Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Can we do it? Yes we can!!!!

A lot of parents-to-be walk into our store with trepidation, you can practically smell the fear. Choosing a cloth diapering system can be overwhelming -- honestly, the hardest part of it all is picking which diapers you want to go with. Once you've figured that out, it's smooth sailing! I think some parents have the attitude that they'll try cloth diapers, and hope they work out. Here are some tips to ensure your success:

Put junior in cloth diapers from day one. I really believe that disposable diapers, like infant formula, can be a slippery slope. Once you're used to the "convenience" (I'm doing air quotes here, picture it!) of wrapping up and tossing disposable diapers in the garbage, it's easy to put off using cloth diapers. You will have a baby. You will be doing laundry regardless of whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, I can promise you that. Washing cloth diapers is a simple load of laundry. You cannot avoid laundry! If you never use a disposable diaper, you won't know what you're missing. For the record, I have the same theory about twins. Hope for them on the first try, b/c if you've never had a singleton, it will be all you know! If you don't want to invest in newborn diapers, consider signing up for our newborn diaper rental kit, spots are filling up, but it's a pretty nifty idea.

Buy cloth diapers you know you will use. OK, I'll admit it, there's too much variety, but would you really want to walk into our store and see *one* type of diaper? Half the appeal of cloth diapers is the fashion! Vanity aside, we have simple diapers and more complicated diapers (insert disclaimer here: when I say "complicated", I'm referring to the simple act of trifolding a prefold and laying it in a cover. I can do that faster than you can put a disposable diaper on a baby, I guarantee it!). If one of your reasons for not wanting to use cloth diapers is that you find them too "fussy" (air quotes here, picture it!), then go with an easy diaper like a pocket diaper or an all-in-one. Yes, the cost of prefolds is attractive, but if you buy them and don't use them, you're no further ahead. No matter which way you slice it, even if you buy an entire stash of Fuzzibunz diapers, you will save money in the longrun.

Buy more than 12 cloth diapers. It's true, you could get by with a dozen cloth diapers in the first 4-6 weeks, however, it will be tight. You will be washing diapers every single day. Every. Single. Day. Yeah, I know I already said it's "just a load of laundry", but I have four kids already, it's also "just spit-up", and my husband's favourite, "just poop". Point is, I have a thick skin. Back in the day when I had just given birth to my first child, washing a load of cloth diapers every single day could possibly have left me a crumpled mess on the laundry room floor. If you're eyeing the super-fly Fuzzibunz sized pocket diapers, but you don't want to invest in 2 dozen of them (completely understandable, I am, afterall, as cheap as the day is long), pad your stash with a dozen prefolds and a couple of covers. You don't have to love them, but squeezing an extra day out of your diapers until junior stops pooping every 5 minutes will certainly help the perceived workload.

Get dad onboard. He's just as responsible for diaper changes as you are. Is he hesitant to use cloth diapers? Bring him to one of our handy-dandy cloth diaper workshops, held on the second Saturday of every month. It's a great way for you both to sit down and have the information handed to you (bring a non-perishable food donation in exchange for a $10 gift certificate). Once he sees how easy they are to use, and how much money you can save, you'll win him over. If you're both on the same page about cloth diapers, you'll be more successful!

Buy your diapers from a B&M store. When I started my business in 2002, such stores were virtually unheard of, but as the green movement picks up steam, and parents become more aware of the impact of their choices on their children, more and more natural parenting stores are popping up. Yes, shopping online is convenient (you can do it in your underwear, if you're so inclined), but nothing beats seeing and feeling the diapers. If you have inherited a stash of used diapers, most stores are willing to help you sift through them to determine what, if anything, is still needed. Videos that demonstrate how to use a prefold are nice, but having a chance to it in-person is better. Shop with a store that has knowledgeable staff, and you will be better-equipped to handle cloth diapering your little one.

Keep it simple. Like anything in life, using cloth diapers can be as easy or as hard as you make it. I use a simple washing routine: hot wash, cold rinse (now that I have a fancy-dancy frontloader, I add a sopping wet towel, and I do an extra rinse, more on that here). If you get caught up reading online forums about cloth diapers, you may see that some people have very elaborate wash routines that involve double-this and triple-that. Ignore those women. Worried about storing your diapers? The same women take 15 trillion pictures of their color-coordinated stashes folded and sorted neatly under the change table. Yes, you could do that, or you could do what I do, which is store your diapers and covers in a laundry hamper, digging through it when you need something. Not picture-worthy, but considering how quickly you will go through diapers in those early days, folding and sorting them is a big old waste of time. The laundry hamper gets the job done, trust me!

