So you’ve decided to do cloth diapering, and you’ve gotten all of your gear together. You’ve just taken a moment to sit back and relax a little when – oops! You discover your sweet little angel has just peed or pooped in one of those cloth diapers you spent so much time assembling. Now what?
The good news is that cleaning cloth diapers these days is easier than you might think. We will address laundering your cloth diapers in a future post, but here we’ll take a look at the immediate cleanup you must do at the all-important diaper change. This is, you might say, the critical moment in the process, where the rubber meets the road or, more appropriately, the cloth meets the bottom. It is your time to really flex those natural parenting muscles.
1. Undo the diapers and deposit the messy stuff in your diaper pail. (If you need to, take a moment to read more about the diaper pail and other supplies you will need for changing cloth diapers). If it is poopy, dump the whole thing, cover and all. If the diaper is just wet, you only need to dump the cloth. The cover you can just wipe out and hang to air out a bit. This may seem a little gross at first, but you’ll get used to it! The truth is that if you dump (unnecessarily) the cover at every diaper change, you will need to have a huge supply of diaper covers, which can get really pricey. And it really isn’t necessary, so why bother?
2. Now turn your attention back to the little bottom wiggling on the changing table in front of you. Everyone has a slightly different method for cleaning up their little ones. This is what works for us:
When just wet: Wet your cloth wipe with a little water and gently wipe the diaper area. (If you have a boy, make sure you have that little peepee covered from the second you open up his diaper. If you have a girl, of course remember to wipe front to back).
Make sure to dry the area thoroughly. Our pediatrician told us that this was actually the most important part, since it is wetness that often causes diaper rashes.
Use any diaper cream, if needed. (I usually only apply cream if the area looks red).
When messy: I first clean the area with some Vaseline on a cloth. This was such a great tip – the poop comes off easily, and it’s much gentler on your little one than having to scrub their bottom to get them clean.
Then make sure to wash the area with some soap and water then clean with a little more water. We keep some mild soap in a little dish on our changing table. This step will help reduce rashes and infections.
I almost always use diaper cream after messy diapers, although I usually apply a little Vaseline first, to make sure my little Monkey’s sensitive skin doesn’t get too irritated.
3. Now for the real cleanup. After you’ve put a clean diaper on your little one, it’s time to take care of the dirty diaper you just put in the pail. If the diaper was just wet, you’re done. The wet diaper can wait in the pail until laundry day. If your baby hasn’t yet started solids, you’re done. Newborn poop is so runny that it comes out easily in the wash.
But if your child is eating solids and has just pooped, the real fun is about to begin! Lug that diaper pail over to your toilet and put on your cleaning gloves to clean that diaper out. For this step, I highly recommend a diaper sprayer like the one made by bumGenius. A sprayer is more efficient and effective, meaning that you’ll be done sooner and have done a better job to boot. Otherwise you just have to swish the diaper around in the toilet until most of the mess comes off.
I tend to flush several times during this step, depending on how messy the diaper is, so I can have fresh water to use. Yes, this does bring us back to the issue of high water usage with cloth diapers, but I think it really helps.
When you’re satisfied with the results, squeeze excess water out of the diaper and put back in your pail until wash day. By the way, if you are using a sprayer, take extra care when rinsing out the diaper cover. Those things are designed to repel water, so if you’re not careful you’ll end up with poopy water all over your walls!
So now you’re really done! Until laundry day, that is…Stay tuned for a future post to help you out with that as well!