Switching from Disposable Diapers to Cloth Diapers

Are you ready to make a change? Are you ready to let go of disposable diapers? It’s the right thing to do, and we can help you make an easy transition to reusable cloth diapers that you wash as easily as you wash your own clothing.


Which Diapers Should You Choose?

The same diapers are not going to work for every family. The variety of diapers that can be exciting to some can be overwhelming to others. Don’t panic!

Start by asking yourself why you are going to make the switch to cloth diapers.

Because it can’t be that difficult. Exactly! If you want a familiar style that is very easy to change, try all-in-ones, pocket diapers, or fitted diapers. If you choose one-size diapers, you will not have to buy another diaper after your initial investment.

Because it will save me money. The simplest diapers are the least expensive. Simple prefold cloth diapers have been the most common diaper type since the mid-20th century. As a bonus, prefolds will continue to be usable as diapers or doublers as your child grows

Because I’m concerned about environmental impact. Choose simple diapers that you can use throughout your child’s diapering career. Flat and prefold diapers can be used by babies of different sizes; so can one-size diapers. Fewer diapers means fewer resources were used for your child overall.

Because I want the healthiest option for my baby. Make sure your baby’s bottom gets airflow with natural materials. Cotton for diapers and wool for diaper covers both make breathable fabrics. You can even use natural silk liners next to your baby’s if he shows any sensitivity to wetness.

Because I’m looking to buy local. Parenting by Nature offers several Made in Canada brands of diapers, such as Motherease and Bummis.

Is your reason for using cloth diapers not addressed here? Check out our article comparing the reasons for using particular cloth diaper systems.


Making the Transition

You will save money over the long run with cloth diapers, but you will have up-front expenses before you see the savings of cloth diapers over throwing away 6-10 diapers every day .

If the start-up expense is an issue, start with a few diapers at a time until you build up to 1-3 dozen, depending on the age of your child and how often you plan to wash.

If you add four all-in-one diapers or half a dozen prefold diapers to your budget each week, you can build up your supply as you ease into your new system. You might even want to try a couple of kinds of diapers before you make a big investment. A slow transition can give you time to find the right cloth diapers for you and your baby.


I Have Diapers. Now What?

  • Prewash.
  • Put the diaper on your baby just as you did with disposable diapers.
  • When you change the diaper, dump into the diaper pail instead of the garbage.
  • Put a fresh, new diaper on your baby.

Wash every day or every other day. I found it easiest just to run a load of diaper wash every morning when I had two children in diapers. When they were using fewer diapers, I washed only every 2-3 days.

If you have one brand of diapers, check the washing instructions from that manufacturer. They have experience helping customers keep their diapers in great shape. If you have several kinds of diapers that you want to wash together, look at the general cloth diaper industry washing guidelines from the Real Diaper Industry Association.

Would you like some face-to-face help or reassurance? There are volunteers and business owners across Canada and the U.S. who will be happy to help you. Look in the Real Diaper Association directory for both Real Diaper Circle Leaders and businesses that may offer local classes.

Check our Cloth Diaper 101 Beginner’s Guide, including Tip & Tricks and our Beginner’s Frequently Asked Questions.

If you don’t find the answers you need to cloth diaper your child successfully, please contact Parenting by Nature. We love helping you find natural parenting solutions for your baby.

Throughout March we will offer getting started guides. This is a week of Letting Go of Old Habits.

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