We knew they were better for the environment, better for baby, and better for our budget.*
At the time we were living on a small sailboat and washing our laundry at a laundromat. Our best option for using cloth was a diaper service. It was amazing. Every week they dropped off a bag of clean diapers and picked up the bag of dirty ones. When L was ready for a bigger size we just let them know and they'd bring us the next size up. We bought our own covers and I washed them once a week when we did the rest of our laundry.
It was easy. as. pie.
When we moved, using a diaper service was no longer an option. Since we already had covers, I bought some large prefolds and we were set. Eventually a friend gave us some pocket diapers as well...and that introduced me to to the wide range of cloth diapers available in the world. I knew there were a million brands and styles out there but, having always used prefolds and covers (since that was what the diaper service offered), I hadn't really spent much time looking at the other options.
And there are so many options.
Do you know the difference between prefolds and fitteds? Pockets and AIO's? Covers and longies?
Sorting through the information can be a little overwhelming. If you're considering cloth diapers, here are a few resources to get you started:
Diaper Services: To find a diaper service near you (or to find out more about diaper services in general), check out this list at the Real Diaper Industry Association. If you don't find a service in your area on the list try a Google search. I definitely know of diaper services that are not on this list!
Terminology: If you don't know the difference between a prefold and a pocket, read up on the different kinds of diapers out there. Check out this cloth diaper terminology reference on Diaper Jungle. Most cloth diaper sites will have some sort of reference page or acronym list.
Trying Cloth: Many of the regular online cloth diaper stores will let you try various diapers before you buy: Sweet Bottoms, Diaper Junction, Nicki's Diapers, CottonBabies, and Jillian's Drawers are just a few that come to mind.
Sweet Bottoms also has a newborn diaper rental program
where you can rent newborn diapers and return them for a partial refund
or some store credit to buy larger sized diapers later!
Buying for Less: Even if you know using cloth will save you money in the long run, the start-up cost can still seem a little overwhelming. If it makes you feel better, try adding up everything on your diaper wish list and dividing it by how many months you think you'll be using cloth...mine worked out to about $10 a month if we diaper our next baby for 2 years (and that includes wipes!). If you plan on cloth diapering more than one child you'll save even more. And, you can sell most (if not all) of your cloth diapers goodies when you're done with diapers for good.
In my opinion, there's no way to lose. Cloth saves money.**
Just for the record, I know that some people are grossed out by the thought of buying used diapers. I'm not. I don't know any parents out there that use cloth and don't regularly wash and sanitize their diapers. If I'm not getting my diapers clean enough for your kid, they're not clean enough for mine either. Still, if you buy used, wash and sanitize yourself before you use them and you shouldn't have any problems.
Here are a few places you can buy diapers and diaper supplies for less:
Facebook diaper swap. Holy cow, things on this site move fast. You'll find everything on the swap: diapers, covers, diaper sprayers, wet bags, wipes, and more. There are other swaps on Facebook as well but I like this one best.
Craigslist is also a great option. I generally don't find much on Craigslist in our area but I found some awesome diapers!
Diaper Swappers is another great place to check out for used cloth diapers and accessories. Brush up on your acronyms first!
Jillian's Drawers also has a "gently used" section where they sell the diapers used in their trial programs. Diaper Junction and Nicki's Diapers have the same.
CottonBabies has a program where you can trade in your used diapers for store credit (depending on the diapers and their condition of course!).
Making Cloth Accessible: If you really, really don't have money for diapers check out Giving Diapers Giving Hope. This program provides cloth diapers and support to low-income families in the continental US, freeing up money that would have been spent on disposables for other necessities.
CottonBabies also has Econobum diapers--theoretically you could cloth diaper from newborn to potty training for just $100. This sounds amazing but I can't say for sure since I don't have any personal experience with Econobum!
Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments if I missed anything crucial resources (or even just your favorite cloth diaper resource!)...cloth diaper detergents and what's in my own stash for the new baby will have to wait for another post!
* If you don't have time to read that entire link, let me highlight--cloth
can cost 1/10 of what disposables cost so even if you don't care
about diapers ending up in landfills, you might want to consider cloth
just for financial reasons!
**I should point out that it's totally possible to spend tons of money on cloth diapers. The cute prints, different brands and styles...it can become addicting. Be warned! That said, more money does not necessarily equal a better diaper. I know tons of moms who prefer a simple prefold and cover to a $25 pocket diaper!
This post is part of Teach Me Tuesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Simple Lives Thursday, and Frugal Friday.