Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Starting with cloth diapers part-time; The benefits of starting out small.

Reader Contributed Article 
Giving Cloth a Try 

I was pregnant with my third child when I broached the topic of cloth diapering with my husband. My husband was reluctant but willing to give it a try. We started with seven diapers and only used cloth part-time, a wonderful decision for our family. If you are interested in cloth but a little overwhelmed by the options, worried about the responses of family or friends, or convinced the babysitter would never agree, read on for some of the benefits of starting small.

Cloth diapering part-time allows a family to investigate cloth without making a huge investment. Many cloth diaper stores have developed packages or samplers that provide a few different kinds of diapers. One or two packages would provide a day’s worth of diapers and the opportunity to find the right diaper for your family. Or find a friend who is already using cloth and ask to borrow a few different types of diapers.

You won’t feel the pressure to wash your small stash diapers every single day (unless you want to!) if you have only committed to cloth diapering part-time. You’ll be able to enjoy your cloth diapers without overwhelming yourself with the investment of daily washing.
We’ve been using cloth diapers for over two years now and my mom still isn’t excited about changing a cloth diaper. She’s much more comfortable using disposables. When she visits after the birth of our fourth child, we’ll have a few packages of disposables on hand for her. As much as I love cloth myself, I love a grandmother who changes diapers even more. By cloth diapering part-time, you can use the cloth diapers yourself without overwhelming grandparents or other caregivers.

Perhaps you know your family will never use cloth diapers full-time. For many years, our first two children attended a day care two days a week. My husband and I weren’t interested in converting the teachers to cloth diapers. Personally, we were happy to cloth diaper at home and send disposables to the day care. (You can find resources online for working with day cares if you are interested in working with them on cloth diapering your children.  Try the RDIA's DayCare Directoy)
There are probably as many reasons to cloth diaper as there are families that do. Our own reasons are mainly focused on cost-savings, lessening our impact on the environment and avoiding unnecessary exposure to chemicals. Cloth-diapering part-time still allowed us to reap these benefits.

Even compared with a bargain price of $0.14 per diaper for disposables, a premium one-size diaper could still recoup its cost within a few months. Every time we used a cloth diaper instead of a disposable, we were sending less to the landfill and decreasing the impact from the manufacture and shipping of a disposable diaper. While I haven’t read anything that completely convinces me that disposable diapers leach chemicals into my baby, or if those chemicals are at levels I should consider dangerous, I do know that every time I used cloth, I didn’t have to worry about it at all.

If I’ve convinced you to give cloth-diapering a try part-time, plan to purchase at least six or eight diapers so washing a load of diapers doesn’t seem like a waste of time or energy. Also be aware that diapers will need to be washed about every other day even if you haven’t used them all to avoid stains and unpleasant smells. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to try different kinds of diapers, too. There’s no better way to find the perfect diaper for your child or your family than trying a number of different cloth-diapering approaches.

One warning, though, if you decide to try cloth diapering part-time, don’t be surprised to discover you love it! We almost always have some disposable diapers floating around for various reasons (like grandma’s preference for disposables when the littlest one is born), but over the past two years we’ve invested in enough diapers to cloth diaper full-time. Now I have to restrain myself from buying even more than we need!

 Kansas Mom lives on seven acres (and a bit) with Kansas Dad, her four children, a dog, two flocks of chickens and a slew of unwelcome bunnies. They spend their days reading, homeschooling and gardening. They've been cloth diapering since 2008. You can read about their adventures on their blog, Our Home on the Range. Yes, they do live in Kansas!

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jill said...

Wow a grandparent that will change a diaper? we dont have any of those. they just hand them back over and say that their diapering days are done. needless to say, we can't leave our baby with anyone.

Knickernappies - Heather said...

Great article! Thanks so much for sharing.

Hanz said...

Great sharing! Among tips to be noted when persuading people to give cloth diaper a try.

Anonymous said...

This is a great article. Thnaks for shraing, and it's well written!

JustCorey said...

-grandparent that will change a diaper comment-

my mom would have done it when she visited but she brought a two year old who is still trying to potty train with her... her comment was

"i try to limit my diaper changes per day and i have already had one poopy diaper today"

I was fine with that... after all a two year olds poop is a lot worse than my breastfed babe

Thanks for sharing your story
(i may start part time... i had always thought i would have to go all or nothing)

Kansas Mom said...

We are very lucky with two grandmothers that change diapers (though they both prefer the disposables)!

I don't mind changing newborn diapers, but it was so very nice to be able to hand Second Son off to someone else and stay comfortably in my chair.

JustCorey, I hope you give cloth diapers a try! I didn't even mention how much better they work or how adorable they are.

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