get started with cloth diapers

Previously, I wrote about why I chose to switch to cloth diapers, after years of being adamantly against the idea. If you haven’t already, you can read that post here. 

I firmly believe that cloth diapers are not for everyone, but they can be great for some people. But how do you know if you would love them or hate them?

The best way is to try!

Buying New Diapers

First, you need to decide if you feel comfortable with used cloth diapers or not. If you don’t, then you’ll probably want to order a sampler kit from one of the various cloth diaper websites.

Nicki’s Diapers offers a 15 day wash and return program. You can find the full details here. Nicki’s Diapers is a great place to order brand new diapers. They offer free shipping with a minimum purchase of $10. If you’re on a budget and need to accumulate your diapers slowly, that low free shipping threshold is helpful!

If I were starting completely from scratch, I would get the Nicki’s Cloth Diapering 101 Starter Kit. It provides you with examples of several types of cloth diapers.

Some other options include the prefold diaper trial package or the one size cloth diaper trial package, both from Diaper Junction. 

As you can see, these options can be expensive. I decided to go the used route for that reason.

Buying Used Diapers

Buying used is a totally valid option. Just make sure you bleach soak them first! Fluff Love University provides thorough instructions for bleach soaking. 

You can find used diapers at some children’s consignment sales, on sites like eBay or Craigslist, or in Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade groups.

We have a ton of children’s consignment sales in my area. It’s awesome. 🙂 I bought 12 cloth diapers and a large wet bag for $25. This was enough to justify a load of laundry, but not enough for me to feel as if I had wasted a lot of money if I decided not to stick with it.

I bought several different brands, since I wasn’t sure what would work best for my little boy. I had previously tried to determine from the internet what brand and type of cloth diaper is best. This is roughly as useful as trying to figure out from the internet what homeschool curriculum to buy. It depends on too many factors.

  • It depends on you.
  • It depends on your kid.
  • It depends on what your motivation is.
  • It depends on your philosophy.
  • It depends on if you have a long and skinny baby or a short and chunky one.

I highly recommend trying different things yourself so you can learn what works on YOUR specific child!

The Great Cloth Diaper Experiment of 2017

After I had thoroughly sanitized the diapers, we began The Great Cloth Diaper Experiment of 2017.

Our first hurdle was seeing if my husband would still be willing to change cloth diapers. Quite frankly, my husband changed a LOT of diapers in the 15 months prior to this experiment. If using cloth meant losing my help, that was a deal breaker for me. I’m just being completely honest here. 😉 For this reason, I only bought all-in-one or pocket diapers. Putting those on and taking them off is simple and very similar to using disposables.

My husband was cool with the switch, as long as he didn’t have to dump poop in the toilet. I handled that part. (Toddler poop is actually pretty simple. Just plop it into the toilet and flush).

We are currently sticking with disposables for overnight and for when he goes to nursery at church. I haven’t found changing them while we’re out and about to be a problem, so I do that if I’m going to be with him. I have a travel sized wet bag that I keep in my son’s bag. I might try using cloth diapers overnight at some point, but I haven’t so far.

After a week or two of this, we determined which brand worked the best. We like the Kawaii pocket diapers. They’re reasonably priced, even if you buy them brand new.

Would I recommend this for everyone? 

No. If you hate laundry, cloth diapers are going to drive you insane. I think I would personally be overwhelmed if I attempted to cloth diaper and work outside the home full time simultaneously, though there are people who can pull it off!

In my opinion, the most important factor to cloth diapering success is having easy access to a washer and dryer. It’s theoretically possible to cloth diaper and do the laundry at a laundromat, but it would be much more work.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

You certainly can cloth diaper from birth and use only cloth at all times until your child potty trains. However, you can also choose to use cloth part-time. Many people who usually cloth diaper 24/7 will use disposables while they travel. Cloth diapering only during the day is also an option. Some people like to use cloth at home and disposables while out and about.

Cloth diapers generally come in two sizes: newborn and one size. “One size” is not truly one-size-fits-all, and usually doesn’t fit  babies until they weigh about 12 lbs. Most babies don’t fit in newborn cloth diapers long enough for it to be cost effective. If you are using cloth for environmental or health reasons, it might still be worth it to you. Alternatively, you can use disposables until your baby is large enough for one size diapers.

Remember that even part-time use will save you money. 🙂 Happy diapering!

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