After a lot of reading and changing my mind multiple times, we started using reusable diapers when our daughter was around 2 months old. She’s 19 weeks as I write this. I would like to share with you how we use them and what our experience has been so far.

why did we decide to use reusable diapers?

our planet

In general, we try to be conscious of our impact. We buy as much as we can in bulk, make our own toothpaste and use soap nuts. So when I was pregnant, I researched how we could limit the waste related to having a baby. (I already wrote an article about the minimalist must-haves for your newborn). When I started reading about reusable diapers, I got overwhelmed. There were too many options. Washing instructions seemed overly complicated. Information, about if it was really better for our planet, was conflicting.

I’m still not sure if reusable diapers are better for the environment. It’s not clear to me if the comparisons I could find online are neutral or potentially sponsored by the diaper industry. But when I started using disposable diapers, I was shocked by the amount of waste we were creating, none of which was even recyclable, which is why I decided to look into reusable diapers one more time.

our daughter

Our daughter wears a diaper 99% of the time. When we were using a disposable diaper, this meant that a product made from a petrol derivative full of chemicals was touching my baby’s skin all the time. No wonder I had to constantly apply diaper cream, to keep the diaper rash at bay. I loved the idea of using a more natural type of diaper and maybe even getting rid of the diaper cream.

how did we choose a reusable diaper system?

the different systems

As I mentioned before, there are many systems when it comes to reusable diapers. I’m not going to list them all, because I don’t have the necessary knowledge and first-hand experience with all of them. You can find many articles that do give a complete overview.

In general, a reusable diaper consists of:

  • the diaper: this is the absorption layer
  • the diaper cover: this is a waterproof layer
  • a booster: this is used to boost the absorption of a diaper.
  • a liner: this is a paper that catches the poop, which you can throw away.

The different systems, combine these layers in different ways, from an all-in-one system to folding your own diaper from a square piece of fabric.

more choices to make

Apart from the system, there are several other choices you need to make:

  • Diapers come if different materials. Cotton, bamboo and hemp all have different characteristics when it comes to absorption and drying time.
  • You need to choose if you want a sized diaper or a one-size diaper. A one-size diaper will last from the newborn stage until your child no longer requires a diaper. If you choose sized diapers, you will need to buy diapers in different sizes as your baby grows.
  • Most diapers close with velcro or with poppers. The advantage of velcro is that you can close the diaper more perfectly to fit your baby. The downside is that it’s easier for your child to open its diaper once it gets older.
  • There are so many beautiful prints on diapers, so it’s hard to only guide yourself by the functional aspects and not by the beauty of some diapers.

making the right choice

When you start with reusable diapers, you pay the full cost right away, so you want to make sure you choose right. For me, this was a bit paralysing.

The diaper that you end up choosing depends on:

  • Your personal preferences and lifestyle
  • Your child’s shape: Some diapers will fit your baby better than others.
  • Your child’s peeing habits: Some babies pee a lot at once, and others pee a lot of times a little bit. This has an impact on the absorbance the diaper will need.
  • When you want to start using the diapers: A one-size diaper might be too large for a newborn.
  • How many children you will use the diapers for: If you’re planning on using the diapers for multiple children it can be worth the investment to buy sized diapers.

Because you don’t know all of these factors before your baby is born, it is difficult to buy reusable diapers upfront.

So how can you make the right choice for you?

  • Google
  • Join a Facebook group related to the topic
  • You can have a diaper consultation. Some shops give information sessions regarding reusable diapers.
  • You can rent a package that contains a mix of different diapers for you to try out when your baby is born.
  • You can narrow down your options and buy one of each type.

Due to COVID-19, I couldn’t attend a diaper consultation, so I looked up as much information as I could and bought a few different types.

the system we chose

I concluded that a two-part system was best for us. This system has the least chances of leaking, and it is easy to increase absorption when needed. I also wanted a one-size system to reduce costs as we are only going to use this with one child, and she was already two months when we started using it.

Based on this decision and trying out a few options, we chose the Totsbots Peenut Wrap and Bamboozle Stretch in size 2. They fit my daughter well; they are soft and flexible, easy to use and don’t leak.

