August 12, 2015

Cloth Diapering

After months of reading and digesting the mountains of information the internet has to offer on the topic of cloth diapering, I finally feel like I've come to a comfortable level of understanding. I really didn't know, when I first thought Hmm, maybe I want to look into cloth diapers, that you pretty much had to take a semester long course to fully learn all of the diaper types, accessories, and laundering considerations. But the research was well worth the effort. I particularly appreciated that many working moms who cloth diaper have provided tips and tricks for making it work even though you aren't home all day! Those websites really encouraged me. So, I think I have...

The Plan

There are like, seven different kinds of cloth diaper types and they all have their merits and their drawbacks. After enough reading, I realized I didn't need to commit myself to exclusively using any one type. I could use ALL the types if I wanted! So I narrowed down to the diaper styles that seemed they would be most affordable/useful/easily laundered. These would be the prefold diapers (like my parents used when cloth diapering me and my siblings) and the pocket diapers (modern cloth diapers that you stuff with absorbent pads). There was also the option of using a diaper service, who provides the diapers and launders them for a weekly fee. These have become a bit rare, but I am fortunate to have a company that services my area. They provide prefolds and do the washing in giant industrial washers. The service is kind of expensive: $25/week. But how much is it worth to you to not have to launder diapers every 2 to 3 days? Minimizing cost is one of the reasons I looked into cloth diapering in the first place, so I thought I would have to pass up the service at first. Until it dawned on me that, just like with types of cloth diapers, I don't have to wed myself to using a service *forever*. And the service has some major benefits for someone brand new to cloth diapering (and brand new to parenting...functioning without sleep...caring for something wholly dependent on them...). Newborns are hard to size in cloth diapers. You almost have to get the special newborn diapers that will ONLY fit them for like 3 weeks, unless you have a large or fast growing baby. The diaper service delivers the exact size of diaper you need *and* they provide newborn covers so you don't have to buy them. Not having to buy something that my baby will outgrow in the blink of an eye is a good thing. Plus, I figure we will be more successful using cloth diapers if someone else is doing the laundry at first. We'll have enough on our plate without 3-4 extra loads of laundry a week. Once the baby is out of the newborn stage and we are slightly better adjusted to the new normal, we can cancel the service and start using our own diapers and laundering them at home. I plan to have a stash of diapers already before we discontinue the diaper service. Prefolds are economical, wash easily, and last a long time - plus, you can stuff the small sized prefolds into pocket diapers (two-fer!). Pocket diapers go on the baby exactly like disposables do and so are easy for dad's, day-cares, etc. to use, they launder easily, and come in "one size" styles that grow with your baby (whereas prefolds must be bought in various sizes as your baby grows).

I think I have selected the best choices from the buffet of cloth diapering options for our family. If my mom wants to host a baby shower for us, I will ask that it be a diaper shower and people can buy us any of the cloth options we like, or disposables (we plan on having disposables available for nights, naps, long trips, etc.). If I was feeling dangerous, I'd start pinning specific brands of pockets and pre-folds to my pinterest board, but I'm just not that brave yet! Maybe soon...


  1. Hi! We went the cloth diaper route, and I just want to send a word of warning: babies come in all sizes, and some brands and styles might not fit your kid. For example, my babe had a giant belly and skinny legs and we could only find one brand - BumGenius One Size (but not the organic for some reason) -- that worked. So, getting cloth diapers as a shower gift is a great idea, but I would strongly encourage you to try a trial with a variety of different brands, such as the one offered through Jillian's Drawers. FYI, they also rent the newborn cloth diapers for $40/month (with some caveats). Good luck!!

    1. This is one of the reasons we ended up going the same route my mom went -- cotton flanel or linen squares that we folded ourselves, along with a water-proof cover (Gerber makes good ones). This way you can always tug or adjust or change to fit your particular child. The ones we bought worked all the way from ~1-2 weeks to 18 months. We had about two dozen of them, and at the beginning we did washed them every other day, but as she got older, we were doing it ever 2-3 days, or less. (In fact, the reason why we stopped using cloth diapers was when we weren't going through them fast enough to make a big enough load to wash them before the oldest ones started getting pretty manky).