Sunday, January 22, 2012

Everything you need (and some things you might want) to start cloth diapering your baby

If you're anything like me, you're probably thinking to yourself, "I want to use cloth diapers (insert reason here), but I'm so overwhelmed with all of the choices and options. I understand completely. There is really every kind of diaper option and combination imaginable on the market right now. You have anything from AIOs to a prefold pinned with a wool soaker(Mine is in the mail right now!Yay!) Then there are all the extra supplies you need, like wetbags, dry bags, pails, sprayers, oh my! You can barely get dressed in the morning, let alone venture off into the great unknown of "cloth diapering." It really is overwhelming. However, once you get over that overwhelmed feeling, a stage begins, which is where I am at now. Diaper mania sets in and you are so in love with using and buying and blogging about cloth diapers, that you find that that's all you talk about anymore. This experience is truly one of the most fun parts about being a mom to a little baby girl. I suspect some people loath diaper changing time. I on the other hand can't get enough. I love planning which diap she is going to wear next and how I can coordinate it with her latest outfit and babylegs.*

First thing you need to do is sit down and have a serious discussion with your partner about cloth diapers and if they are willing to be open to trying them. If you get past this stage, I think your next order of business is to work out a budget. How much are you willing to spend upfront to get you started and what kind of a diapering mommy do you think you will be?

Do you want all of the same brand?
Sized diapers for each stage?
Gender neutral colors so you can use the diapers on more than one baby?
Just prefolds and covers?
AIOs so you never have to touch the dirty part of the diaper?
Fitted diaps and a wool cover? Are you overwhelmed yet? No?
Snappies and Chinese prefolds with a cover and then AI2s at night time?
Are you going to have a separate daddy stash?
What about when you travel? Do you want to keep it up then?

There are a million questions you can ask yourself about what kind of cloth diapers you will want to buy. Companies feed on this insecurity by laying out all the benefits to their diapers and a million and one reasons why their diapers are better than all the rest. In my experience, which isn't as vast as a lot of other cloth diapering mommies, basically all the diapers have their pros and cons. It's really just a question of what kind of system YOU want.

I think the first step is just to go into a cloth diaper store and/or order some diaps online. Maybe put up a status on Facebook and see if any of your friends are using cloth diapers. I think that cding is similar to breastfeeding. It really takes a good cloth diapering mentor to help you through the initial buying stage. After you get over the fear and trepidation that come with starting something so foreign, you'll fall in love. So many people choose cloth diapering for so many different reasons. Whatever your reason is, don't worry about if you're not buying the "perfect" diaper for you baby. There are a ton of great diapers out there, and all of them do a great job of keeping your babies pee and poo contained. Ultimately it's turned into a hobby for me. I enjoy buying new diapers and trying them out. I look forward to diaper changes and knowing that I'm saving the family money.

Here's a checklist of diaper accessories you'll need to get you started.

-Pail liner or wet pail to keep the dirty diapers
-Wet bag for outings
-Some sort of bin system to keep your diapers
-Cloth wipes (I highly recommend these.) I'm currently trying two different kinds which I'll be blogging about later.
-Approved cloth diaper detergent
-Some sort of stripping agent like Blue dawn or RLR
-At least 12-18 diapers. The more you have, the less often you have to do laundry :)
-A sprayer you can hook up to your toilet to spray off poo once the baby starts solids. (This is optional. You can also use liners and just flush the liner and the poo.

*My next favorite cloth diapering accessory. I will post a future blog about how adorable and handy they are.

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