It is Saturday night on Saint Patrick’s day and we are in the middle of several different home renovations (we are literally renovating two different homes at the same time, one of which we are still living in). We just got our son to bed and I am in between coats of paint on our kitchen cabinets and thought I should probably try to get a post up this weekend. I am really excited about the two big cloth diaper giveaways I am taking part in soon, one of which is starting March 24th and thought to myself, hey I should probably get another cloth diaper post out there.
I am truly saddened every time I read stories about people who say they were barely able to scrape together enough money just to buy diapers for their baby, I can’t believe how often you hear it. I want people to know that you actually can diaper your baby for FREE! Not only that but you can help improve the quality of our environment by cutting down landfill waste at the same time. The answer is as easy as using cloth diapers. I think a lot of people are under the impression that cloth diapering needs to be expensive so I have put together some ways that you can do it very cheaply or even for free depending on your situation.
I love cloth diapering! It was a decision I had made well before my baby was born. Which says a lot since I didn’t even own a crib until my son was 3 months old. I didn’t plan much but for some reason this was something I had my mind set on. In hindsight I am glad that I got all of my diapering gear before he came along because there was a lot of research and deal seeking that had to be done and I don’t think I would have had time to do it all after. I think the first key to a successful cloth diapering experience is to have yourself mostly set up before the baby comes along.
I feel the need to warn you that if you choose to go this route you will encounter a lot of resistance and sometimes negative comments, which is really unfortunate since cloth diapering moms need all the support they can get. Overall I feel that most people thought I was crazy for choosing this route. Even when my husband was asked at his work what we were doing for diapers and he told them cloth, he would get comments like “Oh I would give that a week”. Of course none of them have followed up on it to hear that we are still using cloth and doing great. That being said, there are people who for very legitimate reasons cannot use cloth. With every child being so unique I feel there is never a universal solution to anything when it comes to babies. One of the biggest things I learned after having my son is how little control over life I really have. In the end you just have to do what works for you. But for the people out there who just don’t want to use them because “it’s too much work” read on and hopefully I can convince you that it’s not.
I think another big factor in the likelihood of achieving cloth diapering success is having your partner’s support. From my experience, I definitely needed someone to help out with the laundry for the first 6 weeks postpartum when I was feeling like I had just run a marathon, been hit by a bus and was seriously sleep deprived. I am pretty sure the last thing anyone wants to deal with when you have a new-born is their partner complaining about washing cloth diapers and laundry. I remember reading a study that said women were much more likely to succeed with breast-feeding if their spouse was supportive and I think this probably holds true for cloth diapering to some extent too.
STYLE OF DIAPERS I STARTED WITH
Before my son came along I wasn’t sure what kinds of cloth diaper I would prefer so I tried two of the common systems out there:
- Prefolds (fitted) with covers
- Pocket All in Ones (Bumgenius brand).
I spent countless hours researching cloth diapers online to try to determine which system was for me (diaperpin.com was my best resource). I think the number of diapers you need mostly depends on how often you want to do laundry (or not)! My initial purchase was 20 prefolds, 6 Thirsties covers, 3 Snappis, 20 Bumgenius diapers, 30 cloth wipes, one small wetbag for my purse and one large wetbag for home. This proved to be more than enough for us and I did laundry every 2-3 days at the start (now it is closer to every 4).
STYLE OF DIAPERS I USE NOW
Now that I am a year and half out I will tell you that I mostly use the all in one and all in two diapers (AIO, AI2). It isn’t that what I had wouldn’t have continued to work but I just found that had a preference for the AIO and AI2. I definitely recommend a one size system (this is when they are adjustable and can fit from 7-30lbs). My son was able to wear the one size diapers from day one and he was on the small side at 6lbs 7oz. They still fit him today quite well and I shouldn’t really need to buy any more diapers since my current stock should last until he is out of diapers (but of course I will because there are so many cute ones out there!) My favorite brand so far is Ragababe. I like both the AIO and the 2 step. The 2-step organic diapers are great because I can use the same cover and just switch out the liner all day long. I have had zero leaks since using these diapers and find I only need one or two to last me all day (I just switch the insert). I once read a post where someone was asking if anyone DIDN’T love Ragababes and the author received many replies but was unable to find anyone who didn’t. I think this speaks volumes when we are talking about the internet where people just seem to be looking for an excuse to complain or criticize from the anonymous comfort of their home. The owner, Joy, is a lovely woman who provides fabulous customer service. Lucky for all of us moms she is in the middle of expanding production so hopefully they will become easier to get soon.
TIME TO GET STARTED
If you have a few bucks to get started then the easiest way to diaper for free is to get some cloth diapers for the best price possible and then sell them again when you are done. Keep them in good shape to get the best re-sale value. I think you can approach this in two ways;
- You can do this with the lowest priced cloth diapers like prefolds
- You can do it with the high-end diapers (Highly sought after or collectible)
It really depends on how much money you want to invest at the start. and how much money you are willing to put into play.
THE CHEAP ROUTE
If you want to go the cheaper route consider buying your cloth diapers used online somewhere like Spot’s Corner, or you can try locally like Kijiji for some prefolds and covers. If you can sew you could even make your own covers! Then when you are done (even if that is 3 kids later) you can re-sell them again on Kijiji or you can consign them. There are plenty of stores that take on diaper consignment.
THE INVESTMENT ROUTE
The second route requires more of an up front investment, as the value of high-end diapers can change over time, but these diapers fetch higher prices when it comes time to sell them and are often cuter and easier to use. Believe it or not a USED Ragababe or Goodmama can fetch more money than its original retail value. This is because they are highly sought after and some are even considered collectables. It seems like this happens in the cloth diaper world quite a bit since the demand can often outweigh supply. This imbalance occurs because most suppliers are work at home moms and don’t have access to large volumes of fabric and cheap labour. It can be pretty hard to get your hands on a Ragababe for example but I must say they are my absolute favorite diapers so I can understand why.
CLOTH DIAPERING WHEN IN FINANCIAL NEED
If you are in financial need and you live in the US there is something called the cloth diaper foundation. This is a place that people in need can actually receive free cloth diapers. I absolutely love the idea of this!
I have yet to find a foundation like this in Canada but it is something that I am interested in starting someday. If anyone knows of an organization giving cloth diapers to moms in need here in Canada please let me know.
DIAPER FREE BABY
Last but not least, you can raise a diaper free baby!! This is something that is obviously not mainstream but definitely intrigues me. Maybe even something I can try with one of my next children: Elimination Communication http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elimination_communication.
Here are some links on the topic I find interesting:
http://hyenacart.com/Spots_corner/ (great place to buy diapers)
http://www.diaperpin.com/home.asp (great site for diaper reviews, and just baby stuff in general)