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Cloth diapering in a NYC apartment

Written by: Z. Briggs February 06 2013 Many months ago I said to Chad, “I think I’d like to look into the possibility of cloth diapers instead of disposables.” My goodness, I had no idea what kind of rabbit hole I would then find myself in as I began to do some research. So many...

Written by: Z. Briggs

Many months ago I said to Chad, “I think I’d like to look into the possibility of cloth diapers instead of disposables.” My goodness, I had no idea what kind of rabbit hole I would then find myself in as I began to do some research. So many options, so many brands, so many diapers … Ahhhhh!!!!!!! I want to be kind to the earth, cost-efficient, and as chemical-free as possible, but I also don’t want to be the crazy person who becomes obsessed and militant about their choice to cloth diaper. I think one of our challenges as moms and moms-to-be is sharing the knowledge that we’ve learned with other moms while not pushing the opinions that we’ve formed along the way. Thou shalt not judge… or at least thou shall make a conscious effort not to. I say this because… lately we have been telling people that we’ll be cloth diapering and the raised eyebrows we get have been interesting to say the least.
These reactions are because it’s not just that we’re planning to cloth diaper. We are planning to cloth diaper in a small New York City apartment. An apartment that does not have a washer or dryer on the premises. And no, we do not plan on using a diaper service. Yes, this might sound a little nuts at first … but hear me out. I would like to share our plan with you all.
You see, months ago as I was doing all of this research on prefolds and covers and pocket diapers and all-in-ones and snaps vs. Velcro and on and on and on… I also looked for advice and tips for how to do this in our NYC apartment. And, to be honest I really couldn’t find much information online about those trying to make a go of it without a diaper service or without going crazy.
I kept looking for answers. I was especially concerned about our lack of washing machine. I watched YouTube videos of moms hand washing their cloth diapers at home and thought, I could do that for a week… and then I would slowly become more and more unhappy with that choice. I kept looking and looking and finally decided on a small portable washing machine called the Panda Washing Machine. It had good reviews overall, and it seemed like the kind of thing that might just do the job. We purchased this, along with a high-powered spin dryer. The spin dryer doesn’t heat up, but spins EXTREMELY fast like a centrifuge and the clothes are practically dry when they come out.
SO—with these units now in our apartment as we are in the final few weeks of prepping for our little guys arrival—we have a plan. For our diapers we have purchased 24 infant prefold Cloth-eez and 4 Thirsties covers—all from GreenMountainDiapers.com. We decided to go with prefolds for the first month or two (we’ll see how long they fit him) and then we’ll either continue with prefolds or switch to pocket diapers. The hope is that we’ll do a quick small load of laundry each night on average, and then the pre-folds will be dry by morning on the rack. We have been testing out this theory as we are prepping the diapers for use, and so far so good. The diapers are definitely dry and ready to go by the morning.
Chad is on board—we’ve practiced a few times on an old care bear doll that I had on hand—and we are feeling confident about our choice. As the baby’s room slowly comes together, I must say that it is a satisfying and calming feeling to look over to the diaper area and see our pre-folds and covers prepped and ready to go, with Snappis and flannel wipes on hand as well.
Do you cloth diaper in a small space without a traditional washer/dryer setup? What is your method for making it work and keeping your wits about you?