Why did I wait until my 4th baby to cloth diaper?
You ever say something and it bugs you down to your core? After 'Imi was born a customer asked me about cloth diapers fitting under our clothing and I wasn't sure of the answer. I simply responded that we didn't cloth diaper so I wasn't sure but we could ask some of our customers that did. A day passed and I was so bothered by the fact I hadn't tried. How does that saying go...don't knock something until you try it?
Anyways, long story short. My husband is the one who suggested cloth diapering when we found out we were pregnant with Kalei. I was teaching full-time back then and we looked into it. I was onboard with the idea until I saw what I thought was "so much work" to clean. I'm not going to lie, the spraying diapers is what scared me away. The idea of maybe touching poop made me squirm. And then having to do all that laundry!
Fast-forward to summer of 2021 when 'Imi was born. With 4 kids and me now running The Keiki Dept full-time, I decided that this is the time to try it. I mean, I do laundry almost daily if not multiple loads a day. What is one more load of laundry. I think maybe our lifestyle and expecting our first child wasn't the perfect timing for us to give it a go. I've been peed on and pooped on...I've caught baby spit-up and toddler puke in my hands...so I guess the idea of spraying poop into a toilet doesn't freak me out anymore.
I have to give a lot of credit to Pohai from Kaleimamo Hawaii who really helped walk me through this cloth-diapering journey. I read all the blogs about it, made my pinterest board, but to actually talk to someone who has done it and to have them cheer me on really made the world of a difference.
We are a few months in and we're at the point of why didn't I start this sooner? As of today we are a part-time cloth diaper family...we use cloth during the day and disposables overnight (I still had a stash that I want to work through, and once we get near the end of that I'll give overnight a go).
How We Started
We started cloth diapering when 'Imi was 4 months old. I bought a few Kaiapa Paʻa (all-in-one diapers) from Kaleimamo Hawaii. Side note: Pohai was actually a customer of mines and started this small shop.
I decided I needed to jump in all the way otherwise I would never give it a fair shot. After getting enough to last me a day, I finally tried. I think that was the hardest part, trying. I had the kaiapa for about a month before I tried. Before you can even use the kaiapa you need to wash them and dry them at least once. I think I did it twice to make sure they would absorb all the shi shi.
ʻImi had his first cold and I wanted to wait until he was feeling better and it took me that whole month to mentally prepare myself. And you know what, it wasn't that bad!
I started on a day that we were staying home. The thought of having to take these with me on the go with a wetbag was a little intimidating. But you know what, it wasn't that bad! I put his first kaiapa on and sent the kiʻi (picture) to Pohai!
What are all those snaps?
Since cloth diapers are reusuable they come with a bajillion snaps to get that right fit as baby grows. The top row is your hip snaps and they adjust to baby's waist. The next row is for your baby's thighs and all of the other ones are your rise snaps for baby's length and level of activity. A newborn would snap all the way to the bottom, a crawler in the middle and a walker at the top.
I had no idea where to even start so I asked Pohai. The rise snaps (the one closer to the crotch) were on the right level. When you snap those, you push the material up towards the belly button. You can even pre-snap those when you are doing laundry so you don't have to try to get them on with a wiggly baby!
The main thing is to make sure it is tight around baby's waist and legs to prevent any leakage or blowouts. One helpful tip Pohai gave me was to pull the wings up towards the waistband to get that leg seal good!
Fun Fact: Did you know that if your baby is exclusively breastfed you can just throw that sucker straight in the wash? No need to spray off? Breastfed poop is water soluble. Even cooler is that if you get those yellow breastfed poop stains all you have to do is leave it in the sun and they disappear! I watched that magic happen and my kids thought that was pretty cool too!
Okay...but what about the laundry?
I honestly don't notice a difference in my laundry. I mean it does take a little longer to do the cloth diaper laundry because there is the pre-wash (cold, quick cycle), main-wash (hot water, heavy cycle, soap & extra rinse), and then dry (low/medium heat, no dryer sheet). My favorite part about cloth diapers might be doing the laundry. I honestly love it and I will actually fold right away too! I love seeing my stack of cloth diapers and getting them ready to go for the next day of use!
So here we are, a few months into this journey and I'm so glad I tried. I know this might not be for everyone. And I'm hoping to try overnight soon (I'm working up the courage to try). I already got the extra inserts for when I'm ready.
We currently have 27 cloth diapers (a mix of prints and solids), a cloth diaper spray shield and sprayer, and a diaper pail for soiled diapers. If you want to see what we use here are a few links to check out:
- Kaleimamo Hawaii - cute locally inspired cloth diapers
- Amazon List of must haves for Cloth Diapering
- Our Cloth Diaper Pinterest Board
Mahalo again to Pohai from Kaleimamo Hawaii for helping us on our cloth diaper journey! If you're on this journey with us, follow both of us on IG @thekeikidept and @kaleimamohawaii for something in the works (hint! hint!).