Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Average Joe's Quick Start to Cloth Diapering

This is part 1 of my cloth diapering guide for parents. I envision this being a multi-part series to share the knowledge I've learned over the years. And I'll put quickly in the top here that if there are any WAHMS that want me to try and review their products here for mothers, I'm more than happy to do so if you contact me. While I am a fan of some of the more popular cloth diapering products I've tried, I will say that I know there are lots of WAHM's with small businesses trying to get their products out there - and I am a BIG fan of promoting WAHMs and happy to give any good press that I can to help them gain recognition.

Part 1 - How can I get started, I already spend money on disposables?

The biggest hurdle for most parents with cloth diapering is the initial upfront cost. For many parents who are expecting a baby they are purchasing plenty of new baby gear but factor cloth diapering into the cost if they have made that decision.

If you were like me, you did not consider for a second the thought of laundering poopy diapers yourself - ew. Well, I'll save the explanation of why I ultimately became a cloth diapering mamma for another day.. but needless to say, here I am.

Most people who try cloth never go back. It's so convenient to always have what you need on hand, never to worry about "ack.. if I don't get to the store tonight we won't have any diapers tomorrow!" Not to mention the thousands of dollars you'll save.

But how do parents, who are already currently spending money constantly on disposable diapers, come up with money for cloth at the same time?

Second to that dilema is "Help? What do I start with??"

My solution helps solve both problems very, very simply. There are about as many choices for cloth diapers today as there are for flavors of yogurt, maybe even more. And the reason is not only to fit a variety of budgets, but a variety of family lifestyles, and all babies are different!

I have tried almost all the "major" cloth diaper brands that are out there. My friend Tara has done an excellent review on the different types of diapers out there, her review is more of the different types of systems there and not really of brands she likes. It's a very good read to give you an idea of the options out there!

Here is the easiest way to start up and discover what you like along the way.

The best diaper cover I have found has been Thirsties diaper covers. They are around $11.00 a cover, more or less depending on the store. And most stores have a price break when you purchase 3 or more.

If you can find a way to save up enough money for 2 covers and 12 infant prefolds (this will be approximately $42 if you buy all brand new items) you will be set to cloth diaper your baby for 2 days and can do part time cloth diapering. I recommend using a disposable at night since 1 infant prefold is usually not enough to get one of my babies, much less a toddler, through the night. However, even though prefolds are bulkier, and yes with cloth you will find your children's pants fit a little differently, they work very well for a few hours during the day (more or less time depending on how heavy your child wets when they go to the bathroom).

This is an infant prefold & a small thirsties cover

This is Shiloh modeling the infant prefold closed with a snappi. Many people say you need a snappi to use this system. I disagree. It's just one one more product to buy, and one more step to getting a cloth diaper on a wiggling baby when you already feel like you're all thumbs.

This is how I use the prefolds with a cover. I fold it into thirds and lie it down the center of the cover.

And this is what the above picture looks like once placed on Shiloh.

Now, that you're doing part time cloth diapering... you'll be coming up on your shopping day that normally includes diapers - only you won't need them. Hmm.. set that money ASIDE! Don't use it for something else, save it! If you find that you really are happy with the prefold system, and many people are - or are happy enough since prefolds are the cheapest cloth diapering system, once you've saved enough simply buy however many covers and diapers you want. The more you have - the less frequently you need to wash. Personally.. I like 4-5 covers. That usually has me washing ever 3 - 4 days with a little baby.

Here is Shiloh's fluffy little diaper bottom! She's getting tired of the photo shoot.

But wait, you say.. what about night time? I'm still using a disposable at night time. Here is a great, great, great thing that Tara introduced me to. I knew you could buy used cloth diapers on e-bay but this is far better.

Once a week on Thursdays, this forum has a Diaper Swap for CDing mom's. You can sell your new and or used diapers or swap them with mom's who are offering something that you want! I have both sold and swapped on here. It's GREAT! Because you're getting diapers much cheaper than you pay for at a store, and trying them out. If you don't like them you can list them back on the board for as much as you paid for them - which is rare with buying new from a store (sort of like cars... hmmm..interesting). Just click that link on Thursday and you'll see something titled "Thursday Swap" If you go on any other day of the week, the thread won't be there. But you can find it on a Thursday :-)

Once you find a particular brand you like, you can watch to try to see if you can find more of the same type used or as the weeks roll by and you're saving money with the cover/prefold system I suggested and setting it aside like I told you to - you better not be spending it, you'll never get totally out of disposables! - you can save up to buy a bulk package of your favorite diapers from a cloth diaper retailer online.

If you have a really heavy wetter, which happens with older babies/toddlers as they can hold their bladder longer and then really saturate a diaper when they pee, this time in prefold diapers may feel very long to you. Hang in there - since you're only using disposables at night... imagine how much longer that pack of diapers lasts you, think of how much money you will have saved by the end of one month?? And, doublers is a word that you'll experienced CDing mammas use. A doubler is essentially a rectangle (or hour glass, or oval shaped) of several layers of material sewn together. It "doubles" (or at least increases) the asorbency of the diaper you're using. Most diapers need a little help for night time use, and for some kids a doubler is essential for every diaper change - day or night! No 2 babies are the same - which is why there are so many types of cloth diapers out there. If you're struggling to make it through this time of using prefolds only - try buying a few doublers. You can find some really cheap used or even brand new isn't too pricey. I like these doublers a lot (but not their fitted diapers so much, although they have changed them since I last tried.... but I digress)

Speaking of doublers.... I've heard Kissaluv doublers work really well. They're about $2.99 each... and I thought.. hmmm... I wonder if you use 2 doublers in a cover without a diaper if that is equally as good as 1 kissaluv diaper. Only 2 doublers = $5.98 and 1 Kissaluv diaper = $11.00. I'm considering buying some Kissaluv doublers for the purpose of researching that thought to help my fellow cloth diapering Mamma in saving $$$. And also, this is an opportunity again for any WAHM if they've developed a good cloth diaper doubler to speak up and I'll test your doubler out and let the masses know (I'd rather help a WAHM get started than promote an already huge cloth diapering company.. not because I don't like the big company, but they'll continue to get lots of business... I'd like to help the little guy (or girl in this case!))

This is how Shiloh felt at the end of the picture taking process. :-)

1 comment:

Kristy said...

Great advice Katie. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more in your series. I referenced your article as a great resource on