As someone who has cloth diapered for the past 20 months, I have learned a lot about what goes into being a cloth diaper mama. Cloth diapering is a growing trend in our country, for a variety of reasons. Yet, many people I know “sat on the fence” for a long time before making the plunge (which some admitted to me later, was not so hard after all). And some are still sitting on the fence! Which is okay, too. If you’re not already 100% sold on the idea of cloth diapering (like I was!), then how do you decide? Here’s some info that might help you.
First consider the costs. This seems to always be a huge determining factor in getting moms to jump off the fence into the fluffy world of cloth diapering. You can start a cloth diaper stash for under $60 (sometimes less, depending on if you are crafty, shopping savvy, or have friends you can steal from!). Or you could get the top of the line cloth diapers, and spend around $300-500. Seem like a lot? Well, disposable diapers will cost about $1,800 per year per child. So the savings really adds up even if you decide to splurge on the high-end diapers. (Oh, and by the way, they might look nicer, but they pretty much work the same way as the low-cost diapers!). I have both super-cheap diapers in my stash ($1.25 for a prefold), and very costly ($27 for an AppleCheeks pocket); the best thing for me was diversity.
Speaking of diversity – don’t sink all your money into one kind of diaper before you know what you like. And don’t feel like you have to buy them all at once. I recommend buying a trial package where you can try anywhere from 5-10 different brands and styles and see what works for you. Most diaper shops have programs where you can return the diapers (or just some of the diapers) and get your money back. The only cost is usually a $10 deposit and sometimes shipping. This is a good way to start out. I did this and tried out 4 diapers and ended up liking and keeping them all! Try to find a children’s boutique or friend that uses cloth so you can see and feel the diaper styles first. This always helps take the mystery out of cloth!
Consider your laundry. This is a second factor in why some moms are still sitting on that fence. A lot of moms want to CD but don’t want to do poopy laundry. I could talk a lot about how it really isn’t that bad, but that is just me. Try to find a diaper service in your area that would do the dirty work for you. You won’t save as much money but you will save time and stinkies. (Oh, but the other drawback is that usually they don’t have cute diapers. Just FYI!).
Consider the health issues. I won’t belabor the point, but disposable diapers are not that healthy. I do use disposables from time to time as needed to clear up a rash or if he is sick, but putting soft, organic cloth next to your baby’s skin is better for your baby, in my opinion, and many others!
Consider your time. Personally, I do NOT feel that cloth diapering takes up much of my time. I have a large washer / dryer, which helps me do large loads pretty fast (although I set it on sanitize setting so it takes longer). But if you are an apartment dweller and have to share a washer/dryer or visit the laundromat… this is definitely going to make cloth diapering more challenging for you!
Consider professional help. No, you’re not crazy for thinking about cloth diapering, but just a reminder that if you do run into problems, or have questions, there are literally hundreds (probably more) of bloggers and diaper shop owners that would LOVE to email with you, chat on Twitter, or even talk over the phone about all your questions and problems! Even since I have been blogging about cloth diapering, the resources for cloth help have just mushroomed to the point where you can find just about anything you need online!
I, of course, hope you all jump off the fence and join me in this fun adventure of cloth diapering! The diapers are so soft and cute, you’ll save a ton of money and waste, and you’ll join a group of very enthusiastic and helpful mamas that will help you succeed. If you need more info, just click on my Cloth Diaper Review Guide link to find ALL the cloth diapers and accessories I have personally tried!
What other considerations would you include for new-to-cloth moms?
*This post was previously a guest post at Living at the Whitehead’s Zoo.