Are you thinking about cloth diapering?
I spent quite a few months using cloth. I didn’t stick with it long term, because I started a blog and didn’t have the time. But, it was a great thing to do.
Cloth diapering can be confusing though. Which is why I’ve started this series:
10 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Starting Cloth Diapering (you are here)
How to Choose the Right Cloth Diapers for You (coming soon)
Here are 10 questions you need to ask yourself before you commit to cloth diapering:
Note: this blog post probably contains affiliate links, which means we may receive small commissions from purchases made through links in this post (at NO extra cost to you). You can read our full disclosure for more information.
1. When Do You Want to Start Using Cloth?
You can start using cloth diapers from birth, if you want. However, many moms wait until after the first poo (meconium) is over as it’s much harder to clean out of the diapers because it’s so tarry and sticky.
Another thing that might stop you starting cloth straight away is sizing. Cloth diapers are all sized and shaped differently. You might find that your little one has legs that are too skinny for the cloth diapers you’ve got and you have to wait until she grows into them.
2. How Often Are You Prepared To Do the Laundry?
While you can leave your cloth diapers for several days, do you want to? (They get stinkier as time goes on, and if you leave them too long it’s possible for mold to grow on them – yuck!)
Every two to three days is a good rule of thumb for cloth diaper laundry.
Don’t forget to grab a diaper sprayer attachment for your toilet (serious time and effort saver)!
3. How Well Do You Know Your Washing Machine?
You don’t want your diapers coming out of the wash not fully clean. It’s super important to know exactly what settings to use to get a good clean every time.
I mentioned in the first post in this series that I was thoroughly clueless about my washing machine. I needed the fantastically helpful people in this clean cloth nappies Facebook group to teach me how to wash my diapers properly.
4. How Are You Going To Get Your Diapers Dry?
This is a serious consideration – especially in winter, and in colder climates. Using a dryer is fine for the absorbent inserts of your diapers (and keeps them nice and fluffy), but it’s rather hard on the waterproof cover, elastics, and snaps.
If you’re using pocket diapers, you can just separate the two – send the absorbent layers through the dryer and hang the waterproof cover on a drying rack.
If you’re using All-In-Ones, check with the manufacturer for instructions. Some will say they are ok for hot drying, others might need to be dried on a cooler setting.
5. Are You Able to Deal With Poop?
Some people are born with an iron stomach. Others are more delicate. This doesn’t really change when you become a mom.
One of my friends just could not deal with poop. So, she stuck with disposables.
The worst parts of cloth diapering (for me) were scraping/rinsing the poop off the diaper, rinsing poopy cloth wipes and emptying the dry pail into the washing machine (I have a front loader so this might be a non-issue for you if you have a top loader).
6. Are You Prepared To Work On Finding The Right Fit?
Cloth diapers don’t all fit the same. Babies come in so many different shapes and sizes that what fits one perfectly, will suffer from blowouts and leaks on another baby.
It makes it a bit difficult to work out what brands and how many diapers you should get.
The best way to do it is to buy small batches or single diapers from different brands. You could try a hire service (if there’s one near you). Or even purchase them secondhand.
Once you’ve found the right fit, you can stock up then!
7. Will You Cloth Diaper At Night?
Cloth diapering at night can be a challenge. The extended time in the diaper can mean leaks and/or wicking through to the baby’s clothes or bedding.
If you’ve got a heavy wetter, that just makes things even more challenging.
But, there are solutions.
You can get special, extra-absorbent diapers for night use. And if you need even more absorbency, you can add extra liners into the nappy and even add a woollen soaker to cover.
Sometimes it takes a while to find the solution. I found it easier to just use disposable diapers at night.
8. Will You Need to Get Snap Extenders for Your Baby’s Body Suits?
Cloth diapers are quite bulky – though some brands are more so than others. You might find that your baby’s snap-crotch one-piece undershirts don’t snap so easily.
Luckily, there’s a solution – Body Suit Extenders! It’s just an extra piece of fabric with snaps to bridge the gap. You can get them on Amazon but you might want to take a close look at the reviews first to make sure they’ll work with your brands.
And just as a side note, you might also need to go up a size in pants.
9. Will You Cloth Diaper When Out?
It took me a long time to build up the confidence to go cloth, out of the house. I was extremely worried about leaks and also the fact that you’ve got to carry the diaper home with you. You can’t just bin it like you can a disposable.
Which means, if baby poops, you need to carry home a poopy diaper. Most cloth diaper brands sell wet bags you can use to store your diapers in your diaper bag. But, I didn’t get one with mine and just used plastic – it worked out ok!
10. Will You Use Cloth Swimming Diapers?
Disposable wimming diapers are expensive! Using a cloth swimming diaper is definitely something I recommend doing.
Budget and environmentally friendly, swimming diapers are designed to keep solids in without absorbing liquids that will weigh your baby down.
That’s a Wrap
There’s a lot of thought that goes into cloth diapering. I hope that these questions help you navigate your cloth diaper journey!
Over to you – were there any points you’d add to this list for new cloth diapering moms?