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« Creating the Nursery, Part III | Main | Cloth Diapering: A New Daddy's Perspective »

Cloth Diapering: Day 1

I don't have the wet bag, diaper pail, or diaper spray yet but I still started my 30-day cloth diaper challenge tonight. I received a few samples from SoftBums, which I concede are super cute. I may have gotten a little overzealous so I put them on my little boy even though I don't have all the proper gear yet. 

I'm only two diapers in so I have a cursory impression to share. First, it was not as easy as I had hoped. I had to watch the instructional videos two or three times. I was confused with the extra insert that the babies in the videos have between their legs. I finally concluded that those pieces of fabric are there to protect the private parts of the baby models from perverts, right? 

Another question: what do you do with the poopoo diapers? Do you throw those in the wetbag too? Baby Mo did soil past the shell. Are you supposed to dump the inserts, the shells, and the wetbag into the washing machine at once? Several of you have sent me suggestions for laundering but I haven't had time to go through all of your comments yet, especially since Baby Mo has been fussy since his shots last Friday. 

Also, cloth diapers are a lot more bulky than disposables. My husband walked in on me diapering and said, "That's the biggest diaper I've ever seen." Do you buy baby clothes one size up to compensate for this? 

I did notice that Baby Mo's skin inside of the diaper was not shriveled and red like it normally is when I remove a disposable diaper. I attribute that to a lack of synthetic material that is meant to dry out everything around it. That is certainly comforting.

And of course, these things are adorable! I didn't understand what the commenters meant when they said that cloth is cuter until now. These things are way cute! And I have to think they feel better on my baby's bottom than spongy paper.

Baby Mo is fast asleep in the SoftBums Echo System. This all has me thinking: I'm a high tech reporter who reviews gadgets for a living. How did I come to be reviewing diapers? A crap job but someone's gotta do it! :)

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Reader Comments (126)

Yeah, Softbums are a little more complicated some of the other brands of diapers, but they aren't too bad once you've figured them out. Cloth diapers are bulkier, but Softbums have a really long insert so they are even bulkier than some pocket or All in One (AIO) type diapers. I don't size up my son's pants, but my son has the tiniest bum ever. His pants have been known to fall off of him when he wears a disposable, so his pants actually fit him better with a cloth diaper on.

As for you questions, if he only gets breastmilk, dump everything in the wet bag (or diaper pail) and then when wash time comes dump the wet bag and it's messy contents in the washer all together. If he gets some formula, you probably need to dump the poo in the toilet first before putting it in the wet bag.

Can I say it's funny to run into you here? I've seen you before from Cnet and it's just funny to run into you in the cloth diaper community too.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi J

Thanks Heidi! That does help. And funny enough to BE a part of the diapering community. :)

November 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterNatali

Yes, I throw the inserts, shells and wetbag in all at once for my All-in-Ones. I do keep two wetbags, so one can be in use while the other is being laundered.

Sometimes I would buy baby pants one size up - my baby has a naturally big booty. Once he hit todddlerhood and stretched out, I didn't need to, though. Baby sleepers and onesies are usually stretchy enough that it makes no difference. Oh, and the kid wears a lot of overalls. I think overall are super cute, and they've got a bit more booty room.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrichenza

My son is formula fed and we only dump "solids" if the poo is runny the diaper goes right in the wash as is. We've never had a problem with things not coming out clean and it saves a lot of time.
As far as size goes my son usually does have to wear his pants one size up due to the bulk. it can get a little frustrating but it's really not a big deal in the long run.
Good luck on you 30 days with cloth!

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Congrats on your first day!!! Like the previous poster said, breastfed baby poo can all go right in, otherwise you can dump it first (liners would help with this, or the sprayer when you get it!).

I haven't used softbums but I think adjusting them is quite a bit harder than other brands. Fuzzibunz can be a little confusing at first too--but once you get them set to fit your little one--it'll get easier since you won't have to keep adjusting them!

