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“Cloth diapering.” For most people, the first thought that comes to mind when they hear this term is “ew, no way.” To be honest, I used to be stuck in this mindset, too. But then, I experienced a huge shock. When my daughter Aspen was five months old, my parenting app informed me that I had changed 900 diapers. I’d been tracking Aspen’s diapers, feedings, and sleep, and I was stunned at that number.
I couldn’t believe it! Nine hundred diapers in just five months! How was that possible? I had noticed our trash increase but didn’t realize how much we were creating. So, I considered cloth diapering and reached out to some friends as well as my mom. I was surprised when my mom shared that she had used cloth! “Sure, it’s a little extra laundry,” she said. “But it’s not hard.” Somewhat warily, I asked if cloth diapers were gross. My mom laughed. “Honey, you’re a mom. You better get used to poop and bodily fluids.”
When Miranda shared that she was considering cloth diapering baby Ryan, I was eager to share what I’d learned since starting our own journey seven months ago.
A Cloth Diapering Starter Guide:
Learn about your water hardness. Most American homes have hard water, which means that the water contains a lot of minerals. This can cause build-up and soap scum. Water hardness influences what detergent you should use and how much.
Learn about your washer and dryer. Are your appliances HE? If so, you’ll need to buy HE detergent. Also, find out what size load is considered “large” by your appliance standards. If I had not researched my washer, I would never have realized I was loading it incorrectly! You don’t want to overload the washer either. The diapers will need to freely move in order to get clean.
Invest in 6-8 diapers to start. While it’s easy to be tempted by all those cute prints, don’t spend a ton of money right way. Invest in 6-8 cloth diapers to start. Dip your toe into cloth diapering in order to get a feel for what it’s like before building a huge stash.
Join a cloth diapering Facebook group. Groups are a huge help when you’re faced with funky diapering issues. They’re a great place to learn about brands and to troubleshoot problems. My favorite group is Cloth Diapers for Beginners.
Invest in several wet bags and some bamboo liners. First of all, what is a wet bag? It’s essentially a laundry bag for dirty clothies. I highly recomend having several. I keep one in my car, one in the diaper bag, and two in Aspen’s room. Bamboo liners are a huge help for catching and disposing of solids. Less stains = easier laundry!
Use cloth-diaper-friendly diaper cream. THIS IS A BIGGIE! Be sure to use cloth-diaper-safe creams. Why? Some diaper creams can cause build up on the diaper liner and mess up absorbency. Two good brands are Burt’s Bees and Earth Mama. I always use one or the other!
Don’t worry about the poo. Okay, mama. Don’t sweat the poo. You will be handling every bodily fluid imaginable with this little one. From spit-ups to blowouts. A little baby poo won’t take you down. If you’re stresed about clean up, invest in a diaper sprayer which easily connects to your toilet.
Don’t be afraid to have some disposables on hand. Yep, even though I cloth diaper, I keep some disposables on hand for emergencies and travel. If Aspen has an upset tummy, I pull them out. If I’m traveling long distance, I pull them out. It’s also nice to have when someone else is diapering baby and seems overwhelmed by the cloth snaps.
Ignore Google advice– instead trust what your cloth diapering friends share. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t rely solely on Google for cloth diapering advice. I’ve read horrendously wrong info in the past. The advice of an experienced cloth diapering mama will always be better. Always.
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Last but not least, don’t let anyone discourage you! When I first forayed into cloth diapering, I discovered that everyone from strangers to family had an opinion. Some thought I was crazy, while others made cloth diapering sound like rocket science.
When it comes to motherhood, trust yourself. The same holds true for cloth diapering. If you’re okay with a few extra loads of laundry, then just do it. You don’t really need anyone’s approval. You just need clean diapers and a willingness to be flexible and to learn as you go.
You’ve got this, Mama!
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