I remind myself of this when I want to get all crazy about baby gear.
Onto the dirty business. So I want to cloth diaper because I'm cheap and the idea of diapers in landfills does freak me out a little bit. But where to start? I had no clue, and all the diaper websites were super confusing. So here are my best intro tips for newbies regarding cloth diapering...and if you have any wisdom, please share!
1. Confusing Terminology: I am still figuring it all out, to say NOTHING of all the crazy abbreviations that make it way harder for me. So here's my one special tip: y'know how there are cloth diapers that you have to pin on your child and then add a cover? Okay, there are at least two types of those (pre-folds and fitteds). Fitteds have fasteners already so you don't need pins. It took me a long time to figure this out (don't judge).
2. Special care: You can't just treat cloth diapers like regular laundry. When you buy new ones, you have to prep them - usually by washing them a few times without detergent, but just follow the directions that come with them. You also have to use special detergent, apparently, but there are several mainstream brands that are okay - just google it. Also, you can't use a lot of regular diaper rash creams with them because they'll hurt the absorbency of the diaper. And lastly, if they're starting to be less absorbent or hold a bad smell, you'll need to "strip" them - which I gathered is sort of like prepping them again? Again, google is your friend.
3. Newborns are special: So most diapers are sized by weight but some are OS (one size). But even one sized diapers only fit when babies are 8 pounds usually - so if you're planning on cloth diapering from day 1 and you tend to have babies under 8 pounds, this might leave you needing to buy some NB (newborn) diapers anyway. The advantages to NB diapers are apparently pretty sweet - the little legs fit tighter, so there's less leakage (especially of explosive poos). While buying special diapers for a short period of time might seem aggravating, some people have small babies that don't gain weight quickly so may get better life out of these. If it's your first babe and you're shooting in the dark, good luck. We're going to use the disposables that have been gifted to us at first, and we'll see if she's small enough for NB sizes or if she can go straight to our OS diapers.
4. There are 10 billion ways to do this. The brands are endless as are the places from which to purchase them. Some are cheaper ($8) and from China; others use organic bamboo cotton and are made in America but pricier ($30). So make choices depending on what's important to you and buy several different brands. If you don't like one brand, then either wait to see if it works for the next baby or sell it on a site like Diaper Swappers. Most families who CD (cloth diaper) have tons of different kinds of diapers and like different ones for different times of life (bedtime, newborns, toddlers, skinny babies, chunksters, etc.); don't think there's one perfect diaper company you need to find and stick with forever.
5. Internet knows all. I have no idea how anyone CD before the internet! Any questions you have, just google and you'll get ten million blogs and sites that have good information. The only problem can be that a lot of it is opinion (as in, what's the best diaper for NBs? everyone has a different idea) and that there's not a whole lot of places that have all the info in one place. I haven't found a cure for that yet. For what it's worth, I have found All About Cloth Diapers to be a very helpful site.
6. You can register for them! At two of the major baby registry sites, Target and Babies R' Us, you can register for cloth diapers from several reputable companies (BumGenius, Thirsties, gDiapers). That means that even if no one chooses to buy them for you, you get a discount at the end of your registry (10% off at Target, 15% off at BRU) and you can of course use those handy gift cards.
I doubt many of my readers will find this helpful since most of you know far more about this than I do, but in case you were curious, here it is. Standby for part II of this post, which will be in two months, after baby has come and I have some experience wrangling my poop-covered offspring.