I will be perfectly honest - I didn't always want to use cloth diapers. In fact, for the first few months of my pregnancy, I was adamantly opposed to the idea. I wanted fast, I wanted easy, I wanted simple.
It wasn't that I hated the earth or wanted my baby to get lots of diaper rash, I was just really, really overwhelmed. I was expecting my first child and I knew that soon after my son's birth (9 weeks, to be exact) I would return to work full-time.
To top things off, I also faced parenthood alone. I don't think anyone could blame me for not wanting to create more work for myself!
The more I read, the more I got hooked!I don't remember quite when I started looking into cloth diapering; sometime around month 5 or 6 of my pregnancy, I think. The more I read, the more I got hooked. Before I knew it, I was adamant that I would be using cloth diapers - and that I would love it!
Despite the myriad of challenges that single motherhood would bring, I had learned enough from my research to understand just how heavily the benefits of cloth diapering my son outweighed the potential work it might create.
How to Make Cloth Work for Your FamilyNow, 9 months into the thick of it, I'm happy to report that I still love cloth diapering - so I'm here to give other single or working or just plain busy parents some advice and encouragement on how to make cloth work for your family.
- Find a system that works for you: I started my cloth diaper journey with gDiapers. It's often said that g's are the "gateway drug" to cloth diapering because they offer a hybrid option. The biodegradable inserts seemed less daunting to me than cloth and that was how I got hooked. Now, I use a combination of Thirsties AIO pockets, gDiapers, GroVia, and bamboo fitteds with fleece or wool diaper covers. The Thirsties go to daycare, the gDiapers are used with biodegradable inserts when traveling, and the rest are for at home. I have several options and choices, which is exactly what I like. Some people might want one single type of diaper, which is totally fine too! The point is to find something that works well for you.
- Give yourself a cushion: Lots of cloth diapering sites suggest 24 or so cloth diapers, which would allow you to do laundry every other day. I don't know about you, but I don't have time to do laundry every other day! At least not diaper laundry every other day, that is. I've found that having more diapers leaves me the freedom to go 3 or 4 days between washes, which means I'm not staying up late every other night waiting for my dipes to come out of the dryer. Yes, this also means that I've invested a little bit more money in my stash. It is absolutely worth it to me to cut down on my stress level and I'm still saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in the long run.
- Establish a laundry routine: I've developed a laundry system that works really well for me. After I get home from work, while dinner is on the stove or in the oven, I throw a load of diapers in the washer with no detergent and run a regular cold load. Sometime later in the evening, I run another load on hot, this time with detergent. Then right before I go to bed, I toss them all in the dryer (I live in Oregon - there's not a lot of sun around here in the winter!). The next morning or evening, depending on when I have time, I get them out of the dryer and fold them. Since I have enough diapers to last 3-4 days, I only have to go through my washing routine on Sunday and Wednesday nights.
- Make daycare easy: As I mentioned earlier, I send Thirsties AIOs to daycare with my son. They are pre-stuffed, super easy, and nearly bulletproof, which means diapering is just as easy for my son's teachers as it is for me. Sometimes, teachers can be intimidated by cloth diapering, especially if they're not familiar with it. Because I made it as simple as possible, they have been much more accommodating and now really like the idea of using cloth. I send a zippered wetbag each morning and bring it home with me each night.
- Give yourself a break: parenting is hard enough without stressing out about your diapers. So if you're feeling overwhelmed one day or just sooo not into doing laundry, make it easy on yourself. I do this by using the biodegradable inserts in my gDiapers; another option is GroVia Biosoakers. Sometimes it saves my sanity to not have to worry about laundry for a weekend and just flush the inserts away.
When one of my co-workers heard I'd be using cloth diapers, she said, "I give you a month." Well, I'm proud to say that I've been using them for 9 months and I'm more hooked than ever. If you're a single and/or working parent thinking about taking the cloth-plunge, my best advice is to go for it! Read over the tips I've given and I promise it will be completely worth it.