Well, ok, they aren’t really secrets, but they are certainly things that I didn’t know when I was first starting out. If you have questions after reading this post or want to chat, please leave me a comment below or use my email form.
Cloth is not all or nothing.
Good news: you don’t have to jump in and start full time. Start slow. Buy a day’s worth of diapers. Buy half a day’s worth. Keep using your disposables right along with cloth diapers until you have made a decision.
A lot of moms go into panic mode asking “What do I buy?? There are too many choices!!” There’s no need to buy a whole system when you’re not even sure what will work best. Try a few different brands first (check this list for stores that ship cloth diapers for free). Consider a cloth diaper trial program or a sampler package. Yes, of course I’d love for you to discover your favorite diaper by reading one of my 100+ reviews, but blog posts have their limitations. Sometimes you just have to jump in, pick a few brands to try and get some hands-on experience. Then you can start your own blog and we can swap stories. 😉
Handy tip: if you want to cut your teeth on a cloth diaper that is as close to a disposable as possible, and therefore extremely easy and convenient, get some AIO (All-In-One) diapers. And no, they aren’t all expensive. The Imagine Stay Dry AIO from Nicki’s Diapers (aff) is one of my favorites and it’s only $10.95.
Avoid Cheap Diaper Pitfalls
It can be tempting to buy a huge stash of cheap, imported pocket diapers because of price and quantity, but buyers should be aware of potential drawbacks. Some of these diapers are illegal knock-offs. Others are re-brands without good customer service to back them up. Many will take weeks to ship. If you want to go the pocket diaper route, there are many stateside options to choose from without paying an arm and a leg. And you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from buying from a reliable and trusted American retailer. Co-ops can be reputable, but make good and sure they are honest, fair and cost-effective. Will you have prompt redress if there is a defect or problem? It’s also possible that your purchase won’t fall under Paypal’s buyer protection.
Secondhand is not Second Best
It’s ok to buy used diapers. Sanitize them upon receipt if putting another baby’s undies on your child gives you the heebie jeebies. You’ll save SO much money, especially if you’re looking for a lot of different brands and styles to try. My two favorite places to do this easily, and with confidence, are Facebook and Cloth Diaper Trader. I have been buying and selling diapers for five years now and only recall one “bad” experience, and it was actually with a buyer (she didn’t like the smell of Tide that my diapers had been washed in). Buy and sell at sites that have a feedback system. Take screen shots and use Paypal to pay so you’ll get buyer protection. Sellers, describe and photograph everything in detail! Buyers, ask lots of questions before sending money!
A Setback is a Learning Experience
There is almost always a foible or two along the way. Laundry fails, leaky diapers and reactions to certain fabrics are par for the course. Learn the lesson and move on. Don’t let it spoil the experience. Use it as an opportunity to try something new.
You’ll Be a Pro Soon
There’s a learning curve to using cloth diapers; luckily, it’s a small one. I felt like a complete greenhorn at the beginning, but after just a few months into it, my confidence level was pretty high.
I promise that it won’t take long before you will start to feel like a pro. Parents are smart, adaptable and curious; these natural abilities will turn you into a expert in no time at all.
It Might Not Work
Cloth diapers require some time, research and upfront investment. When things don’t go as planned, all that effort and nothing to show for it may lead you to feel kind of like a failure. Don’t.
A few years ago, I tried baking all of our family’s bread. By hand. Mixing, kneading, rising, shaping….the whole nine yards. The bread was beautiful and we loved it. But I quickly learned that with 6 children (at the time) and homeschooling and blogging and animals to care for, I did not have the time and patience for it. Am I a failure? No. I’m practical and don’t want to bite off more than I can chew.
So I bought an electric bread maker. 🙂
Do what works best for your family! And it might not always be cloth diapers.