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Cloth Diaper Tip Tuesday: Resolutions for the New Year

Posted by Becca on 1/1/2013 to Cloth Diaper How-To

Resolutions for the New Year

Its that time again! Time to discard the old calendar and turn over a clean page in a fresh new one. Time for new beginnings and clean starts. Time for New Year resolutions! Before I start though, I have a confession to make: I stopped making New Year resolutions years ago.

Why? Because often my resolutions have been huge changes I want to see in my life, things that involve grand paradigm shifts that I was never able to follow through with. For instance, I fully planned to read through my Bible in a year when I first made that resolution, and despite my good intentions, I lost momentum somewhere around July. There was also the year I meant to lose tons of weight, and I did lose it only to gain it all back again because I hadn't made a lifestyle change. But my aversion to the traditional New Year Resolutions doesn't mean Im not willing to change. It doesn't even mean I wont attempt to make those changes at the beginning of a calendar year it is an easy place to start after all. Ive just learned that rather than biting off huge pieces, rather than aiming for my end goal (which is usually larger than I can handle at one time), its been easier to take baby steps and to make little goals one after another in my quest towards a healthier, more organized, and more loving lifestyle. My family's journey to a healthy diet started with small things. I stopped buying prepackaged food. When I was used to that change, we moved on to eating mostly whole grains. From there, I gradually eliminated and added foods necessary until my family was eating a diet made almost entirely of homemade, whole-food meals. My journey away from disposable diapers was similar. In the first week or two of my daughters life we were family who used disposable diapers exclusively, and by the time my daughter was four months old, we rarely had to turn to paper diapers anymore.

If you desire to use cloth diapers, then the immediate goal of full-time cloth diapering might just be too much for you and your family to digest at one time. Instead, it might be more advisable to purposefully take baby steps towards that goal to accustom yourselves to a new type of lifestyle. My advice? Don't go out and buy your whole cloth stash all at once. Start small.

Try a couple of cloth diapers out for a time and see how well you handle the change. You may find that you love them so much that you'll never want to go back, or you may find that its necessary to use cloth diapers only part-time. Now, everyone should make the cloth diapering resolution in their own way, but here's how my family and I made the change.

  • 1. We built our stash gradually. For us, it wasn't the washing routine that was hard to handle right away, it was the one time expense of the kind of diapers we preferred that was a little jaw-dropping for our small budget. So we started with three bumGenius diapers, and a couple of boxes of disposables given to us at baby showers and used cloth diapers as much as we could, supplementing them with disposables when we ran out.

    Every week, Id use the part of our grocery budget that would have bought us paper diapers towards a couple new cloth diapers. I don't even remember when we stopped using throw-away diapers. I just realized one day that a month or two had gone by since Id needed one.
  • 2. We chose to begin cloth diapering in the home first before taking them out of the house with us. At first, trips to the mall or to church were just easier to do with disposables until we had figured out a cloth diapering routine. When we were ready, we took them with us here and there until we were finally comfortable to use them everywhere.
  • 3. We kept the disposables just in case. Honestly, we never did use all of the paper diapers that were given to us at our baby showers but it gave me piece of mind knowing that they were there in case I got behind on my wash. I knew that if I was out of commission for some reason, we were covered. All throughout my first child's diapering years, there was always a drawer full of them we never used them, granted, but having that drawer-full gave me peace of mind.
  • 4. Even when we became full-time cloth diaper users, my husband and I were always open and willing to change our diapering routine to make it more palatable to our schedule.

    Whether it was the washing routine, going from pocket diapers to flat diapers, or simply changing a hanging wet bag for a diaper pail, we found that our cloth diapering routine was constantly evolving.

And a couple more things we didn't try but saw friends of ours do:

  • 5. When the baby was at daycare or with a sitter, they sent paper diapers along. For some, this is so the caregiver will feel comfortable. For others its because some people just don't know how to use their cloth diapers.
  • 6. During stressful times in their lives (ie: sickness, a new baby), they went back to paper diapers for awhile.
To lessen the financial commitment you can also:

  • 7. Rent cloth diapers
  • 8. Buy them used at retailers or places like DiaperSwappers or BabyCenter.
  • 9. Borrow them/share them with a friend. My friend and I both invested in small stashes of newborn diapers that we share between the two of us. When her second baby was born, she used them all and when she was done with them she passed them onto me for use when Id need them. Now they're all packed away, washed and ready and waiting for my second little one to arrive. If she ever has a third, shell get them all back and vice versa.

Like any lifestyle shift, cloth diapering is most manageable when taken on gradually. As you resolve to use cloth diapers with your family, you'll eventually find yourself in one of three places:

  • 1. You love them and you'll never use a disposable again.
  • 2. You love them, but using them part-time works best for your family.
  • 3. You tried them and they just weren't for you.

Whatever you choose, its okay. You are the parents and you know what is best for your family no matter what others may say about it. You are the ones best suited to make the choices that will help your house run smoothly and your family to thrive. We all have our reasons to use cloth diapers financial reasons, matters of health, and of course the environment. Just make sure that when you resolve to make the switch, you don't get discouraged by a sudden change.

In my opinion, using cloth diapers full-time is easy, but I got to that point of view because I was able to take the time to get used to the idea and gradually work it into my household routine slowly.

So are you taking your time? Just getting started, part-time or full-time?