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Why Cloth Diapering Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Have you considered cloth diapering, but you’re a little bit intimidated by all that it entails? These are really helpful tips!

cloth diapering tips

Guest post from Monica of Mum in The Woods:

Cloth Diapers.

Some people cringe when they hear the words. There are so many myths about cloth diapers that put people off, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

I used cloth diapers with both my daughters and I never looked back. It makes me feel great about doing something good for the environment and it saves me so much money. And it’s not hard at all!

So why are so many people still using disposables?

Good question!

If you simply think cloth diapers are too hard, I hope I can dispel a few myths for you today!

Myth #1: Cloth diapers take time to put on babies.

Wrong! Not necessarily, at least.

The idea of cloth diapers is still one of flat sheets that need to be folded and pinned around the baby’s bottom. But there are so many modern cloth diapers available nowadays that can be as easy as disposable to put on, if not easier.

With Velcro or with snaps, the choice is yours. I won’t make your head spin by going through all the different types, but if you want to find out more you can read more here.

Suggestion: Try more than one type to find the one that works best for you!

When I started with cloth diapers I had about 5 different types. Some were hand-me-downs and some were freebies from a workshop I attended on cloth diapers. I am pretty sure you can find workarounds to get cheap options to test.

I personally ended up using hybrid cloth diapers, with an outer cover and a separate insert. I love the fact that I can just change the insert and keep reusing the outer cover.

The pre-fold hand-me-down cloth diapers? They became perfect burp cloths. They just weren’t working for me. Not all types of cloth diapers are for everybody. You really need to find the one that works for you.

Myth #2: Cloth diapers are expensive as an upfront investment.

Are they, really?

I don’t find modern cloth diapers that expensive compared to disposables. Some models are very affordable, and in the long run, you’ll end up saving a lot of money.

That said, if you are feeling a bit unsure about it, don’t go all in and buy heaps of cloth diapers before the baby is even born!

Buy some to start and try them out first. See if you like them and if they work for you. And, as I mentioned before, try different ones before deciding on your favorite type.

Myth #3: Cloth diapers are hard and take time to wash.

Yes and no. Of course, they are not as easy as disposable diapers, but they don’t have to be a mission to clean.

It personally takes me 2 minutes per poo diaper to clean them. Pee diapers take the same time as disposable. You can actually find many tips on how to wash cloth diapers here.

My favorite tips of all time are:

  • Use the sun to take any stain away. Particularly if breastfeeding, you only need to put the diaper in the sun to watch the stain magically disappear 100%. No need to use any stain removals.
  • Use diaper liners. They catch most of the poo so that you can throw it away in the toilet without getting your hands dirty.
  • Use a diaper sprayer to wash the poo off in the toilet.

That said, if you REALLY can’t deal with a stinky poo for more than 3 seconds, then go with disposables. Cloth diapers are not for you.

Myth #4: Cloth diapers stink.

That’s true, but there are ways around it.

Use a diaper pail to contain the smell until you wash them. It can either be a wet or dry pail. If you don’t want to deal with emptying the water of a wet pail, then use a dry one and you can stick it in the wash together with the diapers. I put them in the washing machine in the garage and just forget about them.

If the smell doesn’t go away after you washed them, then it means you are doing something wrong with them. Most likely, you are using too much or too little detergent and the diapers are not getting cleaned properly.

By the way, disposable diapers smell too if you leave them out for too long!

Myth #5: Cloth diapers leak.

They are not supposed to!

If they do leak, it may be because you used stain removers or fabric softener when washing them (both of which reduce absorbency). You might also be using too much bum cream without a diaper liner.

So many people are obsessed with having pearly white cloth diapers and soak them for hours or put them through unnecessary wash cycles just so that they can have what looks like the perfect diaper. The reality is, they are drastically reducing the life span of the cloth diapers. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to wash them!

And remember that they are just diapers. Nobody other than you is really going to see them. Even if you don’t get rid of ALL the stain, they are still clean. Don’t stress too much about it.

That said, I won’t lie, they are not going to hold pee for 12 hours like some disposable diapers do. So, for example, if you have a baby that ends up staying awake for 2 hours if you change her cloth diaper at night, then I recommend using a disposable diaper at night. And that’s exactly what I do with my daughter!

Myth #6: Cloth diapers are stressful.

