If someone had told me four months ago that I’d be using cloth diapers on my infant and toddler, I would’ve laughed and called them crazy.
About a month after my baby was born, I started thinking about the possibility of using cloth. But I kept pushing the idea out of my mind.
I just didn’t know if I could do it. I imagined my hands full of, well, poop every day. And my husband would never go for it anyway. That was my main excuse. I blamed him.
But our baby had a consistent diaper rash almost from birth. And like many of you, my family is crunched financially during this tough economy.
“Could cloth diapers save my family money and help heal my baby’s little booty?” I wondered.
Like many people, I was skeptical. Around New Year’s, I challenged myself to a 30-day diaper trial.
I started researching and posted some questions on natural parenting forums. The cloth diapering community came out of the woodwork to help me.
I knew that to get my husband on board, I would need to invest in modern cloth diapers. These look like disposables – but cuter – and can be snapped or velcroed on. No folding and pinning is required. And my baby hasn’t had one “blow out” diaper like she frequently did with disposables.
My first obstacle was the up-front expenses of these diapers. The most recommended brands – Bum Genius and Fuzzi Bunz – cost around $20 each. I was told I needed at least 24 diapers for my baby and 12 for my toddler.
We just couldn’t afford it. I was disappointed that we had to spend money to save money. But I was determined to, somehow, give cloth diapering a try.
My research led me to The Cloth Diaper Foundation, a nonprofit that gives diaper loans to qualifying families, based on income. The idea is that families will use the diaper stash they send for several months, while slowly purchasing your own diapers.
Update: The Cloth Diaper Foundation is no longer active, but Giving Diapers, Giving Hope operates with a similar purpose.
My family qualified for the loan, and it’s been an amazing blessing. I was so excited to receive my package of diapers in the mail and get them washed and ready to put on my girls.
I then learned of Kawaii brand diapers, which are very similar to the name brands but only half the price. I’ve been building my stash with Kawaiis with great success.
I expected I’d be reporting some funny instance of me fumbling to get the diapers on correctly, but they’re easy to use. Some people prefer the stereotypical pre-fold diapers and pins, but there are many other options available. Hybrid diapers include a disposable insert and washable cover. Fitteds fit just like a disposable but require a waterproof cover.
Pockets and all-in-ones function like disposables but are reusable. (And these are just a sampling of modern cloth options!)
Parents chose to use cloth for a variety of reasons. Some, like my family, make the switch for economic reasons or because their babies have a negative skin reaction to disposables. Others switch because cloth is better for the environment.
Some moms like how fashionable modern cloth diapers are. I didn’t think this would be a factor for me, but really, they are CUTE! I’d much rather my baby wear soft pink-flowered cloth than a plain, scratchy disposable any day.
I had the misconception that cloth would leak or not absorb as well. In my experience, they work much better than disposables.
Honestly, the only “gross factor” of using cloth for me has been toddler poop. I started out using cloth on my baby. That was easy.
But toddler poop? It about did me in.
I discovered that using a squirt bottle helps knock the solids from the diaper into the toilet.
Most seasoned cloth users prefer a diaper sprayer to help with this aspect of the cleanup. A sprayer hooks to the toilet and supposedly helps eliminate the gross factor. A diaper sprayer is on my wish list!
It’s been almost two months since my trial began. I confess: I’m a cloth-diaper convert.
Here’s a pic of Baby Girl in her newest diaper, the “Moo Too” print Go Green Champ from Jack Be Natural!
Want to get start cloth diapering your little one? I found these organizations/companies/blogs very helpful!
Do you use cloth diapers? What prompted you to “make the switch”?
My eBook, Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert, is a 200+-page handbook that will tell you all you need to know to have a successful cloth diapering journey! To read more about this book, click here.
*The original version of this post appeared in the Feb. 25, 2011 edition of the Mooresville Weekly.