My sister in law is currently pregnant with her first baby, due in April 2010. Thankfully, she has shown interest in cloth diapering her baby, so that has gotten me thinking about advice I could share with her. I know she is interested in cloth diapering not only to protect the environment, but also to save money. I know there are probably a lot of other mom’s in the same situation, so I thought I’d share some of the ideas I’ve come up with. I remember all too well how overwhelmed I felt when I began researching cloth diapering, so hopefully I can help make some of the decisions a little easier by sharing a few options for the mom who is just beginning the journey into cloth diapering.
If saving money is your main motivation to cloth diaper, the cheapest route, hands down, would be "flats" and several diaper covers. There are a variety of ways to fold a flat diaper, and they can easily be used from newborn to toddler. For just $17.95/dozen for birdseye flats (less if you buy 3 packages or more), you can get easily cloth diaper for under $100 with flats and diaper covers. Flat diapers are easy to wash, quick to dry and take up very little room in on the changing table. For those of you who are afraid of using diaper pins around the baby, you can purchase a few Snappi's. Snappi's are a flexible diaper fastener which replace the need for scary pints and hold the diaper on just as well!
The next step up would be prefolds. Prefolds are similar to flats, in that you need fasten the diaper onto baby, however, much the majority of the "folding" has been done for you and they are sewn in such a way that the center panel has several layers for optimal absorption. Like the flat diaper, you must then use a waterproof cover over the diaper to keep babies clothing dry.
For moms who are able and/or willing to spend a little more money on a diaper stash, the all-in-one and pocket diapers are simply wonderful. They are literally just as easy to use as disposables and are the most daddy/babysitter/daycare friendly cloth diapers available. The majority of my stash is made up of pocket diapers and honestly, I’m just as happy with the $14.95 Smartipants One Size pocket diaper as I am with the $33 Blueberry Bamboo Minky One Size diaper. I jokingly compare it to shopping for a purse. I know several people who think nothing of dropping $300 on a designer purse, but does it really do anything my $30 purse can’t?
Two of the newest diapering systems I’ve looked at also are worth mentioning for the mom who is looking for a budget friendly cloth diapering option… Econobum and Flip. Both products are offered by the same manufacturer of the ever popular bumGenius diapers. While I don’t need to add a new diapering system to my cloth diaper routine, they look like a wonderful way to get started without breaking the bank. When it’s all said and done, you can get started with a nice cloth diaper stash spending as little as $100 and working up to several hundred dollars. If you are looking to begin cloth diapering and have a limited budget, I would suggest purchasing several pocket diapers for on-the-go (my personal favorites are the Smartipants and bumGenius One Size pocket diapers), a dozen flats and a dozen prefolds (or more), and 4-5 waterproof covers (my personal favorites are the Blueberry One Size Coveralls and Thirsties). Additionally, I would suggest a few Superdo inserts for overnight, as well as a few hemp inserts for extra absorbency when needed.
If you want to cloth diaper, there really is a system out there for every family and every budget.
-- By Katrina W.