I don’t know why, but there’s this idea that you either go full-on cloth diapers, or you don’t use them at all. People get stressed out about leaking diapers at night, traveling with cloth diapers, storing them if outside with friends, etc. And they don’t even consider them.

But it’s perfectly fine to do a mix of both! Take the stress away and use disposable when it’s more convenient for you.

Like I already mentioned, I use disposables for my daughter at night. I tried cloth diapers but she would wake up every time I was changing her and used to stay awake for such a long time. Now I just breastfeed her and put her back in her bed asleep without even looking at her diaper.

I also use disposables if I know I am going to be away from home for a long time and don’t feel like carrying dirty cloth diapers with me.

Another suggestion: Don’t worry too much about using cloth diapers with a newborn. The arrival of a new baby can be stressful enough with all the changes in the family dynamic and so many new things to learn. Unless it’s your second baby and you are super confident with cloth diapers already, give it a few weeks before trying them on.

Feeling a little adventurous?

If you are one of those people who is gung-ho for trying unusual things to make your life easier, then I suggest you look into Elimination Communication (EC). The whole thing sounds a bit too extreme for some parents, but I used it for both my daughters in conjunction with cloth diapers and, let me tell you, I have hardly had to change a poo diaper since they were 6 months old.

EC is based on the belief that babies instinctively resist soiling themselves, their sleep space, and their caregivers, and they clearly communicate about it from birth. So, the caregiver can use timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address a baby’s need to eliminate waste.

Babies are actually pretty smart creatures already and don’t particularly like pooing in their diapers. Have you ever noticed that your baby gets quite fussy when they have just made a poo? So you can easily put them on a potty or on the toilet as soon as you see that they are pushing for a poo, and be amazed as they push it out there instead of in the diaper. If you try to put them on a potty every time you change their diaper, you will also notice that they’ll start making a poo when you do that, as it’s so much more comfortable for them.

Related:

Cloth Diapering 101
How to Easily Save $100 Per Year Using Cloth Diapers
Why We Didn’t Use Cloth Diapers With Our 2nd & 3rd Kids

Monica is the proud mom of 2 daughters and the author of the blog Mum in The Woods. Here she shares her journey through motherhood, with a focus on pregnancy, childbirth and babies. You will find lots of tips and suggestions on how to have the best pregnancy and birth experience, as well as how to survive the first years of motherhood.

Standing Strong in the Face of Adversity (with Alli Worthington)

You aren’t enough — in your own strength. But, in Christ, you can do ALL things!

As Alli Worthington says in her new book, Standing Strong, “You may not feel able to stand strong. You may be filled with self-doubt. When you hear others talk about great women of God, you may say, ‘Oh, that’s not me.’

“But friend, it is you. You are more than you think you are.

“A superpower exists inside you. If you are a believer, the Holy Spirit lives in you. We can’t keep walking around feeling powerless like life is happening to us, like we are victims. The Spirit of God lives inside us, empowering us for greatness. We just have to tap into it.”

Need some encouragement to live this truth out? To rest in God’s strength? To face adversity and hard things empowered by the strength of the Lord?

Want to know how to practically lean into that Superpower and live in confidence in Christ? Be sure to listen to today’s episode of The Crystal Paine show — it’s just 28 minutes and will infuse you with courage, confidence, and clarity to step out in faith and live into the callings God has given you.

In This Episode: 

[01:59] Alli shares about her family and her business. 

[03:06] What inspired her to write this book? 

[06:00] I ask Alli about her perspective on what a woman’s place is.

[09:10] How do we know what God is calling us to? 

[11:45] Does one’s calling ever change? How do you know if it does?

[14:58] How there is so much rest and joy when we follow God’s leading in our life.

[16:34] Has Alli found that she experiences more spiritual attacks because of writing this book? 

[20:02] Holding yourself back and playing small is not humility.

[21:40] What does it look like to focus on the God who can? 

[24:51] Some words for women who feel weary and worn down.

Links and Resources:

How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show

The podcast is available on iTunesAndroidStitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player here. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app.

