5 Tips For Starting Cloth Diapers
My family’s cloth diapering journey started for one reason …WE WERE BROKE! We were 18 weeks pregnant with our first baby and something horrible happened. I lost my job. Overnight, 40% of our household income was POOF! Gone. So I decided to cloth diaper. Our family has been using cloth diapers for almost 4 years now (we are now on baby #2). Here are some tips and tricks for starting cloth diapers in your home.
Try Out a Few Different Styles
There are a lot of different styles and brands of cloth diapers out there!! I could probably write a book just on the pros and cons of each style. Buy a couple of a few different styles that you think might work for you and your baby. Don’t go out and buy an entire stash (about 36 diapers) without first trying them on your baby. After you find what works for you, you can sell off what you don’t want and buy more of the styles you like.
The thought of buying a used cloth diaper might seem a little icky to you. I assure you, used diapers washed properly and stripped when you buy them are great. Buying used is an economical way to try out new brands and styles without a huge investment. When we were pregnant with our first and were desperately trying to pull together a stash, I bought most of our stash used on eBay. Check out the Central Iowa Cloth Diapering Swap Facebook page if you are local to Des Moines. This is a great place to buy and sell used diapers locally. There are also national cloth diaper swap Facebook pages available.
Check out Loan Programs
If you are struggling financially and want to cloth diaper, look into loan programs in your area. Share the Love and The Rebecca Foundation are two great programs in Des Moines that loans out cloth diapers to families in need.
Immediately after having a baby might not be the perfect time to start cloth diapering. Give yourself some grace and ease into it. For example, I had a long labor (33 hours) followed by an emergency c-section, and my husband actually had to return to work before I was even out of the hospital. I was not in any condition to be going up and down the stairs to do diaper laundry. We used disposables until our daughter was 8-weeks before I started using the stash of cloth that I had collected. Even then, I still used disposables at night and when we left the house for a couple more months.
Find the Right Wash Routine for Your Washer
Most people I have talked to who stopped cloth diapering did so because they had an incorrect wash routine for their style washer. A top loading, an older washing machine is going to wash diapers differently than a front loading HE washer.
An incorrect wash routine can lead to a build-up of detergent, ammonia, or hard minerals and can cause diaper rash, stink, and leaking.
The Central Iowa Cloth Diapering Facebook group has a great index where you can look up your exact washing machine model and see the ideal wash routine for your diapers.
Ask for Help
You will have questions and that is okay. Find some like-minded people that you can ask questions. If you are local to Des Moines The Central Iowa Cloth Diapering Facebook group is an amazing resource. If you are not local to Des Moines there are several Facebook groups that have been created that you can join. Pinterest, YouTube, BabyCenter are all great places to find tutorials and more. Just the other day, I found a video showing how to turn old t-shirts into cloth diapers. The resources and ideas are endless.