Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cloth Diapering 101: Getting Started - Materials

So now that you've got the lingo down, you're either gung ho and ready to cloth diaper every baby from here to Toledo, or you're running towards Target for the nearest case of Huggies.  I'm figuring most people fall somewhere in the middle.

Cloth diapering seems to be an incredibly huge investment at first glance.  So many people are scared away at the prospect of having to dump hundreds of dollars down and not being sure they will like it enough to continue in the long run. 

But it doesn't have to be that way!  

First off, if you're interested but not sure you want to jump all the way in, it's perfectly ok to only buy a cloth diaper or two to try it out.  If you enjoy having one or two less diapers a day to have to buy, you might continue building up your stash. 

But what kind to try first?

A very smart idea for deciding the type of diaper you'd like to use is to go through a website such as Jillian's Drawers.   For $112.84, they will send you a starter pack of diapers.  Go to their website for the variety, but there's at least 6 different kinds, (7 total diapers), with the inserts and fasteners needed.   You use these for 21 days.  Then, if you chose, you can keep any number of them and Jillian's Drawers will take the cost of those diapers out of your refund and you mail the rest back.

This is a GREAT way to try a big variety. 

Another way to start sampling a variety of diapers without spending loads of money is to look at consignment sites.  I bought my first cloth diapers second hand on Craigslist and they are still in excellent shape.  I paid a quarter of what they would have cost brand new.  Ebay, Jillian's Drawers, DiaperSwappers, and other forums are great resources for a nearly new cloth diaper stash. 

If you're still planning to purchase new, use these sites to see what the likelihood of a high resale value would be for the diapers you're choosing.  This might make the difference between two brands if you're wavering.

Now, let's assume that you're ready to take the plunge and cloth diaper for most situations in your baby's life.
In order to cloth diaper your average baby at almost all times without having to wash for two days or so, you will probably need about 12-16 diapers.  This number obviously increases with newborns (who need changing more often), and older babies who might be heavy wetters.   Otherwise, plan on changing your baby about 6-8 times a day.  (Definitely more than a disposable diapered baby would need changing).

In addition to the diapers, you need a safe detergent to wash them in.  Most people swear by either Charlie's Soap or BioKleen.  Other people just use their regular detergent.  Though it is suggested, (oddly enough), to stay away from any detergent labeled free and clear or free.  I'll be posting about the care and use of the diapers tomorrow. 

Once you have these things, you're pretty set to begin.  Though there are additional accessories that may make the cloth diapering lifestyle a bit easier. 

A Wetbag - If you're storing dirty cloth diapers in a diaper pail in your child's room, you might want to invest in a wetbag.  These are waterproof bags that you can cinch the diapers into containing odor.  When it's time to wash, just turn the bag inside out and wash with the diapers. 

In addition to a big one, some find it helpful to have a wet bag for the diaper bag.  This ensures that you have a place for the dirty diapers when you're out while cloth diapering.  I have one, but I've found that a gallon sized freezer bag works in a pinch.  (The bonus of a wet bag vs. the freezer bag is that you can really clean the wet bag while the freezer bag might get kind of gross after time.

A Sprayer - Once your child has reached that golden age of solid food poops, you'll probably want a sprayer which you can attach to your toilet.  This will allow you to spray off stubborn solid waste when necessary.

Other than that, you're pretty set.  I think anything additional, (aside from cloth wipes and wipes solution if you chose to go that route), is pretty superfluous. 

Check yesterday's entry where we ran down the list of terms used most often in cloth diapering.  Also check out my review of some popular brands and a giveaway of my favorite.


  1. Thank you for Jillian's Drawers. I think we're going to go that route. I can order now and have diapers ready and try them for the first 2 - 3 weeks and see what we like. Perfect! A friend made me 2 diapers already, so I'll have 8, almost a full day's worth! Now to decide on a car seat.....

  2. I had no idea there was an option like Jillian's Drawers where you can test out different kinds! That is awesome :) I'll have to check it out!


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