Cloth diapers are addictive.
Many people, mostly people who don’t use cloth or don’t have kids, will stare at you blankly when those words come out of your mouth. For heaven’s sake, they are diapers! It’s easy to understand buying an entire clothing line of baby clothes you think are adorable, or several of the same cute blankie because you know a few will get lost as the years go by. But…diapers? They’re just diapers, right?
No. They are not just diapers. They are diapers made out of mind-controlling, obsessive magical fabric that spurn you to open your wallet the second your favorite cloth diaper company comes out with a new line of prints, sending you running to grab the mail a few days later, throwing the diapers in the wash and the packaging in the recycle bin before your spouse can come home so they don’t realize you’ve bought EVEN MORE DIAPERS. This crazy obsession with cloth diapers has led to people spending hundreds of dollars on a single hard-to-find, highly sought after print (these people make far more money than me, by the way).
If you’re on a budget, or are afraid of getting caught up in the obsessive side of the world of cloth diapers, then a “Plain Jane” stash might be for you. The definition of a plain cloth diaper stash is a little different depending on the person, but it is basically a simple stash without the hundred-dollar prints or dozens of different types of diapers. For many people, it is a stash of flats and prefolds with some white covers. For others, it might be a stash of 25 white all-in-ones. Still others might have 30 tie-dyed prefolds and a couple of wool covers. Plain stashes can cross over with minimalism, so if you don’t have a lot of space or you just hate having “extra” things lying around (no 100-diaper stashes for you!), this might be something to consider.
One of the most common questions I see from parents new to cloth diapering—after “What type of diaper is the best?”–is, “Should I get Velcro or snap closures?” Like all cloth diapering questions, the answer varies from family to family. Some swear by snaps, others would rather let their kid run naked than snap a diaper. I’ve personally used both for the last two years of cloth diapering, and here are some pros and cons of both.
One of the questions I see come up a lot with first time cloth diaper users is “Do I need a separate newborn sized diaper stash, or can I skip straight to one sizes/larger sized diapers to save money?”
It’s a valid question. A newborn stash of 36 newborn prefolds and five basic newborn covers can run over $100. It is still cheaper than buying disposables (and if this is your first child and you plan to have more, you can just reuse the newborn stash for the next child, making it even more cost effective), but when you are already spending another hundred or two or three on the stash that will get your kid to potty training, well—it can seem a bit unnecessary to spend that extra $100 on a few diapers that will only fit your kid for a few weeks.
Plenty of cute newborn diapers to choose from!
My first child, my daughter, was 6lbs 11oz when she was born. She dropped to 6lbs in her first week of life and definitely needed a newborn stash. She was tiny! Even a couple of brands of newborn diapers were big and gaped at the legs for the first couple of weeks. She was drowning in newborn sized sleep n’ plays; one size diapers pretty much ate her up. Being a first time mom, I assumed that all future kids would also need the newborn stash and carefully stored the diapers once she grew out of them when she was about two months old.
My second child, my son, was 9lbs 2oz at birth. No one saw that coming, not the midwife, not me. I had stupidly assumed all future kids would be around 7lbs because how often is there that big of a weight difference between kids when there’s no gestational diabetes or other medical issues at work? Still, I put a newborn prefold on him the moment we got home from the birth center and thought little more about the issue…until three weeks later when the prefold no longer fit around him. I grabbed the next size prefold, sized “small, about 6 weeks to 3 months,” slapped it on him and again thought nothing more about it…until three weeks later when the prefold no longer fit around him. I pulled one of my daughter’s one sized all-in-ones off the shelf and it absolutely fit him well—he wasn’t even on the smallest snap setting! Here he was, a month and a half old, and he had completely outgrown both newborn and small sized diapers in both size and absorbency. Of course the thought crossed my mind: “Huh. I wonder if I needed the newborn stash at all.”