Your little one is on the way, and you've decided to go cloth. Or maybe your little one is already here, and you are ready to switch from disposables to cloth. Perhaps you are undecided, and just want someone to help you sort the whole thing out. Maybe your baby's bum has been riddled with diaper rashes and you just don't know what else to do. Either way, congratulations on your decision!
I decided to use cloth diapers somewhere around conception. In fact, it never occurred to me to use disposables. I was a cloth diaper baby, and so was my brother, so why would I think of anything else? I hadn't even put much thought into the waste involved in disposables, but once I did....... was I shocked! You are doing the best thing for your baby and the planet, so again, congratulations!
In the beginning, I was a cloth diapering cave woman. I was living in the dark ages! I had NO IDEA how many options were out there. I was under the impression that I was going to use a prefold, some pins, and some plastic pants until my little one was potty learned. BOY WAS I WRONG!! This newer generation of cloth diapers is insanely versatile, cute, affordable and customizable. You don't even have to thread a pin with a shaky hand through a pile of cotton! I could go on about this, but instead, I'll give you my best advice for starting out.
Whether you have a newborn, or a 1-year old, I'll let you in on what I found that works, or what I wish I would have had out of the gate. The "tool kit". These are the items I recommend you get right away, to make your life easier so you won't become weary of cloth in the beginning. If you haven't had baby yet, get these items FIRST! Put them on your registry, set a side some cash, whatever you need to do to get these items in your household before baby arrives. These items may seem obvious, but if you haven't had a baby before, or you haven't cloth diapered before, you'll quickly learn why I state the obvious.
- A quality diaper pail. The last thing you want is a stinky house, or nursery. Be sure to get your self a DSQ (diaper service quality) diaper pail. They are easy to clean, with a big lid for tossing the diapers in, and contain smell better than cheaper models. Most have a little slot on the lid to place a citrus deoderizing disk, so you don't get a whiff of foul diapers each time you open the lid. This is the one I own. I love it. No stink, and it doesn't break the bank.
- A pail liner. This is for the simple fact that you don't want to toss the soiled diapers into an un-lined pail. You can get disposable liners, but it's easier in my opinion to get a washable liner. This way you can dump the whole mess in the washer and go. If you are like me, and have to walk to a laundry room, this is a necessity! There are plenty out there, but this is the one I use, and I love it. It fits perfectly into the pail I mentioned above. But there are many others that work just as well.
- Detergent. I suggest getting this ahead of time so you won't be left with a pile of stinky dirty diapers and nothing to clean them with, which will send you running to disposables without looking back. BE PREPARED!! Set yourself up for success by having your detergent on hand and ready to go. You might have to experiment to find the right one for you, so I suggest buying several different sample packs before committing to one brand. The type of detergent you use is detrimental to protecting your new investment.
- Prefolds. Unless you have a newborn over 10 lbs, or are starting cloth diapering later in the game, most of the diapers on the market marked as "one size" aren't going to work on your baby fresh out of the oven. I have NOT tried them *all*, but I can honestly say that a vast majority of what's out there won't fit your munchkin until probably the 2nd or 3rd month, depending on your baby's birth weight and shape. Prefolds are great for cleaning up messes, a rag for your shoulder, to protect bedding from accidents, the list goes on. I think everyone should have some prefolds weather they are cloth diapering or not. Don't buy cheap prefolds from the store, get yourself some DSQ prefolds. I would suggest getting at least 12 to start with. Preferably 24-30. The more you have, the more time you can go between washing. You'll have roughly 10-12 diapers a day with a newborn, plus diapers for wiping things up etc.....24-30 is your best bet to start out with.
- Snappi's. A snappi is a little device that replaces the need for pins. It secures a prefold without a new mommy having to worry about accidently sticking her precious newborn, or herself. This is a must-have item in my house! You only will need two to three in the beginning. Get more later if you like them.
- Wipes of course. If you are going to be using reusable wipes, I suggest getting at least 24 of those so you don't run out and have nothing to wipe with during that first day. Remember, the more you have, the longer you can go between washing. If you are using disposable wipes, go ahead and get quite a few extra packages so you won't find yourself with no wipes at that 3:00 am feeding!
- Baby Powder. Sounds simple right? Well, for the most part it is. Just look for a baby powder that's cornstarch based, not talc based. There's nothing wrong with talc, but cornstarch is silkier and softer, and some babies are sensitive to talc. As fun as it is, try and stay away from scented powders, they may irritate sensitive skin. Baby powder is a great way to keep baby's bum from chaffing regardless of what type of diaper you choose.
- A small wet bag for outings. So now that you've decided to cloth diaper, you can't just throw away your soiled diaper after diaper changes on the go! Get yourself a wet bag for your diaper bag, and you'll be good to go. Planet Wise makes a great wet bag for carrying around soiled diapers. They pretty much keep in the stink so you won't offend anyone else and they contain the moisture so it won't get on everything in your diaper bag. These are actually great to have weather you use cloth diapers or not. They can carry swimming suits, dirty shoes, gym clothes, whatever! They are washable and re-usable and aid in cutting down waste. I love these bags! So that's about it. That's all you will REALLY need to get started. Everything else after that is either luxury, or can wait until a later date. By having these items on hand and ready to go before you begin cloth diapering, you will have a better chance for success and will be less likely to run crying to disposables out of frustration.