What Cloth Diapering Advice Would You Give?

Have you used cloth diapers? What would you tell a pregnant, overwhelmed friend who doesn’t know a pocket diaper from a prefold?

If you have tips on buying diapers, laundering diapers or dealing with other challenges, please share! Today is the last of our posts this mont on cloth diapering and our favorite insider ideas always come from our readers. (Oh… and our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide!)

Save Money by Buying Secondhand Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapering saves a heap of cash (and garbage) over the years, but the up-front cost of using cloth is a barrier for some families. If you are willing to buy preowned diapers for your tot, you’ll save packaging, shipping, and about half the cost of a new cloth diaper layette.

How much did I spend on used diapers? Rebecca took me to her favorite consignment shop with her baby in tow when I was six months pregnant. I bought about eight diaper covers for a dollar each. Then I paid 30 dollars for 45 used prefolds at a local diaper service. Total cost: $38. Not bad! I did spend money later on as my son grew into a different size, but my overall diapering cost was well under 300 dollars. With my second baby I had virtually no cloth diapering costs as we just reused what we already had.

Poopy Cloth Diapers Solutions: Avoiding the Toilet Dunk

The concept of cloth diapers is glorious and hip, until you start thinking of solid waste. Many people can’t make it past the mental hurdle of the toilet dunk and give up on cloth before they ever start.

Here’s a shocking revelation: did you know that ALL poo-laden diapers, even disposables are supposed to be dunked in water? There is actually a written note on every box of disposables recommending that solid waste be rinsed off before disposal. After all, who wants human waste to be sitting in a landfill? (Even greener disposables like Seventh Generation recommend a toilet dunk with solid waste.)

Are You a Cloth Diaper Aficionado /Fanatic? Take Our Cloth Diapering Quiz!

It’s difficult to maintain new hobbies in the early days of parenting, but cloth diapering can become pleasantly addictive. Do you love the cloth diapering experience, toilet dunking and all? We did.

For us, the thrill of experimenting with different styles, brands and laundering techniques was fascinating enough to begin this blog and devote a significant portion of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to cloth diapering. Have you crossed into the cloth-diapering-as-a-hobby phase yet? Take our short Cloth Diapering Quiz to find out.

1. You discuss cloth diapers

a. Rarely and only with people who ask about them.
b. With people who are obviously new parents.

How Minimalist Did You Make Your Baby’s Nursery?

Did your baby sleep in a drawer or a cardboard crib? (The latter item really does exist and is pictured below.) Did you even have a nursery or did you simply pull baby into bed with you? Did you manage to outfit your baby’s nursery entirely with hand-me-downs or gear from Freecycle?

Of course having a minimalist nursery (or none at all) isn’t the only way to go green, but there’s so much pressure to gear up that it’s nice to know how people manage to creatively raise their babies without all the newest gadgetry. In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we try to share a variety of money-saving options for going green with baby, but our favorite is to buy less and buy used.

Simplifying Your Baby Nursery: What Don’t You Need?

In The Eco-nomical Baby Guide,we share that we felt pressured to purchase baby-oriented gizmos to be “prepared” for the transition to motherhood. When our babies actually arrived, we realized that no amount of gear could compensate for grueling work of caring for a newborn. Life wasn’t a hardship because we didn’t own wipe warmers, it was hard because living without sleep and showers for extended periods of time was an absolute shock.

In the months before my baby arrived, Rebecca’s input helped me bypass the baby aisle and look to consignment stores and craigslist. My husband and I also repurposed what we already had to outfit the nursery. In the end we purchased only one new piece of new furniture–a combination dresser and changing table from Ikea—and ended up with a beautiful nursery. It was outfitted with a used rocking chair with homemade seat covers, (which honestly turned out to creak annoyingly every night from 3-5am….) homemade curtains, a solid maple secondhand crib, a used boppy with a new cover, and art given to us at our baby shower. Stacks of gently used pre-folds purchased from a diaper service and a dozen secondhand diaper covers filled the shelves as we waited for baby.

Is It Worth Buying A Good Couch When You Have Young Kids?

In my life before kids, I was much too cool for furniture. I had been a world traveler and wanted to live out of my backpack for the rest of my adult existence, even when I moved back to Oregon. Eventually I settled in enough to buy a great quality used futon for $100. It was functional, it was uncomfortable, and it was going to be temporary. That was exactly fourteen years ago.

Later my husband and I waited to buy furniture because our house was small. Then because our kids came along and slid half chewed bananas along the surface of everything we owned. Our futon is still solidly sitting in our living room and has survived nauseous children, early potty training, and dozens of guests who have graciously attempted sleep on its lumpy surface. (My co-blogger and co-author Rebecca is one of them…)

The Thrill for Green Living is Gone

I jumped on the green bandwagon in the early 1990s after watching a celebrity-studded Earth Day special on television. I was an impressionable teen living in the not-so-eco-minded Nevada high desert. I was looking for something, and I found it in taking Navy showers, eschewing paper towels, and sorting out recyclables. That last effort was somewhat diminished by the fact that no recycling facilities existed at the time.

Me, in greener times, cherishing a prefold cloth diaper.

In 2006, I had a baby, and my passion for all-things eco only grew stronger. Bringing a new life into the world made me reflect on the burden I was placing on the planet—and the way the planet, with all that acid rain and air pollution—could harm this fragile new creature I’d brought into the world. My renewed devotion to Mother Earth had me buying organic produce and washing cloth diapers (in a front-loading washer).

Happy Holidays from Green Baby Guide

This is our third holiday season here at Greenbabyguide.com. Our first Christmas posts had a following of a dozen readers, most of them family members. Since then we’ve published our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, and increased our web traffic to about 50,000 unique users each month. Whew!

Despite our modest fame, nothing much has changed for our families. This morning we finished untying our fabric gift bags and have spent the day playing, snacking and reading.

After the crush of preparation and anxiety, there is such relief in just sitting in our toy-strewn living room and enjoying the kids. They aren’t sporting BPA-free bibs or chubby cloth diaper bums this year, but are rapidly leaving babyhood behind at 5 years and 2 years old.

Green Holiday Gift Ideas for Pregnant Women

I have experienced the joys of pregnancy (and the swollen ankles, back pain, and cravings.) And I remember the things I so longed for on a daily basis. On the whole they weren’t material items, but rather support. And the best news is that “gifts of service” are utterly eco-friendly, thoughtful and very low cost.

A bottle of The Naked Bee Green Tea Lotion and a free coupon for regular foot massages. The lotion is made from organic ingredients that will nourish her itchy, stretching skin. Husband alert: She will LOVE this! (I would love this, and I’m not even currently pregnant…) If a partner is attentive enough, foot massages could be delivered on a daily basis.