It was a typical Monday morning for me and my son, tackling some quick chores and our weekly trip to the grocery store.
We’d just returned home for lunch and nap when I noticed we were out of diapers.
When you only use two diapers a day (nap and bedtime) it’s easy to lose track. My husband used the last diaper and forgot to tell me, and I forgot to check. Can you tell we’re an ADHD family?
It wasn’t always this way. For a year and a half, I never, ever had to worry about running out of diapers.
That’s because we used cloth diapers, and I positively loved it.
ADHD’ers may shy away from cloth diapering because it means more laundry. “Piles of laundry, unknown whether clean or dirty” feels like it should be in the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. But let me tell you, cloth diapering was amazing for our family.
I’m not saying we never ran low on diapers, or I never forgot to wash them.
However, when that happened, I didn’t need to run to the store. I spend a lot of time home alone with a sleeping kid, and hitting the grocery store at all hours isn’t always an option.
Even if I can take my child to the store with me, it’s not worth the hassle for just one thing, even if that one thing is clean diapers.
Now that we use too few diapers for reusables to feel worth it, I appreciate what I missed for the first 18 months of our son’s life: husband promising to buy diapers on the way home, then accidentally working until 4:00 a.m. Running out of diapers right before our Amazon Subscribe & Save is scheduled to arrive. Borrowing diapers from a neighbor because I don’t have time to buy more before nap time.
Back then, forgetting the diapers had little or no negative consequence. Even if I was already in my PJs for the night, I could run downstairs and throw them in the washer.
Not only that, I had something to do while I was watching TV.
I enjoy television in theory, but in practice it’s unpleasant to sit still for long enough to watch even a 20-minute sitcom. I watched a lot of great shows while I folded and stuffed clean diapers.
Cloth diaper advocates also love to tell you how much money you’ll save with cloth. Nay-sayers will toss out counter-arguments that cite pricey all-in-one diapers, high water bills, and the like. In reality, your results may vary.
If you play it smart, though, cloth diapering can save a lot of money.
That’s no small consideration for ADHD’ers, many of whom struggle with finances. If you plan to have multiple children, reusing the same batch of diapers for two or more kids can make a huge difference in your bottom line.
So what should a beginner look for?
All the cloth diaper terminology can be overwhelming, as can the wide spectrum of costs and materials: all-in-one, all-in-two, microfiber, cotton, wool, PUL…huh?
If you want the simplest, cheapest option, there’s one word you need to know: prefolds.
Prefold diapers are basically just cotton rectangles. Buy a bunch of these, a few waterproof covers, and a pack of Snappis, and you’re ready to go. This is the cheapest, most durable diapering option you can get.
If you’re not sure where to shop, try finding a natural baby store in your area. They usually have a team of helpful, knowledgeable staff to point you in the right direction. I’ve also ordered some great diapers at very reasonable prices from Green Mountain Diapers.
As tempting as it is to jump right in, make sure you learn how to care for your investment.
Don’t be fooled into paying a ton of money for special detergent when you can really just use Tide. At the same time, don’t be fooled into thinking your diapers are clean when they’re not (yuck). My go-to resource for diaper care is Fluff Love and CD Science. These ladies are committed to proper diaper care for real people.
The bottom line, though — the one thing I want everyone to know about cloth diapers — is:
It’s nowhere near as confusing, inconvenient, gross, expensive, or difficult as you think it’s going to be.
For ADHD families, the flexibility and cost savings can be a lifesaver.
If you’ve tried cloth diapering and something went wrong, or if you’re interested but don’t know how to get started, please share in the comments! I had a great experience and I’d love to help others do the same.
Note: while some posts may contain Amazon affiliate links, I only link to products and vendors I like, use, and support. If you’re able to support a local independent business instead, please do!