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Thoughts on Sharing Cloth Diapers

Posted by Becca on 9/5/2011 to Frugal Cloth Diapering

There is an African song/saying that says, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”  I don’t think that phrase applies only to Africa, it seems to take on its own meaning here in the States too.  I feel that when it comes to getting all the things that we need for our babies,  the communities we live in really chip in.  I’ve heard things like, “Don’t buy baby clothes, I have a ton that my little one has outgrown.” Or “Wait, before you buy a crib and come check mine out first.  We’re not going to have any more children so we don’t need it.

The things that we don’t get as hand-me-downs often come in the form of shower gifts.  The idea is that the expectant couple need not buy a thing thanks to their family, church, and friends helping out.  What’s best is not the gifts you get, but the experience that comes with them.  “Becca, I got you this placemat because it’s wonderful for going to restaurants.  Sticks right to the table, can’t be thrown around the room and it wipes off!”  I would have never thought of that.  Or, “You won’t need them yet, but my daughter loved these sippy cups.  Maybe you’ll find them useful when your daughter is a toddler.”   Whether things are given to us to keep, or passed back and forth between families, it’s really nice to have that financial support when it comes to getting the things our children need.  So, I thought, “Why not do this with cloth diapers?”  Why not practice the hand-me-down and pass around tactics we use with other baby items

A friend of mine is pregnant.  In about a month, she will have her second child.  With lots of cloth diapering experience she knows what she will need as far as newborn cloth diapering goes.  She has a little stash that she accumulated with her first, and throughout the pregnancy she’s found some great deals on a few more newborn cloth diapers that she will be adding to that stash.  I’m not pregnant, but I hope to have lots more kids soon so I, likewise, jumped on a couple of great deals found on some newborn diapers.  Between the two of use we got about 20 newborn diapers for less money than you’d ever believe.

So it occurred to me: what if I sent her my newborn diapers to use for her newborn, and so she can have all 20 at one time?  Then, when her baby is done with them, and God blesses me to get pregnant again, she can send them back my way?  It certainly makes more sense than the both of us having two, FULL stashes of newborn diapers that may only be used once.   I mean, I hear lots of parents complain about how expensive a single cloth diapers is up front (of course, that’s because they don’t think about it in terms of the long run), so if you have other parents around you who use cloth diapers, why not make your own co-op?  Take turns using them?  It certainly seems to make sense to me.

Of course, if all parents used cloth diapers, that  would be a no brainer.  Along with the hand-me-down toys, clothes, and baby furniture, you’d definitely get some cloth diapers.  But since cloth isn’t as mainstream as it should be, you have to be intentional about your hand-me-downs.  It can start with you…find someone who doesn’t use cloth diapers but would like to—someone who will really  use them and not let them gather dust on a shelf, and offer to trade them off between kids.  You could even go in together on a new stash and then just share.  Or use the internet.  Freecycle and different mommy forums like Babycenter are a great place to start when it comes to meeting other moms who use cloth.  See who has hand-me-downs that they want to get rid of or sell for a very low price.

The thing is, even if you get all 24 pocket diapers brand-new, for full price, they’re still cheaper than disposables when you take into account as many diaper changes as one pocket will go through.  It’s hard to see that upfront, but if you look at the long term benefits, it’s undeniable.  But we could all use as much help as we can get! So before you buy that stash, check out the resources you have around you and see if you can do some sharing.