This will not be a post on expert advice about cloth diapers, simply because I have no clue how to correctly wash them, treat them, strip them, or dry them. In addition, I do not know the difference between an insert and a doubler. I would also be unable to list and explain the differences in the different types of diapers, but I’m sure there are plenty of sites that can. I also cannot tell you how many different ways there are to fold a prefold and what they are all called. That said, we exclusively cloth diaper our child and use cloth wipes. This is our experience:
I don’t remember how I found out about them. But something started me on reading all about cloth diapers. There is a LOT to read about and the cloth diapering world can become an addiction. So one day I braced myself for a difficult conversation, marched into my house, and announced to my husband that I want to cloth diaper our children. I was ready to fight for this one. My husband’s response was “Oh honey that’s so great, I thought I’m gonna have to convince YOU to do it!” My husband doesn’t remember how he found out about cloth diapers either. From that moment on though it was decided, and we weren’t even expecting at that point. The first reason we wanted to cloth diaper was because there are a bunch of chemicals in a disposable and we didn’t want that touching our baby’s butt. Our second reason was money.
All through my pregnancy I kept reading the blogs about cloth diapers, following cloth diapering gurus on Facebook, joining cloth diapering groups, and entering cloth diaper giveaways. (I won my very first one). I was obsessed with cloth diapers and everything about them. I was determined to cloth diaper. When I broke the news to my parents, they thought it was a wise decision. When I broke the news to my friends they thought I went insane and will surely grow out of my ignorance as soon as I witness my newborn’s poop for the very first time. I was overwhelmed with information and wanted to try all the different types of cloth diapers. Luckily my husband kept his head straight, and picked out a newborn package that featured several different kinds, so that I could try them all and get it out of my system. Unlike me, he just watched “Cloth diapering 101” video on youtube and knew right away that we will only be using prefolds and all-in-ones. We ordered the package a few days after baby arrived and received it when he was 10 days old. We had a stash of newborn disposables as back up, and an even smaller stash of size 1’s.
Once we started, the diapers somehow made their way into our home on their own. My mother looked at the prefolds we purchased and promptly went to make some more out of old cotton sheets (babies favorites as far as his skin is concerned). A chance meeting at a baby consignment store brought a bunch of g-pants and an econobum package into our house from a mother who tried but didn’t stick with cloth diapering. And I probably spent about $80 online adding to our “stash.” Then God told me to take a Facebook fast, during which I realized that I spend way too much of my attention on stinking diapers! (pun intended). So I unliked all but a couple cloth diapering pages (one because my friend runs the social media for the store and I want to support her, and another one because the mama who writes on the blog had a baby only a few days apart from mine and I could really relate to her posts). I also stopped looking constantly for cloth diapers, because my son now had enough. In retrospect, my cloth diapering frenzy and the time I allotted to all the “research” seems plain silly.
Looking back, I should’ve listened to my husband and just gotten what he suggested we should. Some prefolds and some all-in-ones. That’s what we ended up using at the end and I felt that the newborn package was a waste of money. We used up most of our back-up disposables, but once we ran out of them didn’t buy more. We meant to, but didn’t ever get to it, and to be honest never really needed them other than once when we stayed at our in-laws for too long (who let us borrow a diaper). My husband did install a diaper sprayer, but he assembled it on his own from scratch rather than purchasing the fancy retail ones (there wasn’t a significant price difference at the end though). I wash with regular Tide. Cold rinse, hot wash. There are a million overwhelming articles about diaper laundry and most require that you line dry them, but who are we kidding in Seattle! I throw mine right in the dryer and so far none have been “ruined.”
Here is my advise to those on the fence about cloth diapering:
* Don’t get sucked into all the groups, blogs, discussions, and posts. It will overwhelm you and you will feel like you are an idiot who doesn’t know much and are doing it all wrong. If you think about it rationally, you will see how ridiculous it is that there is even a RIGHT and WRONG way to cloth diaper.
* Watch cloth diapering 101 on youtube and then STOP and don’t look for any more information. Because you will find plenty, but none will be as useful or add to anything you really need to know. It will only waste your time and energy.
* Buy some cloth diapers. Cloth diapers are available on Craigslist, as well as at numerous baby consignment stores. The cheapest website I found for new ones is cottonbabies.com. I personally think it’s gross to have what once held someone else’s crap touch my baby’s butt. Therefore all of our prefolds are new, but the covers aren’t since they don’t come in direct contact with his skin. That said, “Childish Things” in Seattle sells them new and used in very good condition with no stains for a pretty good price. If I got a re-do I would’ve started with a dozen Indian cotton prefolds and five proraps, and a pack of 6 newborn Bumgeniuses. My favorite all-in-ones for later are Ragababes but they are pricey for a diaper. I have only one. Really all of the diapers I’ve tried work just fine, so don’t concentrate that much on what to get and just see what comes your way.
* It might be because I’ve never tried anything different, but cloth diapering feels like second nature and also nothing special. Poop is the same in a disposable or a cloth diaper. Don’t listen to people who say you won’t do it – they have most likely never tried it. Your mom and grandma did it without the washer and dryer and nobody wrote about it or thought it to be a big deal.
* Don’t overwhelm yourself with laundry questions. Tide works just fine and so does the dryer. If you care so much about stains, you can sun them out in the summer. I personally think it’s a waste of time for something that will be immediately smeared with poop again.
* If you decide it’s not for you, please don’t judge yourself or feel guilty for being a bad mother. I felt horrible for the lady who gave me her Econobums. While saying that she didn’t stick with it she seemed defeated, as if she viewed herself as a failure and was in awe of me being a better mother for sticking with it. I believe that’s just another lie the devil wants her to believe to bring her down. And for the record, Econobums are wonderful covers but outrageously huge inserts, and I don’t think I would’ve stuck with it either have a began with that package and no sprayer. We use those prefolds as a changing pad for when we go out. That’s how huge they are.
* Get a sprayer. Maybe get a wet bag. I have one wet bag that came with that newborn package. Plastic shopping bags from Safeway hold the dirty diapers just as well while the wet bag is in the wash.
* We use cloth wipes (that also came in that package) and disposable wipes. I usually wet half a wipe and leave the other half dry and one is typically enough, two at most. We got a three-pack of disposable wipes and still haven’t run through them 4 months later. Anything can be a cloth wipe by the way. Such as baby wash cloths available in abundance at Ross and TJ Maxx. Whoever thought of special cloth wipes is a marketing genius!
* What else, what else? I think that about covers it all. If anyone has any specific questions I missed, please feel free to ask me in the comments! I will be more than happy to share my “wisdom.”