One can argue, for the expectant mother, that turning immediately to disposable diapers is immediate because it's thrust upon them from the start. While one might find cloth diapers in specialty baby stores and online, disposables are stacked everywhere at Target and grocery stores and convenient markets, and in the hospital your baby is likely dressed in a disposable cut for newborns. They are the first thing a new mom sees, so by that logic it's what they use. Is it possible to make a smooth transition to cloth without tearing out your hair and giving up when the going gets rough, and messy?
In short, it is possible. When you think of the myriad of other products you use in life, you will realize you have switched brands and models in the past. Those of us who once used VHS video recorders, for example, probably had no trouble making the move to DVD or Blu-Ray. Of course, you'll ask what this has to do with diapers, since it's a different situation. The point is, with patience and a willingness to embrace the benefits cloth diapering gives your family, you can make the change and wonder why you didn't start with cloth altogether.
If you have never before used a cloth diaper, however, the transition from disposables is something best done slowly. Choose a period of time when you have no travel plans or appointments, and can stay home and become accustomed to using them. Remember, too, this is a change for your baby, so be mindful of any reaction he has to wearing one. Have a proper diaper pail or wet bag at the ready, and enough diapers and inserts to get through the day so you don't run out. Try not to switch back if possible, and chart your progress.
When you have enough soiled diapers for a laundry load, wash them and prepare for the next round. Special detergents that won't irritate are available for cleaning covers and inserts, and for especially messy diapers you can rinse them in the commode before adding to the washer.
After a few days getting accustomed to your cloth diapers, test using them outside the home. Plan a play day at a nearby park or other venue and bring along enough diapers for the trip. Travel wet bags can hold the soiled cloth without leaking odors. Once home, take the wet bag to your diaper pail to await the next wash.
Expect the occasional mishap, but don't get discouraged. You'll come to find cloth diapers are a viable alternative for keeping your baby dry and happy, and in the long run you'll save money by reducing trips to the store to buy more disposables.
<em>Kathy Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on <a href="http://www.diaperjunction.com/" target="_new">cloth diapers</a> and <a href="../" target="_new">green parenting tips</a>.</em>