Totsbots Peenut Wrap Totsbots Bamboozle Stretch Popolini Nappy Liner Popli Super Petit Lulu Fleece Liner Petit Lulu Nappy Bag Little Lamb Mesh Laundry Bag Biotop washing powder

In the first few months, a baby uses 8 diapers per day on average. Later, it lowers to about 6 per day. I bought the number of items so that I need to wash every 3 days.

So this is what we ended up buying:

  • Totsbots Peenut Wrap: I have 6 diaper covers. This means that I switch between two throughout the day. I replace a cover when it gets dirty.
  • Totsbots Bamboozle Stretch in size 2: I have 24 diapers. I have 25 reusable wipes and use about 1 wipe per diaper change, so that works out perfectly.
  • Popolini Nappy Liner Popli Super: This is the liner that I read is best suited for the first 6 months when Aria is still breastfeeding. Once she starts eating solids, I will begin using the Nappy Liners Popli.
  • Petit Lulu Fleece Liner: 10 fleece liners, we only use these during the night.
  • Petit Lulu Nappy Bag: 1 wetbag that we use for the dirty diapers when we go out.
  • Little Lamb Mesh Laundry Bag: 2 washing nets, so that I also have one while I’m doing laundry
  • Biotop washing powder: If you read online, there is a lot of conflicting information about which washing powders are suitable for reusable diapers. We use soap nuts and Ecover for our regular laundry, but neither seemed to be ok. Biotop was recommended to be by Blabloom. It’s bio, and the diapers come out clean, so I’m happy. 🤷‍
  • I have the bébé jou diaper bucket. I already bought it second hand with disposable diapers in mind. The good thing is that the washing nets I have fit perfectly. Unfortunately, it is a bit too small for the number of diapers we have. I wouldn’t mind replacing it, but I haven’t found a good alternative yet. So if you found the perfect diaper bucket, please let me know!

how we organise the diapers

I organise my diapers in 3 baskets with 6 each (there are always some in the laundry). That way, I know that I need to do the laundry when I reach the last basket. In some other baskets, I organise the covers, the boosters and fleece liners. I also have a roll of paper liners.

I have one trashcan to throw away the liners that have poop.

Next to the trashcan is my diaper bucket with a washing net. I have two washing nets: one to use in the diaper bucket, and a second one for when the first one is in the washing machine.

our experience

I have to admit that I had to convince myself to stop using disposable diapers and 100% use the reusable ones. Even after buying them, it still seemed daunting. But once we started, we quickly got the hang of it.

changing the diaper

A two-part system sounded to me like it would take me a lot more time to change a diaper, but it didn’t. Our daughter is super relaxed when we change her diaper. Crazy as it may sound, it’s often a nice moment together, so I’m also not in a rush.

our routine to prepare the diaper

  1. Adjust the size of the diaper
    This depends on the size of your baby. At the moment we don’t need to this anymore for our daughter.
  2. Attach the booster to the diaper and fold
    When your baby doesn’t pee as much yet, this step can be skipped. Once you notice that diapers either start leaking our feel very wet, you can add a booster to the diaper. In some systems, the booster can be added loosely. With the bamboozle, you can click the booster in the diaper. I fold it to the middle since that’s where girls pee the most.
  3. Add a fleece liner to the diaper
    For her night diaper, we add a fleece liner. The advantage of fleece is that the pee passes right through it to be absorbed in the bamboo layer, and the fleece keeps feeling dry. As I don’t change her diaper during the night (unless she
    💩 of course), I think it’s nicer for her like this.
  4. Add a paper liner to the diaper
    The paper liner catches the poop. When you change the diaper, you can throw this in the trash. So no, your dirty diapers are not full of poop.
    🤷‍
  5. Adjust the size of the diaper cover
    This depends on the size of your baby. At the moment we don’t need to this anymore for our daughter.

