Starting Out with Cloth Diapers (Again!)

Our tiny baby has grown! He's more than doubled his birth weight and is quite the chubster (Sorry, J. I promise we will never call you that when you're older.). While we're sad that he's outgrowing his newborn and 0-3 month clothes much faster than we'd thought he would, we're glad to be able to use our cloth diaper stash again for our second baby. With the cost of disposable diapers—and the number of times in a day that this little milk monster needs a change—I think Papa is especially looking forward to having a lower grocery bill. Me, can't lie, I'm mostly looking forward to the cloth diaper cuteness!

Cloth Diapers: Building Our Stash

We started using cloth diapers with Ella in 2012, so we already had a good-sized diaper stash. We built our stash from a variety of sources, both local and imported. When we started, cloth diaper choices in the Philippines were limited. People were just beginning to realize that the new cloth diapers were different from the traditional lampin that you had to fold and pin up on your own. Also, because cloth diapers were a relatively new concept in the Philippines, we didn't feel like we could trust the local brands that were available here (We were wrong! More on this later.). As first-time parents, we felt more confident trusting foreign brands that had been tried and tested, such as U.K. brand Tots Bots and U.S. brand BumGenius. Can you blame us? There are some baby care items that allow for trial and error or that you can scrimp on, but if you've ever woken up at 4 a.m. to a dirty diaper leak that's spread all over your bed (ah, the joys of co-sleeping), you know that diapers are the kind of thing you want to be able to count on, no matter what the cost.

Now, cloth diapers are a regular sight at baby fairs and in department stores, with fantastic Philippine brands available for today's cloth diapering parent. I'm so glad we no longer have to bug my mom to ship us diapers from the States. After we'd gotten more experienced using cloth diapers (and less terrified of baby poo), we started testing out brands such as Next9, Baby Leaf, and TickledMoms (sadly, no longer available) and now rely on them to handle our kids' messes. Next9 and Baby Leaf are great: affordable, available at department stores, and trusted by Filipino moms. I love that these brands are all mom-made and mom-powered, too! 

New Baby, New Diapers
For Jacob's stash, we're still using all of Ella's old diapers (if he doesn't mind wearing pink under his Superman onesie, we don't mind either). To that we've added some new diapers in "boy" designs from Baby Leaf. 

Baby Leaf's new organic bamboo line is adorable and super soft. Bamboo is said to be naturally anti-bacterial, meaning it helps fights the bacteria that can irritate skin and cause or aggravate diaper rash. And for babies with extra sensitive skin, you can't go wrong with organic fabric.

Secondhand Diapers: Not as Icky as You May Think 
What makes cloth diapering especially cost-efficient and eco-friendly is the fact that you can use the same diapers for multiple kids. Your infant and toddler could actually share diapers since many cloth diapers are one-size-fits-most (from 7 to 35 lbs.) and adjustable. 

We'd had a few leak issues with Ella as she got older, so before passing on the diapers to Jacob, we decided to majorly prep and detox them first. Peace of mind for us, fresh good-as-new nappies for J!

How We Prepped Our Diaper Stash for Second-time Use:

1) Boil the liners.
Since we use mostly pocket diapers (For newbies, these are diapers with a waterproof cover and a removable absorbent liner insert that you stuff into a "pocket" in the cover) We took out all the liner inserts from inside the diapers and placed them in the biggest pot we had. We boiled them on the stove for 10 minutes then set aside for line drying in the sun.

2) Hand wash all waterproof diaper covers. 
Using warm to hot but not boiling water (boiling water may destroy waterproof covers), we hand washed all the covers, scrubbing the insides with original Dawn blue dish soap (We got ours from a friend, but it's now also locally available at True Value, sometimes 30% off!).

3) Rinse them out in the washing machine—twice. 
Detergent or soap residue is the cloth diaper's enemy. While the sudsy stuff may be good for getting the dirt and undesirables out, if they're left (undetected) on your diapers, they will make your cloth diapers less absorbent, leading to repelling issues and other nightmares. This is why diaper and diaper-friendly detergent makers tell you to use half the amount of detergent you normally would use and to give the diapers a good rinsing: to get all the soap out. If your helpers have the dirty task of doing the laundry, instruct them to check for sudsy-ness or bula. If, after the rinse cycle, you're still seeing soap suds, rinse again.

4) Dry in the sun. 
Living in a tropical country, we complain about the sun's heat, but that heat is also an amazing germ-killer and stain bleacher. If you can, dry your diaper stash outside on a hot, sunny day (plan ahead if you must; not like us, trying to catch a decently sunny day in the "-ber" months).

Tada! Now our diapers that are as good as new, ready to absorb all the messes Jacob has in store for them. 

Update: To celebrate their fifth anniversary, Baby Leaf is having a buy one, get one free promo on its organic bamboo line for the month of October! The Nest: Attachment Parenting Hub, one of my favorite stores for all my baby and mommy needs, is also offering free shipping for orders of 6 or more diapers. Here's what I'm ordering for Jacob's stash:

Adorable, right?