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterholly

Try fuzzi bunz or bum genius 4.0 diapers. They are very "daddy" friendly" and by far my husbands favorites diapers.
Rinse the poo diapers with diaper sprayer, remove the insert before rinsing the diaper though. Put the diaper "shell" and the insert in the large wetbag. When it come to wash time, place everything, including the wet bag in the washer. Turn it on rinse and rinse with no detergent. Once done, turn it on hot and wash as normal with 1/2 amount of the detergent. Add an extra rinse after its done washing.
Some people recomment only drying on low, but to be honest, if you dry on hot the diapers will be fine. Dont make extra work for yourself by having to dry longer if you dry on low.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin

If you want to make life easier with the poo, you might want to look into flushable liners:

My little guy gets half formula, half breastmilk and the liners are *fabulous* for clean-up. You just remove the liner and flush -- it catches most of the poo, and what ever is left over can just go in the wash with the diapers.

If you don't have a sprayer yet, and no liners, you have to do dunk-and-swish in the toilet for formula poo, and that's not a whole lot of fun. If it weren't for the liners, I'm not sure I'd be cloth diapering still!

Yes, the inserts, shells and wetbag can all go in the wash at once. We have two wetbags, so when one is in the wash or drying, the other is in the diaper pail. You might want to check the drying instructions for the Softbums shells, though -- they might recommend air drying -- and we usually let our wetbags air dry.

Yes, cloth diapers *are* bulkier than disposables. It's just part of the territory. We do usually size up in pants and sleepers to accommodate the fluffy butt. When my four-month-old has a disposable on, he looks so skinny! I've gotten used to his massive tushie.

And I agree with the previous poster -- I haven't used Softbums, but they do look a little more complicated and even fluffier than a lot of cloth diapers. (Yes, those pieces of cloth are to protect their boy bits from prying eyes.) At our house, we use fitted diapers (which is the absorbent part, they're not waterproof) and waterproof covers -- not *the* trimmest option, but still pretty trim, and easy easy easy. My son's daycare even uses them and *likes* them! We've never had a poo blowout and I can count on one hand the number of pee leaks we've had in four months. Our favorites are:

Bagshot Row Bamboo diapers: <--- these are made by a work-at-home mom and sell out literally within seconds -- she stocks every Friday


Thirsties Duo covers -- you can get these a lot of places:

There are so many options in the cloth diapering world -- half of the battle is deciding what to try and finding what works for you.

I have to say, I was not impressed by the original CBS piece, but GOOD FOR YOU for giving this a shot! I really admire you for giving it a go! We cloth diaper not for the environment and only partially for financial reasons -- I just think that there is so much synthetic and artificial in the modern world that it's nice to have at least one more natural product on my LO. It sounds like you're seeing a bit of that already!

I hope your month goes well!

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMia

SoftBums were my first diapers when I started cloth 2 months ago with my then 7 month old. As for what to do with the long insert, I lay my baby down on the diaper with the insert snapped in, pull the insert between her legs, the fold it back down from just below her belly button. I also add the mini pad under that at night for a little extra since she sleeps 12hrs, then close as usual. My daughter has no butt and used to wear pants that were too short so they would fit in the waist. With cloth her pants actually fit now. I was nervous at first, but when I saw her skin clear up so quickly after switching I had a little extra motivation to keep going.

There is some really cute cloth out there. Between big names and wahms there are so many choices. If one type doesn't work for your baby another might. That's the beauty of it. Though sometimes shopping for cute fluff can get addicting!

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBekah

They are super adorable aren't they? You should definitely take some pictures! Heidi pretty much hit the nail on the head with the advice. It'll be easier to deal with when you get the sprayer. My husband refuses to deal with the poopy cloth diapers but he's fine with everything else.
Emily actually stayed in the same size clothes. A lot of moms like to show off their cute cloth diapers and just put the baby in some Baby Legs (baby leg warmers) which are really nice too because it's so easy to change diapers in general with leg warmers on.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam

I'm so glad after seeing the news story that you are willing to try cloth with the rest of us. I recently get a friend addicted and in her words "it's really not anymore difficult than regular diapers". I have two in cloth right now and I LOVE it. We use Fuzzi Bunz one size, so the same diapers fit both kids!:) My older child gets HORRIBLE rashes from disposable diapers, so this works great for us. Good luck and I hope you find that you love cloth.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMandie

Congratulations on your first day! Ive never used softbums but Im sure youll find lots of mamas who are able to answer your questions. Good luck! BTW the cd 'Nazi's' may be calmed with fluffy bum pics. We love pictures of cuties in cloth ;-)

