Previously I talked about cloth diapering on a budget, and also about the different types of cloth diapers out there. If you’re just starting out, you might be overwhelmed at all the options and information. Every mom’s preferences are different, and every kid is different. Talking to other cloth-diapering moms will help you get an idea of what type of diaper to buy. If you don’t know anyone else personally, then I highly recommend finding a forum (like diaperswappers.com) where you can ask questions, troubleshoot any issues, or just hear about new products.
I know this sounds really weird, but I find cloth diapers so much FUN! I mean, I’ll be happy when my diapering days are completely behind me, but in the meantime I might as well get some sort of pleasure with it, right? :-)
Buying all the same brand
When I first started looking into cloth, I quickly became overwhelmed and decided to just buy one brand. My best friend uses and loves a pocket diaper called Baby Kangas, so I decided just to buy those. I started with 13 Baby Kangas, 3 fitted diapers and a cover that another friend handmade* for me, and 2 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers.
*A side note about handmade diapers… This isn’t an area I have any knowledge, but if you love to sew then you might want to try it! My friend Susan has made almost all of her diapers, and she’s done an excellent job. She recommends the website http://diaperdivas.proboards.com if you’re wanting to look more into sewing your own. If you’re a knitter, you might be interested in knitting wool soakers for your little one. This again isn’t anything I know about, but here’s a website for more info!
The advantage of this route (buying all the same brand) is it can be less overwhelming, which was my reasoning at the time. If you love the brand you chose, then you don’t have to worry about having to sell off other diapers. The disadvantage is if that particular diaper doesn’t fit your child well. After almost a year of cloth diapering, I still love my Baby Kangas but am also interesting in diversifying my stash. I’ve decided different diapers have different uses and benefits, and I’d love to have more of a sample of each. So I’ll probably be selling off a few Baby Kangas so I can get others.
Buying a “sampler”
Most people say to buy a few diapers of several different kinds to start. If you end up not liking a particular brand/style, then you can sell it. I recommend this too, even though I did the opposite myself. You’ll need to research the types of diapers and decide which fits your needs and lifestyle the best.
If you go back to my last post, you’ll see that I included links to some examples of each type of diaper. These are the brands that seem to be most recommended in my own personal experience and/or with talking to other cloth diapering moms. I tried to give a few options with varying pricepoints for each style; check out Diaper Pin for reviews (you can also read reviews on individual retailers websites).
If you’re tight on cash, your best bet would be to go with prefolds, and get a variety of covers. I’ve noticed that moms who are very practical tend to love prefolds and really not understand why one would spend more money to get anything else. I don’t fall into that category – I’m a pocket diaper fan myself. :-) If you tend towards frugality and practicality, then I’d suggest going this route.
*A note about hook-and-loop (a.k.a. Velcro/Aplix) versus snaps… Some people like the ease of this type of closure and the similarity to disposables (especially useful for people not used to cloth, like babysitters and grandparents). However, h&l wear out over time; collect lint/pet hair/all kinds of junk; and tear up other diapers during the wash/drying cycle. Older babies can learn to remove the h&l and take their diapers off. So, I think most people prefer snaps. You could try to get some of each and see what you think.
Also, when it comes to one-size versus sized diapers… Most one-size do not fit little babies. If you have a newborn, you might want to look into sized options, or do disposables until your baby is big enough (that’s what I did). Fans of sized diapers also prefer the trimmer fit. Fans of one-size diapers like the savings of being able to use the same diapers, and also it makes it easier if you have two in diapers. I have used both and prefer the one-size, but again – if you wanted to try both, then get some of each.
I’m a personal fan of the pocket diaper, but recently I’ve been expanding and using some AI2′s/hybrids. You’ll want between 16-20 diapers. (More diapers = less often you have to do laundry.) Again, check out the links in my last post to get ideas for what brands you might like.
Here’s an example sampler stash:
2 Kissaluvs fitted
1 Thirsties Duo Wrap
1 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap
1 Flip OS Day Pack (2 covers + 6 inserts)
1 GroVia OS Shell + 3 soakers
2 Baby Kangas OS Pocket
2 FuzziBunz OS Pocket
1 bumGenius AIO
This particular stash adds up to about $250* (for new diapers), according to my quick estimation. If you’re leaning towards prefolds, then you might want to get more of them and maybe just a pocket diaper or two for babysitters. Or if you’re leaning towards pockets/AIOs, you could try more of those brands and just get a few prefolds to try. Prefolds can always be repurposed as burp cloths or changing pad covers, if you decide not to use them as diapers.
*Note: I didn’t take into account shipping, nor did I add any of the other accessories – wet bags, pail liners, diaper sprayer, etc.
Where to buy
If you’re lucky, you might be able to find cloth diapers in a local store (stores like Whole Foods often carry them, or there might be a cloth diaper retailer with storefront in your area). Most people get their diapers online, and there are many good sites out there. My favorite is Diaper Junction. They have a “30 Day Test Drive” – for certain brands, you can try the diapers for 30 days and then return them for a full refund if you’re not satisfied. I’ve also bought from Kelly’s Closet and Cotton Babies. I’ve been told that Green Mountain Diapers are the best prefolds. Baby Kangas (my favorite diaper) are harder to find, but you can get them at Sweet Little Blessings.
I’ve found that prices don’t vary all that much between retailers, so they try to get/keep your business with promotions and reward points. If you sign up for e-newsletters, then you will be able to get the promotions – free shipping, or free diaper with purchase, etc. Also, some retailers offer reward points with every purchase that can be put towards a future diaper order.
The best way to find used diapers is to find a local group of cloth diapering moms and have a diaper swap. I found a group by Googling “cloth diaper Atlanta” and I’ve really benefited from their knowledge. I’ve also found diapers on sites like Craigslist and at some consignment sales. And of course, check out diaperswappers.com for buying and selling used diapers online. For a diaper that’s still in good condition, you can expect to pay about 70% of the retail price.
I hope this has been useful information. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a cloth-diaper blog. :-) But I am always wanting to share what I’ve learned with people I know, and the easiest way to do that is to write a post and spread the linky love.