Keeping Cloth Diapering Simple

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The cloth diapering community has become a veritable subculture in recent years. There are entire websites dedicated to fluffy chat, reviews, and trading as well as a plethora of online retailers and Etsy shops carrying cloth diapers and accessories. With so many choices available, opinions shared, and an entire cloth diapering lingo to decipher (what on earth is the difference between an AIO, an AI2, a flat, a PF, or a pocket diaper?) getting started with cloth can be confusing and overwhelming.

While pregnant with Sweet T, I researched different methods and products until I had fluffy dreams at night. Here are some tips to help you wade through the madness and figure out what works for you.

1. Determine your motivation for using cloth. Is it to save money, help the environment, simplify, be more self-sufficient, protect your little one’s bottom from chemicals, support WAHMs, or maybe a combination of these factors? This will help you decide what kind of diapers should be in your stash.

2. Learn the basics. Pinstripes and Polkadots is an excellent resource for newbies. The information is well organized, concise, and will help you make a decision for that initial fluffy purchase based on your motivation and needs. Wish I had found their site sooner!

3. Realize that this will be a trial and error process to a degree. Reviews and raves can be incredibly helpful. In fact, I’ll be posting some of my own soon, but what works for one family may not for another. One mom may swear by snap covers while one mom refuses to use anything that isn’t hook and loop closure. You’re probably going to buy a product at some point that just doesn’t work for you. That’s ok! It’s a learning process and that’s when websites such as diaperswappers.com come in handy. You’ll be able to sell or trade what you’re less than thrilled with.

4. Start small. You can always mix in some disposable diaper usage (gasp!) while you’re figuring out what your little ones bum and your lifestyle are best suited for.

Hubs and I cloth diaper primarily to save money. This means that the 100% wool handknitted soakers and some of the more expensive brands are reserved for special treats (By the way, you know you’re addicted to cloth when you’d rather receive a handmade diaper from your man than a bouquet of roses. I have my eye on this one right now. Hint, hint, Hubs). We use primarily prefolds with covers and a pocket diaper stuffed with prefolds at night since this is generally the most economical way to go.

Maybe your priorities are to help the environment, and support WAHMs or small business. You’re busy as a bee and cost isn’t much of an issue for you. By all means load your stash down with as many organic handmade diapers as your heart desires! Then send me a picture of your stash so I can drool.

What if you’re goal is to save money but while you are willing to use prefolds with covers, your significant other, grandparents, or other caretakers are frightened and confused by anything but a disposable? You’re probably going to need a mixture of the economical prefolds and some easy-breezy AIOs with velcro that won’t have your relatives looking at you like a deer caught in headlights when it’s their turn to babysit.

Whatever your diapering style, start small, and don’t get discouraged. Once you figure out what works best for your family, the rest of your diapering days will be easy breezy! You’ll be so glad you started the journey.