Caring for Cloth Diapers

So you’ve picked out the perfect cloth diapers and accessories, you’ve placed the order and now you have to figure out how to take care of them once they arrive. Rest assured, it’s really much easier than most think. There’s a plethora of information out there on caring for cloth diapers but honestly it’s largely a matter of preferance.

Getting Started:

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions and warranty info.

Generally you’re going to have to wash your diapers multiple times prior to using. This helps the diapers absorb better. I usually wash them about three times before the first use.

You’ll want to be careful with laundry soap. Choose one that does not contain a lot of fragrance, enzymes, softeners, etc. I make my own using a few simple ingredients. I’ll share the recipe for my laundry detergent with you in the next post so stay tuned if you’re interested. It’s easy, inesxpensive & works very well.

You can use plain white vinegar along with the detergent to help soften and deoderize if needed once you start using them.

Drying your cloth diapers is going to depend on your preference/manufacturer. I’ve seen lots of different opinions on drying the diaper shell in the dryer, but generally drying the insert seems to be fine. During the warmer months I dry the shell on a drying rack outside in the sun. When it’s cold out, I prefer to dry them in the dryer because it just takes too long to air dry.

Regular Washing:

Once you start using the diapers, you’ll want to make sure to wash them about every three days. So roughly twice a week.

I store the dirty diapers in a garbage can with a wet bag in it.

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Since my daughter’s still breastfeeding a lot, her poop isn’t solid enough yet to use the diaper sprayer, but once it gets to that point I’ll be spraying the poop into the toilet prior to placing the diaper in the can/wet bag. For now all I do is open the diapers and take apart the shell/insert & take out any cloth wipes. I place everything in the washer together, along with the wet bag.

Next, I run the rinse & spin cycle on my washer with cold water.

After that, I change the soil setting to “extra heavy” and use hot water and detergent/vinegar.

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At this point I will either hang them to dry or place them in the dryer with my wool dryer balls. I usually have to dry them for two cycles to get them completely dry.

Once they’re dry, I sort through everything and get them ready to use.

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That’s it! Super easy and takes only a little extra effort and time.

In addition to regular washing, I usually “strip” my cloth diapers about every six months or so depending on how they smell/perform. Over time oils and dirt build up causing the diapers to hold onto odors and leak. I will say, I’ve had very few issues with this brand and even after nearly 10 months I still haven’t had to go through the process yet! If you’d like more info on what kind of diapers we’re using and loving, check out my previous post here:

https://oursimplefamilyliving.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/cloth-diapering-essentials-favorites/

Stay tuned for a post on my DIY detergent next! I’ll also be sharing a post on stripping your cloth diapers to freshen them up every so often.

I hope you found this post encouraging and helpful if you’re new to cloth! There’s a lot to love about cloth diapers! If you have used cloth and you have some great tips, please share them in the comments! 🙂

Cloth Diapering Essentials & Favorites

Have you ever thought about cloth diapering but weren’t sure you could handle the extra work involved? Did you think it would be to expensive to get started? Thought there was too much to learn? It seems so complicated…I’ve been there too. When I was pregnant with my first son almost a decade ago now, I was doing a lot of research on natural living and one of the things I’d wanted to try so badly was cloth diapers. Unfortunately it took a while after he was born for me to finally work up the nerve to try it out. Even since then, there have been seasons where we only cloth diapered part time or not at all for a time (with my second son I worked full time and was in grad school), but we never fully gave it up with either of our four children and overall we have grown to love it. With baby number 4, we’ve almost exclusively used cloth since she was big enough. I say almost exclusively because we do drop her off at the nursery at church where they’re typically not familiar with cloth diapers so we use disposables there. We also have periods where baby just gets too wet at night for the cloth diaper so it’s just easier to use a disposable at night. You could certainly just change baby half way through but for now this as been working best for me. Once they don’t nurse as often through the night and no longer get so wet, we go back to cloth diapering through the night. So now that you know some of the back story, let’s talk about what we use and how we use it.

First of all, I’m pretty simple when it comes to most things. Cloth diapering is no exception. I only use what I truly need and try to get it for a good price.

What you really need:

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  • Approximately 15-20 cloth diapers (and a basket to store them in)
  • bottle for water
  • cloth wipes
  • wet bag for dirty diapers (as well as a trash can to store it in)
  • cloth diaper friendly ointment
  • diaper sprayer

I bought a couple of smaller wet bags for when we cloth diaper on the go this time but honestly I don’t need them that often. They are nice to have but I wouldn’t consider them a necessity. You could always use a grocery bag for wet diapers if you wanted to save that money.

The Diapers:

Between the four kiddos I have used a wide variety of diapers, prefolds, pocket, all in one. The prefolds worked wonderful but I didn’t like how bulky they were. I used those with my third son and wanted to switch with my daughter. I didn’t have any of the diapers left from my first two so I ended up buying all new diapers. I am able to use the inserts from the new diapers with the shell from the old ones which is nice but I have enough shells for her to where I’ve contemplated selling or donating all of those with the prefolds.

I’ve used some of the pricey diapers and frankly don’t think they were worth the extra expense.

With Everleigh I settled on these Alva baby diapers and we have loved them! They are adorable, easy to use and care for and well made! Here’s the best part, they’re super affordable!

I purchased mine from Amazon for about $30. They came in a set of 6 covers and 12 inserts.

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Wipes:

I use mostly reusable cloth wipes. It just made the most sense with cloth diapers because I just keep it all together in the pail and then throw everything in the washer. The wipes I bought from Amazon are nice and thick, soft and easy to care for.

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These are by Babygoal (bamboo) $8.99 for 12! I think I purchased 2 sets for a total of 24 which is more than enough for us. Compared to the price of disposable wipes and it’s no extra laundry since I’m already washing the diapers.

