Saturday, March 6, 2010
Cloth Diapering 101... Part 1: Do Your Homework
So, you think you wanna cloth diaper, eh? Let me guess, you caught wind of the trend of returning to reusable cloth diapers instead of disposables. You want to save money; you'd like to try "going green". So being curious and open-minded, you tried a Google search to learn more. And when you saw about 2 billion websites on the subject and the hundreds of options and styles that are available now, you ran away from your computer screaming, "But I thought they were just squares of cloth and plastic pants!!! There are too many choices!! Somebody help me!!!!!" OR perhaps you have looked into cloth diapering your baby a bit, but have met with only sharp criticism from well-meaning friends and family who say, "Why would you volunteer to do that? It's too much work!" or "My grandmother cloth diapered her kids and had to boil the diapers on the stove - Gross!" or "I bet you don't really save any money when you consider the electricity and water to wash them." ........
What you need, my dear, is a friend. An experienced mama to come alongside you and show you the way. It's not that hard. Cloth Diapering is simple (once you choose your diapers and settle into a routine), frugal, definitely "green" and even FUN!
In the coming days/weeks, I will be posting a series of guides to cloth diapering. I used cloth part-time with my first baby and now full time with my son and have helped countless doula clients and new mama friends navigate their way through Modern Cloth Diaper Territory. This Cloth Diapering 101 series will include:
Part 1 - Do Your Homework - a brief intro and some resources to get you started
Part 2 - Ten things to Know
Part 3 - Laundry Day! Everything you need to know about caring for and laundering diapers
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Instead of reinventing the wheel and writing a complete list of the reasons why and how to choose cloth diapers, I just want to point you in the right direction. There are some fabulous resources out there, and that's where I recommend getting started.
1. Research the "Whys" and decide if the benefits of cloth diapering are enough to convince you that an extra one or two loads of laundry a week are worth it. Examine the cost savings, environmental impact and health benefits.
2. Research the "Hows" of cloth diapering by learning about your style choices - there are sooo many brands o choose from and many different features, but only really a handful or different styles. My friend Christine, a WAHM who runs Essential Saltes Baby diapers breaks it all down for you in the best graphic depiction of the choices available that I've seen. Check out her "How to Get Started" guide.
www.diaperpin.com is a great resource for articles on all topics pertaining to cloth diapering and thousands of product reviews by experienced mamas and papas.
www.diaperswappers.com is an online forum that invites users to chat about diapering and buy, sell and trade gently used diapers. An excellent way to learn more and make some frugal investments!
www.jilliansdrawers.com is an online boutique (as well as a brick and mortar shop that you can visit, if you are lucky enough to be near Ithaca, NY) that offers a fantastic cloth diapering TRIAL package. For very little financial investment, they will send you enough diapers in a variety of styles to try for one month. You can send back what you don't want and stick with the brands you like best. How cool is that??
Be sure to check back soon for the next installment of Cloth Diapering 101!!