I am no expert at cloth diapering but I do get asked from time to time about doing it and any advice I have for those trying CD's for the first time. So, I thought I'd write out all of my tips in one place.
And can I just say, I had no idea how many moms actually cloth diaper, either part time or full time?! It's really quite encouraging. If you're considering it, don't listen to the nay-sayers. CDing has definitely come a long way from the 1950's. And it's worth a try, right?
First: you will never know what you are doing until you do it! I can give you as much advice and as many tips as you'd like, but you won't be comfortable with it until you jump in and try it for yourself. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, try different types of diapers, think outside the box and get creative!
I decided to cloth diaper before Isaac was born. If you know anything about me, it's that I'm frugal and often times, downright cheap. Cloth diapering is a major money saver. Like, big time. And you don't have to worry about running to the store if you are low on diapers.
While I was pregnant I attended a cloth diapering class. It wasn't anything extensive or too detailed, but the instructor outlined all of the basics for us. A good resource for that is the Amazon Mom website. You can read about all the different kinds of cloth diapers and the pros and cons of each (be prepared. it can be very overwhelming at first). I would also suggest finding a CD introduction class if there is one offered in your area. They are often free and can at least give you a place to begin.
If you are even the least bit interested in cloth diapering, I say do it. Give it a try. Try it for a month and decide if you like it or not (like really, a whole month). And these tips will definitely help:
boil to strip or use dishwasher then hang dry outside to sun bleach
When you first purchase your diapers (prefolds or nappies, covers can simply be washed) you will need to strip them. I prefer to boil then in a big pot. Simply bring a good amount of water to a rolling boil, put a few diapers in at a time, let sit in the water for 5-10 minutes and then pull them out. If this isn't appealing, you can run them through the dishwasher (with no detergent of course) on the hottest setting possible. Then to dry them, I recommend hanging them outside to sun bleach. You can use the dryer if you like, but not dryer sheets! You'll also want to do this again with your diapers once every 1-2 months to be sure you are keeping them as absorbent as possible (when detergent and hard water build up on the diapers, they become less and less absorbent over time)
skip the diaper sprayer
If baby is just breastfeeding in the beginning, you can simply rinse poopy diapers in the sink because it's water-soluble. Once baby starts eating food, however, you'll have to move to the toilet. You can spend extra money and time installing a diaper sprayer to clean off the diapers. But it's cheaper to simply use your showerhead (if it's removable and next to the toilet). But honestly, I found it easiest just to keep a pair of gloves next to the toilet, put them on and dunk those diapers right into the toilet water. Gross? Eh, you get used to it. And they get cleaned off much faster than trying to aim and spray.
try prefolds and covers- they are cheaper and more versatile
Once you do your research, you'll learn that there are a bunch of different types of diapers now. In trying them all out, my favorite ones are the old fashioned prefolds and a good cover. Here's why: if baby poops while wearing this type of diaper, you can just switch out the diaper (so long as poop didn't get on the cover), continue to use the cover and move on. If baby poops in an AIO (all in one) or a pocket diaper, the entire diaper has to be retired until laundry is done. Therefore, you have to have more diapers or you have to do laundry more often! No thanks.
That's not to say that I don't like pocket diapers. They are good for a husband who doesn't want to take the time to fold diapers or for a babysitter who is new to this whole concept or if you are out and about and need something in a snap. In those cases, it's good to have a few on hand. Oh, and don't forget that you can use prefolds in pockets as nappies!
stick with wet bags- one next to the toilet, one next to the changing table, one to go
I was not a fan of the pale for CDs. We had once for disposables (because we used those at night). But I love wet bags! One next to the toilet is the most convenient. When it fills up, just carry it into the laundry room, dump it out, wipe it out, let it dry and it's ready to be used again.
try part time if it's overwhelming
We stayed part time because I didn't want to invest in night time CDs. But my advice would be that if it all seems too much, then just do it while you're at home. Use disposables while you're out, if the babysitter is coming over, and at night. Once you get a hang of it, you can always move to full time!
buy 1 or 2 of each type you think you'll like. test them out and then invest in more
Each mom has different preferences and so does baby! Not to mention, there are a ton of different brands to chose from. Ask friends for recommendations about what worked best for them. And then try out a few different types and brands. This is the best way to know what you are going to like best. If you plan to buy a giant starter pack, wait until you know for sure which ones you want to use.
skip the snappies and diaper pins
If you decide to go with prefolds and covers, there is no need for diaper pins or snappies! If your cover is snug enough, it will hold that diaper in place, no problem! I have a whole container full of pins and snappies that I never used. It's just a waste of money.
use old t shirts
If cloth diapers are just too expensive at this point in time, then get a couple covers and use some old tshirts as diapers! Make sure to strip then first. And check out this website on how to do it (they are no-sew!). I used these with Isaac for a little while when I was still getting the hang of all this. My only complaint is that they were a bit bulky, but they were free!
I think that about covers it. Can I just encourage you once more time? Don't be afraid to try something new. I was really hesitant but wanted to try. I let all the diapers I had received as gifts run completely out and then I was forced to use them (unless I wanted to run to walmart at 10pm). And it turned out, they weren't as scary as I thought!
*if you want recommendations on brands that I use, leave a comment below and I will respond via email.