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

A fluffy bum really is adorable, isn't it? I'm so glad you are noticing a difference in your LOs skin already. :)

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKimAMW

Yes - Heidi is correct - if your little guy is only fed breastmilk, poopy diapers can just go into the wetbag until wash day. Here is my wash routine, if it helps - my baby is older and on solids now so her wet diapers just go into the pail but her poopy ones get sprayed off into the toilet first. So, every other day I:

Unload all the diapers into our washer (we have a front loader) and turn the pail liner (wetbag) inside out and put it in too.
Then I set it to Cold wash/cold rinse on the "heavy" cycle (it adds more water that way) and run it without any detergent. This cycle is to rinse out the urine in the diapers. In top-loading machines you can get away with just a rinse cycle. The key is to get as much water through them as possible so nothing remains in the diapers.
After that first cold wash cycle, I turn it to Hot wash/Cold rinse and add 2 T of Rockin' Green detergent and hit start.
When that cycle is done the diapers are clean! (You can be sure they are if they smell like "nothing" when they come out of the washer.) Then I hang dry my covers and put everything else into the dryer. Cloth diapers do often take longer to dry in the dryer since they are so absorbent, but you can help speed it up a little by throwing in a clean bath towel or two with the diapers - they'll help tumble everything around a little better.

Good luck! Hope this helped. :)

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Yes, SoftBums are a little more complicated until you get used to them. However, they are our favorite diapers, and I have tried a lot both before and after I became a retailer!

Some people do have to size up on pants. We don't because our son has a small waist. Some brands of clothing are sized a little roomier too. Carters and Gymboree seem to work well for us.

The wetbag will go into the wash as well as the diapers. And as the previous person said, if little Mo isn't on solids yet, you don't have to rinse the poo. For washing, I know a lot of people gave you advise on that. It is different than washing clothes. The most important thing is to get them well rinsed. In our house, we wash every other day (going longer and you can end up with a tougher time getting the diapers clean). We do one short cold wash (or cold rinse would work too), then we do one long hot wash with 1/2 scoop of Country Save, then one extra hot rinse. We then throw everything in the dryer (the covers only need about 15-20 min though before they are dry)

Make sure you prep those SoftBums (and any diaper for that matter). The shells need to be dried on hot after their first wash (about 20 should be fine for the shells) to seal up the seams. For shells and any microfiber inserts, you only need to wash and dry once for prepping. Natural materials such as bamboo, hemp, or cotton need additional prepping because they have oils in them that have to be stripped before they will be really absorbant.

It is crazy the different roles and hats we have as mothers, isn't it?

It is funny your comments about the instructional video. I think I watched the same one when I got started and couldn't figure out the cloth the baby had on either (to hid his little bits)

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Yes, the extra bits of cloth are there to protect the baby's privacy.
I don't have to go one size up for baby clothes to make them fit. Keep in mind that some systems are trimmer than other. I personally like a prefold in a cover for day time. They don't seem as bulky to me.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Natali - keep trying other brands until you find the diaper that works for you and your family. I've tried both versions of the SoftBums and while I do like it - it's not the easiest diapering system to understand for a beginner. When my family began our cloth diapering journey 22 months ago we started with BumGenius and were very happy with them. Now that I've committed to the journey and tried many of the popular brands I have a few favorites. I absolutely love our BumGenius diapers still - especially the new 4.0s. We also LOVE our Rumparooz - while the price is slightly more than the BemGenius I really love the inner gusset. We have over 50 diapers in our stash and I've tried over 20 different brands - you can follow my journey on my blog The Eco Chic which includes reviews of many of my favorite brands! Good luck with your journey!

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCalley - The Eco Chic

You got it Mama! The little insert thingy is a privacy thing. Grin. I have used SoftBums exclusively on my daughter for over a year and would be THRILLED to help you with any questions you have about them! Have you prepped them yet? I am so excited for you and proud for a local company (SoftBums is made in MN!) to be your "firsts!" Thank you so much for your energy and excitement as you begin this journey! HUGS!

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaraLin

So sorry that you and your family were attacked. I'm glad that everything is starting well. Its pretty difficult at first but after the first week you should be a pro :) Wish you all the luck and support for whatever you choose.