Good luck, and may the force be with you!


  1. I would disagree with the first point of use cloth from day one. I think if you are a first time clother and a first time mom, you are going to be overwhelmed. On the other hand if you have experience with cloth diapering baby #2 then by all means you are a pro and can cloth baby # 2 from day one with ease.

    I am a first time mom, first time clother. When I brought my daughter home I was so over whelmed I barely had time to make sure I had clean clothes. I couldnt imagine having to add leaning to get adjusted to cloth and washing diapers to the endless list of learning how to breastfeed, care for a newborn, find time to shower, find time to feed myself, etc, etc.

    I know its just an extra load of laundry every second day and that you can get a prefold or any other cloth diaper on just as fast as a disposable, but that extra load of laundry may be the last thing a new mom needs or wants to see! :)

    If they can do it, I applaud them because there is no way I would of been able to. When baby #2 comes I will be a pro and will definately be able to cloth from day one. :)

  2. When #4 came along, I washed her diapers with the clothes. Everything came out fine, and it made things a litte easier for me (no extra load of laundry!). Laundry is the bane of my existence these days, when I'm finished, it only means it's time to start over!

  3. My advice to new or expecting moms: make sure laundry won't be your job for the first few weeks. Whether it's your husband or whoever else volunteers to help out, have them do the laundry. Cloth from day one is the way to go. Men (or women) who have never changed a diaper can handle prefolds on a newborn, if you make them. It's cheaper, and poo never shoots up the baby's back with cloth, which I can guarantee will happen with disposables.

  4. We went into cloth after 1 week, after the meiconium. It saved me worrying about the staining (which many people get out easily, little did I know), and we got through the first week without worrying about washing correctly, etc... since it was baby #1 and we didn't really know what we were doing (in every way!).

  5. We did cloth in the hospital, from day one. If I hadn't had a c-section, her first diaper would have been cloth but the nurses put her in a disposable - next time it will be cloth first. So yes you can do cloth from day one with baby number one. For us it was just the way it was going to be no matter what anyone said - nurses, doulas, friends, parents. But I could not have done it without my husband to haul wet diapers down the stairs to the washing machine.

  6. I seriously doubt I could have started with cloth on day one... my husband and I were so overwhelmed when we brought our first child home that washing an extra load would have been too much. We switched over at week 3 (I was home alone by that time - my husband had returned to work) and I was crying when my DD went through all the covers in one afternoon because of poop on the covers. I didn't know I could just rinse the covers out, i.e., that BF babies have water soluble poop, and I was also folding the diaper the wrong way because of what I read on the internet. It was only until I came into your store again that one of your salepersons gave me a couple of tips and it has been fine since then. Now that I am used to it, CD are awesome! Wouldn't want to go back to disposable given how harmful they are to the environment!

  7. I will be honest; we have connections that allow us to get a lot of very cheap and even free disposables, but still have to buy enough. For reasons from HATING running from store to store to find disposables on sale to changing and throwing out 8 disposables in a 2 hour span (if it’s even a drop wet – we change) which is very bad for the environment! Then there are the chemicals and trying to get those awful gel beads of your baby’s bottoms and the non-breathableness (I know it’s not a word)!
    So we started with the 2nd child, almost 4 months old and LOVE cloth! First a dozen prefold’s, then Mother-ease Sandy’s, and finally we have added some Happy Heiny’s one size! Maybe it is because I am not a new mom. I don’t feel the extra load at all because laundry is just never ending in our house! There is a difference in wear i.e. bulk, and my husband really is bad with prefold’s (my fav’s), but we had started cloth thinking we will just do this part-time and use disposable when we’re out and about. Now I love cloth so much we use cloth 90% of the time! How could I not love it, the prefold’s are organic cotton, so nice for my babies bottom and chemical free! I also feel super great about being good to the environment.
    I think there are all kinds of ways of moving into the cloth diaper world! And I don’t think disposables are all that tempting having experienced both, they have ton’s of cons! I wish more new families knew how awesome and easy cloth is! Not that there will be a third baby, but if there ever is – it will be cloth from the start!

  8. I love the blurb about the washing routine. I was starting to feel vastly inadequate after reading a few of the routines some women post online. I also bought two lovely wicker baskets to store my nicely folded bumwraps in once they had been washed and dried...they have remained empty since I bought them. A more common sight is a basket full of haphazardly strewn pre-folds and a laundry room full of half-dry AIOs hanging from every free corner.