Since I've been asked by several people recently (and to avoid writing the same email several times over) and because you never know who all is reading and who might be helped and also because I enjoy reading tips from others, I thought I would post about it: why we chose to do it, why we love it, where to get started and what some of our "favorites" are.
When we were first pregnant, we didn't even realize their were options beyond "Huggies, Pampers or Generic" as far as diapering went. Through our birth class, our doula exposed us to a number of things and challenged our conventional thoughts in a number of ways, one of which was cloth diapering. Now, I do have to say, my own mom did cloth diapers and I remember my youngest sibling in cloth: the folding, the pins, the rubber covers and the laundry hanging up to dry. But we lived overseas where disposables were not an option, so I just assumed that was a necessity, not a choice.
|That's me as a baby, in my cloth diapers!|
The more we read, the more we were convinced. We liked that cloth was re-usable, that it was (way) cheaper in the long run, that it was more effective and safer. We never realized the chemicals that are in disposables and the negative effects both immediate (rashes etc) and long-term (reproductive health etc). We were still a little skeptical, though. Could we really do it? Would it be an all-consuming, hated, dreaded chore? Would we be washing clothes non-stop? Would the initial investment be "worth it"? What if we bought them and hated them? And then there was the overwhelmingness of all the new lingo and decisions: all in ones, pockets, prefolds, bleached/unbleached, flats, covers, snappi's, wetbags and who knew diapers could come in "organic"? And on top of that were all the brands and websites....just wading through all of those decisions took some research and initially was overwhelming.
But well worth it. We started out initially with a dozen unbleached prefolds, some thirsties covers (love 'em), some pro wrap covers (not my fave but they do the job), snappi's (the alternative to pins but we've found we hardly use them...with the covers, the diapers stay in place just fine, even with our active guy!) and 2 PlanetWise wetbags (one to store the dirty diapers until wash day and one for when we were out and about - we love them, really keeps the stink out...I know, I was skeptical at first too but it smells way less than disposables sitting in a plastic bag!). This is one of the cheapest routes to go. You could easily do this in under $90 and be good to go.
|Unpacking part of our stash after we moved|
|Helping mama clean up before getting dressed in the morning.|
|Playing cloth diapering super-hero mascot? Aka: C hates getting dressed!|
A few other considerations with cloth diapers:
~ Detergent does matter. I would not recommend using regular laundry detergent on cloth. We really like Rockin' Green detergent and also homeade detergent (some friends of ours made us some before we moved and it has been awesome). Here's a helpful link a friend of mine gave me for detergent (Thanks, Corrie!). http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html
~ Don't be intimidated! It is worth the research, work and effort and there are some great websites out there to help. Here are a few I enjoy to get you started:
- For flats: http://allaboutclothdiapers.com/how-to-fold-a-flat-cloth-diaper-origami-style/
- http://www.cottonbabies.com/ and love their blog, http://clothdiapers.blogspot.com/
~ When you first get your diapers, you really need to prep them. They come with instructions to wash them initially a number of times and this is a very important step to increase and help with absorbancy and leaks.
~ For ordering or buying diapers I really like http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/index.html because they are Christian based company AND they have some of the best prefolds for quality and price. I also really like http://www.happybabycompany.com/ because they always have free shipping (some of the cloth diaper sites have pretty high shipping rates). Some of the other stores like www.kellyscloset.com also have deals and coupon codes which are nice and can save money.
~ Another great tip is to "like" many of these pages on Facebook. They regularly will post deals and coupon codes and they also have great forums with answers to common questions etc that are helpful to read. I have also found these forums to be very helpful. If I post a comment with a question I always receive numerous responses, tips, helps and solutions. It's great. One in particular that I really like on facebook is diapershop.com but most the other sites also have facebook pages and are helpful.
That's a lot of information but I hope it is helpful. It might not be for everyone but both Steve and I really have enjoyed cloth diapering and are so glad we made the switch (yes, even Steve really enjoys it....ask him, he'll tell you!). And doing laundry 2-3 times a week? Really. Hasn't. Been. Bad. Actually, I've enjoyed it. Two of my favorite (and theraputic) things to do are hang a load of dripping-clean diapers up to dry in the sun and sit and fold a giant basket of clean cloth diapers, sorting into the various piles, stuffing pockets and putting them away.
If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment or email or facebook me. I would be happy to help, if I am able!