The First Six Months: Cloth Diapering

February 21, 2011

Welcome to part two of my series on the first six months. I want to share what I’ve learned about cloth diapering. This isn’t going to be a “how to” because, well, there is a whole heck of a lot of information out there on how to cloth diaper. I thought I’d share my own personal experiences on it all, though, along with a few tips that have helped me out.

1) Be careful, it can be surprisingly addicting. If you would have told me that I would want to buy diapers the way I once used to buy designer bags… I would have laughed in your face. I remember having “wish lists” of bags that I wanted to save up for. Now, I have that for diapers. I like trying new things, and once you find something that really works it can be hard not to want to stock up on them. They make some really cute diapers, too. So be prepared for this, because you just might surprise yourself. I think part of the addiction stems from the fact that, well, it brings some fun and purpose to changing dirty diapers. I change a lot of diapers. Anything that can make it seem like a little less of a chore is a good thing in my book.

2) I wish I had tried more things before buying a stash of one diaper. I bought into the “pocket craze” and ordered 15 Fuzzibunz to start out with. While I do like the diapers a lot, they aren’t my favorite and there are definitely better diapers for newborns. I wish I had started with prefolds, and then got a variety of diapers to test out. I have spent a lot of money on diapers (still less than I would on disposables, especially when you keep in mind how many of these diapers I’ll be able to use on our next baby) and could have saved some money if I had been willing to look beyond the new modern cloth diapers.

3) That said, there are some wonderful modern cloth diapers out there. I am thankful for them because they are what turned me on to cloth diapering, and have helped bring about this cloth diaper revolution and make them more mainstream. They can be very convenient. They are super cute. Get some for sure!

4) Try the “scary” stuff. Prefolds and flats? Are you kidding me? Snappis, pins, wool? No way. Except, well, they are pretty awesome. When I first started cloth diapering my little newborn, I never expected for any of those things to enter our house. But my son is currently napping in a pinned prefold with wool longies. Never say never! There’s a reason people still use some of these things. They are effective, simple, and inexpensive.

5) There’s something to be said for natural fibers. Cotton, hemp, bamboo. Wool covers. Yes, the microfleece liners and microfiber inserts have their place. But so do these natural fibers. They are thirsty, breathable, soft, and nice. You can’t help but feel good when you put organic cotton on your little one’s bottom. (If prefolds and fitteds aren’t your thing, check out the bumGenius Organic Elemental all-in-one diapers and the Flip hybrid system with the organic insert.)

6) You can use cloth for overnights, but it takes more planning. In the early weeks, I changed my son throughout the night, but once he started getting bigger and sleeping for longer stretches I stopped changing him overnight. You can’t just put a regular cloth diaper on and expect it to hold for 12 hours. Some people swear by “double stuffing” their pocket diapers, but I’ve always struggled with pocket diapers leaking overnight. My favorite choice? A sustainablebabyish snapless multi with two of their doublers. These are wonderful diapers. No matter what you use, you’ll need more of it. Hemp inserts (I like the Babykicks Hemparoo Joey Bunz inserts) hold a lot and are good to pair up with other materials. If you are getting leaks, try something else.

7) Give cloth wipes a try. They are easier than you think.

8 ) The right supplies will make cloth diapering easier for you. Get more than one wet bag if you can afford to. I recommend a smaller, zippered wet bag for the diaper bag. I do most of G’s diaper changes on our first/main floor, but keep his large diaper pail upstairs in his room… so I have a couple of smaller wet bags that I put his dirty diapers and wipes into, and then I can just empty those into his big wet bag. You don’t need a ton of stuff, but things like diaper sprayers (they hook up to your toilet’s water line and you can spray poops into the toilet once your baby is on solids or if your baby is formula fed), liners, extra doublers and inserts, nice storage containers, etc. will certainly help you. (Random note: I had to put a space between the 8 and the “)” at the beginning of this one because WordPress automatically turned that into a smiley face with sunglasses. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8) 9 10).

9) They are just diapers, and it’s just laundry. Really. If you get detergent build up on your diapers they most likely aren’t ruined. You might need to fine-tune your laundry routine but, in the end, they are just diapers. If you need to take a break from them and use disposables for awhile, or don’t want to take them on vacation, you aren’t a bad mother and it isn’t the end of the world. Don’t panic if something isn’t working. Do some research, look around online, ask for advice, whatever. Diapers will get dirty. And if they are stained, the sun is a miracle worker. A good sunning does wonders for stained diapers (and it’s good for the soul, too). Also, the laundry isn’t so bad. I don’t spend my evenings washing diapers, like so many people seem to think. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You can cloth diaper, even if you’re busy or have a job. They don’t have to be washed every day.

10) I don’t care if I’m a weirdo. Don’t know anyone else who cloth diapers? Do other people think you’re crazy for wanting to cloth diaper? Do people turn up their noses at the thought of you washing your kid’s poopy diapers? OH WELL. That’s how a lot of people were with me and I just bit my tongue and tried to educate (or ignore) them. So pave the way. Be “weird.” It’s okay… they aren’t the ones doing the laundry, they aren’t the ones changing your baby, they aren’t the ones buying the stuff. Just smile and know that your baby’s bum has less chemicals on it, that you’re saving money, and you’re helping the planet with every diaper change.

Also… it’s a learning process, and there’s a learning curve. Don’t be discouraged by that. It can be overwhelming because there is so much information out there about cloth diapering, and so many different opinions. So take a deep breath. Take it a step at a time. Keep some disposables on hand in the beginning, just in case, if it will encourage you to keep cloth diapering when things get a little tough. Newborns are hard work and you have so much to figure out. But it gets easier. You’ll get braver, more confident, more comfortable each day. Your newborn will become a smiling infant. You’ll learn things together, as you go.

Newborns are TINY. Even if it doesn’t seem that way in the beginning, you will look back and think, ‘Wow, look at those little bird legs.’ Expect this to affect the way you diaper. Changes in height and weight, changes in diet, changes in activity… that will all change how you diaper. Be adaptable. Enjoy it. You will look back on pictures of your newborn in cloth diapers and realize how cute and silly they looked! And how quickly that time went by. Before you know it you will be working on your baby’s NEXT six months and packing away diapers that no longer fit.

And, if you are still worried about cloth diapering and it makes you feel better, I have had TWO poop blowouts EVER. And they were my own fault. Cloth diapers hold in poop like you wouldn’t believe. One of my friends said her (newborn) daughter had a (disposable) diaper blowout every. single. day. No thank you! I like the poop kept in the diapers where it belongs, and not on my son’s clothes or blankets.

I remember when I was pregnant and swore up and down that I wouldn’t be one of “those” mothers who talks about her baby’s poop. So it goes.

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4 Responses to “The First Six Months: Cloth Diapering”

  1. mamalooma said

    I absolutely LOVE this!!

  2. tracysday said

    It sounds like you and I have gone through almost the exact same thing. I bought 12 Bum Genius 4.0 right off the bat. Don’t get me wrong, I love these diapers still. They have never failed me. I recently discovered my love of fitted diapers with wool soakers. The sustainablebabyish fitteds are the most wonderfully soft and absorbent diapers ever. They would have been a little scarey for me in the beginning though. Hope that the cloth diapering is still going well.

    • Thanks for responding!

      Yes, cloth diapering is still going well. 🙂

      I’ve been using a lot of pocket diapers lately (Fuzzibunz one size and AppleCheeks), and a few AIOs. But I love our stash and am glad to have the variety that I do.

      The sbish snapless multis are our go-to overnight solution. Love those diapers!

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