Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cloth Diapering!

Guest Blog from Dirty Diaper Laundry
By: Kim Rosas

So you are thinking about cloth diapering and you have no idea where to start. I have been there. I've logged hundreds of hours researching cloth diapers and I believe I can make your life a lot simpler by offering you a little bit of "been there, done that" advice. So, sit back and let me help you dive into the secret world of cloth diapers.

First, the thing you need to decide for yourself is this: Am I cloth diapering to save money, save the environment, or a combination? You can save a lot of money by cloth diapering; you can also spend a lot depending on the types of diapers you choose. Here is a run down of the different cloth mamas out there. You may start out using cloth just to reduce your environmental impact, but if you are like me, you will end a Fluff Addict.

Where do you look for information on cloth diapering when there are thousands of sites with the purpose of educating you? Here are the websites I found most helpful during my pregnancy.

This website is best known for their extensive library of reviews of practically every diaper out there, including WAHM diapers (made by Work at Home Moms), accessories like pail liners and wet bags, and other cloth related items. They also have forums for more research or to ask questions on. Check out the “How To” page on this site, as it will help you understand how many diapers you will need to begin with.

I found this to me be favorite site, both when first learning and now for information and shopping. There are forums for everything. You can ask questions on the Diaper Q&A Forum to very experienced moms, buy used diapers on their FSOT (For Sale or Trade) section, or talk on unrelated matters.

Did you even realize that washing cloth diapers is not like tossing your diapers in a washer and pouring your favorite detergent in? Neither did I. Thankfully, I did my research before I ever made that mistake! This site has a handy chart of detergents to use on your diapers. It also all depends on the type of water you have. Remember, less is more. Usually half of the suggested amount or less will work to wash your diapers. Never use the full amount of detergent, ever!

So you are trying to convince your husband that cloth really can save you money but when he saw the $18.00 diaper you wanted to buy, he laughed you out of the room. Been there. Here is an excellent cost comparison chart. They compare the cheapos like prefolds, all the way up to the Cadillac diapers like All in Ones. Also, I wrote a post called “How to Get Your Husband to Cloth Diaper, in case you need some pointers.
While looking at these sites did you become overwhelmed with the lingo? AIO, OS, AI2, DSQ, NIP, EUC, FFS, FL, EBF, ISO, IHA, OBV, PUL, etc? If you are diving into cloth you will need this dictionary of the terms used on diapering websites.

Now, you have decided you absolutely want to use cloth but you don't know which type of diaper is best for your family? I wish I had followed my own advice on this one. Try out everything. Do the research. You may think you are going to love the convenience of an All in One diaper. Set it and forget it. But once you start using them you find they are taking forever to dry. Or, you would like more absorbency. Here is my best advice: Buy used. Go to the FSOT forum on diaperswappers.com and buy a few pre-folds and a cover, or two. Buy a pocket diaper like a Bumgenius One Size Pocket. Get an All in One Diaper, a fitted like Thirsties Fab Fitted, or get fancy and try an All in Two like a Piddle Poddles. You may find that you love one type, or love the variety. I personally like to mix it up depending on the situation. I like going coverless at home using Bamboo Prefolds; this helps me know when my son has wet. Out and about I prefer my Bum Genius AIO Organics. Later, your tastes may change as the eliminations of your child change.

Here are a few other ways to get started.

--- Try cloth for ten dollars at Jillian’s Drawers.
--- Find a Diaper Service in your area.
--- Buy used at Diaper Swappers.

If you are reading this article while pregnant you are in the best possible position. Beginning cloth diapering takes a large initial investment. The cost is worth it; you pay upfront but never have to spend money on buying disposables every week. I began buying my diapers a few at a time, whenever there was a good sale. If you spend what disposables would cost in a week, over time you will have a sizable stash.

Don't worry if you already have a child, these tips are for everyone. No matter what age your child is, you can start cloth diapering. You may face a different set of challenges, such as sticky or solid poop, but it can certainly be done. There are so many options available that anyone can do it. So take a moment to consider the impact disposable diapers have on our planet: 500 years in a landfill, or two hours of washing and drying...

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