When I started looking into cloth diapers, I went to the two friends I knew that were doing it: Emily and Tiffany. Both of them had a ton of advice for me, just like I have for anyone that asks me about it now. I was also trying to research lots of other stuff at the time. So, I was completely overwhelmed by the length and the amount of information in both of their e-mails, just as I am sure the friends that have asked me have felt.
Both had a list of recommendations for a stash of diapers to get me started. There were a lot of different kinds of diapers in this list. Then, when I looked online it seemed that every single kind of diaper had different washing instructions. “Oh great,” I thought, “I’m going to be washing three diapers this way, two this way and I’ll have to keep track of the covers and this just seems way too complicated!”
Well, as I said in the last posts, the diapers we decided to go with are the BumGenius 3.0 one-size pocket diapers. Both girls had said that these diapers were their go-to, Daddy-friendly, workhorse diaper (though I will note that Tiffany’s feelings on this brand have changed). Instead of getting a varied stash as they both recommended, I just wanted to deal with one kind of diaper that we could use through the entirety of Bean’s diapering process. Plus, these looked like they were really easy to use (and they are).
I have 42 of them, which is a crazy amount to have. You don’t need that many. I originally intended to have somewhere around 30, but we got a good deal from Cotton Babies by ordering them in bulk and it was cheaper so we wound up with that many. One of the common complaints that you will see in reviews of these diapers is problems with the velcro tabs or the elastic in the leg opening going out. Since my stash is so huge, my diapers get less wear and tear and I have not had any of these problems. People with much smaller stashes tend to see these problems more often.
If I was starting over from scratch, now that I know what I know about cloth diapering — which is that it isn’t as overwhelming as I made it out to be — I would probably have followed both my friends’ advice and ordered a variety of different diapers to build my stash.
I also would not have any diapers with velcro now that I know the type of kid Bean is. She tends to be a bit meticulous and notices even the tiniest of details. She also likes to pick at things, including the velcro tabs on her cloth diapers. I cannot leave her in just a diaper for a long period of time because she will take the thing off. I have actually heard this is a very common problem that a lot of parents face with their kids. I have had friends that resorted to making duct tape belts on their kids’ diapers so they couldn’t get them off. Snaps are much more difficult for babies to figure out and pull apart, so I would have picked diapers with only snap closures.
Finally, I would have only purchased gender neutral colors/patterns for my cloth diapers. I seriously worry about the number of pink diapers we currently own if baby #2 is a boy.
The recommendations I have seen online usually say you should start out with 12-18 diapers. Most of the people I’ve talked to about cloth diapering recommended 20-24 diapers just so you have a little breather room with the laundry. The sites also say to plan for up to 14 diaper changes a day for a newborn (Yikes! I don’t think we ever went through THAT many), and 6-8 for an older baby. So that might help you figure out how many you need as well.
Anyway, this is what I would get if I were to start over on the journey today:
I know that it isn’t like I made a huge deviation from my current stash, as all my picks were still AIOs and one-size diapers. Those just seem to be the most economical to me. I don’t have any huge problems with my current diapers, I am just much more willing to try out different brands now that I’ve been doing this a little longer and it isn’t so scary.
If the up front cost of getting the diapers you want to use seems a little pricey, there are a number of ways that you can build your stash slowly. You could go the cheap route first, that is prefolds and simple covers, just to get yourself going. Then, you can slowly add the diapers you think you will like best or want to try one at a time as you can afford it. Another way is to buy a few now, use them when you can and continue using disposables in between until you can slowly build up your stash. This will also slowly break you into the idea of cloth diapering.
For those of you that are expecting, now is a great time to consider cloth. If it is something you decide to do I would really encourage you to register for cloth. Many of the cloth diapering sites offer gift registries and as I said before Target and Babies R Us also have an OK selection of cloth diapering options on their websites. Plus, there are many independent wish list and registry sites (insert shameless plug for onebabyregistry.com) where you can have a registry independent of any one particular store. I think this is really smart since most people wind up having more than one registry at more than one store. As I said before, we got almost half of our cloth diaper stash from our friends and family as shower gifts. You may be thinking that you don’t want to waste your registry on small stuff like the diapers. Trust me, the only people who are going to buy the “big” stuff like the travel system and the crib are going to be you, your parents and maybe an aunt or two. A nice $20 cloth diaper plus a pack of washcloths for you to use as wipes can be a great gift from a single friend that really only has $25 to spend on a shower gift for you.
The remainder of my posts on the subject (I am thinking there will be 1-2 more), are going to specifically deal with the brand of diapers we have and what we do with them. I think some of the stuff can still be applied across the board with the various brands, so stick with me!