Processed Granola & Cloth Diapers

How do I explain to you my love/hate relationship with cloth diapers?

The words “on sale greek yogurt” come to mind. It’s not exactly what I want…they’re no gallon-of-blue-bell gift to my world…but it saves us money and makes us feel good, like on sale greek yogurt. Like on sale greek yogurt that we have to clean off of cotton with a toilet sprayer.

The Lee household decided in our registry process that we would strictly be doing cloth when it came to the hineys of our wee ones. This decision ultimately came from some time I spent in a landfill, but also could be partially logged away as another half-hearted attempt of mine to be natural and holistic and crunchy. Katie and I have decided that in the bidness of granola mommas, my cards would read “Britney W. Lee, Processed Granola Mom” with the tag line, “Hey, I’m trying.”

Aw, that’s cute, they say.

Nevertheless, we pressed “add to registry” on our cloth diapers, putting them right up there next to our glass-only bottles (3 to be exact), our organic wooden teethers, and our baby books about activism and civil rights.

You know what’s funny? New moms registering for things before they have babies. Let us pause for a second to have a good hard chuckle at that. Sweet, sweet pre-baby me.

Our cloth diapers came in, and they were the cutest. I opened them and thought about how adorable they would be snapped on to our babycakes, and I patted myself on the back and said, “You’re welcome, Earth.”

A few folks gave us a truck load or two of disposable diapers and I sent all but three packages of them home with my mom and mother-in-law because maybe we’d use disposable for the first couple of weeks and then ease into cloth. I did want to be realistic, in fact.

Sweet, sweet.

But then my crazy long labor…And then the unexpected-cesarean-healing…And then the baby reflux that my favorite pediatrician (Doc Q) had to fix…And then we just went through box after box of those disposable diapers—like a nurse in old war days grabbing bandages in a frantic state of mind.

And that was ok.

And it would have been ok if we had needed to continue.

Two months later, I was googling “how to sell back my cloth diapers” when my husband Luke came in having snapped our son into an untouched fluffy little orange bottom-coverer for the very first time. “Don’t use too many of those,” I said, “I’m trying to sell them back.” Because, though the dust had settled on the extreme newness of newborn life, I just didn’t want to step foot into the waters of snaps and washing.

“Let’s just try it out,” he said, as he doesn’t make impulsive decisions to avoid stuff like I do.

And alas, we’re doing cloth now, and it’s not the end of the world, and I actually enjoy it. And though it’s true that my hand has been in warm toilet water a few times this month, we’ve also saved a penny or two and that’s celebration worthy for a season with all kinds of unexpected expenses.

With that, let me share some cloth diaper resources in case you’re interested.

Diapers    |    We use Alva; and my mom found them on Amazon. They’re the snapping, grow-with-me kind that can fit infant-on-up (which makes for cute, round-bottomed newbies). They come with the outer covers and the absorbing inserts. He uses about 8 a day right now.

Pale for Wipes     |    We’ve got two Dekor Kolor pales at our house. One sits by the changing table and catches all of our disposable wipes. (Because when it came to flannel cloth wipes…for us right now, just, no. Though it’s doable, and I hear they make for cleaner rearends, and I’ll say more below). We use Babyganics or Honest wipes if there’s extra cash in the account, and whatever we can grab off the shelf if there’s not. This pale has disposable bags in it, and we go through them not very quickly at all since the wipe trash is minimal.

Pale for Diapers   |    Our other Dekor pale is kept in our bathroom. It is lined with a cloth Dekor liner (we have two), so when the pale is full, we can pull everything out and dump it in the washer without having to touch anything. The liner is waterproof and able to be washed and dried as well.

Cloth Wipes   |   If you are into the flannel wipes thing, I found and ordered and loved these here on etsy (before we changed our minds…I’d like to pause here and say, Hey mom or dad…it’s ok to change your mind). We also were given this wipes container to hold them on the changing table; and this Kissalove solution would have been what we used for them if we had trekked forward. Best of luck to you, my hero.

Toilet Sprayer   |    We ordered this toilet sprayer from Amazon and it is not fool proof, but I love it so much more than just shaking the dirty diapers into the toilet bowl and flushing. Because you know what doesn’t always shake shake shake it off? Baby poop. Keep in mind that this sprayer has water pressure levels and the highest one may or may not cause a splatter to your face. I reserve the right to not share with you whether that has happened to us (Luke) or not.

Spray Pal  |   Our home does not actually own one of these, but we probably should. Friends swear by it. You clip the diaper into it to make for a cleaner hose-down.

Detergent   |    We are currently using BumGenius detergent but have also used and loved Rockin Green and Seventh Generation. But to be honest, Tide worked just as well.

Nighttime, Travel, and Stomach Virus Diapers    |    We personally choose to use Honest Disposables for nighttime and travel (and also when our home got hit with the #greatstomachbugof2015). They also are super cute, eco-friendly, plant-based, and offer a monthly subscription service online. However, if you’re interested in cloth diapering at night as well, I’ve had friends who just double up on the inserts.

Daycare   |   Many daycares or Moms Day Outs will work with you on cloth diapering, just remember to check. But you’ll want to send a wet bag for them to pile your babe’s items. Here’s the one we use.

How   |      We don’t rinse our wet diapers. We just separate the inserts and toss them in the pale. We separate the inserts and spray down the dirty diapers and then toss them in the pale.

When   |     We wash when the pale is full which comes out to be about every other day. However, even if it weren’t full, I wouldn’t want to go much longer than this. I’ve heard from friends that once a month you can boil the inserts and then let them sun dry/bleach to get them looking brand spanking new again. I’ve also heard this may make your kitchen smell like teetee for a minute. But don’t tell me that’s the only place in your house that smells like teetee right now. I’m fairly certain I smell like teetee right now.

The truth is that currently I have a package of Pampers, two packages of Honest, and two drawers of cloth diapers stocked in baby B’s nursery; and depending on how hard the day has been (as I’ve recently gone back to work, more on that later), it’s a toss up what we’ll use. But we’re trying our best at the end of the day to find that sweet spot of balance between stress (because oh my gosh), and doing good by the earth (because B’s future), and money (because bills).

Good luck to you on this journey, whatever you’ve chosen (at least today) for your household in the realm of baby bottoms. Now excuse me while I go slap a cute little dino-print cloth diaper on this child, give him one of his 16 non-glass-bottles of milk, and read him a board book about Martin Luther King and/or that little blue truck that we love so much.

Britney Lee
About me

Hi there! My name is Britney, and I’m a C+ student in the art of “trusting my momma instincts”—just so we all are aware of the spot from which I’ll be writing. I’m in holy matrimony with Luke, and we’re in sweet holy chaos with Bridger—who came into the world no smaller than a Volvo early June 2015. I get really into social justice issues, British TV series, and not working out. I’m an ENFP, 7w8 who believes that isolated lives can be dangerous when we’re all trying to make it through hard stuff and stay sane. I hope that Katie and I can create a place here where we can get close and get real and laugh a little. My solemn vow to you is that I will never clean my house before taking a MDB pic of it for instagram. Neither of us have energy for that. Welcome to Milk Drunk Blog!


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January 03, 2017
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Clean: A Review
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Job Change After Baby
April 12, 2016


Reply October 6, 2015

Bahaha! "You know what doesn't always shake shake shake it off? Baby poop." That gave me a good laugh. I bought some cloth diapers and am trying to get the gumption to keep using them... Thanks for the info and laugh.

Morgan Vines
Reply October 22, 2015

I just want to say GO MAMA GO! If motherhood has taught me anything it is that as long as you're doing you're best you're doing great!

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