I've spent many many moons researching cloth diapers - Figuring out what I should buy, who to purchase from, what size to start with, grappling with my dedication to attempt this endeavor. And about two weeks ago I took the plunge and dumped some moolah into starting a cloth diaper stash. $140 to be exact. (You can see my purchase here.) And I bought all infant sizes because after looking at the handy photos on the website - I realized there was no way Hubs would be excited about big-booty-baby in the one-size type diapers. My hope is that the smaller size starter stash will get me through maternity leave and then we can try something.
The way I figure - if this all goes awry... as long as we can use them for 8 weeks we will get our $ back out of them and I can put them up on Diaper Swappers to see if I can recoup any money (can't do that with disposables, now can you?).
Starting Cloth Diapering: Obstacle #1 - Prepping the Dang Things
The cloth diaper package arrived in the mail with instructions. A handy dandy leaflet stocked full of overwhelming info. First Step: Prepping. Which means washing the cloth diapers a few times to acheive desired absorbency. BUT WAIT! It's not that simple....
What kind of detergent do you use? Apparently you are going to kill your baby if you wash the diapers in something from a regular grocery store.... not really - but online vendors lead you to believe that you are ruining all that is holy in cloth diapering by not using special, by-order only detergents. Yes Sir-ee. We need organic, residue free, no fragrance, no whiteners, no brighteners, low enzyme detergent. HOLY MOLEY.
I almost put everything back in the box and shipped it back to the company. No lie. I was so defeated by all the information, even after doing some internet searching. There is just waaaay to much to consider and I can't be a stay-at-home mom, so maybe I've made a mistake and I'll be done before I start. Good idea, right?
Luckily - I am more determined than that. Anal cloth-diaper advocates BEWARE. I read some forums, talked with a friend... and happily settled on using Tide Free. You read right, I didn't pay shipping for a 50 gallon bucket of organic wash. I did what other moms are doing and trying something simple first. Besides, I tried to use some organic body lotions and washes during pregnancy and they made my skin terrible - so maybe there is an allergy there. And my baby won't be fighting that too, which is a potential plus! If this doesn't work out, then the local Food Lion carries 1 organic brand that I may give a whirl.
(Call me a horrible mom if you want, a black-sheep of cloth diapering if you must... but if you want me to succeed, at least make it seems like I can. Cost effectiveness people. If you want others to follow your lead.... make it user-friendly!)
So, 3 Hot washes and 6 tablespoons of Tide Free later, we are washed and tucked away for Peanut's arrival. YEAH! I just alternated clothes loads and diaper loads until prepping was done. No big deal. All fluffy and ready-to-catch-some-poop. Obstacle averted (I hope). (And yes, you read right 6 tablespoons. you only need to use about 1/4 the recommended laundry detergent for cloth diapers. Good to know). I'll update on the success of this detergent in a few weeks.
Bottom line -
Lesson 1 in Cloth Diapering - Prepping: Prepping diapers was not a big deal once I got past the detergent dilemma. Really. Nothing to it. Just make an educated decision that is best for your family. The internets can be both an intimidator and a friend. If you are cloth-diapering to do something good for your baby and your wallet (more so than the environment, though that is an added bonus) then don't let the super-crunchy moms deter you. They are well-intentioned good mothers; however, detergent choices can be convenient and accomplished while shopping for your typical household items. One obstacle down, bring it on....