Friday, April 13, 2012

Getting Started with Cloth

Spring has arrived and this month’s theme is all about NEW BEGINNINGS!  And there is no better way to welcome your newest arrival into the world than swaddling them in comfy cloth diapers. 

I know many of us here on the Etsy Cloth Diaper team often get asked, “What do I need to start?”  There really isn’t a one size fit’s all answer to this but I have included some information that may make things a wee bit easier!

What kind of diapers should we buy?
When you are starting out, I highly recommend trying out a few different types in small quantities before making a huge investment. You might run out and buy 3 dozen prefolds just to find out that your partner hates the folding involved and you are stuck changing all of the diapers! Many shops offer trail packages, which allow for you to “test the waters” and discover what will work best for your family. Keep in mind that usually the best systems involve using a little bit of everything. After all, each type of cloth diaper, diaper cover and cloth diapering combination can serve a very different purpose. What's best for overnight use may not be the trimmest for day use. And what's you use for day use may not be the most convenient for trips out of the home.

How many cloth diapers do we need?
The answer to this question depends a lot on your budget and how often you want to be washing diapers. Ideally, diapers should be washed every two days but some families get away with washing only twice a week.  Below is a little checklist to use as a guide for what you will need to get started cloth diapering full-time, and washing 2 times a week. You may need to upsize after a few months, depending on the style of cloth diapers you choose, but this is what is required to put your baby in cloth diapers today. This is the bare minimum you will require for an enjoyable cloth diapering experience!
  • 24-36 Cloth Diapers (newborn), 18-24 for a baby that is over 8 months (any style/combination)
  • 3-6 Diaper Covers (PUL, wool or fleece) (not required if you are using pocket or AIO diapers)
  • 24-36 Cloth Wipes
  • 2-3 Doublers for naps and use at night
  • 2-3 Snappi Fasteners or sets of Pins (only required for flats, prefolds or contours)
  • 1 Diaper Pail (a Rubbermaid pail will work just fine!) or 1 Large Hanging Wet Bag, for storing dirty diapers
  • 1 Container of Lanolin (if using wool)
Optional purchases (recommended but not required!):
  • 24-36 Inserts, 24 for an older baby (required if you are using pocket diapers)
  • 1 Large Wet Bag to use as a diaper pail liner
  • 1 Small Wet Bag for outings
  • 1 Diaper Sprayer/Mini Shower (highly recommended for a non-breastfeeding baby!)
  • Wool wash  

 What does your stash look like? 
It’s nice to have a variety of diapers and covers on hand to meet various needs. This is what my stash looks like:

For Daily Use:
  • 24 Prefolds
  • 6 PUL Covers
  • 6 Doublers for use when you need/want increased absorbency
  • 3 Snappis (optional)
For Outings:
  • 6 Pocket Diapers, allows for longer times between changes as baby’s skin stays dry
  • 6 Pocket Diaper Inserts
  • 3 Fitted Diapers for a trimmer fit under clothes when dressing up (to be used with PUL covers)
  • 2 Small Wet Bags
For Nighttime:
  • 2 Wool Covers (wool is virtually leak-proof, is warm in the winter and stays cool in the summer and does not need to be washed often, unless soiled)
  • 4 Bamboo Fleece Fitted Diapers to last all night though
  • 6 Fleece Liners to keep baby feeling dry all night long
A few things to consider when planning what to purchase:
  • You will go through more diapers with a newborn than with an older baby or child.
  • The average newborn will need to be changed every two hours. You should expect to change at least 10-12 diapers a day.
  • If you plan to run laundry daily, you can get away with fewer diapers, although it never hurts to have a few extra on hand. For washing every other day, you should have at least 24 diapers.
  • If you exclusively breast-feed, solids are water-soluble and no rinsing or soaking of your diapers is necessary.
  • When your baby starts solids,  a diaper sprayer is highly recommended. This is an amazing invention and will be the best $50 you spend while cloth diapering…unless of course you like dunking!
  • A cloth diaper “stash” is not complete without at least 4-6 prefolds. These are so multi-functional you will find many, many uses for them outside of diapering. They are always handy to have on hand.
  • If you are trying to save money, or on a very tight budget, you can get by with 3 dozen regular size prefolds and 4 covers in each size  ( or one size covers) for the entire time your child will be in diapers. This is the most economical route, as well as being dependable and reliable!
  • If you want convenience, and ease of use and you don’t mind spending a little more (or at least what you would have spent of disposables!) go for 2-3 dozen Pocket Diapers with Inserts or All-In-One diapers and be done with it!

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