November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlye

I would love to send you a wetbag!

I simply throw all the pieces into the wetbag or pail and then on laundry day dump them into the washer and do a cold.rinse, I don't rinse before, and I have never rinsed. The different types of diapers will cause fluffier bums than others, but except for at night I don't find I'm.having to size up in clothes!

It does get easier and once you're done with the 30 days you wont want to quit! I've brawn using cloth on my 2 boys for 2 years and plans to start right away with baby #3 in may!

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterashley

Some diapers are bulkier than others. I tend to put a lot of dresses and leggings (soft and stretchy) on our daughter, so I don't have to worry about feeling the need to size up in clothing. When our son was in diapers, he was like Heidi's son. He has a tiny tush so the cloth actually kept his pants up. As for the wash, if it's exclusively breastmilk, you don't have to do anything to the diaper. Toss it in the dirty pail. When that's full, put it in the washer. Breastmilk poo rinses clean. If your baby is into solids or formula, just give a little shake into the toilet to toss off what you can and put the diaper in the pail. I honestly don't do more than I have to. I vowed to never be a 'diaper dunker' and my diapers have come out clean and fresh for 4 years.

Have fun on your 30-day journey :-)

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill

LOL, yes the fabric over the baby's crotch in the video is for privacy reasons.

If your baby only drinks breastmillk you can wash the poop too. If he eats solids or drinks formula you must rinse/drunk/spray. Spraying is by far the easiest way.

Your other option is to use a flushable liner, so you just flush the liner and the poop and the rest of the diaper (usually) stays clean.

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlana Dias

I totally agree with Heidi. :) Breastmilk poo, the whole diaper gets dumped in the bag, if he's eating solids then *diaper sprayers are AWESOME!!!!* knock the solids off into the toilet then dump the diaper in the bag.

I've never tried Softbums before. I've only used a few different brands but my favorite are Fuzzi Bunz and Bum Genius. My Bum Genius One Size diapers are the TRIMMEST by far and super easy to use!!!! I highly recommend them! :) Also, you can get very trim bamboo material inserts that soak up a lot but are also lost trimmer if the bulkiness is bothering you. :) You can find the trimmer inserts that will fit in most pocket diapers like the Bum Genius and Fuzzi Bunz at

Good luck!!! : ) My husband thought I was CRAZY when we first started but he loves them now and thinks they're easy.

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessicaA.

Like Heidi J. said, if he gets anything other than breastmilk, you will want to dump the poo in the toilet and use a diaper sprayer on the diaper (when you get it of course). Also, you want to make sure that you prep (wash) your inserts enough so they are absorbant. I've never tried SoftBums, but that system does seem more complicated that other cloth diapers I've tried. I used BumGenius pocket diapers with my first daughter, and we've now gone "old school" with our second daughter and use flats and covers. I think they are fun to use, and also very trim and easy to wash. I hope you have fun trying cloth!

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRina

Yay for your first day! I hope your night goes well - it took us a little while before we discovered what diapers worked best for my son (age 2 years) at night because he is a heavy wetter.
Yes, cloth are definitely bulkier. I have heard others say that they buy one size bigger, for my son who now has pants with the adjustable elastic around the waist, I let it out a little more than I did with disposables.
I think someone else said this, but if your son is exclusively breastfed, the shells and inserts can go straight into the wetbag and they can all (shells, inserts, and wetbag) go into the washer at once. If he isn't, just shake off whatever poo you can into the toilet (this may be where you'll want a sprayer) and put them into the wetbag. Then it can all go into the washer :)
Look forward to following your journey in cloth! It took us a few different diapers to figure out what worked for us, but it was so worth it. But most of all, have fun!

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLyndsey G

So glad you are giving CDs a try. I was apprehensive at first, as well, but with two in diapers disposables were so expensive and my baby girl kept have poo explosions so I made the switch to cloth and love it! I don't buy any bigger clothes for my kids. My son is 20 months and wears 18months size clothes. I don't know how old your little one is but as your little one gets bigger the diapers won't seem as bulky anymore.
Heidi j answered all of your questions so I won't answer them again I just wanted to say good luck and I hope you love CDs as much as I do!

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

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