As we mull our options for diapering our third newborn - either part-time cloth diapering as we’ve done with our second child, or attempting to give it a 100% go (the decision involves getting a wonderful-but-overworked grandmother on board) - my mind goes to the following question: “When IS the ‘right time’ to start cloth diapering?” As with all things parenting, there are a million opinions about everything under the sun. And, so, the longer that one parents, the more we usually learn that there really is only one (or two) opinions that matter - the child’s parents. Sure, we can get advice from our own parents and family members. We can seek out the opinions of doctors. We can chat with our friends with kids. But, in the end, the ones who make the decisions to either do something or not, to put something off or do it sooner are you (and your significant other, if there’s one in the picture). That’s it. And, most of the time (as long as it’s not life-and-death), it really doesn’t matter in the long-term. So, when it comes to cloth diapering, the ultimate answer as to WHEN you should start? WHENEVER YOU WANT.
Your baby, your choice. If you want to start while you’re in the hospital with your newborn, do it! If you want to wait for your child’s poops to be a little less frequent, go ahead. If you want to wait for when your child’s sleeping better through the night or has become successful at breastfeeding (since you just can’t handle putting anymore brain cells into figuring out one. More. Darn. Thing.), don’t doubt yourself and do what’s best for BOTH of you! If you’ve got a lot going on (a big move, a big life change, a new job, etc) and just want to wait until things settle, there’s no shame in it. If your child is 14 months old and you just discovered that cloth diapers exist, it’s not too late! Give them a try! All that said, it’s also important to remember that there is NO reason to be ashamed for cloth diapering part-time. (I seriously suggest that you read my old post about it; hopefully it’ll ease any of the stress or guilt if you’re a part-timer.) It’s actually a great way to stick your toe into the water of CDs. You may realize that, before too long, the water’s fine (it’s easier than you expected) and you want to do a cannonball right into the cloth diapering lake. Because many parenting trends and choices have very vocal, passionate advocates, it can be intimidating to start for fear that it won’t work out or there seems to be a huge learning curve. I think a lot of moms can nod aggressively over that statement alone. But, honestly, life is as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. With cloth, this means that you don’t HAVE to know everything about it in order to give it a try. Don’t overwhelm yourself with hours of research (although it’s sometimes fun to get lost in the bloggers’ and YouTubers’ opinions and experiences). Just look up the basics - the different styles of cloth and what materials/style would work best for your needs (particularly when it comes to laundering, financials, and ease of use). Then, decide which is best for you and give those a go. If they don’t work, you can resell them and try others, but also know that you can troubleshoot as you go along. You don’t have to memorize all the information you find, and you don’t need to become a superfan on Day 1. Don’t worry about the names of all the prints and colors; I’ve learned my favorites, but there are others that I’m like, “Grab me a blue...not the plain blue but the green-ish one.” And that’s okay. And always remember that none of us were born knowing ANY of this stuff (or anything at all, really - I always remind my students of this when they’re nervous to ask a question), so there’s no shame in contacting Thirsties support
or our Facebook page
if you’d like help solving a cloth-related issue.
So, we’d love to hear from you! If you’re already cloth diapering, at what point did you start? Day 1? If you haven’t started yet, do you have a plan for when you will? Share your thoughts in the comments below!