Gretchen’s $73 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 5

Aldi

4 Yogurts – $0.32 each

1 lb Butter – $2.07

1 Cottage Cheese – $1.59

1 Half & Half – $1.55

1 MooTubes – $1.55

1 pkg (2.4 lbs) Ground Beef – $6.64

1 gallon Milk – $1.39

2 dozen Eggs – $1.18 each

1 Unsweetened Applesauce – $1.95

1 pkg Frozen Chicken Breasts – $5.59

2 pkg Shredded Cheese – $2.19 each

1 bag frozen Blueberries – $1.79

1 pkg Oven Roasted Turkey – $3.99

1 Grape Jelly – $1.29

1 Peanut Butter – $1.15

1 box Spaghetti – $0.99

1 pkg Flour Tortillas – $1.35

2 boxes Annies Mac & Cheese – $1.19 each

1 box Chewy Granola Bars – $0.95

1 box Cinnamon Crunch Cereal – $1.39

1 Butternut Squash – $2.35

1 Oyster Crackers – $0.79

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup – $0.50

1 can Refried Beans – $0.75

1 can Diced Tomatoes – $0.45

3.08 lbs Bananas – $1.36

1 pkg Taco Seasoning – $0.39

1 bag Spinach – $1.19

1 bag Romaine Lettuce – $2.19

2 bags Gala Apples – $1.49 each

1 bag Corn Chips – $0.75

1.41 lbs Broccoli – $2.05

1 bag Mandarins – $2.69

1 Baking Powder – $0.99

1 Seedless Cucumber – $1.29

0.61 lbs Roma Tomatoes – $0.54

1 loaf Bread – $0.55

Total: $67.43

Harris Teeter

I tried shopping at this new-to-me store this week. I’m still trying to figure out how the eVic specials work as the deal I purchased didn’t ring up what was advertised in my email. Hopefully I can keep working out the kinks as this store seems promising for good deals. If anyone has tips or tricks for shopping at Harris Teeter, I’d love to hear them!

3 pkg Perdue Chicken at $4.29 – On Sale Buy One, Get One Free, used $1.50/3 printable AND 3 $1.25/1 Ibotta rebates – $0.40 each after coupon and rebates

2.43 lbs Red Grapes – $2.41, used $0.25/1 Ibotta rebate – $2.16 after rebate

1 box Frosted Flakes – $2.24, used $0.70/1 printable (doubled) AND $1/1 Ibotta rebate – Free plus $0.16 overage after coupon and rebate

1 Breyers Ice Cream – $3 (I thought this was supposed to be a $1.97 e-Vic special but it didn’t ring up as that so I’m not sure what I did wrong.)

1 Perfect Snacks – $2, used $2.25/1 Ibotta rebate – Free plus $0.25 overage after rebate

Total after coupons and rebates: $5.95

Total for both stores: $73.38

Menu Plan for This Week

Breakfasts

Cereal, Eggs, Toast, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, Oatmeal, Fruit, Yogurt

Lunches

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Turkey Sandwiches, Cheese/Crackers/Fruit, Hard Boiled Eggs/Veggies/Apples, Mac & Cheese, Cheese Quesadillas, Salad Bar

Dinners

Smoked Chicken, Steamed Peas, Toast (using old bread from last week)

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Homemade Bread

Spaghetti, Steamed Peas, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Taco Soup, Chips, Apples

Baked Chicken with Cream of Mushroom Soup, Rice, Steamed Broccoli

Pancakes, Eggs, Fruit Salad

Cheese Pizza, Breadsticks, Tossed Salad

My 10 Goals For This Week


I felt like last week was kind of scattered and not very focused, but then when I sat down to look at my goals list, I was so encouraged to realize that I checked off so many things! YAY! This is why keeping track can be a good thing. It not only provides accountability, but it also provides encouragement that you sometimes get more done than you realize that you did!

This week, my big focus is getting the book edits done for my book manuscript. I have a really tight window of time to get them done, so I’m going to be working hard to get them finished by Friday afternoon (when they are due!) I just got them today… but gratefully, it’s a quieter week this week and we don’t have plans or activities three nights. YAY! So I think it should be doable!

Here’s an update on last week’s goals…

Last Week’s Goals

Personal Goals

1. Take 3 walks in our neighborhood.

2. Read 5 chapters of The White Rose Resists. Read 5 chapters of Atomic Habits. Finish listening to Five Days in November. Finish reading Standing Strong.

3. Do pelvic floor exercises at least four times.

4. Do 3 days of Couch to 5K.

5. Get 45,000 steps in.

Home/Family Goals

6. Read 20 pages of A Boy’s War as a family. Read three chapters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the babies and Silas. 

