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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cloth Diapering From Day 1: Washing Newborn Diapers

Anyone who has ever had a new baby knows just how much laundry they produce. It still amazes me after 3 children, just how many tiny pieces of clothing a tiny little person dirties! You might be overwhelmed at the thought of adding in cloth diaper laundry. Here is the good news: Washing newborn diapers is EASY! And when I say easy, I mean that I'd rather wash the 12-15 diapers/day that my 3 week old is putting out than the 2-3 diapers/day that my almost potty trained 2 1/2 year old is putting out! Here is what makes it so easy:
  • The poop! If baby is exclusively breastfed, there is no need to do any spraying, scraping or dunking to get rid of the poop. While the bright yellow poop (or the hot mustard explosion as my husband calls it) may look, well.. disgusting, think of it as the consistency of yogurt. It's water soluble and will rinse away when you do your first rinse or cold wash in your wash routine.
  • The smell! Better yet, the lack of smell! I'm not getting all high and mighty by telling you my kid's poop doesn't stink. I'm telling you that newborn poop doesn't stink! Breastfed poop is generally void of a foul odor, which means you are less likely to have to deal with stinky diapers!
I have 2 places I store dirty diapers. I have a dry pail with a Planet Wise Pail Liner in Emmett's nursery and a Planet Wise Hanging Wet/Dry Bag in our bathroom. My 2 1/2 year old's diapers get thrown into the bag in the bathroom (convenient after spraying off a #2) and my newborn's diapers are in the pail (poop and all!). On wash day, I empty both of these into my washer and throw in the liner and bag. I do a cold rapid wash followed by a hot wash with detergent and an extra rinse. All covers and pocket shells go on a folding drying rack and inserts, prefolds and fitteds get tumble dried.
Special Considerations
  • Stains- It's true that the bright yellow poop does seem to stain cloth diapers. The good new is that even with a stain, they are clean. The other good new is that breastmilk poop stains fade over washing and sun out easily!
  • Meconium- I've had quite a few people ask me about meconium poop and how it washes out. This was honestly one of my biggest concerns before embarking on this journey! Emmett passed most of his meconium while we were still in the hospital. I didn't use any liners with the cloth diapers during that time. All of those diapers were stored for 2 days in our wetbag before being washed and all came perfectly clean!
  • Detergent Sensitivities- I don't have to tell you just have sensitive a newborn's skin may be! If you find that your little one is getting a rash or reaction only where their diaper touches, they may be sensitive to the detergent you are using. Make sure you are using something free of additives and free of fabric softener. Although specially advertised to be for babies, Dreft detergent is not a good option for cloth diapers. Also make sure you are rinsing your diapers well after the wash to ensure all detergent it out!


Meghan B. said...

Formula poop also washes right out without doing anything extra. I never sprayed or anything until my son was eating a lot of solids.

Janine @ Alternative Housewife said...

I had always wondered about the meconium too! Thanks for this! We didn't start cloth with my first until about 8 weeks (because our stash was too big) but I will definitely start from the beginning with our next baby!

The Mueller Family said...

Annie, I just wanted to THANK YOU for your posts! For years I had been folding my prefolds (I KNOW, right?!?) and when I read your love for how easy cloth diap laundry is--that it is the one load you don't have to fold--I thought to myself, "What in the world, why didn't I think of that!?!" I no longer waste time trifolding my prefolds, and I redid my cloth diapering station to make it extremely user-friendly. I now have a neat, "unfolded" stack of prefolds and a basket of wraps--super easy!! Thanks for your tips:)

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