As a first-time mom there are SO MANY DECISIONS we need to make. A lot of times it’s hard to know where to start. So of course, I went to Pinterest (what did people do before Pinterest?) and found a lot of lists of “must haves” and “must dos” before baby comes. One of the things the lists recommended was starting to buy your diapers early in your pregnancy and stocking up to offset the cost. Well I did a quick Google search to see prices, and that alone was enough to convince me to cloth diaper.
It was so overwhelming at first! There are so many different types, styles, and brands out there. I didn’t know anyone personally who had cloth diapered so I didn’t have someone to ask. So again I went to Pinterest which took me to different blogs and YouTube videos where people explained the whole process of cloth diapering and the different kinds of cloth diapers. At the end of the day, I was convinced and started my search for cloth diapers.
Here are the reasons I decided to go with cloth diapers:
The cost – This was the number 1 reason for me. Cloth diapering on average costs approximately $800 dollars (including washing) from birth to potty training, though the price can be lower or higher depending on style / brand/ etc. (mine were about $600 including accessories – will touch on this later). Buying disposable diapers costs an average of $2500 dollars from birth to potty training. This is perfectly okay and affordable for some families, but we really wanted to save that money.
The environment – Cloth diapers are more environmentally friendly – from the making of the diapers to how quickly they break down, and even including washing, they are easier on Mother Nature than disposables.
Your Baby! – Though I did not buy organic cloth diapers, it makes me happy to know he is still exposed to fewer chemicals.
Less blowouts – This one is one of those things that worked for me. I can think of maybe 2 big blowouts, and I rarely have leaks (even at night now that he sleeps 11-12 hours!).
This is just a bonus, but babies look ADORABLE in cloth diapers!
Like anything, there are cons to cloth diapering as well:
More laundry for Mom – I found this was more challenging in the first 4 to 5 months when you are doing diaper changes more often. Now I change him every 3 hours or so and my diapers last almost a full week! I am so used to it now that I don’t mind the extra load or 2 per week. I also have to add that because of the style I have (pocket diapers with inserts) I have to “stuff them” after every wash. I just put on a show and get it done!
Bigger cost upfront – of course, you need to have all your cloth diapers ready for when baby comes, as well as any accessories you may need, whereas the cost of disposable is spread out over 2 to 3 years depending on when your little one learns to use the potty.
More bulky – you may have to go up a size in pants, and it may be tighter fit in the car seat. Also take up more room in the diaper bag, especially because used diapers go back in it and there’s a couple of extra things you need to bring. But at least they have more cushioning when they fall on their bum!
Poop – It can be a little sticky. It goes in the toilet, but depending on where you are you may not be able to throw it out right away.
(I should mention that poop in disposable diapers is actually supposed to go in the toilet as well! But most people don’t bother with that). Now that he has “solid” poops its super easy to just toss them in the toilet and they barely even leave a mark. Sometimes he has sticky poops but we just spray it off and toss it in the laundry as usual.
So how did I get started?
I ordered all pocket diapers with 2 inserts each. I have 38 diapers in total. They are all “one size” diapers rather than small / medium / large or size 1 / 2/ /3, etc. (they have snaps to make them smaller or bigger). I found it was just what was easier for me. I also waited until my baby was about 6 weeks before I started using them. I would use 2 or 3 some days just to try it out until the 6-week mark, then I used them all day every day and kept using the disposables at night for a few more weeks until I ran out, at which point I switched to cloth diapers full time. I also stuck to disposable wipes for a few months and eventually switched to cloth wipes about 4 or 5 months in. And I’ve never looked back! Now that I am expecting my second baby, I’m on the lookout for some newborn cloth diapers to get me through those first 6-8 weeks.
So what do you need for cloth diapers? I consider myself very practical, so I only wanted to get what was absolutely necessary. Here is a list of what I have:
Cloth diapers – 38 (pocket style)
Inserts for cloth diapers – 76 (38x2)
Wipes – 50
Wet bags – 2 (for dirty diapers on the go, each one can hold 4-5 diapers)
Diaper pail – I just got a regular laundry hamper with a lid from Wal-Mart
Liner for diaper pail – to keep the pail clean (you toss this right in with the laundry)
Cloth diaper-friendly detergent – there are many kinds
That’s about it! Other useful things are…
Diaper sprayer – you attach this to the toilet to spray off sticky poop. I found that using the sink in the laundry room works perfectly fine for us, even if the poop sits in the diaper for a couple of days.
Specific creams / ointments for bum rashes – I found that coconut oil has worked great for us, but I have also tried a couple of different brands that I like
Liners - help prevent stains, though I’ve never used them and haven’t had any issues with staining
I am not here to try and change anybody’s opinion, and I am a big believer in doing what works for mom, baby, and your family. I just wanted to share my experience in case anyone is considering cloth diapering!