7. Invite friends over.

Work/Blog Goals

8. Do an IG story for a brand (I’ve had this on my calendar for way too long — time to get it done!)

9. Plan and teach a live coaching session for my Blogging Mastermind group.

Word of the Year Goals

10. Have a family movie night.

And here’s my goals for this week…

This Week’s Goals

Personal Goals

1. Take 3 walks in our neighborhood.

2. Read 5 chapters of The White Rose Resists. Read 5 chapters of Atomic Habits. Read 5 chapters of Standing Strong.

3. Finish listening to Dare to Lead.

4. Do pelvic floor exercises at least four times.

5. Do 3 days of Couch to 5K.

6. Get 48,000 steps in.

Home/Family Goals

7. Read 20 pages of A Boy’s War as a family. Read three chapters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the babies and Silas. 

8. Watch the Presidential Debate together and discuss our thoughts & opinions as a family. (We love having intense discussions on political topics — and are learning to share our thoughts and disagree with grace and kindness!)

Work/Blog Goals

9. Finish my second round of book edits.

Word of the Year Goals

10. Have a family movie night.

Brigette’s $85 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6

My older sister, Brigette, shares her shopping trips and menu plans every week! You can go HERE to see all of her weekly menu plans and you can go HERE to read all about her family!

Aldi

4 bags frozen Broccoli Florets – $3.56

2 bags frozen Riced Cauliflower – $3.78

2 cans Green beans – $0.76

1 Cauliflower – $2.25

1 3-lb bag Mandarin Oranges – $2.29

1 Butternut Squash ($0.59/lb) – $1.95

1 Spaghetti Squash ($0.59/lb) – $2.74

2 Acorn Squash ($0.59/lb) – $1.56

1 large tub Organic Spring Mix – $3.59

1 3-pk Colored Peppers – $2.49

1 pg Zucchini – $2.09

2 bags Green Beans – $3.18

1 Romaine – $2.15

1 3-lb bag Gala Apples – $1.49

1 pint Grape Tomatoes – $1.19

1 bag Spinach – $1.19

1 pkg Brats – $2.95

1 pkg fresh Boneless Chicken Thighs (1.49/lb) – $4.82

1 pkg Pepperoni – $2.19

1-lb Sausage – $1.49

2 64-oz cartons Orange Juice – $3.18

1 gallon Whole Milk – $1.47

1 gallon 1% Milk – $1.47

6 single-serving cartons Greek Yogurt – $3.54

1 32-oz carton Half and Half – $1.29

2 1-lb boxes Butter – $3.92

1 8-oz pkg Deli Sliced Cheese – $1.25

2 8-oz blocks Cheddar Cheese – $2.50

1 16-oz pkg Deli Meat – $2.49

1 jar Crunchy Peanut Butter – $1.15

1 5-lb bag Flour – $1.15

1 box Crispy Oats  – $1.09

1 box Cinnamon Crunch Squares – $1.19

1 box Rice Squares – $1.49

1 box Corn Flakes – $1.19

1 box Clubhouse Crackers – $1.79

1 bag Veggie Straws – $1.79

1 pkg Flour Tortillas – $1.35

3 dozen Eggs – $2.54

1 pkg Hot Dog Buns – $0.59

1 pkg Hamburger Buns – $0.59

2 loaves Sandwich Bread – $1.18

Grocery Total for the Week: $85.91

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include:

Cereal, Oatmeal, Toast, Fruit, Smoothies, Fried/Scrambled/Boiled Eggs, Veggie Omelets, Yogurt

Lunches

Crackers with Peanut Butter, Oranges, Peppers

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Cucumbers, Tomatoes (from a friend’s garden) x 2

Deli Meat/Cheese Sandwiches, Veggie Straws, Apples, Carrots x 2

Leftovers x 2

Dinners

Grilled Venison Burgers, Baked Potato Fries, Green Beans

Homemade Pepperoni Pizza, Broccoli

Grilled Brats and Chicken, Creamy Milk Rice, Grilled Zucchini, Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash

Sausage Egg Quiche, Broccoli, Biscuits

Venison Roast in the Instant Pot, Roasted Cauliflower, Baked Potatoes

Spaghetti (made with ground sausage), Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Green Beans, Homemade French Bread

Leftovers

Why Homemade Laundry Detergent Doesn’t Actually Save You Money

We often hear about homemade laundry detergent and how much money it can save you, but this is a really interesting perspective on how it might not actually save you money like you think!

