I first published the following post as a note on Facebook in February 2011. My daughter was ten months old at the time.
Cloth Diaper Revelations (Eight Months Later)
Here I am again writing about cloth diapers. I have now cloth diapered my daughter for eight months. In that time, I have had a few revelations about cloth diapering that I thought I would share. My intentions are still the same. I want to inspire more people to “stick it to the man” and cloth diaper their babies. I have so far converted a number of friends (and a few total strangers) just as a couple of my friends converted me.
Revelation #1: The laundry is no big deal.
My weekly laundry line up goes something like this.
2-3 loads of adult clothes.
1-2 loads of baby clothes.
2-3 loads of diapers.
I use the same detergent for all of the laundry. The only thing I do differently is skipping the dryer sheets on the baby clothes and diapers. There is slightly more folding to do, but a load of diapers folds in less than five minutes.
Revelation #2: Experimentation is important.
Since I started cloth diapering, I’ve had many conversations with people that otherwise would not have happened. (“Oh, you cloth diaper? So do I. What kind do you use? How does that work for you?”) These conversations lead to new and interesting ways of improving my system. You see, cloth diapering is not an exact science. There are dozens of options and lots of little tricks and tips. The only way to figure out which system best suits you is too try a few.
Revelation #3: Prefold diapers rock!
Speaking of tricks and tips, here’s a tip: Prefold diapers are a cheap, durable, versatile, and natural diapering option that often go forgotten. Now that you can buy cloth diapers that look just like disposable ones, nobody seems to want to try good old fashioned prefolds anymore. (And diaper pins are so scary!) The truth is, prefolds are still around because they work. I’ve used prefolds pinned, lying flat in a cover, as a burp cloth, as a wash rag, as a changing pad cover, and as a peekaboo cover (don’t worry, it was clean). I’m still discovering new ways for prefolds to be useful. Since they are so inexpensive, consider adding them to your stash.
Revelation #4: Versatility is important.
I’m talking about versatility in the parent this time, not the diaper. Understand that as your baby grows and changes, so will her diapering requirements. For example, a newborn does not wet as heavily as an older baby. As your baby gets older, you may need to alter the absorbant part of your diaper to adjust. Also, if you have a particularly stubborn child (like mine) you may find she just won’t tolerate one diaper versus another. Take this situation in stride and adapt.
Revelation #5: Cloth diapering at night can be a challenge.
Don’t get discouraged if cloth diapering at night doesn’t seem to work for you. I’m still using disposable diapers on my daughter at night. With the help of another cloth diapering mom, I am attempting to transistion to cloth diapers at night, but it is difficult. My child is very sensitive and I just haven’t found the right system for keeping her content all night long. I’m still searching though, and I haven’t given up.
Revelation #6: Disposable diapers are not worthless. They are just worth less than they cost.
I still use disposable diapers, just not very much. Currently I use them at night, on very long errands, and when I travel. I use anywhere from 1-4 disposable diapers a day. My daughter still averages at least ten diaper changes a day (regardless of what kind of diaper), so I still save a lot of money. I used to buy at least one box of disposable diapers a week. Now I need less than one box a month. My cloth diapers paid for themselves in less than three months of use.
Revelation #7: Do what works for you.
I picked the cheapest option available (prefolds and covers) and it worked perfectly for me. However, I have nothing against using more expensive or more complex cloth diapers if that is what you want to do. I’m told that all-in-one diapers and pocket diapers can last through multiple children if they are well cared for. I have no intention of doing this with my prefolds. After they are done doing diaper duty, my prefolds will morph into dust rags, swiffer pads, and garage towels.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you remember the most important thing:
Stick it to the man!