Cloth diapering is always something I thought I would do. After all, my mother did, so why wouldn't I? But as it turns out, having a baby is hard work. And doing laundry is not my favorite thing. So while I attempted to use cloth diapers with baby #1, it didn't quite work out that way. I would use them one day and be back to disposables the next. With baby #2 I lasted a bit longer. But now, with baby #3 and even less cash in my pocket, I am determined to use cloth diapers at least 90% of the time. It just takes some survival skills.
Cloth diapers are not what they use to be, in a good way. Brands like bumGenius and gDiapers have revolutionized the way we reuse diapers. Ask around. Do some research. Find a brand that other parents love and you're likely to love it too.
2. Stock Up
Having the right amount of diapers is essential so that you're not doing laundry constantly. The brand you choose will likely have a recommendation of how many you should have on hand. Trust them and buy that amount.
3. Read the Instructions
Cloth diapers usually have special washing instructions. gDiapers ask you to wash the diapers a few times without detergent before using them. This will help with the absorbency. If you skip this step, the diapers will probably leak and you'll be so frustrated you'll quit. Read the labels carefully.
4. Set Yourself Up
Get a stack of diapers ready for the day every morning or every evening. Having the diapers ready to put on makes life a whole lot easier when you're in the middle of changing poop with a screaming, hungry baby.
5. Be Ready
Have a bag or bucket next to where you change the baby so that you can quickly toss the dirty diapers aside instead of walking through the house with them. This is easy with newborn poop. But as your child starts eating food, you'll want to keep the bucket or bag in the bathroom so you can drop that poop in the toilet before you toss the diaper into the dirty diaper bag.
6. Think Negative Thoughts
When the going gets tough — like after you've been on vacation using disposable diapers for a week and you just can't seem to get back to using the cloth — think about those landfills. It is estimated that disposable diapers take 500 years to decompose. And considering 20 billion of them are dumped in landfills each year…well, that's gross. Reminding yourself of the positive impact you're having on the environment by using cloth diapers may just motivate you to stick with it.
7. Give In
From time to time, you may need a break from cloth diapering. Like when you're on vacation or running around all day. Carrying poop around in your hot car is not that fun. If you need a break, take it. But stick to some more eco-friendly options. gDiapers have disposable inserts that are flushable and biodegradable. And GroVia makes disposable diapers that are biodegradable and made of compostable materials.
It isn't always easy, but it is popular to use cloth diapers. And it's worth it. Your wallet and the planet will thank you. And all of your friends will be jealous that you're the one who pulled it off.
How about you? Have you tried cloth diapers?