Since it's now been a year since we started our cloth diapering journey, I thought I would devote a blog post to my love for cloth diapers.
Remember, I use pocket diapers. To refresh your memory, here's an illustration of how to use pocket diapers.
This is what most of our cloth diapers look like.
What Has Changed?
I started out with four cloth diapers, just to try them out. That quickly changed to nine, which meant I had to wash diapers every day. It really wasn't a big deal, because it became a part of my evening routine--put the baby to bed, wash the diapers, hang the diapers, go to bed. No problem. But when we became pregnant with our second baby, a family member purchased six more diapers for us, bringing the total to 15. Now I only wash every other day. It's really nice.
I now have a diaper sprayer, which I highly recommend to anyone using cloth diapers. This makes the yucky diapers much easier to clean. I wouldn't want to go back to the days before I had my sprayer.
Who Has Changed?
Me. I have a growing distaste for anything disposable--it's literally throwing money away. I've also decided that pocket diapers are sort of a gateway drug for other types of cloth diapers. Now that I've started using pockets, it's not much of a jump to begin using the old school prefolds and wraps (no pins or rubber pants, thank you!). In fact, that's on my wish list of things I need when baby #2 arrives. Our stash of 15 diapers is not going to cut it when we have two in diapers, and prefolds/wraps will be a cheap way to increase my stash.
Others around me. When I first switched to cloth, I knew one person who used cloth too. That was it. Later, I found out that a friend from high school used cloth as well (for all four of her kids!), so she's been a great source of information for me. But I still knew no one else in town who used cloth. As I was awaiting my order for diapers, I found out another friend of mine was planning on using cloth when her baby arrived in a few months. We frequently discussed cloth diapers, since it seemed the rest of Texarkana thought we were both completely insane.
Since then, I've seen other friends switch to cloth, both here and out of town. I've learned of other out of town friends who use cloth. I've also noticed that it has become the popular thing to do for moms my age, especially in larger cities. More and more moms are switching to cloth, and it has become more socially acceptable to do so. Initially, my gym's nursery refused to accept cloth diapers, even when I showed them Isabelle's super cool pocket diapers that are nothing like old school cloth. Now they permit it. Another parent complained, so they've decided that as long as the diapers are pockets, we can bring our kids in them.
We were recently combating some odor issues with the diapers (solved by baking soda), so I asked my husband to tell me honestly if he was glad we'd switched to cloth. He gave me a hearty yes. He then pointed out that I handle the majority of the "gross" parts of cloth diapering (dumping dirty diapers, spraying when needed, and washing the diapers), so it makes it pretty easy on him. I also asked his opinion on cloth wipes, since I've heard that some dads don't like them. He said if we had more wipes, he'd be happy, but otherwise, he really doesn't care (I'm in the process of sewing more). My opinion of the wipes is that you actually have less contact with poop when you use cloth wipes because they're so thick. I was so glad to hear that he really and truly is glad we switched to cloth.
When Do We Not Use Cloth Diapers?
Sometimes when traveling, especially if we'll be away from the house a lot. Now that I've got more cloth diapers, I can travel with cloth because I don't have to wash every single day. We'll be out of town in a week, and you can bet we'll be bringing cloth with us. But in the past, it was just too exhausting to arrive in town at 11 pm or midnight, wash diapers, go to bed, and do it again the next day. I did it once or twice and never did it again, until we got more diapers.
When a diaper rash gets out of hand. We dealt with this last week. Isabelle woke up at midnight one night with a dirty diaper. It was so terrible that it had already left little blisters on her. My faithful cloth diaper-friendly ointment irritated the rash further. Over the next week, I did everything I could to eliminate the rash until it was nearly gone, but several small sores remained. I eventually had to call the pediatrician, and after speaking with the nurse, I decided I had to switch to disposable diapers for a week to adequately lather her up with ointment and knock out the diaper rash. I hated spending money on disposables, and I was so glad when I could finally switch back to cloth.
Possibly with a stomach virus. We've been fortunate. Isabelle has never had a stomach virus, even though both Damian and I had one last spring. She's got a great immune system. But should she come down with one, I would definitely consider using 'sposies or being very, very careful with my diaper washing habits, in order to prevent the spread of germs.
And With Baby #2...?
Cloth diapering with two kiddos means we won't have an added diapering expense when our second arrives. I'd love for Isabelle to be potty trained, but I just don't think she's ready yet, and since we use cloth, there's no reason to push it.
I'm not naive, however. I know how hard those first couple of weeks can be after the baby is born, especially since I'll be recovering from a c-section. Laundry is just about impossible to do--it's too much bending over, post-op. I'm sure a couple of people will give us diapers for our newborn, and if not, we'll buy a package or two. I already have a stash of size 4 disposables in the attic. A friend gave them to me 8 months ago when her daughter potty trained. I was using cloth but decided to take the free diapers anyway, "just in case." Izzy will be wearing size 4 diapers when this baby arrives, so I'll have both kiddos in disposables until I'm physically able to do laundry. I'll also print instructions detailing my wash routine and post it in the laundry room, so that my husband and mom can do the diaper laundry whenever we're ready to switch back to cloth.
I also have a wish list. I need a larger diaper pail and liner, since my current diaper pail only holds a day's worth of cloth diapers. I also talked with a friend who has used cloth longer than anyone I know (other than moms who cloth diapered 20 years ago, before the great new products that are out now). Elizabeth homeschools her four children and has cloth diapered all of them in prefolds and wraps. I picked her brain for a good source for quality cloth diapers.
Here's what she recommended (and it's exactly what I'm going to do):
Little-Lions Cloth Diapers is her source for quality prefolds. It does make a difference! Chinese and Indian prefolds are considered better quality. Gerber prefolds aren't going to last as long and they won't be as absorbent either. Elizabeth gets prefolds in only one size, which will save money. She buys the premium size and folds them as needed to fit her newborns.
Wonder Wraps: This covers the diaper and makes it water proof. Wonder Wraps are one-size, so they will take your child from birth to potty training. *I need to do a bit more homework on these, but I know that regardless of what I use, I definitely plan on using a one-size wrap, as she suggests, to avoid having to buy more in the future.
I plan on using a combination of these wraps and covers, in addition to my pocket diapers, to get me through diapering two little ones. We could use a few more pocket diapers, but even if we don't get anymore, the 8 one-size ones we have now will work out fine for outings, especially for the church nursery, MOPS nursery, etc. I won't have to leave a nursery worker with prefolds and wraps, which are a little bit more complicated.
Speaking of which, I don't even know how to fold the things! Looks like I need some lessons. Let me know if you've got any tips and tricks for folding your cloth diapers, especially for newborns!