So you’re considering cloth diapering? Great news! Given that the average baby goes through 5,500 diapers from birth to potty, and that it’s estimated that one single disposable diaper takes around 500 years to decompose in landfill, there’s never been a better time to make the switch. Using cloth diapers isn’t hard, it’s just different to using disposables and requires a slightly changed mindset and a few new behaviour patterns.
Here’s a few tips to help you on your way:
Do your research but don’t get overwhelmed!
There are lots of different types of diapers and so many brands out there that choosing one particular diaper to go with can seem daunting. Do your research, and if possible, try to go to a local diaper meet up where you can speak to experts about your child to work out which type could be best (Are they on the skinny side? Are they in childcare, so could something simpler be better? Are they a heavy wetter?) and you can feel a few diapers in real life.
Start slowly then build up
Many parents opt against cloth diapers because of the initial financial required. Even though you do have to make a larger upfront payment as opposed to disposables, over time you’ll make financial savings (those smaller, monthly payments add up), especially if using for additional siblings or buying second hand (there’s an incredible second-hand diaper market). You also don’t have to buy a complete system in one go. In fact, I’d recommend building up gradually once you find a type/brand that works well. To get started for example, you could start with one night time nappy and five daytime nappies, wash daily and top up with a few disposables each day.
Learn to be OK with Icky things
There’s no doubt about it; cloth diapering is a bit icky. At times it will smell bad. Whilst there’s no need to handle diapers once they go in your diaper bin –mine go straight into the washing machine in the mesh bag, it’s still not quite the same as throwing a dirty diaper in the trash. You’ll get slightly up close and personal with your kid’s poop and you might even get it on you. So if you’re considering cloth diapering, be OK with getting your hands dirty. Sometimes even literally.
Find your own System
As with all baby-related things, there’s lots of accessories and extras from boosters to liners to special detergents. Cloth diapers really depend on how your home is set up and what your lifestyle is like – where is your washing machine in your home? Are you the sole carer for your child or are they in childcare too? You’ll work out the best system for you and your family – and take your time, there’s no rush
Embrace going against the grain
As much as it saddens me to say so, using cloth diapers isn’t the ‘norm’. Get used and learn to be OK with the questioning and even confusion or dissuasion from other friends/family – it’s time to embrace mothering a little differently and a whole lot more sustainably.
Good luck parents, you got this!
Emma Ross is a Londoner and mum to Jack and Sonny. Her blog space focuses on low waste living and parenting with a heavy dose of slowness and sustainably. The blog also explores eco-fashion, yoga, travel, cooking and more. Check out her blog: www.mamalina.co and follow her on Instagram @mamalinauk here.
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