We are having a little “how can I cloth diaper with special circumstances on a dime” discussion, which in this economy I think is entirely appropriate~
I have been thinking of the past 7 years I have done cloth with my kids, most of the time with precious little funds to spare (even with the store, years went by before I could dip into some of the pricier items).
1. You CAN do prefolds and covers from birth through potty training. Really and truly. Now, if you have a “I equate diaper changings with lighting my hair on fire” little tot who you have to either change standing up and running, or pin down with your legs and hope they don’t hurl your cell phone at your eyes that you are trying to distract them with, this can be a challenge. Been there, done that (and have hope, she is a perfectly functioning 7 year old who is a pleasure to be around-LOL). Have some forbidden goodies on hand. I am not against giving the toddlers occassional M&M’s if it saves you some grey hairs during prefold changes. After the change, have some yourself.
For the heavy wetters, you are going to be changing more frequently, and be prepared for some bulk. Use your smaller prefolds as doublers, lay them in the middle of the larger prefold you wrap around the baby. You can cut some fleece liners for pennies, no sewing needed, if the child is sensitive to wetness. If you really have to do prefolds at night for a toddler, invest in a good used or new wool Disana cover, but still be prepared to change in the middle of the night if you have an older toddler who is a very heavy wetter. You can size up on wool, Disana’s are easy to do this with, so you don’t have to buy 6 sizes of covers through diapering.
2. Use what you have in different ways before buying new things. As much as my husband grinds his teeth when I type this, truly exhaust what you have before buying something new if you can. Use old and ratty prefolds as doublers. Cut up old tee shirts and sew the edges for wipes or doublers. Google “recycled sweater wool soaker” and turn some old sweaters into wool covers for nighttime. Use old handtowels for inserts. Baby washcloths for wipes.
3. Use Craigslist and Freecycle. I am amazed what nice diapers are given away or sold for pennies because no-one thinks anyone in their area uses cloth. Peruse these listings for diapers frequently!
4. There is nothing wrong with having to wash daily because you only have 12 diapers. I still wash daily with about 15 diapers for the older guys, more for ease of cleaning than anything, but for the first 18 months we did cloth, I was washing twice a day half of the week because we had that few diapers.
If you have any questions, please e-mail me. We can come up with an economical solution or give you a link where you can find one if we can’t provide it.