I was interested in cloth diapers for one simple reason: to save money.
Benjamin was our third child and money was getting tight. One day, while browsing through the ads in the back of my baby magazine, I saw an offer for a free fitted diaper. It was a no-strings-attached offer. If it didn’t work, I could send it back. The idea of trying any free baby product seemed fun to me. So I filled out the form and received my free fitted about a week later.
There was a long list of instructions that came with the diaper. What to do. What not to do. How to wash it, and how not to wash. I would need a separate cover. It all seemed so complicated. I went to the company’s website and was a bit shell-shocked by the potential cost when I figured up how many of these I would need to thoroughly outfit Benjamin. And the diaper seemed really big and puffy compared to my trim disposables. So I mailed the diaper back.
“Oh well,” I thought to myself. “I gave cloth a try but it’s not for me.”
But there were a few things I had liked about that diaper. The fabric was soft and cozy. Compared to a stiff plastic diaper……well, there was no comparison. And the fact that it could be washed and re-used over and over and over again did not escape me. The benefits of cloth diapering could not be denied. And after all, wouldn’t good quality diapers last a long time and pay for themselves?
All of those thoughts led me to try cloth once more about six months later. But here again I had some snags.
At Walmart I found a pack of Gerber prefolds and immediately thought “Now THIS is something we can afford!” And they looked very similar to the diapers my mother had used on my little brother (I was very young at the time, but do have some random memories). Now to find some covers and metal pins. A quick Google search told me that Dappi diaper covers were some of the cheapest you could buy, so I ordered about six.
But after using the prefolds for a few weeks, we started having leaks. Come to find out, there was synthetic padding in the middle layer and the cotton layers were very thin. The Dappi covers had a cotton component that shrank considerably in the dryer. The velcro was not strong enough, and ended up snagging things in the wash. I also got really tired of poking myself with sharp diaper pins.
With two failures under my belt, I was feeling pretty disgusted. But there’s a stubborn streak in me that wants to finish what I start. There had to be something that would work for us. After all, cloth diaper message boards and blogs were overflowing with happy mothers! For the first time, I went looking for HELP.
I called Karen from Green Mountain Diapers. They have been selling cloth products for many years. When I shared my experience with the Gerbers and Dappis, her reply was “Get some real prefolds.”
So I I went shopping! My first successful “stash” consisted of Chinese prefolds and Bumkins PUL covers. I loved that my diapers were all cotton and that the PUL was easy to wash and quick to dry. I used this system for Benjamin until he was more than a year old. And my next baby, Samuel, got to wear all of Benjamin’s stuff. I finally experienced the satisfaction of successfully diapering a baby with a (super cute) reusable product and saving hundreds of dollars. I WAS HOOKED.
Then I discovered hemp. And bamboo. And Flips. And Thirsties. And WAHM stuff. And pockets. Oh my! So many fun choices!! I think this type of hysteria seizes every cloth-diapering mother at some point.This year I finally sold my cotton prefolds for a good price, and they were still in amazing shape after diapering two boys. I guess those investments really do pay off.
What a journey! But it just goes to show that cloth diapering is not something that you learn how to do just one time and then you’re an expert. It’s a process. And there are so many choices out there, for all different kinds of budgets, that a mother can truly find something to love if she’ll stick with it.
Tell me about your cloth diapering experience. And feel free to ask any questions if you are confused like I was!