The Cloth Diapers for Beginners Facebook Group hit 1,000 members in August 2019, but by December 2020 (the time of this posting) it was over 24,000 strong! That’s incredible growth! It shows that parents are looking to Facebook for help in learning about cloth diapers.
But is a Facebook group the best place to learn how to use cloth diapers? Sometimes, but not always.
In this article, I’m going to talk about some basic questions many beginners have that aren’t the best to ask on Facebook, and cover when you would want to jump into a group to answer your question.
Five Questions that Are a Bad Idea to Ask on Facebook
1) What Should My Wash Routine Be?
Oh, you can ask this in Facebook groups, and in many, you’ll get an answer as long as you can give them a random picture of your washing machine buttons and detergent. But, as I’ve written many times, following that generic advice will usually lead you to detergent buildup, smelly diapers, and maybe even rashes on your baby’s privates.
The problem is that in order to make a wash routine that actually fits your needs, you need to know what your needs are; and they ARE different from everyone else’s.
For example, a 2 lb load of diapers doesn’t use the same amount of detergent as a 10lb load of diapers.
Similarly, a small hand crank washing machine can’t wash as many diapers as a large old-school washer.
Your water hardness can also change how much detergent you need. In fact, two people both using the same washer and washing the same exact diapers could need completely different amounts of detergent if one has very soft water and the other has very hard water.
You need to measure these things so you can balance your needs – your washer, your water, and how many diapers your washing between laundry days.
That’s why in the Cloth Diapers for Beginner’s Facebook group, we close down posts asking this question. A simple question like this leads to too many horrible answers that can lead to rashes and smells — we get our members to follow the Measure Method for washing cloth diapers, which takes all those things into consideration.
You CAN still get wash routine help in the Cloth Diapers for Beginners Facebook group, but you need to tell us everything we need to know to ACTUALLY help you and not just hand you a bunch of nonsense we heard from somewhere else without context.
To learn more about the Measure Method for washing diapers, click here.
2) What Brand of Cloth Diapers is Best?
Another question that cloth diaper beginners are quick to ask on Facebook is, what brand of cloth diapers is best.
But that question can get you the wrong answers.
The problem is that there are hundreds of cloth diaper brands, and many of them are good, even the best, but not for all TYPES of diapers.
While I definitely have a favorite brand of pocket diapers, a favorite brand of all-in-ones, a favorite brand of prefolds, and so on, they aren’t the same because each one of those types has one or two “brands” that do them well.
Without knowing which type of diaper fits your needs I couldn’t possibly answer that question accurately.
What are your needs? Well, what budget do you have? Have you researched the different types of diapers, and do you have a preference – All-in-one, all in two, pockets, etc. — I have a video on that here by the way
Now, if you ask that question, you’re going to get a ton of recommendations very quickly because if there’s one thing cloth diaper parents love to talk about, it’s their diapers!
The problem is that many of the people hanging out in cloth diaper groups, especially the Cloth Diapers for Beginners group, are beginners. Beginners usually haven’t tried many styles of diapers, or even many brands of a particular style of diaper.
This means that often, you’ll get many recommendations for various brands of cheap pocket diapers; because that’s what newbies use to begin with, and many of them love them.
While cheap pocket diapers are just fine, if you want to know what brand is actually best for you, or even good at all, you’re going to need to be much more specific about what style you’re looking for and your needs.
3) Ok, I Want to Cloth diaper, Can You Please Tell Me Everything I Need to Know?
Errm, not in one post, no.
I’ve written a whole book on wash and care, a whole website with long posts about tons of different cloth diaper topics, and made a bunch of videos on YouTube, and I still have a giant list of topics I still have to cover.
There’s no way someone can tell you everything you need to know in one Facebook post, and those who try to probably are still learning and don’t know enough to know how hard that would be.
4) I’m Thinking About Cloth Diapering, Will I Like It?
I don’t know, maybe
The truth is that cloth diapering is a bit of work, especially up front when you’re in research mode. While it does get easier when you dive in and actually try it, and even easier as you get into a grove with it, you just may be one of the few who never feel comfortable with it. You could also be one of the many who love it so much they join Facebook cloth diapering groups just to help others and have a place to talk about diapers all day.
Asking others which camp you’ll fall into is a bit like asking people what your favorite color is; only you can know that for sure.
One thing to consider is that if you’re asking that in a cloth diaper group, where the members are mostly on board with cloth diapers, will get you very biased answers.
5) My Baby Has a Rash, What am I Doing Wrong? Do I Need to Change My Wash Routine?
I’ve already ranted a bit about how no one, no one, can reliably help you with your wash routine without all the info needed to get that right.
But even further than that, rashes are a complex thing, and your diapers are not always the cause of them.
In fact, if you were using disposables, would you even jump to your diapers being the cause as the first thing? Maybe not?
Food sensitivities, detergent sensitivities, moisture sensitivities, teething, medications, yeast, and yes, wash problems… there are a ton of possible causes of rashes whether your baby is wearing cloth or disposables. As usual, you need more info.
Because while people might jump into your post and start analyzing your wash routine, telling you to try this or that..they could be missing the plot because they just don’t have the information anybody, even a doctor, would need to diagnose a rash.
If you are having a rash, always, always consult a paediatrician.
While you’re waiting for your appointment, go ahead and ask for advice, but don’t jump to wash problems or do things that may cause you more problems.
What Questions are Good to Ask in a Cloth Diaper Group?
Don’t let all the negativity above detur you from joining a good, kind, supportive, Facebook group, because they can be worth their weight in gold if you’re able to ask specific questions with enough info.
Here’s some good examples:
- Hey guys, I’m looking for a good natural fiber all-in-one, what do you guys like?
- I’m thinking about getting a cloth diaper subscription, anyone here try it?
- Hey ladies, here’s a pic of my nugget, can I get a fit check?
- My kiddo has runny poops, any flats users here know of a good fold?
See the specificity there?
Responses to those questions will be worth their weight in gold and perfect for Facebook groups…. as are many others.
Conclusion: Get the Basics Down First
What it all boils down to is this, if you’re just asking questions and getting all of your information on Facebook, spending hours there, posting and chatting, and STILL don’t feel confident in what you’re hearing, or keep having problems, it may be time to try something else.
Do yourself the service of investing your time, and maybe even a few dollars, into learning it all once and for all because your time and sanity is worth more than that. And in the end, the money you spend on bad diapers, bad detergents, and remedy products like RLR and bleach, will all add up much faster than the few dollars you spend on a handbook or a course.
Speaking of, I do have a wash and care handbook available if you’re looking for wash and care advice and want everything to help you wash and care for your diapers in one spot, easy peasy.
Another helpful and free resource is this very website. Checking out the Start Here page will prime you on just everything you need to know from diaper types and styles, how to choose the one that’s right for you, where to buy them, including used, how to care for them, etc. That’s where you can get a strong foundation and find links to more information about different topics as you need them… so you really go into things with your eyes open.
Spending some time with in-depth-researched resources like those will give you the footing you need to THEN be able to get the most out of forums and Facebook groups.
And I hope to see you in the Cloth Diapers for Beginners Facebook Group!