Day 7: A Week Using a Budget Diaper Stash
8/31/22 7:49 AM
That went by fast.
So what have we learned in this week? What worked, what didn't? What could have been better? Let's talk about it.
What I loved
I love the simplicity of this project. All the supplies are simple. Nothing fancy or pretentious. No marketing, no flexing on other people's stash. No worries that you aren't doing it "right"- because there is no right. You made your own diaper stash from scratch. There are no rules at this point.
Everything washes easily
Almost all of my absorbency for this project is cotton in the form of a pillowcase, shirt, etc. Lots of my "boosters" were single-layers loosely sewn together to allow lots of water to pass through in the machine. (I'll devote a future blog post to how I made those.) Everything was easy to wash and came out clean. (Side note- due to a washing machine breakdown on the very first day, I washed my diapers in a bucket for two days- so this is somewhat more meaningful than it usually would be.)
What I didn't love
Fleece covers are water-resistant, not waterproof. So, if you get a good pee in that diaper and then add outside pressure on the fleece cover, you're going to get a leak. This applies to sitting in walkers, carriers, lying in their bed, being held, you name it. I'm not disrespecting the fleece covers- they're great. But it's something to be aware of. It's a minor annoyance at the least.
Not Caregiver Friendly
My husband usually helps with diaper changes. This week he did not. Origami folds, no-sew fleece covers, and diaper pins are not things that caregivers or relatives usually want to jump into short-notice. If you want them on board, you'll have to coach them until they feel comfortable. That might be a no-go for things like daycare.
No-Sew fleece covers
I discovered that no-sew covers are the bomb. You spend 5 minutes making one, and it works like a charm. Read my blog post about fleece covers for more on no-sew covers and how to make them.
Flour Sack Towels
I had heard mixed reviews about how well flour sack towels work for absorbency. My experience is that they work pretty well. I bought a 10 pack for $4.88, and I thought they were very absorbent, and worked especially well when boosted with a piece of cotton tablecloth. (More about that in a second)
I bought an array of thrifted cloth materials for boosters and flats/preflats. One of my favorites was a cotton blend tablecloth. It was somewhat rough in texture, so I didn't put it directly on my baby-I usually put it under a pad-folded flour sack towel- and it worked very well.
What could have been done better
I talked about this in an Instagram post- but I failed on fitting the fleece covers properly while making them. Having better fit would have helped a lot. That's on me.
I never actually ran out of diapers, but I came pretty close on several occasions. To combat this, I would have probably purchased more flour sack towels. Just one more pack would have been plenty.
When you buy cloth diapers new, you usually need to prep them. This means, wash and dry them several times to remove any natural oils and achieve maximum absorbency. Although I washed and dried my flour sack towels several times before starting this project- they just got better the more times I washed them. I think if I had washed them about 4 times before starting to diaper my baby with them, it would have been ideal.
Also on that point, here's something I forgot- people typically use fabric softener on their clothes. Although all the items had been thoroughly prewashed, some items (particularly the pillowcases) just let pee roll right off. I suspected that it could have been from residual fabric softener. After several washes their absorbency improved greatly.
Bottom line- wash everything (thrifted and store-bought) several times before using. This will help remove natural oils or residual softeners and enable the fabric to do its job.
This week went by fast, and I'm not ready to stop using this budget stash yet. I'm going to continue to use it and gather more information about budget cloth diapering to better help someone that needs it.
Have questions about budget cloth diapering? Email me or book a free consultation. I'd be happy to hear from you.