Psst! Interested in other homemade cleaners? Check out this list of homemade cleaners that might save you money!

homemade laundry detergent doesn't save money

Guest post from Ali:

I used to love homemade detergent. I thought it was amazing! It was easy, quick, and cheap to make. It worked well on stains.

But it was a waste. Homemade laundry detergent cost me much more than I saved.

About 6 months after I started making my homemade laundry detergent, all of our clothes started to stink and fall apart. And I ended up having to completely replace our wardrobe.

What I didn’t know at that point was that the bars of soap you grate to be the main cleaning agent, do not easily wash out in a washing machine.

Why Homemade Laundry Soap Doesn’t Work

The Science

The following is a very simple explanation.

Soap and detergent are similar molecules, but key differences make soap appropriate for nonporous surfaces (like counters) and detergent appropriate for porous surfaces (like clothes).

This is because detergent needs much less water than soap to wash out. And washing machines just don’t use enough water to properly wash soap out of clothes.

When soap (that builds up in your clothes) binds to magnesium or calcium, it makes soap scum.

Soap scum is insoluble and builds up, causing the clothes that you want to be absorbent (like towels and cloth diapers) lose their absorbency.

It will also cause your clothes to stink and deteriorate. Just like what happened to me!

So Why Not Use Extra Rinses?

Soap degrades fats like oil and lubricants — the same oil and lubricants your washer needs to operate properly.

With each wash, you are slowly ruining your washer. Using homemade laundry detergents will void your warranty, too.

Eventually, you will have to replace your washer.

You may have to replace your entire wardrobe like me.

What about Washing Soda and Borax?

I highly recommend keeping these around for laundry. They don’t harm the laundry or your machine.

These are NOT cleaning agents, though. These are chemicals that soften your water.

Most waters have dissolved minerals like calcium and iron present in them. Store-bought detergents will bind to these minerals, making them less effective at cleaning our clothes.

So if you have hard water, use a store-bought detergent and add ½ to 1 cup of a water softener.

How do you know if you have hard water?

Red stains in the bathtub mean that you have iron. Calcium will block small pipes over long periods.

Wellwater or untreated water tends to be hard while treated water tends to be softer.

The only way to know for sure is to get it tested.

Take a small sample from INSIDE your washer, if possible, and use a hardness test kit found in the aquarium aisle of most pet stores. It is easy and takes only a few minutes.

Some pet stores will do it for free if you bring it in. You may also be able to find the kits at hardware and pool stores.

How to Save Money on Laundry Detergent

If you want to save money on laundry detergent without homemade detergent being your solution, here are some of my best tips:

  • Use coupons to get best the deal on detergent. Coupons are always a good way to save money if you have the time! Collect some detergent coupons, stack it on a sale, and you can get a great deal. Buy several bottles and stock up!
  • Buying in bulk is always a great idea! Consider Amazon Subscribe & Save or Target Subscribe to Save. Beware of buying from places like Craigslist or Facebook Market Place. Counterfeit detergent is a thing.
  • Water softeners like mentioned above can make your detergent more powerful if you have dissolved minerals in your water.
  • Buy cheaper detergents and use more than recommended (depending on the soil level of the load) with an extra rinse.
  • Let the load soak. The additional time for the chemical to bind will allow more reactions to take place.

Ditch Your Dryer

If you can, line dry your clothes. This will reduce your energy significantly and save you money on your electric bill.

Bonus Tip: Strip Your Clothes

If you have been using homemade laundry detergent or want to check the efficacy of your laundry routine, strip your clothes.

This is a simple process that will pull all the grime out of the fabric.

How to Strip Clothes

    • Fill your bathtub ⅔ full of HOT water.
    • Add 2 cups strong detergent
    • 1 cup of water softener
    • Stir
    • Add clothes. They should be able to move around freely so don’t overload it.
    • Let sit 4-5 hours. If your clothes have build-up, the water will turn dark.
    • Wash your clothes in the washing machine with NO extra detergent.

Stripping will remove any build-up and make your clothes feel like new!

Have you ever tried making your own homemade laundry detergent? Did you like it?

Ali is a homeschool mom of 5. She is passionate about building wealth, teaching others to build wealth, revolutionizing education, and teaching the next generation of leaders.