Experience is the best teacher: Try cloth part time
If you're considering cloth diapering, it can be an overwhelming experience. Research leaves you up to your eyeballs in stress. What do I choose? What if this doesn't work?
While I was pregnant with my first daughter, I emerged bleary eyed from my computer numerous times after hours of reading. Finally, after she was born we decided to get the very cheapest option we thought would be good and if we were out the $75 (the minimum for free shipping I believe), then well, we'd done more damage to our bank accounts on take out while I was pregnant. So hey, at least this is a better expenditure than pizza, right?
Armed with a dozen prefolds, a contour, a fitted and a half a dozen small diaper covers, we set out on our cloth adventure. We found a medium sized plastic container and used it for dirty diapers. We rinsed covers in the sink and let them air dry over a shower bar between uses, and washed as soon as all the diapers were dirty, about every 2 days with 14 diapers, so we could have them fresh for the next day. Because I was recovering from a really hard labor and emergency surgery plus a reluctant nurser which led to pumping, we decided that just part time was good enough to start with, and it was a really good decision, because it kept us from being overwhelmed. It just so happened that part time that we chose was basically from the 2nd diaper of the day (because I could barely keep my eyes open first thing in the morning) until about dinner time. This meant that I got a LOT of the experience myself and my husband ended up with disposable duty. Perhaps this was the most genius thing of all, because he could not STAND the smell of disposables. He really started pushing for us to use cloth full time. We liked the fluffy bottom and not having to 'pay' for those hours of the day.
In order to save money, we had been buying disposables in huge boxes online, and I ended up with some sort of credit where I bought a one size bumGenius pocket diaper. After that, it was all over. Changing that diaper was super simple and we were thrilled with how easy it seemed after a few weeks even to do the 'tricky' prefolds which got less tricky every day. It turns out that just like every part of parenting, diapering has a learning curve. We learned that using cloth diapers is not as hard as it seems, that we actually preferred full time instead of part-time cloth diapering, because it was actually EASIER just to throw them in the wash than go buy more. Think about it, would you want to buy new clothes for yourself every single week and just throw them away instead of wash them... of course not!
We also had less baby laundry because there were no explosions with cloth like there were with every single disposable diaper option we tried. We were washing them as soon as they all got dirty and then dreading using the disposables and that's when we decided to go with cloth full time, and gave our baby diapers as Christmas and Easter presents! Cloth diapering has probably been one of the best decisions we've made, and I highly recommend that if you're even considering it, that you give it a shot part-time. After all, one change a day is one less disposable in the landfill, one less quarter out of your pocket when baby poos through four in a matter of 5 minutes! When my 2nd child came along, and did the poo-through-4 I just laughed and tickled her, instead of being frustrated, because I knew the diapers were paying for themselves!
Jill is a stay at home mom to 2 daughters, ages 4 and 1. She and her husband enjoy life in the country 'just this side of crunchy' and without bubble wrap. Follow their adventures at http://www.