"When my husband went back to work after our first baby was born, the second question everyone asked was: 'How are the cloth diapers going?' Perhaps they thought the cloth diapers would go the way of my attempt at natural childbirth, where I caved at the 11th hour and clicked the morphine dispenser like a crazed lab rat.
My interest in cloth diapers stems in part from my tree-hugger tendencies, and in part from my natural cheapskate instincts. Also, my only experience in infant care was changing and bathing my little sister, and when I was seven years old the diaper pins didn't faze me. Twenty-six years later they did. I tried diapering a stuffed bear by following the Dr. Spock book illustrations. It was so difficult, I just hoped my mom could teach me everything.
Instead she bought a mountain of Huggies and Luvs out of sympathy for her son-in-law. When I asked Mom to demonstrate proper diaper pin usage, my then six-day-old son kicked and screamed violently. She threw up her hands and said 'I give up. I've never seen anything like this. Enroll him in every physical activity possible.'
But by then, my husband had taken ownership of the cloth diaper challenge. He methodically improved his diaper pinning strategies, with help from his mom and online research, and began giving me patient tutorials.
Now, maybe because it's all we know, using and washing cloth diapers actually isn't that hard. When the diapers exceed the small pail we have – in about two days, by three they're a health hazard – we dump them in the washing machine and prewash them. Then we wash the diapers in hot water with bleach, detergent and OxiClean, and tumble dry.
We use 36 Gerber Prefold Birdseye Cloth Diapers, which are about $12 for 12. We also have 12 slightly less expensive Gerber's Flat Fold Birdseye Cloth Diapers. They aren't as absorbent so they became burp cloths and diaper change pee shields. Both kinds of diapers are available at Babies "R" Us, Target and Wal-Mart, along with diaper pins. Babies "R" Us and Wal-Mart both have vinyl pants. It is possible to avoid pins entirely and buy diapers with snaps or Velcro on the Internet."