Today we're talking about: What would you say to someone considering cloth diapers? The good, the bad and the smelly!
To a mama considering cloth diapering:
1. Why are you thinking about using cloth diapers? Answering this question first will help you determine what kind of cloth diapers to look at. There are A LOT of options in the world of modern cloth diapers, and to help you narrow your search and focus on particular types/brands/styles, it helps to know what you want to get out of cloth diapering.
For example: are you doing it to try to save money? Then you will probably go the prefolds-and-covers option, since that is usually the cheapest. You will probably buy "one-size" covers that are adjustable to cover a range of sizes. You will probably buy alot of gender neutral colors in case you want to use the diapers for other children. And you should definitely not look at any cute adorable pocket diapers if you want to save money!
Are you interested in being environmentally friendly? Then you will probably be interested in diapers that are low-maintenance, easy-to-wash (to use less water) and you will probably want to look into cloth diaper detergents that are environmentally friendly. If you want to be green and save some green too, buy a bunch of flats and fold them in covers. You can hand-wash flats in a small amount of water and detergent (saving electricity and water), and hang them to dry.
Are you interested in having all-natural fabrics next to your baby's skin? While I was expecting, I went to a cloth diapering workshop at a store where I used to live (remember that, J?). A couple that was there was planning to cloth diaper because they only wanted natural and organic fabrics next to their baby's skin. They were even looking for alternatives to PUL covers, because they did not want to support the "polyester industry". These folks were hard-core. You can do it, but it will cost you. Organic cotton prefolds are more expensive than "regular" cotton prefolds. Organic bamboo prefolds are even more than organic cotton ones, but also much softer. For covers, these folks will probably have to stick with wool. (The store hosting the workshop was "all vegan" in their products, so they did not sell wool since it is an animal product. They let the workshop presenter bring in one wool cover to show, but she had to specify that the store did not sell wool because of their vegan positioning. Hard core, folks, hard core.)
Are you planning to be a mama that buys ONLY THE BEST for your baby? Or you want SUPER CUTE diapers and you have some disposable income to spend? There are tons of cute diapers that you can buy, so this one is easy!
Unfortunately following these motivations can involve some tradeoffs. For example, you can save money by cloth diapering, but you will have to invest some dollars if you want to use only organic fabrics. You can be environmentally friendly, but if you want to hang your diapers to dry, you probably don't want squishy thick fitteds.
Understanding your reasons for wanting to cloth diaper is your first key step in choosing the types of cloth diapers to try.
2. Make sure you have what you need. I started out with only 12 prefolds and 3 AIO's. I couldn't figure out why cloth diapering was so hard, then I realized that I didn't have enough diapers. I was switching back-and-forth between cloth and sposies until I got to the point that I had enough diapers, and covers that fit.
3. Give yourself a break. I had a ton of guilt in the beginning. I had bought all these diapers, and covers, and told everyone that I was planning to cloth diaper. Then I had pre-eclampsia, was on bed rest, had a preemie, still had high blood pressure, and went to live with my mom for three months. I didn't do the cloth diapering thing for about the first 6 weeks, and I felt horrible about it. I remember standing in line at the Wal-Mart crying because I was spending money on a big box of Pampers Swaddlers when I had a stack of diapers at home that I had already paid for. I had a conversation with myself (what, people talk to themselves at Wal-Mart in the checkout all the time) where I said "either use the sposies or use the cloth. But don't beat the crap out of yourself for it." I realized I was trying to live up to a standard that wasn't realistic for me at the time. When it was easier and worked better for us, then we started. Keep in mind, THEY ARE JUST DIAPERS.
4. Your wetbag is your friend. Don't leave home without it. If it has a zipper, then there will be no smelly.
5. When it works, stop buying diapers. (Advice I totally ignored, cuz ... NEW COW PRINT DIAPER!)
And I guess, I would say one more thing: at least give it a try. You'll be surprised at how easy it is, and you'll be glad you did. Whatever reason you choose for cloth diapering, it will meet your needs. And it will be one way you feel like you are doing something good for your child, and yourself.
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