- Have an ample stash. On the Cloth Diaper 101 section of my store, I recommend that new to cloth users have a minimum of two dozen cloth diapers. That's 24 diapers. But more is better than not enough. There will come a day where you forget to do laundry and you end up having to wrap your baby in a tea towel while you get the laundry done. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but if you have a couple extra diapers you will likely not run into a situation like that.
- Don't put all your eggs in one basket. All the different styles and brands of cloth diapers can seem overwhelming, but the myriad of choices out there is actually a good thing. And you will find that having a variety of diapers in your stash comes in handy, so don't go out and buy all one brand or style. Prefolds are great for over nights, all-in-ones are the perfect daycare diapers, and fitteds are super cute and super absorbent. One brand may be too big right now, but may fit perfect later.
- Use the right accessories. It may be hard to gauge what the right accessories are for you. But once you take the plunge into cloth, you will very quickly figure it out. If you don't like shaking poo into the toilet, you will probably really enjoy biodegradable/flush-able liners. Little things like that make all the difference.
- You don't need every accessory on the market. Not everyone uses a diaper sprayer and not everyone uses wet-bags. So don't add unnecessary cost to your investment in cloth diapering by buying the newest and coolest gadget that is claiming to make diapering easier. Use common sense, if it seems like something you would actually use, then go for it.
- Quality is everything. I know this is a touchy subject for some, but I highly recommend all new or new-to-cloth parents choose brands with high quality feedback ratings, or a brand known for it's quality. Instead of opting for the cheapest diaper you can find. Not only are these diapers not always the best choice for your family, but they can also come with other problems like poor workmanship and questionable labor.
- It doesn't have to cost a lot up front. Yeah, sure you're online or in the store right now, you're adding everything you need to your cart, and then you see the total $$$. To make cloth diaper purchases less of a sticker shock, wait until your favorite stores are having a sale and buy a bunch, then stock up over time. Buy 1-2 diapers every time you get paid before baby comes, or use cloth part time with disposables if your baby is already here.
- Detergent doesn't have to be confusing. I have at least one mom emailing me everyday asking about detergent. What should I use? How much? Is this brand okay? Honestly, when it comes to detergent, everyone has a different brand they like for different reasons. I recommend taking a look at the awesome detergent chart from The Diaper Jungle. But at the end of the day, staying away from surfactants, chemicals and strong scents will be your best bet in the detergent battle. Also, it doesn't have to be a cloth diaper specific detergent.
- Do not fear the laundry. There are some crazy myths about cloth diaper laundry these days. A lot of it has to do with disposable marketing, and also with the fact that diaper laundry hasn't always been as easy as it is for our generation. Laundering cloth diapers is no different and no more work than the rest of your laundry. Really. It's that easy.
- It's okay dual-wield. And by that I mean, it's okay to use disposables AND cloth at the same time. Many parents ask me if I ever use disposables now that I've been using cloth for so long, and honestly, no I don't. But I do use disposables for camping or traveling long distances where I don't know if there will be laundry services. I know many parents who use sposies at night or at day care, and it's no big deal. You don't have to sign a pledge saying you will ONLY use cloth diapers. Disposables have their time and place too, and if you need a break from doing ALL laundry for a few days, throw a disposable on your kiddo.
- Problems come and problems go. Just like with disposable diapers, you're going to have issues. With disposables I find there are many more poo-splosions and much more diaper rash. With cloth diapers it's a whole different set of problems, like wicking or repelling or improper fit. But don't give up! Problem solving is part of being a parent, and asking for help if you need it is okay. The small business owner, or work-at-home-mom you bought your diapers from will be more than happy to help you, I know it!
Monday, September 19, 2011
10 Tips to Sucessfully Cloth Diaper
Cloth diapering, like most parenting endeavors takes practice and time to get into a routine. Especially if you have been using disposable diapers for the first 6 months of your babies life. But it can be done! And I'll try to help you make it as painless as possible.