mommy grabs three wipes and wets them at the sink. Be prepared. I like to keep my cloth wipes in an empty wipes container. When they come out of the dryer, I put them underneath the wet wipes that are already in there and pour a bottle of water/coconut oil/lavender oil over the wipes.

6. Wash the diapers every 2 or 3 days... really. If you wait longer, you'll have bigger loads to wash. Bigger loads means the diapers won't get as clean, and there will be more diapers to put away when they are dry. If you are washing two days worth of diapers at a time, it's just easier.

7. Find a system that works for you. For years, I'd stuff my diapers ahead of time so that when it was time to change a diaper, I'd just grab one. I carefully folded the prefolds and stacked the pocket diapers neatly in the drawers. Now I just dump everything in and grab as I go. The only organizing I do is that I have prefolds together, covers and shells together, and inserts together. I don't have time to sit there and fold and stuff everything perfectly, so I gave in to the madness. This works great for us!

8. Keep a stash of mini-wetbags or grocery bags in your purse. I can't tell you how many times I've been out of the house, have to change a diaper, and realize I don't have anything to put it in. Now I try to keep at least 4-5 plastic bags stashed in my purse at all times. I just grab some whenever I think about it. It also helps to keep a bunch in the trunk of your car.

9. Only buy clothes that will work with cloth diapers. Cloth diapers give babies big butts and I cannot lie. Skinny jeans, you must learn to deny. Leggings and sweats are where it's at. If you must use jeans, buy a size too big. Don't go through the pain of buying an adorable pair of skinny jeans because you might be able to squeeze her into them. Not being able to put my babes in jeans was annoying, but I learned to be okay with it. Dresses are great, of course, for those big cloth diapered bums.

10. Don't stress or get legalistic about it. Ah, the mommy wars. I feel like I'm always talking about them. Don't stress out about using cloth. Using cloth is really, really important to me, for many reasons. I feel gross when I use disposables. I think of all the diapers that are going to the landfill... and I think of using cloth diapers as putting a little bandaid on the world. Sorry, Earth! Here, I'll save a few thousand diapers from your landfills. But when it comes to my sanity, well, that comes first. For the past two weeks, I've been using disposables with Austen. The house was completely wrecked after the holidays and I was far behind with the diaper laundry. So for the first time in her little life, I bought a giant pack of disposables to use exclusively and indefinitely, and it's been like a breath of fresh air as I've been catching up with everything else in our lives. (Also, she wears a lot of jeans now.) Don't let the judging eyes of other cloth diaper users stress you out -- start off with cloth slowly if you need to, and take a break if the craziness of life is calling for it.

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