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FAQ

Frequently Asked Cloth Diaper Questions

Q: How do I put a cloth diaper on to fit correctly?
A: Place the open cloth diaper with the liner etc. in it on your changing table.  Lay baby on diaper so that the top of the back of the diaper is at bellybutton height.   Now fold front of diaper over baby, making sure you wrap the front two corners of the diaper around the sides of the baby ... pulling them slightly upwards will help get the fit around the legs snug. Now close the Velcro or snap closure.  If you are using covers, start with placing diaper with insert etc. on to cover. Follow above directions to fit the cloth diaper.  Once the cloth diaper is in place, pull the cover over the front of the diaper and close Velcro/snaps to keep the cloth diaper in place snugly.  For snap covers, close the 'thigh-snaps' first.  It may help to pull out the gussets around the legs.

Q: My cloth diapers leak - what can I do?
A: The first thing that you want to do when you have leaking diapers is to make sure the diaper fits around the legs snugly - refer to previous question.   If you are using covers, make sure none of the cloth diaper is sticking out of the cover.  If you still experience problems with wicking/leaking, start using a diaper insert - it could be that your baby needs more cloth to absorb the urine.  This is very often a cause for nighttime leaks!  Do not worry about the diaper becoming too bulky... it only bothers our eyes, but our babies are as comfortable with the "bulk' as without it.  If you still have problems, your diaper or cover may be too big or too small.  If you are sure your diaper and/or cover fits well, then you might have problems with build up.  Refer to the question below on how to "fix" build up.  If none of this works - call me!

Q: What do I do against detergent build-up/residue with cloth diapers?
A:
Detergent residue is a film left on fabric by detergent.  It can build up on any items that you wash - clothes, bedding, etc.  Usually you will notice it only when you have residue on a product that is supposed to be absorbent or waterproof – like diapers and diaper covers!  You can see the signs of detergent residue right away if your diapers and covers are washed with way too much detergent – but more commonly it will take a couple of months before you have any problems.  You may even find that one of your covers develops problems before the rest.

Here are the problems you may see:

1. Leaking and wicking onto babies’ clothing
2. Repelling liquid (beading)
3. Stinky cloth diapers or cloth diaper covers
4. Skin rashes
5. Yellowing or dinginess of white fabrics

Why do you have this problem?

  1. You may be using too much detergent.  If you are using the correct amount of detergent for the size of load you are washing but if there is not enough water in your machine, it will be too much detergent.

  2. Or you may be using a detergent with additives that leave residue in the fibers.  Detergent companies put additives into their formulas in order to attract us with cleaner, brighter, whiter, softer, etc. promises.  This can cause problems for people with sensitive skin as well as causing residue on your laundry.  Below is a brief outline of what to watch out for when you shop for detergents.

Q:  How do I solve Detergent Residue Problems
A:  Wash your diapers a few times in hot water NO DETERGENT - you are trying to "rinse out" all the detergent!  Repeat this until the water is completely free of any suds. Then dry your diapers and try again.

Q:  How do I recognize and fix a Urine residue?
A:
  You might have this problem if your baby is getting a bad diaper rash and your diapers have a strong odor of Ammonia - your diaper will be "stinky". 
This residue is most commonly caused by not using enough water to wash and rinse diapers clean.  It can also be caused by not using enough detergent.  Detergent is what enables water to enter the fibers of the cloth and release its soil (by decreasing the surface tension of the water).  If there is too little water (or detergent), the urine is diluted, but not rinsed away.  It is recycled in the wash and dries onto the fabric, remaining there in the form of residue.  If the residue is not too extensive, you can usually get rid of it by doing several hot water washes with no detergent, then doing one regular hot wash with detergent and throwing the diapers and covers in the dryer.  Make sure you are washing with enough hot water!!  If you cannot adjust your machine manually to the highest water level, call the manufacturer.  If they cannot instruct you on how to adjust the water level to the highest water level, use the wet towel trick!  Decrease the number of diapers you wash per load, and add wet towels to your load in order to trick your machine into adding more water.

Q:  I like the convenience of disposables, but want the natural fabric of cloth diapers.  Is this possible?
A:  Absolutely!  Use One-size Cloth Diaper like the Best Bottom Diaper or bumGenius!  Both are very easy to use. You'll have soft chemical free cotton touching your babies skin with disposable-like convenience!

Q:  Is it possible to use cloth diapers on short trips or days out?
A:  As long as you pack your diaper bag right it is no problem. You'll need a wet bag (waterproof bag) to put the dirty diapers in.  I recommend the Planet Wise Wet Bag product line.  I always make sure my diapers are ready to use with the inserts and flushable liners in each diaper.  And that is all...it is really easy!

Q:  I am a working parent and would like to use cloth diapers.   Is that asking too much?
A:  The first step would be to find out whether your daycare is willing to use cloth diapers (most daycare centers don't mind using cloth diapers).  If your daycare has a problem using cloth diapers, show them the Pocket/One-Size Diapers before you ask them to make a decision. 

Q:  How many different sizes of Fitted Diapers & Pocket Diapers will I need during the diapering years of one child?
A:  Unless you have a One-Size diaper, you will need 2-3 sizes depending on the brands.

Q:  How often should I change my baby's diaper if I am using cloth diapers?
A:  Ideally you should change your baby's diaper (whether cloth or disposable) every two hours.  Personally I feel that this is only necessary for the initial 3 months, and this is unrealistic for most parents, as it is very difficult to stop every two hours for a diaper change.  I think your goal should be to try and change your baby's diaper every 3 hours… as your child gets older, it will then probably end up being closer to 4 hours!   All this does not apply when your child has a poopy diaper - those need to be changed IMMEDIATELY!

Q:  How do I recognize the different kinds of diaper rash and how do I treat them?
A:  The most common kind of diaper rash is IRRITANT DIAPER RASH and occurs in the genital area, the folds of the thighs and the buttocks.  The skin will appear red and puffy; this can cause some discomfort.  It is often caused by diaper chafing, long exposure to a wet or poopy diaper, antibiotics, teething, introducing solids, diet e.g. high concentration of Vitamin C, etc.  Below are only guidelines for diagnosing a diaper rash.  Please consult a doctor with any questions.

YEAST (CANDIDAL) DIAPER RASH appears as tiny red spots that multiply and mass into a raised, patchy bright or dark red rash with distinct borders.  The affected area is red and may be tender or painful, and the rash can creep into the folds of the skin around your baby's genitals and legs.  It almost never appears on the buttocks, but it can.  Antibiotics are often responsible for a yeast diaper rash.

SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS is the worst looking diaper rash, but is very rare.  It is characterized by a big red rash that extends from the lower abdomen to the groin and genitalia.  It is raised, rough, thick and greasy.  It is caused by overactive oil glands in the skin.

Try this as treatment for any Diaper rash:  Change your baby's diaper very frequently, making sure you allow the skin to dry before putting on a new diaper.   Clean your baby's diaper region very well with each diaper change.  Leave your baby open without a diaper as often as you can- this works wonders!  Rub breast milk on the affected area.  Continue breastfeeding for as long as you can.  Apply a diaper rash ointment.  Do a second rinse if you are washing your own cloth diapers.  Change the detergent.   Discontinue using disposable wipes and change to washable wipes.  Introduce solids one at a time to rule out food allergies.   Adjust your diet (if you are breastfeeding) or the babies diet.  If the diaper rash does not clear up within 3 to 4 days or if the rash gets infected (blisters or open sores) please consult your doctor immediately.