Cloth diapering a child for the first time can lead to many questions and a sense of being overwhelmed. You’d think that the concept of putting a cloth on your baby’s bum wouldn’t be so complicated, but with all of the different diapering choices out there it can become a daunting task! Having helped cloth diaper many of my siblings and one child of my own (soon to be two!), I’ve learned a thing or two about where to start.
Do you know the difference between a fitted, all-in-one, pocket, and prefold? Do you know how to take care of a wool cover? Do you know which types of diapers even need a cover? Take the time to familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of each sort of diaper. Take into consideration your child’s needs and your family’s abilities (time and financial constraints). Remember that some diapers are easier to use than others, which will come into play if you are using a babysitter or if dad just can’t handle a diaper without velcro or snaps!
Here are some articles that may help:
Test Before You Invest
Before LoveBug was born, we spent hours researching cloth diapers and had determined that Green Acre Design (GAD) diapers were the best. Cute, trim, absorbent, who could want more? We invested in a 24-or-so diaper stash of used GADS as well as two new ones from a friend of mine before LoveBug was even born. After she was born, we found that she didn’t fit the GADs all too well and Dad’s hands were too big to easily stuff the pocket.
Instead of investing in only one style and brand of diaper, be sure to test a variety on your baby. All of the research in the world still won’t compare to your child’s personal experience. You will find that you prefer one or two styles over the rest, and that one brand of those will probably fit best. Once you’ve figured it out (give yourself a few weeks), sell the ones you don’t want to keep and use that money to invest in more of the kind you do want to use.
Not only will this save you a significant amount of money, but most often, the diapers will arrive in as-new condition. You should be aware of any problems before you choose to buy, so just don’t buy them if you’re worried. Common problems and solutions would be:
Stains = lay in the sun to bleach them out
Worn elastic = repair it yourself or send it to someone else (we don’t have the time, so we don’t buy these)
Not repelling water = strip the diaper
We’ve always bought our diapers used and haven’t had a problem. The resale value is tremendous on cloth diapers, often getting you 75% back if you bought new, and 90-100% back if you bought used. I would only recommend going through www.DiaperSwappers.com or Craigslist.com. Sometimes, you can find great deals on new diapers through Amazon or by watching natural parenting stores.
Determine when You Want to Start Cloth Diapering
Cloth diapering from the hospital versus when your baby is 4-weeks old makes a difference. Even a lot of “small” sizes won’t work on newborns, so you’ll need to get a separate stash of X-Small, Newborn, or Preemie sized diapers if you want to start from the beginning. Don’t be fooled–those “one size” diapers don’t actually fit tiny babies!
With LoveBug, we waited to CD until all of the meconium had passed (it’s a bear to get off of anything, especially fleece lined diapers!). Instead, we just used up newborn sized disposable diapers that had been give to us and went right into the “small” size of CDs. If you do want to CD from the start, I’m finding that the general consensus is to use prefolds or fitted diapers with covers until your baby is ready for a “small” size in other types of diapers. With Baby #2, I’m *hoping* to CD from the start with fitteds/prefolds and wool covers (later switching to pocket diapers). We’ll see what happens!
And just in case you’re wondering…our favorite diaper is the Pocket Change brand simply because we don’t have to remove the inserts before throwing the diaper into the wash. 🙂 We use a bumGenius! diaper sprayer to clean off diapers before putting them in our dry pail, wash with Charlie’s liquid soap, strip with Sensi-Clean, and dry everything in the dryer. My favorite insert is Knickernappies‘ Loopy-Do, but we use a variety of inserts to increase the absorbancy.