Many moons ago, I made a new friend, Maggie, in a class at Lifetime. Maggie and I share a bit of “crunchiness” when it comes to parenting. Hiring doulas, midwives, cloth diapering, making our own baby food and I’m sure there’s more!

I am on our second child cloth diapering so it seems like a no brainer at this point. I’ve forgotten a lot of the lingo, types of and how overwhelming it was at the beginning. Thanks to Maggie, she is bringing you a series on cloth diapering. Maggie takes you through her experience starting before she gave birth to Maizey in cloth diapers now, at seven months! Welcome Maggie!

First, a disclaimer¦ I am not a cloth diaper expert or a die-hard cloth diaper mama. Everything stated in these posts is based on my limited experience cloth diapering one baby for 7 months.

I always knew that if one day I became a mama, I would give cloth diapering (cd-ing) a go. Why? Well, primarily because my own mama loves herself some Mother Earth and more than once I’ve heard her lament the hundreds of thousands of disposables filling our landfills. Why contribute to the crisis when there is a (supposedly) not-so-daunting alternative?

And okay “ I know it’s a little early to pause for a small side bar, but really feel I must. Yes, I’ve read about and heard the disposable vs. cloth environmental debate. That the amount of water used when washing cloth diapers negates the environmental benefit. Or that the manufacturing process of cloth diapers produces a larger carbon footprint than the production of earth-friendly disposables. And on and on¦ My response? Ouch. My head hurts. There is no definitive answer out there. Trust me, I’ve checked. So, like many things parenting-related, I have chosen to simply trust my gut. And my gut says that cloth is better for Mother Earth. Done.

So, in December 2010, when we learned I was playing host to our own little parasite, Will and I began the daunting task of researching cloth diapers. Why daunting? You ask? Well, Google that two-word monster and you’ll see why. Not wanting to be the needy pregnant friend, I avoided badgering my cloth diapering savvy friends and acquaintances. But after hours spent online, my brow furrowed in confusion, I tearfully cried uncle and phoned a friend.

You should really check out one of those cloth diaper classes, was her cool-a-cuke response to my stream-of-consciousness cloth diaper mutterings.

Yes. Cloth diaper classes. They exist. And many offer their own version of Cloth Diaper 101.

Back to the keyboard, back to Google. Results? Two cloth diaper stores within 45 minutes of our Milford, Michigan home: No Pins Required in Ferndale (now Modern Natural Baby) and The Little Seedling in Ann Arbor. Both offered classes.

So on a June Saturday, after a wholly unhealthy preggo-lady diner breakfast, Will and I settled ourselves into some Little Seedling (LS) folding chairs, facing the diaper wall, and were treated to a whirlwind introduction to the art of cloth diapering.

What did we learn?

Some secondary reasons to back up our decision to cloth diaper:

  1. CD-ing is less expensive than disposable diapering. According to LS, for one child, an average family spends $1800-$3000 on disposable diapers. Cloth diapers are $600-$800.

  2. Many babies experience little or no diaper rash.

    (More on our experience with both of those statements in a later post.)

  3. And, rumor has it that many cloth diapered babies potty train earlier. (The supposed reason? You change cloth diapers more often. Baby pees, feels wet, you change the diaper. They are regularly exposed to, and possibly learn, cause and effect early in life.)

And, most valuable, a run down of different cloth options and how to care for them.

According to The Little Seedling, there are five basic types of cloth diapers:
  1. Prefolds (the classic cloth diaper)

  2. Fitteds

  3. Pocket diapers

  4. All-in-ones

  5. Hybrid diapers

Prefolds and fitteds require a cover. Pocket diapers and all-in-ones don’t – the entire unit is washed each time. Hybrid diapers work much like prefolds “ you use a washable or disposable insert and launder the cover every couple changes.

There are a plethora of brands out there “ the most prominent being bumGenius (great momtrepreneur story), Kissaluvs, GroVia, Thirstiesand Fuzzibunz. The Little Seedling carried all of these, and more.

Care sounded pretty easy. Maybe not as easy as tossing a disposable into a Diaper Genie and grabbing a new one from a pack, but not too gross or complicated.

Lastly, the class covered what accessories you may need: diaper pail, liner (times two), special detergent (no whiteners or brighteners “ both of which kill absorbancy “ if a diaper is stained, just set it out in the sun and let Lady Nature do the bleaching), wet bags for travel and if you choose, washable wipes.

The class reviewed, in less than an hour, information that I’d spent hours Googling. It was well worth the 45 minute car ride and an endeavor I highly recommend to anybody interested in cloth diapering.

We didn’t buy anything but walked away feeling informed and ready to make decisions on what systems we wanted to test out. Tomorrow I’ll review what we settled on to start “ the diapers we had in the drawer when lovely little nufkin Mary Elizabeth joined the family “ and how they worked for our family.

As a bonus, here are two valuable web resources for those unable to attend a cloth diaper class:

This was Maggie’s first post in a four-part series on cloth diapers. Check back tomorrow for more! In the meantime, head on over to Maggie’s blog Enlarging Marge (Maggie—what to do about the title of your blog?—You are no longer Enlarged!!!!) for more on the adventures of Maggie, Will and their sweet little baby girl Maizey.