Friday, July 9, 2010

Starting Out with Cloth Diapers

If you want to try cloth diapers, there are some things you need to know. First, cloth diapers don't have to be confusing! When I started using cloth I was so overwhelmed by the dozens of choices that I didn't know where to start. The cost factor also freaked me out a LOT because as a Mom of six I am on a budget and didn't want to end up with expensive diapers that I hated.

There is the basics of the many types available:

Pockets- I was SURE I hated pocket diapers at first because I couldn't fit my hand into the tiny newborn pockets that I got for free from some caring mama who wanted to share her love of cloth. At the newborn stage, it is best to stick to prefolds and flats, really. After a few months, having two or three pocket diapers for overnight is a must. If you are worried about the cost, check out Spot's Corner on Hyena Cart, Cloth Diaper Nation, or DiaperSwappers to find some good used pocket diapers for about half the cost.

Prefolds- Prefolds are one of my favorite diapers. They are versatile, functional, and flexible. You will want to have at least a dozen in your baby's size. Preemie prefolds can double as mama cloth or doublers later on, so don't worry if your baby can't wear them for long. I started with one dozen premium sized prefolds and one dozen infant sized, along with six preemie sized prefolds. I still use them as a big part of my stash, especially in the summer when it is too hot for pockets.

Fitteds- Fitteds are diapers that have absorbant cores and doublers. The outside is usually a cute fabric, too. Fitteds are good for babies who need a breathable diaper. Some of the softest fitteds are made from velour or bamboo. They can have snaps or aplix (Velcro) or they may need to be pinned. Start with just one or two fitteds to see how you like them.

Covers- Covers will be a big part of your stash if you use fitteds or prefolds most of the time. Covers can be made from PUL, FOE or wool. Wool is my personal favorite, and we can wear it year round without issue. PUL is a plastic like material that is covered in cloth on the outside. PUL gives my baby a rash in the summer, so we only used it at night on pockets and in the winter. FOE is a softer cloth like material, and although less common than PUL, it works in the same way. You will need about 10 covers to diaper your baby when you wash every 2 days.

To wash my cloth, I just throw it in and wash! I dump any solids out first, though. You should avoid any kind of fabric softener, but other than that we have had good luck with a touch of bleach and some Tiny Bubbles detergent. We also love Rockin Green detergent for diapers, too.

There is tons of information on using cloth diapers. Don't be afraid to jump in and start using cloth because you are confused. Buy something simple, like one pocket diaper, one fitted, and a few prefolds to look at and try out on your own. After prepping, you will find the cloth love quickly. Your baby, the planet, and your wallet will all benefit from the change to cloth!

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