I have a five hundred square foot organic vegetable garden and recently took up canning and preserving. I made 100% of my own baby food.
I took a twelve week childbirth class taught by a certified doula. Together, my husband and I had a wonderful natural birth experience.
I am a passionate supporter of breastfeeding and I am still breastfeeding my daughter … past the one-year mark (gasp!).
While I was pregnant, I randomly announced to my husband that I wanted cloth diaper our baby. Given my history of “hippie-like” tendencies, I didn’t think he’d be too surprised. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “seriously!? The next thing I know, you’re going to ask me to build you a chicken coop in the backyard!”
I am not sure when the idea of cloth diapering came into my head or why I got so hell-bent on doing it. I have a good friend who has had three kids in cloth diapers (two at the same time!), so I guess I thought if she can do it with three, I could do it with one! I did some initial research, and the cost savings, especially over time and with subsequent children, was very appealing (this is what won my husband over). It’s also less waste piled up in a landfill, and I liked the idea of doing something different. When people found out about our decision to go cloth, I got some surprised comments: “That is so gross … do you, like, wash them? In your washing machine?!” “You’re going to be so sick of laundry. I’ll bet you won’t last a week.”
Cloth diapering is very different than when our moms and grandmas used pins, thick cloths, and plastic pants. While traditional cloth diapers are certainly still an option and shouldn’t be discounted, improvements and innovations have been made over time and there are a wide variety of cloth diapering options available today. After I did my research, I was hooked. Now that I have been doing it for over nine months, I honestly can’t believe more people don’t cloth diaper – or at least consider it. Here are my top three tips for anyone interested in considering cloth:
1) Do your research. There are four different categories that you really need to keep in mind when looking at your options for cloth diapers: closures (snap, Velcro, pins), style (AIO, or “all in one,” pocket, traditional), warranty (lifetime, limited, on specific parts vs. entire diaper), and sizing/adjustability (are they adjustable, and if not, how many different sizes do you need). I chose Fuzzibunz One-Size Elite diapers. They have snap closures (I didn’t want to mess with pins and I read that Velcro can wear out quickly), they are pocket style (meaning the absorbent inserts come out of the diaper for faster drying time and you can double or triple your inserts for more absorbency), they have a limited lifetime warranty (there are some exclusions, but many brands didn’t offer a warranty at all), and they are one-size, birth to potty training (fully adjustable and customizable).
2) Don’t start using them right away. Many cloth diapers are simply too big for newborn babies. Even Fuzzibunz One Size, while advertised as “birth to potty training,” would have been ginormous on our newborn daughter. We certainly could have made them work, but it really helped us to wait until she had some fat on her thighs before starting to use cloth (chubby legs help to prevent leaks around the legs). Also, since newborn babies poop/pee a ton and you have a million other things to figure out as a first-time or new mama, you don’t need to create any extra laundry for the first couple of months! We started our daughter in cloth at 2.5 months, and except for out of town vacations, we have been using cloth exclusively.
3) Find a support network. As with many facets of mama life, a support system makes a huge difference! I posted a status update on Facebook stating that we were going to “go cloth” and I was shocked at how many people in my immediate friend network commented that they were cloth families! Over the first few months, I had some questions that came up about laundering, leaks, different types of inserts, etc. and I could easily message a few people for answers. Fuzzibunz also has an outstanding customer service department! Our daycare provider had never used cloth diapers before, but she was willing to give them a try and by the end of the first week, she was hooked and totally supportive! (Side note: when we were interviewing daycare providers, we had a couple of people tell us it was “against health code” for them to allow cloth diapers - this is false - do your research so you can effectively discuss cloth diapering with daycare providers.)
In addition to your own support network and some great online resources you can find, there are also some awesome cloth diaper resources and shops in the KC metro!
Diaper Daisy: Local retail store that also hosts consignment events.
Metro Cloth Diapering: A metro-wide diaper retailer and laundry service.
Itsy Bitsy Bums: Local retail store with gift registry.
Teeny Greeny: Local retail store with gift registry, cloth diaper consultations, and diaper rentals.
I’m still waiting for my husband to build me a chicken coop in the backyard, but in the meantime, I have successfully convinced at least three of my friends to “go cloth” and would love to welcome anyone else to give cloth a try! I think you’ll find that with all of the great options and resources available today, it is much easier than you’d think it would be … and, dare I say it? It’s FUN, too!
Does anyone else use cloth or have you considered it? Maybe you think I’m just crazy? Feel free to comment with your thoughts, questions, or advice for our readers.