I don’t prepare the diapers upfront, I do this after I take off her dirty diaper and clean her. That way she has some extra naked bum time.

our diaper changing routine

  1. I take out a wet wipe.
  2. I open my daughter’s diaper and already close the velcros of the diaper.
  3. If the paper liner is dirty, I throw it in the trashcan. If it’s still clean, I throw it in the diaper bucket as they can be washed several times.
  4. I take apart the booster from the diaper and throw both in the diaper bucket.
  5. I wipe down the cover and start cleaning my daughter. When she’s clean, I remove the cover and put it aside so it can dry.
  6. I dry her with a tetra or a towel.
  7. I prepare the diaper.
  8. I put the diaper on my daughter. I make sure that it’s neatly tucked in and well placed between her legs.
  9. I put the diaper cover on my daughter and check that the diaper doesn’t peak out of the cover.

washing the diapers

The washing regime seemed very laborious at first, but it takes us minimal effort. This laundry is not like another laundry:

  • There’s no sorting; everything is already in the washing net.
  • There’s no ironing
  • There’s no putting back in the closet, just quickly add it in the designated baskets.

our washing routine

  1. Prewash diapers, covers & wipes
    I add the washing net with reusable wipes to the diaper bucket and take the diaper bucket to the laundry room.
    I throw the washing net with the reusable wipes and the washing net with the diapers in the washing machine. I don’t need to take the diapers out of the net, as they will come out automatically in the machine.
    I first do a 20 minutes pre-wash at 30 degrees with an amount of soap for lightly stained laundry.
  2. Add laundry and wash
    When the first laundry is finished, I add more laundry to the washing machine, for example, towels, sheets, …
    I select a 60 degrees program and add an amount of soap for very stained laundry. It’s important not to shorten the program.
  3. Hang laundry
    3 hours later, I hang the diapers on the drying rack. If possible, it put the rack outside in the sun. I organise them on the rack so that it’s easier for me to put them away once they’re dry. After I while I turn them, so they will dry quicker.
  4. Organise diapers
    Drying them can take 24 hours. When they’re dry, I place them again in their baskets.

evaluation

I was very hesitant to start using reusable diapers. It was overwhelming to understand which system would work best for us; it seemed such a hassle to use; the washing routines seemed to be very delicate and complicated. Now that we’re using it, we love it. Our daughter is now 19 weeks, so I’m sure we still face new diaper challenges and learn more as we go, but this is our evaluation so far.

Totsbots Peenut Wrap and Bamboozle Stretch

We’re very happy with the diaper we chose. Since buying it, I joined a Facebook group about reusable diapers. I’ve read some complaints about the Bamboozle being very wide between the legs and a very big package on the baby. It’s true that, especially when she was smaller, the diaper looked very bulky on her. I’m happy about all other aspects of the diaper, so this doesn’t bother me.

leaking

When we were still using disposable diapers, we would regularly have 💩 explosions. The bamboozle is made from bamboo. This material absorbs very well, and it’s easy to make the diaper fit well on my daughter’s body. Since using reusable diapers, we’ve had a small leak twice.

diaper rash

When we were using disposable diapers, we had to apply diaper cream every time we changed her. When we started using reusable diapers, our daughter had a bit of a diaper rash. We changed our washing routine, washing powder and added a fleece liner during the night, and since then we’re not even using diaper cream anymore, and her skin looks perfect. We also let her play for some time every day without a diaper to let her skin breathe. Even though the diaper cream we were using was very natural, I’m happy that we’re exposing her to one less product.

clothes

As mentioned before, the diaper is bulky. I need to take this into account when I buy clothes for Aria. I buy bodysuits a size bigger, and when I buy pants, I pay attention that they have a lot of room. It’s not a priority for me to put her in skinny jeans 👖.

gross motor development

Because reusable diapers are more bulky, they can slow down your baby’s gross motor development. This is not a problem. They just have to overcome the diaper. For example, my daughter can easily grab her feet when the diaper is off, but not when she’s wearing her diaper. It just means that it will take her a week or two more before she can with a diaper. As I mentioned earlier, we give her some playtime without her diaper every day so she can also practise these skills freely.

lump-sum

A downside of the reusable diapers is that you need to pay the lump sum at the beginning. But in the end, it should end up cheaper. We never need to worry about having enough diapers, so there is also a convenience to it. If you want to save money, it’s also an option to buy diapers second hand.

I hope this article helps you gain some more insight into the world of reusable diapers. Let me know if you have questions or if you prefer doing things in a differently!

This article is not sponsored. Any links to products are products that we liked and paid for ourselves.

Image to pin this blogpost to pinterest, showing reusable diapers drying in the sun