Motherhood is a blessing, but it also comes with its challenges. One of those challenges lies in adjusting to cloth diapers. Using cloth diapers is good for the environment and also for your wallet, but there is a bit of a learning curve. Here are six tips to help you master the art of cloth diapering.
1. Invest in a Travel Bag
You will have to change your baby's diaper while out in public from time to time, and you can't just toss a cloth diaper in the trash. The easiest way to take care of the diaper is to put it in a travel bag and take it home. Some moms call these bags "wet bags." They are lined with plastic and feature a thick, knit material on the outside. They zip tightly closed to keep the scent and mess contained. Some even come with scented inserts you can shove inside for better odor coverage.
2. Keep the dirty diapers in a bucket.
You are not going to feel like fully cleaning a cloth diaper every time your little one needs his or her diaper changed. An easier approach is to give the diaper a basic rinse, and then toss it in a bucket filled with disinfectant solution. (There are baby-safe solutions made just for this purpose, and some moms use white vinegar and water.) Every two or three days, you can drain the solution and wash an entire load of diapers in the washing machine. This also prevents you from having to wash diapers with your other clothes. You can wash a full load of diapers each time.
3. Use baby powder rather than creams.
If your little one needs a little help with diaper rash or staying dry, use baby powders rather than creams when possible. Creams tend to absorb into the cloth diapers, so they are not as effective. If your doctor ever recommends a cream for your baby and recommends against using a powder alternative, you may want to use disposable diapers just for a short period of time to ensure the cream is effective.
4. Buy more diapers than you think you need.
There will be times when you are so busy and tired that you just don't get to washing the diapers. There will be days when your baby goes through extra diapers, especially when he or she is learning to eat new foods. So buy more diapers than you think you need. If friends ask what you would like as a gift, tell them "cloth diapers." Keep your eyes out for sales so you can save money. Most moms find that they need at least 15 to 24 diapers.
5. Invest in cloth diaper training pants.
As your baby gets a little older, you may want to switch from traditional cloth diapers, which you wrap around your baby, to cloth diaper training pants, which you pull on and off like panties. These training pants are made from cloth and are fullly washable, but they are better suited to wiggly older babies and toddlers. Some have a waterproof outer covering on them so you don't have to use a separate plastic cover.
6. Be prepared to answer questions.
One of the toughest aspects of using cloth diapers is having to answer all the questions other moms may have about your choice. Cloth diapers are becoming more popular, but they are still unfamiliar to other mothers. Some moms may have false assumptions that cloth diapering is dirty or overly challenging. Take some time to come up with standard answers to the common questions you get, and don't let the questions stress you out. You are doing what you feel is best for your baby and your lifestyle, and other moms will do the same.