This past summer, I saw a post on social media by a friend illustrating the amount of waste that using disposables over one year creates (as well as the annual cost) as compared to the smaller (less expensive overall) pile of cloth diapers.
This immediately brought back wonderful memories of cloth diapering our son in Hawai’i some years ago for which I then made a “retrospect“ post, also to show gratitude for the family run cloth diaper cleaning service that served the area where we lived at the time.
I realized, thinking back to these great memories that, wow, I really enjoyed that experience. Why had I not chosen the cloth route with my daughter, now about 5 months old?
I realized quickly that it was in large parts due to a sense of convenience (disposables certainly seem more convenient than cloth) and also, with no cloth diaper cleaning service in the region we now live in in Sweden, I simply felt intimidated by the prospect of cleaning them. I knew parents around the world did it but I guess, to be perfectly honest, I just hadn’t wanted to invest the time to learn more about how I could confidently do it on my own.
But when I saw that very illustrative post, with a huge pile of disposables stacked on one side and a little pile of cloth diapers on the other, I felt that passion for cloth diapering surge back. The more I talked about the environmental and economic benefits of cloth diapering (among other positive features) I realized, how can I be so passionate but not even using them now on my daughter?!
I certainly knew the experience of disposables as well and could definitely compare experience of the two. With our son we used cloth a majority of the time and disposables when we were traveling. With my daughter, we had now spent her first several months using disposables. I could easily conclude that there is nothing I love about disposables. They are what they are. They do a job but I don’t get a warm fuzzy thinking about them or picking them out and certainly don’t love the continuous piles of trash they create.
And so it was on. I knew I had to prepare for a return to cloth now for my daughter. I was immediately thrilled and set about looking at different cloth diaper companies here in Sweden. I also dug deeper to see if there really were cloth diaper cleaning companies locally that I had just missed the first time around. Nope, there weren’t. So I knew my next step would be to start researching the wealth of blogs and forums about cleaning tips.
For parents living Stateside, if cleaning is an issue (even a deal-breaker for choosing the cloth route) I always like to mention cloth diaper cleaning services as there are many Stateside. I’m guessing their rates vary from region to region but even in expensive Honolulu, the cost of the cloth diapers + the service was still less than what we would have paid for disposables (or would have nearly just evened out- but then there is the environmental benefit of cloth). Those cloth diaper cleaning services are both genius and very down to earth- extremely helpful for cloth diapering “movement”.
As I prepared for the return to cloth for my daughter, I put the call out for tips from friends with experience. Below are two great tips I got.
“We place the nappies in a closed bucket “dry” with a couple drops of lavender oil. We have a nappy wash bag inside for easy removal into the washing machine. They’re washed at 60 c with environmentally friendly soap and no softener (which diminishes their absorption). We’ve never had a dryer so everything has always dried on a wash line but I’m sure they can be put in a machine. I prefer microfibre nappies and wipes for their drying speed. I’m so delighted to know another person who’s used/uses reusables. It’s a shame more people don’t realise how easy they are to use. Not to mention how cute they are. Good luck!” -L
“My bestie at home washed her soiled nappies. It was surprisingly more sanitary than I expected it to be. She knocked the solids into the toilet and then washed them en masse after she had a reasonable load. Also, she washed and reused her wipes, and rehydrated them with lavender oil, vitamin e, and water, and they washed many times before they would disintegrate.” -J
Below are a few photos from our meeting in late August 2018 with Stockholm region based cloth diaper company babyleo.se. Read a Q & A I did with them along with photos taken of their range of products here. Below are some photos and comments from our very first week cloth diapering our daughter!
The beginning of our first stash!
Very excited about bamboo inserts!
See more photos with babyleo.se & their products here
My daughter on my lap holding a cloth diaper for the first time, one afternoon in late August 2018, the day we returned to cloth and first time using them for our daughter.
First time in cloth diapers!
Day 3 Return to Cloth
Return to cloth diaper use has been as seamless as I could hope for. We started Sunday with 8 pocket diapers & now after a few days & cleaning cycles I can feel out what more we need for our stash to be complete (probably about 6 more). Cleaning, which is what intimidated me the most, is no big deal. We have used one disposable diaper since Sunday (yesterday when we were out in the city).
This photo was taken this past Sunday evening when we met with the owners of local cloth diaper company BabyLeo.se. This is Helena holding the bamboo liners which also make cleaning the diapers a lot easier.
Later that day we were out for neighborhood play & running errands. It was the first time out of house in cloth for baby Z. We decided to give cloth a run while we were out but close to home. I had the diaper bag with me with a clean insert. I’ve been gaining confidence that I can deal with cloth just fine out & about too & am overall so happy with this decision.
I think cloth diapering can seem overwhelming until you just do it. Indeed, we didn’t begin until our daughter was (is) 5 months old because I was intimidated by the cleaning. I love cloth!