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Cloth Diapering 101: Everything You Need To Know

Cloth diapering has evolved over the last few decades. The days of simple pieces of cloth secured by pins are long gone. During the course of my cloth diaper advocacy, I have found that Black parents have some skepticism when it comes to the entire process. From ease-of-use to amount of money and time invested, cloth diapers can be a very beneficial diapering option. There is no doubt that using cloth diapers has quite a few perks- like  lessening your carbon footprint on the Earth, eliminating the revolving costs associated with diapering one or multiple children, and having the peace of mind to know exactly what’s going on your baby’s most gentle skin.  

The beauty of cloth diapering is the ability to mold your cloth diaper experience to the very specific needs of you, your child, and your family or lifestyle.

It may come  as a shock to many parents that disposable diapers are wreaking havoc on our atmosphere. Disposable diapers take up to 500 years to begin to decompose. Many parents are also unaware of the chemical properties that make disposable diapers absorbent.  There are chemicals and materials used in disposable diapers that have been deemed unsafe for sanitary products like tampons and pads.  Another amazing aspect of cloth diapering is saving money. Depending on your financial ability, you can invest $100 or a few hundred dollars on cloth diapers in comparison to the thousands of dollars spent on disposables that can only be used one time with one child. With cloth diapers, you are investing money into a reusable product. Cloth diapers can be used to diaper multiple children over the course of time or even at the same time with proper maintenance.

Where do I start? 

The most convenient cloth diapering system is an All-In-One system.  An All-In-One system doesn’t require additional pieces added or taken away and it most closely mimics a disposable diaper.

 The least expensive system is the Cover and Pre-Fold system. This system requires at least two pieces: the cloth portion and the reusable diaper cover. What goes under the diaper cover can be something as simple as a receiving blanket. This is the most convenient system for parents who will be hand washing their cloth diapers.

There are more expensive systems and the price of cloth diapers are dependent on the brand  and the materials that the diaper is made of.  Cloth diapers that offer an all natural option, like organic cotton, are going to be a little more expensive than diapers that use synthetic fibers.

Maintenance

Cloth diaper maintenance is not as hard as some people make it sound.  When your baby poops and pees on cloth diapers, dispose of the poop by using a spatula, diaper sprayer, or the Dunk and Swish method- dunk the diaper in the toilet and swish it around until the fecal matter is removed. After ridding the cloth diaper of the waste, you then store the soiled diaper in a receptacle. I suggest getting a wet bag that has a waterproof lining. Air should circulate through your soiled diapers until you wash them to reduce the smell.

A good cloth diaper wash routine consists of three major points:

  1.  The correct amount of diapers or articles of clothing in order to get good agitation
  2.  Washing long enough to get your diapers clean
  3. Using a good detergent.

 Pre-wash your cloth diapers in order to get the initial waste out, then do a main wash. If you don’t have enough cloth diapers to have a good size load, you can add additional articles of clothing. It is perfect to add small hand towels, toddler clothing, or infant clothing. The only style of cloth diaper that I do not suggest putting into the dryer is a diaper cover. Parents who do not have access to a washer and dryer in their home also have options. You can wash your cloth diapers at a laundromat facility or you can hand wash your cloth diapers at home. There are very adaptable methods for hand-washing including the plunger method. You use a bucket and a plunger. The plunger mimics the agitation in a washing machine. Hand washing is an extremely effective way of maintaining your cloth diapers when done correctly.

Common Hurdles

Parents are seeking out more sustainable lifestyle options. Cloth diapering never has to be all or nothing and you can make your cloth diapering journey cater to your needs. As modern cloth diapering is gaining more popularity, it is becoming more receptive to the mainstream parenting communities.

 Parents still face daycare facilities that do not accept cloth diapers. In this case, I suggest using cloth at home and leaving disposables for the facility. Depending on the state, there are laws that allow for cloth diaper usage with a doctor’s note. Also depending on the state, you may find that a daycare facility cannot turn your child away or deny you based on your decision to use cloth diapers.

If you are interested in cloth diapering but cannot afford the initial startup cost of doing so,  there are cloth diaper lending programs. These programs are in place to help low income families.

For more information on cloth diapering, follow Black Women Do Cloth Diaper on Instagram and Facebook.

What has been your experience with cloth diapering? Share below!

-Donna

Donna Wallace
CONTRIBUTOR
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Hi, I’m Shanicia! I live in Atlanta, GA. I’m a fulltime mom to one pretty rambuncious little girl. I love cooking, coloring Mandalas, and reading. To find out why I started Black Moms Blog, read our very first blog post!

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