cloth diapering for four years. Four years of fluff and experimenting with laundry soap. I can proudly say that by this time, we have a routine, a favorite diaper and all of the stress and confusion of diapering has long since faded away.
I remember that when I made a decision to use cloth, I did a little research and was immediately flooded with information and options. Some people swore by prefolds because they were the cheapest. Some people said that All-In-Ones were the best option because they were lower maintenance, even if they took longer to dry than Pockets. Some mamas swore by Country Save Detergent and some of them used,Tide-gasp! My head was swimming and I felt like maybe I wasn't smart enough to cloth diaper. There were just too many options and opinions to make a real decision about how to go about keeping my baby clean and dry.
In the end, I purchased an enormous stash of every kind of diaper imaginable. I stressed about washing them in the right detergent at the right temperature and whether to line or machine dry. I was thrown into a panic when my daughter woke up one morning with ammonia stinkies. "Oh god!" I thought. "Not the dreaded ammonia stinkies!"
Over time, I have realized that all of my planning and stressing was totally pointless. I realized that everybody has different advice and swears by different diapers and detergent not because they want to confuse new mamas, but because there really are a number of combinations that work. After four years of cloth diapering experience, what works for us is a stash of mainly Fuzzibunz and bumGenius with a generous helping of prefolds, (which double as barf blankets for my insanely reflux-ey babies.)
Thirsties family and our covers have saved the day on more than one occasion. There are occassions where I wake up to realize that I put every single diaper I own into the wash to soak last night and then forgot about them. Occasions like when I totally forgot to pack the five diapers I assembled this morning for an all day trip to the zoo. I have been known to stick a couple of folded one-sies into a diaper cover, or one of my husband's old t-shirts. I have folded a receiving blanket and placed it into a cover, and you know what? All of these makeshift diapers worked just as well as my original stash of fancy assorted have to have it designer diapers. Even the one-sies stuffed into a Thirsties cover. We went for hours without a single leak.
While I prefer to snuggle my baby into a sized Fuzzibunz or a bumGenius One Size, I have also learned to relax about which brand and make of diaper I'm using. There is no ultimate diaper that is universally praised above all others, by all mamas. The best way to diaper is with an open mind and a willingness to try new things. The ammonia stinkies can always be fixed, (especially with the aid of Rockin' Green, in my opinion), the thirty-five dollar diapers still get pooped in, (not that the cuteness and softness aren't totally worth it), and you'll survive... even if all you have at your disposal are a hand towel and a pair of plastic pants. Don't be afraid to experiment and try not to get overwhelmed by options! Everybody eventually figures out what works best for them. Happy diapering!
BIO: Amanda is a mommy to two amazing girls. She lives in Pittsburgh where she can be found either biking or baking, depending on the weather. She blogs, often and with enthusiasm, at http://www.demandablueblog.blogspot.com.