A few months ago I decided to jump into the world of cloth diapering.
(Okay, okay. I will admit that it wasn’t so much of a jump as it was just sticking my big toe in the water to test the temperature and see if it was agreeable to swimming.)
I have been contemplating using cloth diapers since before the triplets were born, but every time I would research them, I would become so doverwhelmed by the abundance of information available that I would freeze up and inevitably chicken out, never ordering a thing. However, after the most recent price hike in diapers and the endless bags of diapers I kept hauling to the curb week after week, I finally got tired of literally throwing money away. So I took the plunge and placed my first order. I tend to be an all or nothing type of person, so what I really wanted to do was to buy an entire stash (and all of the accessories) for each baby. What I did instead, based on the advice of a friend, was visit Simple Wonders and order just a sampling of diapers for each baby instead. (Part of the draw to that web store in particular was that they offer a multiple discount!)
I had no idea which direction I wanted to go with cloth diapering, but I knew that I wanted the transition to be easy. Scratch that. I needed it to be easy, otherwise I knew it would never stick. There are a wide variety of options available, ranging from diapers that work just like a disposable with everything included in one easy package to a partially disposable diaper to the old-school cloth diapers that you have to fold and fasten with pins (although now it is more common to use a Snappi than a pin). Prefolds, fitteds, covers, pockets, all-in-ones, one-size, etc…I know, the lingo freaked me out at first too. But I promise it isn’t nearly as hard to learn about as it seems. There are a daunting number of sites dedicated to explaining the basics of cloth diapering and how to care for them, two of which I found helpful were Diaper Pin and Pinstripes and Polka Dots. And if you want a review of products, you can go visit Z-Recs (yes, the BPA people) and read their article on cloth diapers.
I ended up purchasing starter package for each baby that included 3 different brands of one-size diapers: 1 bumGenius 3.0, 1 Wahmie & 1 Happy Heiny. They are all pocket diapers that you stuff with an insert (to adsorb the wetness) and have adjustable snaps so that they can grow with your child. The goal being to buy one stash of diapers that can be used from birth until potty training. I can honestly say that I like all 3 quite a bit. Though the bumGenius 3.0 and Happy Heinys are a bit bulkier than the Whamie, which uses a hemp insert; the Whamie’s closure is a bit trickier to get use to than the loop and hook (velcro) the other two use. All 3 are super-absorbent and we have yet to experience a leak with any of them. They fit snugly and are so, so soft…and I have to admit that the babies’ fluffy butts are really adorable.
Ultimately what has worked for us so far is to do a combination of cloth and disposable diapers, easing slowly into the transition. I am not sure if we will ever be able to make the full jump into using only cloth diapers, but for now I am happy to be using cloth for at least 1/2 of our diaper changes each day. I try to use them whenever we are going to be home, but we still use disposables at night and when we are out. Trying to figure out what to do with 3 wet and/or dirty diapers while out is a bit overwhelming just yet. My system for clean-up is fairly simple; as soon as I change a diaper I just drop the solid poop into the toilet (I am hoping to purchase a sprayer, that hooks onto your toilet, very soon that will make that part a bit easier!), pull out the insert and toss it all into the wash machine until the end of the day when I run one load of diapers.
I am quite fond of them so far and they really are so easy and simple to use that I wish I would have started from the beginning (can you imagine how much money I would have saved in the early days when we went through 30 or so diapers a day?!?!). My husband isn’t quite as convinced…yet. But, I am hoping to be able to persuade him that they really are just as easy as disposables, and so much cheaper!
If you would like to try cloth diapering, but have no idea where to begin, I highly recommned trying the Changing Diapers, Changing Minds program over at Jillian’s Drawers. Essentially, you are able to try a very wide varitey of diapers for the cost of $10.