Autumn at All About Cloth Diapers published a great article about the 5 things she wishes she would have known before cloth diapering. And that really inspired me—we have a great series where we talk specifically about what we would buy if we could cloth diaper all over again, but I thought it would be helpful to share a list of the things I wish I had known about, right from the beginning…
1. Cloth Diapering Your Baby Does Not Mean Your Baby Will Have A Giant Diaper Booty
Cloth diapering kinda gets a bad rap for this one. But there are plenty of effective, trim choices out there. First of all, you can stick with some good ol’ flat diapers and those are trim as ever. I personally like to stick with the Geffen Baby Quick Absorbers Plus Inserts. Those are insanely trim.
2. Buying Used Diapers Is Not As Gross As You Think, Plus It Can Save You A Lot of Money
Oh my gosh, when I first started I was already grossed out a bit about cloth diapering in general, but I was desperate to save a buck. I think I might have passed out had you told me that I could buy cloth diapers used. But it wasn’t until I learned about how you can strip cloth diapers, rid it of all the bacteria and stuff–well, that’s when I felt a lot better. You can see our article on buying/selling used cloth diapers for more info.
3. You Can Waste A Lot of Money Just to Protect Your Warranty
I can’t tell you how many people have written me emails saying they are frustrated with their diapers stinking from not getting clean enough. They have tried different “cloth diaper safe” detergents out there, but no matter what they do, they can’t get rid of the stink. When I suggest mainstream detergents, they worry about voiding the warranty. The problem is, they are spending so much money on water/electricity running their machines 3+ times per wash to try to rid the stink. Of course it doesn’t hurt to try the detergents that help you keep your warranty, but if you find that your routine involves running your machine a bunch of times, it actually might cost less money to bite the bullet, break the warranty, and wash with something like Tide. Chances are, the diapers won’t wear out as much as you think they might. Just be sure to avoid harmful chemicals like dishwasher detergent.
4. You Will Handle Poop…Every Day
I’ll be honest, I got tired of spraying diapers! After 3 years of cloth diapering, I was so happy to be done with that. But there are some things that you can do to help. For example—I rolled all of mine up and stuck them in a wet bag to spray out at the end of the day. Call that gross, but I just found that I could tackle it all at once and it was much better (and hey, if your child is exclusively breastfed you don’t have to spray it out at all. It dissolves immediately in the wash). You could also use disposable liners that allow you to just dump the dump (ha ha!) right into the toilet. We have a post all about dealing with poop to help you out. But whether you use disposable diapers or cloth diapers, you will handle poop.
5. Variety In A Stash Is Key
I just cringe when I get an email form an excited reader who is about to start cloth diapering and just bought 20+ diapers that are all the same. I am excited for them, but I know there is a chance that the cloth diaper just might not work for their baby. This website was essentially built on that premise: different diapers work well for different baby types. It is best to get a variety and see what works.
6. Rental Programs Are Awesome
There are some amazing diaper rental programs out there. They send you a batch of diapers to use, and you can decide which ones you like and want to keep and then return the ones that didn’t work as well. You can go to our Cloth Diaper Retailer Database and type in “Trial” or “Rental” to see which retailers offer those programs. We have more info on that in our article about Trying Before You Buy.
7. You Can Search for Current Cloth Diaper Deals By Brand
I think that the Cloth Diaper Retailer Database is one of the best-kept secrets in the cloth diapering world. You can go there and type in any brand you are looking for and type the current month and see all of the deals that are going on. It’s a fantastic resource to help you find the best deal for the diaper YOU are looking for.
8. There’s Help When You Need It
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are a ton of great cloth diapering blogs and discussion groups out there. We have a discussion page on Facebook where people can ask questions. You can also hop on over to our Articles page where we have lots of helpful tips on cloth diapering.
9. Look At What Others Say
Talk to friends and get their take on what worked for them. Look at what products won for the annual Diaper Awards Event (those winners are based on thousands of votes!). Look at our suggestions on what we would buy. Look at our favorite products featured in our Top Picks Event. Also, if you go up to the “Stats” tab at the top of our site, you can see a statistical comparison of various cloth diapers. With that, you can see which diapers worked best for certain baby types.
10. Don’t Sweat It
It can feel really overwhelming when you first start out, but it will be totally worth it (and if it isn’t, well hey, you know you gave it a good shot). Just rely on some trusty friends and/or resources to help you out and it shouldn’t be bad at all. We are always available at Padded Tush Stats to help you if you have trouble, so feel free to contact us as well.