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Practical advice on Cloth Diapering

Eight years ago, when I first started writing and talking publicly about ethical fashion and lifestyle, I never in a million years thought I would write about cloth diapers. But, here I am, giving out practical advice on cloth diapering. This is not a how to or a recommendation on brands or styles (maybe, another day). Mama Natural has some good advice, and a quick Google search will give you tons of advice.  This is just some advice on cloth diapering, for those of you considering it.

Real quick, if you aren’t sure, here is the upside of cloth diapering:

  1. Better for the environment
  2. Better for your wallet
  3. Better for your baby’s skin
  4. Not as hard as you think!

Again, there is a ton of info online about the price differential (you should save a couple hundred a year), and the environmental impact (whoa! like seriously, whoa). And a biggie for us, you shouldn’t have issues with diaper rash. At year one, we’ve had one rash.

It is not as hard as you think.

Seriously, I promise you. People always ask us how we do it. “Do you have a service? That must be expensive.” No, we don’t have a service. “Well, who washes them?” We do. And it isn’t that bad.

Practical advice on Cloth Diapering

  1. Don’t start right away. We waited until Toasty was about 6 or 8 weeks. I honestly don’t remember, it is all a blur. Why? Well… the standard cloth diapers don’t fit newborns. And I really didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a newborn set that would last a few months at the most. And honestly, they poop and poop and poop. And poop is just not as fun with cloth diapers. Still isn’t, but there is less of it. I think that if you get started too early, you might get discouraged. And, the expense.
  2. Buy a few different styles. I went over board on one style. And it is the one style I like the least. I wish I would have tried a few more styles, and then committed.
  3. You don’t need as many as you think. Or at least this has been our experience. We have 12 shells, and inserts for 2 more changes. For a total of 14 changes without doing laundry. This is enough for us. We do a lot of laundry, but not as often as I thought. I thought we would need 24, but we’ve done ok.
  4. Get yourself a good laundry sprayer and an even better diaper pail.
  5. Start working on your laundry routine early. And tweak it. It took us about six months to settle on a routine that we like. Hot wash, double cold rinse, with a water softener and Molly’s detergent regularly, and then about once a month we use peroxide in the bleach compartment, do a few extra rinse cycles and line dry in the sun. Our water is REALLY hard and it is sunny almost every day, so this might not work for you, you need to try and keep trying.
  6. Consider disposable at night. After months of a lot of leaking  at night(disposables are better with pee, cloth are better with poop – we have never had a blowout with cloth!), we just decided to use disposables at night. We think it helps our little one sleep longer. It definitely keeps his mattress cleaner. We have tried most of the eco-friendly brands, and love Beaming Baby.
  7. Definitely consider disposable when you are out. We cloth diaper on shorter trips, but anything longer than one night, we plan on using disposables. It is just too gross to carry around the old diapers, and unless you have access to a washer, you are gonna have to pack em back.
  8. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to use disposable at home. We get tired and forget to do laundry. An relative watches the baby. He has tummy issues and we know it’s going to be a big day. All reasons to make it easy on yourself. Babies are hard work. Cut yourself some slack!
  9. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work out. Again, babies are a ton of work (I can’t emphasize this enough!). For some people, adding one more chore and one more load of laundry just isn’t in the cards. Don’t worry about it. Find a natural mama Facebook group and sell or donate them. Some lucky mom will be thrilled.
  10. Don’t be uncompromising. Yes, cloth diapering is better (in my opinion). But no one wants to know about it. No one wants to feel bad about it. And this is probably good advice for every aspect of parenting.

That’s about it! We have been really happy with cloth diapers, and pleasantly surprised with how easy it is. I don’t think it is for everyone, but it is working for us! We get a lot of questions about it, and I thought I might as well post it here. Do you have any specific questions or advice? We would love to hear.

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