Diapering in every home is different. You see all over Pinterest how to prepare for baby by stockpiling various items you need, especially diapers. You can also find many different ways that cloth diapering families prepare themselves with cloth diaper essentials. And just like all of those other families, diapering in our home looks very different from lots of other homes.
I had a particular image in mind when I got pregnant. I was going to be like all those preparation Pinterest pictures and have a closet full of disposable diapers and boxes of wipes at the ready so I wouldn’t have to run to the store at odd hours because we ran out of diapers. And that’s, for the most part, what happened. We were lucky to get lots of diapers from baby showers (thank you family, friends, and co-workers) and my mother-in-law (got to love Costco boxes of diapers and wipes – holy diapers). Things were going great. We were changing diapers, experiencing blow-outs now and then, just trucking along trying to figure out this new parenting thing.
But the more diapers we used, the more I thought about just how much trash was coming out of our apartment. I never did get a special diaper pail or a designated trash can so we were using the main trash can in our kitchen. That thing was filling up 2 to 3 times a week instead of the sometimes once a week it was before. I hated having to take the trash out so often for more than one reason: 1. We live on the second floor and taking that many stairs after giving birth is so not fun; and 2. That is a lot more trash than I am comfortable putting out.
I kept thinking there had to be another way. There must be something else I could do to limit or eliminate the amount of diaper trash that we were putting out. My first thought was that I could switch to using wash cloths instead of disposable wipes. Not only could I use them for diaper changes but I could use them for any other messes that came up. My mom was the one to suggest this because she used cloth wipes on my sister. A little water and it cleaned up everything really quick. So we made the switch and I am so glad we did. Diaper changes went a little more smoothly and using cloth wipes made cleaning up poop-splosions much easier. We were able to use one, maybe two wipes, instead of 10 disposable ones. And no falling apart.
Then I started researching cloth diapers. I didn’t really know what to expect or where to begin so I looked for everything. Styles, brands, absorbency, washing, drying, sizing, cloth diaper safe creams, troubleshooting, the list goes on and on. It can certainly be an overwhelming undertaking, especially for a new mom with limited funds. So I had to find a system that would work for me that I wouldn’t have to spend a fortune on to start using them.
After weeks of research, I decided the best system for our family would be covers and prefolds. Check out how we do all things cloth diapers in this post. We could reuse the covers a couple times before washing them, as long as there was no poo on them, which meant that we didn’t have to buy quite as many diapers. It also meant we wouldn’t have as much laundry to do each time. Win-win in my mind.
We are now 8 months in using cloth diapers and I don’t regret the decision. I am happy to be able to use a natural material on my daughter’s sensitive skin (she has some eczema flare-ups occasionally and some sensitivity to laundry detergent) and limit to almost nothing our trash output from diapers, at least. Stay tuned for more posts on how we use and take care of our cloth diapers.