My first glimpse of modern cloth diapers came one summer afternoon during a play date at a friend's house. We chatted while the kids enjoyed the swing set outdoors. I spotted sweet pink cloth diapers hanging on the clothes line and was immediately intrigued. Kirsten explained how she wanted to live a simpler life and started her cloth diapering adventure by talking with a cloth diaper retailer over the phone, getting their recommendations, and purchasing enough sized Thirsties covers, pockets, and prefolds to diaper one baby.
I admired her efficiency, but selecting cloth diapers to purchase proved more challenging for me. My blog isn't called The Inquisitive Mom for nothing. I researched the whys and hows of cding, then read about various brands, styles, and closures, as well as a myriad of reviews. Everyone had a different opinion about what was "best" and the more information I read, the more confused I felt.
Then I realized I couldn't be the only mom interested in cloth diapering, but without a nearby natural baby store. I googled a bit more and discovered what I consider to be an underutilized gem of the cloth diapering world: The Cloth Diaper Trial. I paid $10, plus a refundable deposit, to Diaper Daisy for a custom cloth diaper trial and spent a few weeks experimenting with a variety of popular brands and styles. I asked a host of questions via email and felt good knowing I could reward all of that effort on Diaper Daisy's part by purchasing diapers from them at the conclusion of my trial.
Here's Ezra trying out one of his first cloth diapers.
1. Use the cloth diaper trial to get a feel for what diapers best meet your family's needs. Do you like snaps or aplix? Natural or synthetic fibers? Pockets, AIOs, fitteds, or a combination?
2. Purchase a trial to allow a skeptical babysitter or daycare provider to give cloth diapers a try.
3. Use a trial to compare brands, test quality, and get an idea of where you want to invest your money. I started with a limited budget and my trial helped me realize that I could enjoy cding, even if I couldn't afford the Cadillac of cloth diapers.
4. Order a trial if your baby's needs have changed and you want to see if a new brand or style of diaper will work better before selling your stash.
5. Gift a trial to a friend considering cloth for a couple weeks. Invite her to experience cloth and see if it's right for her family.
For $5 to $20, plus the cost of shipping, this is an affordable way to ensure you're making a wise investment in cloth diapers. Many stores allow you to try, use, and wash cloth for 21 days (this starts after you receive your diapers), as well as accessories such as wet bags, detergent, and fasteners. Some stores offer a standard trial package only, while others have more customized options. Several let you select new or used diapers to try. After that trial period, you usually have an option to purchase diapers from your trial at a discount or receive some sort of incentive for using a trial.
At the conclusion of your cloth diaper trial, I don't recommend buying a full stash. Purchase enough diapers (10 to 12) to make using them manageable. Give it a little time to see if your preferences change, as well as your baby's needs. If you find your stash needs a little tweaking, you will have the experience from your trial to help guide you in future purchases.
You can find a Cloth Diaper Trials Database on The Inquisitive Mom Blog. I update this as I discover new trial opportunities.
About Mindy Farmer, The Inquisitive Mom
I'm a gal from the Pacific Northwest, living in the Midwest, mom of 3, writer, optimist, striving to be eco-conscious and hoping to defy stereotypes. Visit me on my blog The Inquisitive Mom and you'll find musings on motherhood and life, mixed with enthusiastic cloth diaper posts, eco-friendly living ideas, as well as reviews and giveaways.