Cloth Diapering Isnâ€™t The Poop-Filled Disaster You Think It Is
I was six months pregnant with my first child when I casually mentioned to my manager that we were thinking about using cloth diapers. His response? He laughed in my face. Then he told me that he knew several people who had tried cloth diapers, and they all quit within a few weeks, having spent â€œso much moneyâ€ on the supplies. Little did he know that would only make me more determined to try â€“ Iâ€™m far, far too stubborn to let a challenge like that go by.
So it wasnâ€™t long after that I found myself in a local store that specialized in cloth diaper supplies, looking apprehensively at piles and piles of things that I did not remotely understand. I am awfully glad that the owner of the store knew her stuff, because it was seriously intimidating. Without her help, I probably would have walked out â€“ which would have been a shame, because what I discovered once I got the hang of things was that I really loved cloth diapering.
The first reaction most people have when I tell them is â€œEEEWWWW!!â€ But thatâ€™s usually followed by curiosity. What is it like having diapers that you wash and reuse instead of throwing them away? While I freely admit that cloth diapering isnâ€™t for everyone, the truth is that poop is, well, poop; and while cloth diapering does occasionally become a messy, stinky, goopy disaster, thatâ€™s also a pretty good description of life with any baby.
The first thing I discovered was that cloth diapers today are a totally different animal from the ones my mother used, which featured yards of cloth, rubber pants, and wicked-looking diaper pins. Cloth diapers now range from prefolded inserts, already sewn together for easy use, to high-tech pocket diapers that look like a slightly plush disposable, but with cuter patterns. Prefold diapers are the cheapest, while high-end pocket diapers are expensive, but much more accessible to people who are new to cloth diapering. However, you need a lot of them: I used prefolds and covers, so I started with thirty of the seven-to-fifteen pound size and six diaper covers. The biggest difference financially is that whatever you spend on cloth diapers, you have to lay out all at once (or at least in large chunks), but the total is generally pretty good, especially when you factor it over using them on multiple kids. In the end, I spent a total of about $750 on all the cloth diapering supplies I bought for both my kids.