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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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Advice for New Parents (Part 1)

This post is my personal advice to my friends Marissa and Jeremy who are expecting their first baby… TODAY! Ironically, they were at my house when my very first package arrived from Kelly’s Closet. All four of us looked at these adorable little bundles of fluff with interest, intrigue and more than a little intimidation. The following week they got a positive pregnancy test! I was their own personal guinea pig as I became the “Newbie” for them and everyone here. Now that I have been cloth diapering for about 9 months they have asked what my advice would be for them to begin cloth diapering their new baby boy. I figured I would share my thoughts here, based on my experience, so other people who are considering cloth diapering might have a look.

My first piece of advice for a new parent may be a little controversial in the cloth diapering world. In my humble opinion I am advising my friends not to start cloth diapering for the first time until the baby is at least of couple of weeks, maybe even months, old.

Now if you are super-enthusiastic, have support from family or friends and feel that you’ll be ready to dive in, by all means, go for it. It really isn’t that tricky and if you’ve done the research ahead of time you could start with cloth diapers right off the bat and never look back. However, I am giving this advice to my friends, who will be brand new parents, with the hopes of minimizing their stress and frustration and maximizing their wonder and bond with their new baby. In the end, I would rather see them start cloth diapering a little later and succeed than have them frustrated and overwhelmed and end up quitting.

Though the physical act of diapering the baby isn’t that much different with cloth vs. disposables, cloth diapering does add a little extra work with clean-up and laundering and a sleep-deprived, possibly overwhelmed, new mom doesn’t need anything extra on her plate. Also, waiting a little bit will give you time to develop some sort of schedule, and an understanding of your baby’s routine, habits and needs. You will feel much more in control, relaxed and open-minded once you’ve gotten into the swing of things with your new little one.

I personally think pocket diapers are the easiest diapers with which to begin cloth-diapering. There are many who swear by the cost-effectiveness, functionality and versatility of fitteds and prefolds. However, when I first started I found pockets to be extremely user-friendly. Everyone has their personal favorites, based on their own needs and expectations. My advice would be to start with bumGenius, FuzziBunz and Blueberry One Size pocket diapers only because I have used them myself and found them to be all-around excellent diapers. There are several different brands at different price points to try out (Smartipants, Happy Heinys, etc) but I can only vouch for the ones I’ve tried and loved. I wouldn’t get too caught up in snaps vs. velcro when just starting. Velcro is the easiest for new parents, but you may find you prefer one over the other once you’ve had a chance to use them both. As far as quantity, I started with about 6-8 total diapers consisting of a couple different styles and brands. That’s a good number to try things out and not commit too much money, however once you fall in love with cloth diapering (and you will) you will want to quickly buy more of your favorites to ease up your laundry duties.

Once you have your diapers you’ll need a simple laundry routine and a few accessories to make the whole process easier. Check out Part II of my post as for the rest of my advice to the new parents.

By Jennifer G.


Crystal said...

I totally agree about not beginning cloth until your baby is a few weeks, even months old. I didn't start cloth diapering my first until she was 2 1/2 mo old, and I'm glad to waited so I could focus on all the other learning curves that come with being a new parent. I'm expecting our second baby now and, while I will start cding earlier than last time, I think I will still wait for a week or two, at least until the umbilical cord falls off. Plus I will have two babies close in age (14mo) and allot of adjustments to make.

Carlie Madsen said...

I like your advice to not try the cloth diapers right away. I was so obsessed with making breastfeeding and cloth diapers work right off, I think I went a little crazy. But, now happily doing both for months now. Congrats to the new parents!

Joy said...

I completely agree with your point about not cloth diapering right away. I found that my baby's bum was hard to get a really snug fit on (and I even had velcro newborn size diapers), so I was dealing with leaks out the wazoo. It was so much more enjoyable when my baby packed a little meat on her legs and rear so I could get a good fit with my cloth diapers. Great post!

Ashleigh said...

I'm so glad you put the part in about not jumping into cloth from day 1. I was planning on using the tiny newborn disposables at first and then slowly getting into cloth, but felt weird telling my cloth friends that that's what I wanted to do.

Rose said...

In my opinion, a new mom should have help around the house, and shouldn't be doing laundry for the first few weeks anyway. That's what husbands, relatives, and postpartum doulas are for. But, I agree that right after you give birth you wouldn't want to be doing extra laundry! We started with cloth first thing, with size XS, and it was great! My sister or husband did the laundry for the first three weeks so I got a break, and we never had to buy a single disposable. I don't think people should feel guilty if they do use disposables for the first little bit, but just wanted to point out that a new shouldn't be the one in charge of laundry anyway. :)