Cloth diapering your child can be very rewarding. When you have a good routine going you sort of feel like supermom saving diapers from landfills and treating your baby with chemical-free cottony goodness. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. From time to time you get off track. Say baby gets an infection, your laundry didn’t wash properly, or your kid poops more than you thought humanly possible. You might be sitting there thinking, “why did I do this to myself?” Here are 5 things you need to know before cloth diapering.
1. Disposables Were Invented for a Reason
I do not care what anyone says. Disposables are the easiest. The reason majority of people choose to use disposables is because they are the most convenient. If you are looking for the simplest way to diaper your kid, disposables will be your best bet.
That being said, they make so many different types of cloth diapers. If you choose to cloth you can find an option that will make your cloth diapering experience a lot simpler. For example, if you don’t want to fasten cloth or do any type of origami, you might consider pocket diapers. If you want something that will stay dry overnight, research wool covers. Whatever you choose just know they can never be as convenient as using a disposable.
2. Laundry Will Make or Break You
Cloth diapers rely on a good laundry system. There are pages and pages full of what to do for your wash routine. You can go and figure out for yourself what laundry routine you want to try out. What I will say, is that now with the rise of HE washers washing cloth diapers can be a little more complex. Look for information online about how to wash your cloth using your specific washer.
Besides figuring out the logistics of what settings to use, you need to establish a consistent wash routine to keep you going. Depending on how many diapers you have you will probably wash every 1-3 days. This is all fine and dandy, but typically you will need to do two cycles to clean your diapers. So make sure to allot a whole day to wash your cloth diapers. If you are a laundry queen and great at getting laundry done, cloth might be the right choice for you!
Detergent is another big talking point in the cloth diaper community. You can find countless resources that will point you in the right direction. Keep in mind you won’t be using fabric softener or any type of booster that stays in clothing to keep it smelling good. You want your diapers to be just good old (or new) cloth so they can absorb moisture rather than wicking it away.
3. There Are Tons of Different Cloth Diapers
One of the biggest perks of cloth diapering is there are so many different types to choose from to best match your lifestyle. The difficulty here is finding the best one without breaking the bank. I have personally used pockets, PUL covers, wool covers, prefolds, and flats. If you are staring at your screen blankly right now, hop onto youtube (in another tab of course) and look into different types of cloth diapers.
It will definitely benefit you to know the different types are before committing to one. If you want a simple diaper that mimics a disposable then look into pocket diapers. Looking for very natural fibers check out wool covers. Looking to get the most bang for your buck? Consider PUL covers. Do some research on the different types before you take a dive and you will be glad you did.
4. Cloth Diapers Are Bulky
Cloth diapers are free of those magical absorbing beads. So in order to soak up the moisture they use layers of cloth. In turn, the diapers are going to be a lot bulkier than your average disposable. This can make a nice little bum cushion for your babe, but there are a few other factors to think about.
First, you will have to make more space in your house and your diaper bag for these diapers. When going out you will also need to carry a wet bag for soiled diapers. If your baby needs a change while you are out and about you may have to carry a pee or poopy diaper around in your bag.
Next, when choosing your baby’s outfits you may be limited. Shorts can work but you might have to size up. If you’re comfortable you can use the diaper itself as a shorts alternative. If you are into trendy outfits, take a look into wool covers. . Onesies can also cause difficulties depending on the diaper because sometimes the onesie will pull up into the absorbent side of the diaper and become wet.
Finally, some people might be concerned when they see how fluffy your child’s diaper is. They might make comments about it being so full. You can kindly explain that your child is in cloth so they are just a little bulkier. Typically people are nice about it, but some people will look at you with crazy eyes because it’s not the 1800’s.
5. Cloth Diapers Can Be Expensive
Cloth diapers are an investment. If you stick with it and use them you will definitely get your money’s worth and save money using cloth. However; it is not quite as simple as purchasing disposables and being good to go.
Depending on what “system” you choose you are going to need different items. If you choose to do prefolds and covers an economic option you may invest in snappis. Wool covers require special hand washing and lanolin to keep the covers waterproof. Pocket diapers usually come with inserts, but often times you will want to increase the absorbency so you can buy some hemp inserts to lay underneath the microfiber.
Other items you might purchase include wet bags, cloth safe diaper cream, cloth wipes, and a diaper sprayer attachment. Of course, you can go as bare-bones as you want with your cloth diaper journey, but these are items you might not think about initially.
Though the initial cost of using cloth diapers can seem steep, you will find if you do put them to use you have saved money. A few tricks to save even more on cloth is to buy used diapers. Many former cloth moms will sell big lots of diapers for relatively cheap and often include extra accessories. If you aren’t comfortable buying used diapers consider buying a used diaper sprayer, wet bags, and snappis instead. Also keep an eye out for folks who decided to use disposables instead and are selling brand new diapers for a discounted price. If you find your child outgrowing a size of diaper or want to try a different system you can always resell your diapers and you can find groups on Facebook in your area that are made for that.
Cloth diapers can be a lot of fun, but they do require extra work. I find when I am not motivated to use my cloth talking to other cloth diapering moms or watching cloth diapering videos can be very motivating. Mom-life is challenging whether you use reusable or disposable diapers and when it comes to diapers sometimes it’s going to be crappy. Do what works for you and your babe, if you’re anything like me you might end up with a baby usually in cloth and sometimes in disposables and that’s just fine too.
How do you diaper your children? Let us know in the comments!
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