Okay, guys. I’m coming out with it. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our cloth diapers! Just like breastfeeding, this took me a little longer to learn to master than the alternative (disposables in this case), but now I love them because I have experienced both methods. Today’s post will be all about the cloth.
The Learning Curve
B and I decided to go with a 2-piece system using Bummis covers. The old-fashioned “prefold” is the same style that our mamas used, but instead of the plastic or rubber pants that have to be pulled up and down after the baby’s diaper is fastened with diaper pins, these covers use Velcro (or snaps) and operate much like the familiar disposable- and no pins are required. We ran into several problems early on our path to cloth:
1. Gerber pull-on diaper covers, while wonderfully priced, didn’t work for our super-skinny and long baby’s thighs. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING- urine or poo- seeped out the legs, no matter how well I fastened the diaper on his body before I put the cover on him. Also, in typical breastfed baby manner, Pud was quite prone to blowouts frequently and they went up the back as well as down the legs. Boo on that! Rather than being discouraged, we turned to Mother Nurture’s shop in Lexington and bought some Bummis covers.
2. With little babies, it takes more than 4 covers to get through a 2 days, even with laundry every night. I promise. We invested in a few more via Cotton Babies, which sells “Try It” kits. These took care of the other problem:
3. Prefolds from the local Walmart/KMart/Babies R Us are GREAT and inexpensive boosters (extra layers of absorption- needed at night or during naps), burp cloths, drool catchers, and face cleaners. They aren’t so great as actual primary diapers, because they don’t absorb enough, which causes them to leak to the cover and render it useless as it gets soaked, too. We have lots of these and we use them- but we had 6 Bummis prefolds, which isn’t enough to get through a day, so the Try It Kits gave us a few more to work with. Now that Pud is older and poops less frequently, I will sometimes layer 2 of the cheaper prefolds together to wear and change him every hour, so that I can use them while washing the others and waiting for them to line-dry.
4. Cloth diapers require special detergents free of all kinds of chemicals. Otherwise, HORRIBLE red rashes occur (apparently, also repellancy issues with some diaper types, but that wasn’t my problem) , but then, he rashes MORE with disposables, so it was worth the time and money to figure this one out. Should have been more patient and consulted this list of detergents that have been tested by other mamas and then figured out where to get them. Oh, well. I figured that All Free and Clear had done wonders for helping B’s skin sensitivities; why wouldn’t it be wonderful for Pud? SO Wrong. At least we can still use it for all of our other laundry- just NOT diapers.
5. All the fold options. Oh my goodness. There are several folding options- and my only real way of figuring this out was this handy dandy little guide from Bummis with pictures (they have a video on their blog, too- but I *just* discovered this). I had to figure it all out and figure out which one works best for us before I could teach B how, so that accounts for some of the messes after we got our hands on the right supplies.
That was the learning curve. This wasn’t a problem at all with our Tots Bots Easy Fit All-in-One diapers– I just had to figure out the laundry part with those. These are much more like using disposable diapers. The only trick is to make sure that they are secured tightly enough to avoid leaks. I love these for day trips, other caregivers/babysitters, and B. He will reach for these first because they’re quicker on a squirmy baby when one doesn’t change diapers a whole lot. 🙂 Special thanks to my mama and daddy for purchasing some of these for us for Christmas.
Changes Necessitate the New Obsessions!
Pud is now growing rapidly (he’s just shy of 19 lbs still and a whopping 29 inches long). Diaper needs have changed- he’s sleeping long stretches at night, which means diapers need to hold up longer between changes to encourage him to keep sleeping. Adding an extra prefold helps some but it’s so bulky it’s sometimes hard to secure the diaper cover comfortably and securely. I’m looking at pocket diapers and fleece or wool soaker cover options, but I really can’t spend that kind of money now (and it’s not an IMMEDIATE need to switch… yet), so I’m happily entering a bunch of giveaways. I will try to take the time to share these giveaway opportunities with you guys, but this is greatly dependent upon Pud’s cooperation with napping and being able to play alone for more than a few minutes at a time, which depends a lot on how much his new teeth hurt.
Pud is also happily devouring foods of all kinds, which means I now have my eye on a diaper sprayer that B has promised to help me put together. I’d purchase one of those that is already put together, but I have heard mixed things via the cloth diapering reviews and boards- things like they leak or break. Not good, especially when one plunks down good money. Since I used something similar at our old house as a “prewash” before washing his diapers, but I lack the same here, I’m excited to try this DIY version.
It’s summertime! Summertime equals swimming. There is no question about this! Therefore, I would like to invest in swim diapers for my kiddo, too, instead of paying out the nose for disposables all summer long.
If and when I get to try new brands and styles of diapers, I will happily share my opinions. Maybe I’ll get to be a cloth diaper review-and-blogger someday, too! 🙂
AND… I love connecting with other cloth-diapering families! I’m hooking up with them via others’ blogs (which is what some of these new links are all about), facebook, and The Great Cloth Diaper Change event that will be on April 23. We plan to participate in this attempt to set a new record for the Guiness Book of World Records. How fun that it also coincides with Earth Day. If you are in the Louisville area, EVEN if you DON’T have or use cloth diapers, you can still participate by using a loaner! Leave me a comment here and I’ll tell you more.