Five Things You Didn’t Know About Cloth Diapering

I covered MommyCon Chicago as a journalist back in February, which is a boutique style conference on modern and natural parenting. I was all about the babywearing and breastfeeding, but had no interest in cloth diapering. I didn’t know anything about cloth diapering other than the fact that I’m terrible at laundry and poopy diapers were not something I wanted to add to my always overflowing hamper. But as a journalist, I approached the notion of cloth diapering with an open mind. I attended the Cloth Diaper 101 seminar and even bought a few pairs of AppleCheeks diapers to test out.

There’s a huge learning curve to cloth diapering and it was a bit intimidating at first. It’s definitely not mainstream (i.e., not something you’d find on a starter registry at Babies R Us or Target) so if you want to learn about it, then you have to seek the information on your own. So far, I’m pretty impressed by the cloth diapering community and I’m jumping on the bandwagon of the #makeclothdiaperingmainstreamchallenge campaign.

Here are five surprising things that you didn’t know about cloth diapering that I’d like to share with you:
5 things You Didn't Know About Cloth Diapering

1. Cloth diapers can save you a crapload!

I’m a numbers gal and this is what caught my attention:

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Credit: Green Child Magazine

I never realized that I was literally throwing money in the garbage with the amount of money spent on disposables throughout my baby’s lifetime in diapers. The initial investment to build up a stash of cloth diapers is hard to swallow, but after reusing them and possibly selling them (more on that later), I learned that it’s money well spent.

I’d also like to add that cloth diapering is good for the environment, but we already knew that. That’s the first thing that popped into my head when I thought about cloth diapering. However, if the cloth diapering advocates campaigned on this money saving statistic alone, I think more parents would consider using cloth diapers instead of disposables.

2. Cloth diapers are collectables

They say that you need approximately 24 cloth diapers to go full-time and ditch the disposables. At that point, you’ve built yourself a decent “stash” and when you no longer need to purchase more cloth diapers, then you are considered “stashified.” You see, the cloth diapering community has its own set of vocabulary and behaviors. One of the most surprising behaviors that I discovered was that people collect, buy, sell, and trade cloth diapers.

It’s kind of like how Beanie Babies were back in the 90s, or how Jordans are for the sneakerheads – except babies poop in these commodities and they still hold their value. There are Facebook groups for cloth diapering support and on Saturdays, some mommas proudly display their collection and call it “Saturday Stash Shot” or “SSS”:

SSSSpecial shout-out to my Peace.Love.AppleCheeks mommas who shared their awesome stash shots with us from top left, clockwise: Ashley S., Melissa F., Jessica M., Alicia R., Natalie H.

At first, I thought it was a little cray, but now I see stash shots and I’m completely mesmerized like, “Oooh! So pretty, look at all that fluff! Must…buy…more….diapers!”

So back to the money part – because just like the wise Snoop Dogg, “I’ve got my mind on my money, and my money on my mind.” Here’s an example: You can buy a diaper for $20 at retail value. Your baby can poop in it many, many times then you can sell it USED for $17 if it is in good condition. (If it’s a limited edition diaper, you can may even make a profit from selling it.) So if you buy 24 diapers and sell them once your child is done potty training, then your total cost of diapering was $72. I’m no math genius, but that sure does beat $1400 spent on disposable diapers, or “sposies” as the cloth diapering community calls them.

3. Laundry is not a problem. I repeat, laundry is not a problem.

Laundry is my kryptonite, so I’m inclined to avoid anything that would result in MORE laundry. To my pleasant surprise, it’s really just one extra load of laundry! I can handle that. Once you figure out a wash routine that works for you, then it’s pretty easy. It basically goes like this:

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Credit: The Cloth Diaper Experiment

As for the yuck factor – exclusively breastfed baby poop is 100% soluble so I don’t have to prewash or scrape off poop before throwing it in the laundry. My baby has not started on solids yet, so we can revisit this topic when that happens.

4. It’s YOUR baby’s butt, so you diaper it how you see fit.

Your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, your cousins, and your friends will all have their opinions on cloth diapering. The beauty of it is, it’s YOUR choice and you can customize your cloth diapering experience based on what works best for you and your baby. For example, it doesn’t have to be a 100% all or nothing experience – my husband still insists on using disposables when we go out or at nighttime, but I use cloth any chance I get when we’re at home.

You can also choose what type of cloth diaper you want on your baby’s bum. There are different types of brands, covers, inserts, materials, patterns. The possibilities are endless – that’s also where it can become overwhelming. I found that I love AppleCheeks diaper covers and their bamboo inserts (more on that later…and maybe even a giveaway!) so I’m building my stash that brand alone.

5. They are so darn cute

I can’t even stand the cuteness factor of Alyssa’s fluff butt. I’m looking forward for summer so I can have her in dresses and her adorable diapers. Ruffles? Yes, please! So I’ll just leave this here:

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I hope you learned a thing or two about cloth diapering, or at least opened your mind a bit on the #makeclothmainstreamchallenge. Here are some other helpful groups on Facebook filled with experts and lots of great parents who are happy to help you learn more about cloth diapering:

  • The Cloth Diaper Experiment Facebook Group
  • Fluff Love and CD Science
  • Peace. Love. AppleCheeks.
  • Have you tried cloth diapers? What surprised you the most about cloth diapering?

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    Comments

    1. I love this, even though I don’t even have my own baby yet! :) I’m super into the idea of cloth diapering and hope to do it if/when I have kids. Alyssa *is* super cute in those diapers! Thanks for sharing this, I love that something so environmentally friendly is becoming more mainstream.
      Christy@SweetandSavoring recently posted…Animals of Emilia Romagna, ItalyMy Profile

      • Thanks, Christy! I really wish I knew about cloth diapering with my first two babies. Saving the environment is great, but saving money is even better!

    2. They are really cute. I love when clients dress their babies in cloth diapers for photo shoots. It’s so cute and fashionable on its own. And you have to love that they’re collectibles!
      Western MA is so cloth diaper friendly. We even have more than one business that launders them and delivers them.
      Tamara recently posted…How I Got My Groove Back.My Profile

    3. I giggled at your first point – they can save you a crapload! 😉 I didn’t know anyone who was using cloth diapers a decade ago, but now they seem to be gaining popularity. And you’re right – they are adorable!
      Dana recently posted…Like she didMy Profile

      • Cloth diapering didn’t even cross my mind 6 years ago when I had Arielle. I’m definitely seeing it more often now. I wish I knew about it sooner!

    4. Amazing stash of cloth diapers! Love the colors. And yes, I did learn so much from this post. I’ve used disposables of course for Reiko because I hated doing the laundry and I’m sure I’ve thrown away so much money out there. Geez.
      Rea recently posted…15 Things To Think About When BloggingMy Profile

    5. I mosdef learned some new things here today. Cloth diapers have improved immensely from even when my youngest was in diapers. Kudos to you, mama!
      OXOXO
      Mrs. AOK recently posted…Mommy Monday {94}My Profile

    6. I never knew people collected cloth diapers!
      Akaleistar recently posted…Librarian ChicMy Profile

    7. we cloth diapered our second from birth (and our first during potty training) and you’re right, there’s a huge learning curve (i have several posts on it!).. I think our cloth diaper costs came up to a little over $1k in the end, but I may have gotten a little obsessive about trying them all at one point or another! The good thing is they resell well, so you get a good chunk of your money back! :-)
      Roaen recently posted…Road Trip To RioMy Profile

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