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I discovered that this week is Cloth Diaper Awareness week in many locations, spearheaded by The Rebecca Foundation’s Cloth Diaper Closet, so I decided that this would be a good time to discuss my use of cloth diapers! (And I better get it posted because the week is almost up!)
When I first was expecting Mia, I was NOT planning on using cloth diapers. I remember specifically telling my daycare provider that I was “not going to do anything crazy like cloth diapering.” There were a few reasons why I think I put off cloth diapers right away. The first is because they seemed like too much work and when you are having your first baby, the last thing you want is more work. I was thinking about breastfeeding, nursery decor, names, daycares, going back to work, carseats, clothes, etc. There was so much on my list I didn’t even think about diapers! I went straight to disposables. I didn’t even pick a brand. When someone asked what kind, I told them we would take what we got and go from there.
The second reason why I didn’t think about cloth diapers is because I was very unaware. I didn’t know anyone who cloth diapered and I didn’t know what was out there. The only exposure I had to cloth diapers was my mom talking about changing her brothers’ diapers and trying to cloth diaper me but quitting after a few weeks. I had an idea of what cloth diapering was in my head, but no one in reality to dispute it.
This situation changed when Mia was about 3 months old. My cousin was expecting and starting posting about her decision to cloth diaper on Facebook. She also had some cloth diaper items on her registry, so that was the first time I had the chance to see what they even looked like! Then I heard of another girl in my area who was cloth diapering her child and that another cousin was wanting to cloth diaper as well. If these ladies were planning on cloth diapering, maybe it was something worth looking into! So, I finally did some serious research.
Reasons I Cloth Diaper:
When I researched the options, I also solidified my reasons for cloth diapering:
- They save money. Yes, they might be a little more expensive initially, but think about it a little further. A box of 216 size 1 Pampers costs $34.22 on Amazon right now. I bought 22 cloth diapers for about $100. I would only have to go through my cloth diaper stash almost 10 times to use 216 diapers. Since it takes me about 2.5 days to go through my stash, it would take me 25 days, or just under one month to use it 10 times. So, in less than a month, I would be saving money instead of spending it on another box of diapers! And for those of you that say my water bill will increase, I compared the bills before cloth diapering and after, and they are the same.
- They reduce waste. Watching all the diaper trash leave our house was really depressing. Not only were we just throwing that money away, it was filling a landfill somewhere! From birth to age 2 that’s a lot of trash!
- They are cute! Cloth diapers are adorable! Diaper showing, no problem! There are so many prints and colors that they always go with her outfits. Now that it is summer, I just put a dress or shirt on her and she is ready to go out the door. This might seem a little superficial, but hey there is nothing wrong with cuteness!
- They aren’t squishy. This reason didn’t come along until after I started using cloth, but they don’t get squishy like the disposables do. For some reason, the squishiness grosses me out. All those gel beads just get really yucky!
- They hold ALL the poop! Before we switched to cloth, Mia was blowing out every single time she pooped. I had to make sure she had multiple outfits with her everywhere she went. Since we have been using cloth, she has not blown out once! So while it sounds strange enough, cloth might actually be reducing our laundry!
However, I will also admit that cloth diapers aren’t the fix all solution. There are some cons as well. There will be leaking. It was hard at first to figure out when to change Mia’s diaper. There isn’t that handy wet indicator strip that turns blue like on Pampers or Huggies. I remember reading a blog that said you just kind of figure out when your baby pees, and I was like WHAT?? How the heck am I going to figure that out?! But, you really do! After a few leaky diapers, you know if they pee during or after a nap and how long after they eat. It sounds weird, but hey maybe it will help with potty training!
Cloth Diaper Types
I was very overwhelmed when starting to research cloth diapers because there were so many different styles and then you also add different kinds of fabrics. All I had ever heard of before I started looking was the kind you folded over the baby and pinned on with giant diaper pins! I researched for over 2 weeks before making any kind of decision! So, to help start the conversation, here is a quick overview of what I discovered. I am NOT the best source by any means, so if you are interesting in using cloth, I encourage you to check out this site: Baby List and this one: The Natural Baby Co., as well as just doing your own Google search.
- Pockets have a diaper shaped shell consisting of two layers that you stuff an absorbent liner into.
- Prefolds are a rectangle with a few extra layers sewed in the middle for more absorbency; you fold and pin them onto your baby and you need to have a cover to prevent leaks.
- Flats are similar to prefolds, but a giant piece of material like a dish towel that you then have to fold more to get onto your baby, and then put on a cover to prevent leaks.
- All in Ones are like they sound; a cloth diaper that you put on your baby and then you wash the whole thing when dirty or wet.
- Fitteds consist of an absorbent fabric diaper that fits over your baby and then you have to put a cover on as well.
On top of all of those styles there are different types of fabric like bamboo, hemp, microfiber, wool, and PUL. I honestly don’t know much in this area. All I know is that my inserts are microfiber and you don’t put that directly on baby’s skin. If you want to know more about fabric, please do some research and let me know what you find out!
Choosing Pocket Diapers:
I ended up picking the pocket diapers for Mia. I bought these: ALVABABY Baby Cloth Pocket Diapers with 12 Inserts and these: Angel Love 6 Pack Pocket Diaper Covers with 6 Inserts and Wet Bag.
Mia was already large enough to fit into them when I wanted to switch to cloth, and they seemed easy to work with (no pins!). I also liked that you could take the insert out to wash them because they seemed like they would get cleaner than the all-in-ones. I think if I were to start cloth earlier with my next child, I would need to explore flats or prefolds to fit tighter around a smaller baby.
Exploring flats or refolds still seems scary to me, and I guess that is kind of the whole point of my post. It is scary because I don’t know much about it, and I don’t know much about it, because moms don’t really talk about it! Everyone just loads you down with disposables at your baby shower, assuming that is what you are going to use.
After I started cloth diapering and Mia wore them out in public, I had women speak up and say they cloth diapered their children. It would have been great to have these conversations when I was expecting so that I could have gotten more than one side of the diaper story.
So, please let me know in the comments below: Do you cloth diaper? Why did you make that choice? What kind(s) do you use? If you don’t cloth diaper, what turns you off? If you’re expecting, what more do you want to know? I want to start these conversations so that more moms realize cloth is an option, and not the same option it was when our grandmothers were having babies!
As for me, this probably won’t be my last post on cloth diapers! 🙂 There is more to know and share!