In my dream world, we could all afford top-of-the-line, made-in-Canada cloth diapers, hand-sewn from silk spun from free-range unicorn tears. Alas, such is not the case. I will settle for getting as many families into cloth diapers as possible, regardless of budget constraints. Why? Because as soon as you start, you start saving money, and you start saving this little planet we call home.
I went to Dollarama the other day to scope out some very inexpensive items that can be used to save money while cloth diapering.
Polyester fleece is used in cloth diapering to create a “stay dry” layer against baby’s bum. Once urine passes through the fleece, the water-repellant nature of the fabric leaves the top of the diaper feeling dry to the touch. With this $4 blanket, you can cut rectangular liners that will fit perfectly inside whatever diapers you use. For babies who are sensitive to wetness, placing a liner on top of the diaper is a great solution if you are using diapers without a built-in stay dry layer, such as those made with cotton, bamboo or hemp. You might also want to use a fleece liner to make post-poop clean up a bit easier. You can pick up the liner and easily dump solids into the toilet. The third purpose of a fleece liner would be to protect diapers from a non-cloth diaper safe ointment that you may need to apply to baby’s bum. If you need to treat a diaper rash with zinc cream or anything that might stain or build up on the diapers, no need to switch to disposables—use a fleece liner!
Note that sometimes using fleece liners can cause leaks. This is because it takes a bit of pressure for urine to pass through the liner and be absorbed into the diaper. Without pressure, liquid will pearl on top and can roll out and leak. I found that using fleece liners with a newborn, who is never seated (and therefore never putting any pressure on the diaper), often caused leaks. There’s no special treatment to make fleece absorbent; it’s really just a matter of pressure. Diapers are more likely to leak if you use a fleece liner on top of a pocket diaper that also uses fleece: that’s an extra layer of fleece that the urine has to penetrate!
Microfibre is the most common and most inexpensive material used for absorbency in cloth diapers. BumGenius pocket diapers? Rumparooz? Both come with microfibre inserts. It’s the same microfibre that we use to clean and dust at home. Note that you do NOT put microfibre directly against baby’s skin because it’s too abrasive and drying. You can either use these microfibre towels in the pocket of a pocket diaper, or wrap a natural fibre towel around the microfibre so it isn’t in contact with baby’s skin.
Microfibre Makeup Cloths
Just like the towels above, these cloths can be used in place of inserts or even to increase the absorbency of diapers. Folded in half, these particular ones are the same dimensions and thickness as the newborn-sized insert that comes with a BumGenius pocket diaper. I like to put a microfibre booster on top of a natural fibre insert in my pocket diapers; the microfibre absorbs quickly and the natural fibre insert holds the liquid in. This is the how I stuff our diapers for daycare: microfibre on top of an Öko Créations hemp insert. We never get leaks! The picture below compares one of these makeup cloths to a BumGenius booster, then shows how I stuff a pocket diaper using microfibre on top of an Öko insert.
Flannel Pillow Cases
I couldn’t find flannel receiving blankets at the dollar store, but I did find these 2-packs of flannel pillow cases. You can fold them into inserts to use in diapers (you could wrap them around the microfibre towels for a really absorbent solution), or you can cut them up and make wipes. I have a lot of wipes that I’ve made out of old pajama pants, and they aren’t sewn at the edges, just cut. They do fray a bit, but honestly they make perfectly functional wipes.
Baby Wash Cloths
For $3, you get six baby wash cloths that you can use as cloth bum wipes. If you already cloth diaper but are still using disposable wipes, get yourself a stash of cloth wipes (36 would be a great amount) and never buy wet wipes again! You don’t need to use a fancy spray to use cloth wipes; water is perfectly fine. Personally, I use liniment!
This $3 cosmetic pouch is perfect for storing cloth wipes, bum cream and bum spray in your diaper bag. It even has little handles so you can hang it over the edge of the restroom change table.
This pack of travel bottles contains the coveted spray bottle! If you can find an individually packaged spray bottle, even better. The spray bottle is a cloth diaperer’s best friend! You can fill it with plain water to moisten cloth wipes on the go, or fill it with a homemade or store-bought wipe solution.
Travel Squeeze Bottle
As long as it’s not hot outside, you can use this travel bottle to store coconut oil for easy application at diaper change. You could also put liniment in it if you buy the large format for use at home and need a smaller bottle for the diaper bag.
Nylon Laundry Bag
You can definitely use this nylon laundry bag instead of a large hanging pail or pail liner to store dirty diapers. It’s not as waterproof as PUL bags on the market, but it will do the job! I tested out an identical bag like this from IKEA and didn’t have any issues. The washing instructions say to air dry, so I just had to remember to pull it out of the wash before transferring everything to the dryer. This bag is plenty large enough for three days of diapers, and the drawstring closure will allow for air circulation to help prevent stink. It may seem counterintuitive, but you do NOT want to store dirty diapers in an airtight bag or bucket, which will make them stinkier!