cloth diapers (obviously), there are some things you can do to prepare for cloth diapering while you’re still expecting.
- Put receiving blankets and thin baby wash cloths on your registry. Many people may not buy you cloth diapers because they’re not familiar with them or doubt you’ll actually use them. Some may simply make a mad dash to the nearest chain retailer hoping that you’re registered there. Receiving blankets are familiar, cheap and can easily be put to work as flat diapers. And those ultra-thin baby wash cloths? They make great wipes!
- Learn about flats. Flats are probably the most intimidating of cloth diapers. I remember when I received my first one as a freebie with an order and I thought, “What am I supposed to do with this?” But once I learned some folds on YouTube (including the pad fold--duh!), I realized that if I could use prefolds, I could use flats. Flats are so easy to clean and take very little time to dry. You can even use them as inserts in your pocket diapers.
- Print out cloth diaper care instructions and put them on your washing machine. Make it easy for others to help you with diaper chores by printing step-by-step instructions and any important warnings (e.g. “No fabric softener!”), putting the paper in a sheet protector and posting your instructions in plain sight. You can secure the sheet to the top of the washing machine with magnets or tape it to the wall directly above.
- Scope out local sources for cloth diaper safe detergent. You can find many different brands of cloth diaper safe detergent online, but there may be a time when you need diaper detergent NOW. Familiarize yourself with what common detergents are safe and check out the detergent aisle in stores you frequent. And if someone offers to run an errand for you, it’s helpful to know exactly where to direct them!
- Have a cloth diapering intro session. Spend some time with dad or anyone else who will be in your home regularly to help you out after baby comes, showing how each diaper is used and going over washing instructions.
- Talk to your day care provider about cloth diapers. See whether you’ll be able to use cloth at day care or if there are special rules. If they have already been using cloth diapers on other babies, ask about what kinds of diapers they are familiar with and how they like them.
- If you get a non cloth safe diaper cream, hide it! Don’t even keep it in the baby’s room. This way other caregivers won’t find it and use it. If you have a cloth-safe diaper cream or barrier like CJ’s Butter that may be unfamiliar to other caregivers, label it with a sharpie so they know what it is.
- Get dryer balls. Did you know you can’t use dryer sheets with cloth diapers? Dryer balls help prevent static, make material softer and can reduce drying time.
- Prepare to hang dry. Cloth diapers with elastic and waterproof lining hold up better if they are hung to dry. Figure out where you might be able to hang dry them in your house and get some clothes pins if you don’t have some already. Research space saving drying racks to find one that will work for your home.
- Have disposables (or disposable liners) handy, just in case. Give yourself a break, mama. You’re doing a lot, and if using something disposable for one change, or overnight, or for a day gives you the break you need, by all means do it. You can put another cloth diaper on when that umbilical stump falls off, or when the laundry’s done, or when baby’s not with the sitter.
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