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Cloth diapering in France

21 Sep

Ehhhhh? Say what??

That’s right. We are cloth diapering. Chances are, like ALL of our friends, you’ll think we’re crazy. Adding all that laundry work when you’re a new mom is like suicide, you might say. And then the age old question, “What about the poop”

If you search about cloth diapers on the internet, you’ll find thousands of blogs and videos and reviews on cloth diapers. Why one should cloth diaper, the hardships of cloth diapering, etc.

My mom cloth diapered my last 2 brothers. Okay, that was like 20 years ago and things have changed. My aunt cloth diapered all 4 of her boys, the youngest being almost 2 years old. So that’s pretty recent – and cloth diapers have changed all those years. And they are oh so cute nowadays and easy to use, even for poopophobia’d dads.

So we, mostly I, decided to cloth diaper. Surprisingly, the husband was 100% supportive of it.

I didn’t jump on the bandwagon halfheartedly either. I did a ton of research before deciding to go for it. Here are a couple of things I considered and I found out.

Things I considered

  1. I said my mom and aunt cloth diapered. Well, the difference is – they had nannies to do the nappy changes and more importantly, they had household help to do the laundry. I on the other hand will have to do everything.
  2. We only have a washing machine. No dryer. We only just line dry. Out on the balcony in summer and inside the house in winter. I will be giving birth in winter.
  3. In winter, our bulky clothes usually line dry in 2 days. But the sheets and shirts can dry in a day or so, near the heater or in the bathroom.
  4. After my maternity leave, we’ll leave the baby either in daycare or with a nanny. Will they/she be willing to continue cloth diapering then? This is important so I would know if I should really invest in cloth diapers.
  5. Cloth diapers are expensive when you first buy them and you don’t save money until a few months later. So, how much are we willing to spend considering that we don’t know how long we will be cloth diapering.
  6. The husband is all thumbs when it comes to tiny things – so I had to think about ease of use for him.

So with all that in mind, I went around blogs, forums, YouTube and learned a couple of things.

Things I learned

  1. There less French websites/blogs/videos about cloth diapering that American ones. French moms don’t post their stash nor do reviews on diapers on YouTube. And I like watching more than reading.
  2. Cloth diapers and accessories are waaaayyyyy more expensive here than in the US.
  3. French moms have a slightly different way of prepping and maintaining their cloth dipes.
  4. There are a lot of types and styles and systems of cloth diapers and one can easily get confused as to which system is best.
  5. The most budget friendly system is the prefolds + covers. But it’s so hard to find newborn prefolds in France.
  6. Buying used is less expensive but you have to be careful who you buy from – and also, if you don’t mind used dipes on your baby’s butt.
  7. It’s quite easy to wash cloth diapers but you just need to be careful. It does add a bit to your household chores. But with a newborn, you’ll probably be washing more often anyway.
  8. You can wash dirty dipes with other clothes. It is possible but I don’t think I’d want to.
  9. You’ll need at least 24 diapers to be able to do laundry every other day – that’s with a dryer, I think. I’d need more since I can only line dry.
  10. You need special laundry soap for cloth diapers.
  11. You should not buy too much of one brand/style because if it doesn’t work for you, you would have wasted money on that stash.
  12. You can recover a bit of money by selling the diapers your baby has outgrown or the ones that don’t work for you.
  13. Cuteness factor x 100.

photo source

You’ll surely find more if you google a bit. But these are what stuck to me the most.

In the end, I chose to do mostly prefolds and covers and a couple of pocket diapers. I’ll probably do a post on my modest stash soon. I got most of my information on YouTube videos since it’s more “realistic”. Mostly american/english videos. Although there are a couple of super useful French sites on cloth diapering.

La Bourse Aux Couches Lavables – A very helpful forum on cloth diapering. Moms buy and sell used and sometimes even new diapers for good prices. If you haven’t had a lot of support from your friends then I suggest you go to this forum and talk to a few of the very helpful moms who have cloth diapered and survived. I spent most of my free time browsing through the forum.

Bulle de Coton – The official site of the Association pour la promotion des Couches Lavables. It’s has good information on the types of diapering systems, prepping, washing. It also has a list, albeit outdated, of sites where one can buy diapers, materials for making diapers, and rental services.

Les Couches Lavables.com –  I think this is sponsored by one of the best cloth diapering stores in France, LiliNappy. One can get basically the same information as in Bulle de Coton: types of diapers, washing, a few reviews.

Where to order online

LiliNappy – I love this store. They have the widest selection of brands I’ve seen so far. The site is easy to navigate through and they have a Destockage area where they regularly post discounted diapers. Free shipping from 79 Euros.

Bebe Au Naturelle – A good site when there are promos. But the selection is a bit limited. They sell other organic products for moms, the house, etc. I think the prices are cheaper than lilinappy by like 1 euro or something like that. Free delivery on most items – but at a Colis Relais, not at home.

TimTam Nature – I haven’t ordered anything from them yet since I prefer LiliNappy. Prices are a bit higher as well.

ApiNapi – Prices on this site are uber expensive. The only advantage is that they have a physical store in Paris and that can be helpful for moms thinking about cloth diapering. They also hold introduction classes on cloth diapering and using baby carriers and such.

Melicott – I like this site mostly for the Thirsties covers. They have the cheapest Thirsties covers so far. Though you do have to pay for shipping even if you buy a lot.

Eco-bebe – A wide selection of branded as well as the more affordable diapers. Although I don’t really like them because it seems that they’re selling those china diapers one can get for 4/5 euros at 10 euros.  They do have videos of how each diaper works so it’s very helpful.

There are more sites around and you can get good deals if you wait for the sale season and some sites do offer promos every now and then.

I hope this helped you out a bit. Especially english speaking moms in France who are thinking about cloth diapering.

I’d be happy to hear your point of view on this.

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