BY JESSICA WIANT
After my second son arrived, we’d been home for one night before I happily dove into my stockpile of cloth diapers (even earlier than I planned) and didn’t look back.
But three years ago, things were quite different.
When I brought my first son home, I had an entire closet of all brands and sizes of disposable diapers and wipes. I was so proud of my collection, gathered and assembled over months, bought with coupons or given to us as gifts. It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought of using cloth diapers. I liked the idea. I considered it, briefly. Ultimately it seemed like nothing more than a nice idea that wasn’t actually implementable, so I moved on.
About 10 months later, when cloth diapers showed up on my radar once again, I bought one – a single diaper – and tried it out a few times. It was easy to put on, it worked, and I washed it without a problem, so I got a few more, and, eventually, I was cloth-diapering my son full-time.
Today, I’m using those same diapers, which used through potty-training with him, all over again on his little brother. Thinking back on it now, there were a few key reasons I initially ignored my instinct and avoided cloth diapers.
Here’s are those reasons, and how I recommend overcoming them:
Cost: The first time you see the price tag on a cloth diaper, there may be a bit of sticker shock. This is especially true if you’re pregnant for the first time. One diaper costing what a big box of them does can seem intimidating. Diaper a baby for a few days and you’ll see just how quickly that closet full of diapers is gone. When my second son was a couple of weeks old, I actually took a tally and over 24 hours, I changed his diaper 11 times. Over a lifetime of diapering, one initial investment is beans compared to having to continually run out for more disposables. The deal gets even more sweet if you plan on having more children, not to mention that there’s a thriving market for used diapers so when you’re done, you can make back a good chunk of what you’ve spent.
Laundry: Admittedly, figuring out a wash routine that works can be tricky, but let common sense prevail and it’s soon just a simple chore. I’ve had better luck keeping my cloth diapers clean this time than all the spit-upon clothes we go through!
Function: Get the right cloth diaper and the right fit and you’ll have fewer leaks than with disposables. You’ll also avoid all the creams and ointments that often go hand-in-hand with disposables.
Naysayers: This is the No. 1 reason I passed on the idea of cloth diapers at first. At the time, I wasn’t really friends with other moms, let alone moms who cloth diapered. There is a tremendous online community of cloth diapering parents. Seek it out and participate (and take some of the advice in stride). You’ll find support, and probably a few real friends, as a result.
Day care: I knew my first son was going to spend his days with someone else, and the idea of imposing something on them that I wasn’t sure about myself sealed the deal. After I did start using cloth diapers at home, I became comfortable enough to pitch the idea to my son’s care, too, but that’s a story for another day!