The bottle I use was free, it came home with me from the hospital. I’ve used baby castile soap mixed with water but most of the time it’s just water.

The Wet bags:

This is the wet bag that I purchased, also from Amazon. It’s by Alvababy, like the diapers. This one is their large bag. It has great reviews and has held up very well. I wash mine every time I was a load of diapers. It’s inexpensive at $14.99

Then I also have the small ones (from Amazon). They came in a two pack for $9.99!

The Diaper cream:

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I’ve used a few different ones over the years but I always come back to this one. It’s by Grandma El’s and comes in a 3.75 oz tub for $12.99 from Amazon. It typically lasts me about 6 months even when I use it almost daily (all of my kids have had sensitive skin).

The Sprayer:

I purchased this one by Easy Giggles from Amazon for $29.99. I haven’t had to use it much yet but I know those days are coming and it’s so much easier having a sprayer (I’ve done without one at times and wanted to make sure I had one this time). It has over 1,200 reviews and almost 5 stars so I think we’ll be happy with this one. The price is great and from what we can tell it looks well made. It’s installed and ready to go for when we need it.

That’s it! Store them in a pretty basket, ready to use just like disposables.

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If you add everything up, that comes to less than $200. I’ve been using the same diapers and wipes for almost a year now and I’m on my second jar of ointment. That’s a price I feel good about. It honestly pains me to buy the disposable diapers when I think about how quickly they’re gone yet how expensive they are.

I hope you feel inspired to make the switch! You won’t regret it!

Next up, I’ll share with you what I do to care for my cloth diapers.

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Frugal Homeschooling: Bird Unit Study

Let’s be honest, homeschool supplies can get pretty expensive…especially when you’re buying supplies for multiple students. With a little creativity, research and help from fellow homeschooling mom’s sharing their ideas, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Today I’m going to share a few things we used for our Bird unit nature study. Some of the ideas and worksheets were completely free thanks to fellow bloggers (I’ll share the links in case you’re interested as well as to give credit to the ladies who created these items).

First, let’s talk about a couple of the books that I’ve purchased over the last few years as part of the kids’ school supplies:

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We use this guide quite frequently since we have a lot of birds visiting us on a daily basis. Whenever we spot a new bird we try to figure out what it is and it’s been wonderful to see the kids getting excited to look them up and find out more information. We got this one off of www.christianbook.com. It’s very inexpensive at $5.49 and covers the birds you’re likely to find in your backyard. It’s easy to read and understand.

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Next up, is Anna Botsford Comstock. I bought my copy at christianbook last year, but you can also get this one (and lots of others) here: www.thriftbooks.com. I’ve been very happy with this website in the past and have gotten some great prices on school books from there.

This book is a classic, originally written in 1911. It’s a detailed book, covering a large variety of information. I haven’t used this one as much as I suspect we will in the years to come as the kids advance in school. Even now though, it serves me well when I need some extra information on a particular thing we’re studying.

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The next one is this nature reader by Christian Liberty Press. My kids have thoroughly enjoyed these nature readers. We’re currently on book 2 but book 1 happened to have some info on birds we went back and reviewed for this unit study.

This one can also be found at www.christianbook.com.

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This little nature book was a wonderful gift to the boys from their Aunt and Uncle this past Christmas and is a great resource for nature study for the younger kids!

Check out the bird section:

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I was able to find it at www.amazon.com for $10.45.

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Next up, My baby Blue Jays. This one is around $5 at www.thiftbooks.com/. We were actually able to get this one at Goodwill for less than that. It’s a great addition to our library and has some sweet pictures for the kids to look at.

Now let’s talk about some fun free things to add into a thrifty bird unit.

First, we’ve been collecting bird feathers any chance we get. We also had a sweet little bird nest, but little curious fingers inspecting it regularly kind of took its toll. We’ll be keeping an eye out for another one but had to do without this time around. Kids love seeing and feeling the things they’re learning about so it’s definitely a great idea to get out there and help them find the real thing outdoors.

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Next, look around online for freebies like these gems below. There are lots of homeschooling mammas out there who are trying to help other homeschooling mammas. I will say, this process can be a little time consuming so you do have to set some extra time aside to be able to weed through the things that either aren’t truly “free” or just aren’t exactly what you were looking for.

Check out these blogs for the free printables of the worksheets below as well as some other ideas on compiling a Bird unit.

Julie Kieras http://happystronghome.com/bird-study-unit-lesson-plans/home.com (Bird coloring page).

Tina Robertson https://www.tinasdynamichomeschoolplus.com/free-bird-journal/ (Bird identification key)

Busy Bee Kids Printables http://www.busybeekidsprintables.com/Bird-Printables.html Word search)

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Here’s a brief video on Youtube that identifies some common backyard birds.

Some other things that could be incorporated are:

Bible verses 

Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Luke 12:24

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

Psalm 50:11

I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.

Matthew 10:29
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

Hymns & Poems

Emily Dickinson’s A Bird Came Down the Walk

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/56593/a-bird-came-down-the-walk-359

Civilla Martin’s His Eye is on the Sparrow

https://www.godtube.com/popular-hymns/his-eye-is-on-the-sparrow/

I hope you’ve found some helpful information in today’s post! Let me know if there’s other homeschool related posts you’d be interested in reading. I have a few I’m planning out already but I’d love to get some feedback on what you’d like to see more of.

Check out our DIY Bird feeders we made for the craft portion of our unit here:

https://oursimplefamilyliving.wordpress.com/2020/01/13/diy-pinecone-birdfeeder/

I’ll leave you with some pictures of my adorable little researchers 🙂

Happy bird watching!!

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