“I want to use cloth diapers for our kid,” I said out of the blue one day as my husband and I sat on the couch, spending quality time together after dinner staring vacantly at the TV while mindlessly mashing buttons on the video game controllers we were both holding.
“Okay,” he said.
“It will save us money in the long run and—wait, okay?”
“Yeah, I’m cool with that,” he replied as something onscreen blew up in an amazingly colorful fashion.
And thus our cloth diapering experiences began in the most normal, boring way possible.
Of course the whole thing had started a few months earlier, when one morning before work I peed on a stick and then almost peed myself again when two bright pink lines unexpectedly popped up on the pregnancy test. Sometime between then and the conversation with my husband I started researching cloth diapers for our child-to-be. I suppose it is a testament to how routine and normal cloth diapers are in our household now that I don’t even remember why, or how, or where I began my research. The idea must have always been lurking at the back of my mind, though, because I’d always had sensitivities to disposable menstrual products while growing up. In college I discovered cloth menstrual pads and menstrual cups and for one week a month my life was suddenly much more tolerable, even though my family teased that I was now Officially a Liberal Hippie. When I found out I was pregnant, it wasn’t a stretch at all to wonder if my children would be sensitive to disposables too.
How to Begin Your Cloth Diaper Research
- Don’t tell anyone you don’t want opinions from.
Yes, this is a strange thing to start out my list with. There is a lot of misinformation about and stigma against cloth diapers. I live in quite a liberal, eco – conscious area—seriously, at the mall food court there’s a line of five or six bins for trash, compost, paper recyclables, glass recyclables, etc—yet the initial response I received when mentioning cloth diapers were negative. The most common saying from co-workers, family, etc, was “Cloth diapers are a pain in the butt and I’d never do them again.” Then I was relegated to a long lecture about how poop is gross, washing diapers sucks, and some more negative comments I don’t remember because I tuned out with a vacant gaze after a while. By all means, if you know someone who already uses cloth diapers, use them as your best resource! But societal pressure against cloth diapers can be strong, so be ready for that negativity, especially if you don’t expect it. Don’t let anyone talk you out of cloth diapering if you know you really want to try it.
- Google it.
This seems obvious, so I’ll expand: Search the internet for cloth diapering sites! There are a number of online cloth diaper stores out there chock full of the latest diapering goodies. Many of them have “how-to” pages on washing and drying cloth diapers, as well as reviews and personal experiences with specific brands or types of diapers. You can see photos of what diapers look like on children of different sizes, what pretty colors they all come in, etc. Without cloth diapering firsthand, you will never learn more than you will on the Internet.
- Ignore some of what you have found through Googling
“This is a sucky, contradictory list,” you are probably complaining by now. The thing is, personal experiences, while really helpful, may not apply to you. I can’t stand bamboo fabric, while other swear by it. So if you REALLY want to try pocket diapers but are scared that you saw a forum thread titled “Who else HATES pocket diapers like me?!” and there were 100 replies chiming in that they, too, hate pocket diapers—don’t let that deter you from trying a pocket diaper or two! You absolutely don’t need to have only one type of diaper make up your stash; many people may use one type of diaper, like prefolds, at home, but use pockets at the babysitter’s, and so on. If you decide after your baby arrives that you really, really dislike some of the diapers you bought, there’s a huge secondhand market—one right here at Diaperswappers—for gently used diapers, so you can sell them and recoup some of the money you spent (and then promptly spend that money on more diapers).
- See cloth diapers in person if you can
Using your trusty friend Google again, see if there are any stores that sell cloth diapers in your area. You might be lucky and have a true cloth diaper store nirvana with billions of diapers to personally fondle nearby; if you don’t, see if any smaller boutiques sell a few brands. There is at least one natural-toy store in my city that has a tiny section dedicated to cloth diapers; even though there are only a couple of brands sold at that store, at least anyone can walk in and pick up the diapers, see how they feel, how big they are, etc. A local baby diaper service also has a small shop that sells covers, accessories, and old, holey diapers as rags at a steep discount. If you were interested in prefolds, you could pick up a bag of rags and practice diapering stuffed animals, dolls, pets, and so on, and if you decided you hated them–hey, now you have a bunch of rags! One of the pre-birth parenting classes I took also had a short “how to change diaper” segment at the end and had a few cloth diapers on hand to practice putting on baby dolls. Resources are available if you are creative where you look, even if you don’t know a single person in your town who uses cloth!