Now that you have a grasp on the nuts and bolts of diapering, it’s time to start investing in your stash. You can start cloth diapers at any time but be aware that what a newborn needs will be a bit different than what an older baby needs in terms of size and number of diapers. Here are a few ideas to help you start simple and smart:
Don’t Put All Your Eggs into One Basket-
Test the waters before you jump in. I always recommend trying several different diapers before committing because imagining what a diaper will be like to use is often very different from reality. I know many moms who were convinced that one particular type or brand of diaper would be perfect for them, only to find out that they couldn’t stand it. The fact is, all diapers are a bit different whether it’s fit, fabric, absorbency, or style. All babies are different too, and they have different potty habits. You should try at least a couple types or brands before you buy two dozen of any particular diaper. Buy a few and start slowly. You want to LOVE the diapers you choose and you can build your stash over time.
Don’t Get Bogged Down in Reviews-
Whether they are coming from a website or a girlfriend, reviews have their pros and cons. It is great to feel confident that a product is good quality, but the finer points of your love (or hate) for a diaper can be very subjective. As I said, all babies and mommies are different. Just because your neighbor hates Diaper X doesn’t mean it can’t be perfect for you. Just because your neighbor adores Diaper Y doesn’t mean you won’t want to throw it out the window. Keep an open mind and if your gut tells you to try it, give it a shot. You will find your favorites and end up donating, selling or tossing the rest.
I love the idea of supporting local businesses, especially when they are mom-run. You pour money into the local economy and help a mom put food on the table or build her dream. However, this isn’t all just about warm fuzzies. You get solid benefits from buying your diapers locally. First, you can actually touch and feel your diapers before you buy. It is hard to decide based on a little picture on your computer screen. Secondly, you get to draw on the expertise of a living breathing human being that can add more a personalized perspective by recommending diapers that fit your exact circumstances and needs. Lastly, if green is your thing, less shipping means smaller carbon footprint.
Beware of the Deal that is Too Good to be True-
As a mom on a budget, I love a good deal. I get a thrill when I find something at a great price, but I am unwilling to sacrifice quality for price – especially when my kids are involved. I want a diaper that is well made, reliable and will last multiple pregnancies. I believe that often, you get what you pay for and recently, there has been an influx of poor quality, “knock off” diapers on the market, so buying from a reputable dealer is important. Remember, your diaper will be sitting directly against your child’s skin and is expected to put up with months, even years, of abuse. I would rather choose a respected brand that will last and be defect free over a dubious “good deal” every day of the week. You can find many great diaper brands that are made or at least guaranteed by companies here in the US. Buying from a reputable dealer also ensure you have someone to call or reach out to if there is a problem with your diaper down the road.
Don’t Be Afraid to Borrow-
If you want to get started with cloth, but aren’t sure which direction to go, borrow a few diapers from a friend before you buy. Many mamas who are in between little ones have cloth diapers sitting around that they are not currently using. Find one and borrow! If you can’t borrow, buy used. Check your local consignment stores or sales. Hit the internet and you can find used diapers on Craigslist or Diaper Swappers. Some people are a little squeamish about trying used, but a little hot water and soap (or maybe a little bleach) will ease your mind. You can’t guarantee that the diapers have been cared for properly which can affect performance, but borrowing is still a great way to test out diaper fit and style.
For full-time cloth diapering, newborns will need about 10-12 diapers a day. Older babies and toddlers may only need 6-8. Most moms wash every other day so about 24 diapers for a newborn and 16 diapers for an older baby is a great jumping off point. So start that stash and stay tuned for our next article on important cloth diapering tools and accessories. Happy Diapering!