Things I’ve learned in my vast experience of 3 1/2 weeks of cloth diapering
When I tried cloth diapering my son Ethan, who is now 12, there was *no* information on it anywhere. Not that I could find, anyways. No books, no store, and I wasn’t online until a year later, so I couldn’t glean info off of the internet. The only friend I knew who had cloth diapered had used a service, and that was out of the question, due to cost. I tried for about 3 months, then gave up. I just couldn’t sort out both being a first-time mother and cloth diapering with no assistance. It’s so much easier this time around that I wish I had tried long ago with my other children. Better late than never, I guess!!
Now, it’s the polar opposite. There is so much info out there, that it’s tough to sift through what’s pertinent, and what isn’t. Information overload.
I hate information overload. It’s why I have never been to a homeschooling convention. But, I digress.
Well, that’s not quite true. There are some things about which I love more and more and more information. Like friends. Like birthing. Like history. And I love just gleaning general knowledge; I hardly ever watch fictional shows on TV.
Now, I’m really digressing.
Anyways. (By the way, I’m now aware that 99.9% of the people, who would say such a thing, say “anyway” with no s, but I’ve been including the s for all of my life, and it sounds/looks weird if I omit it.)
My paternal grandmother sent me a two dozen prefolded diapers when Audrey was born, and another dozen with Fiala. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I didn’t cloth diaper; she assumed I did. This is the same grandmother who sent me How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, and who has been a health-nik all her healthy life. She is 84? 85? and on no medications. When my grandfather died three years ago, that sent her into somewhat of a tailspin, health-wise, but I think she has recovered from that… Hmmm…. I should call her. Or send her a fresh thank-you note.
The diapers my grandma had given me went unused until recently.
There are lots of different ways to cloth diaper, and I was having difficulty making a desicion until I decided that I’d go the cheapest route, using the diapers Grandma had sent. That way, I’d only have to get covers, and maybe a few more diapers. And, that’s exactly what I did.
I’ve spent $47 (about 1½ month’s worth of disposables), and purchased 8 diaper covers, 3 Snappis, and another dozen (higher quality unbleached Chinese diaper service quality) prefolds, all new/unused, all off of Craigslist.
By the way, I’ve not purchased anything off of Green Mountain Diapers, but I found it to be an extremely helpful site, with honest opinions of all the different diapering options out there, plus great how-to info, with LOTS of pics. They’re all about cotton diapering, so there is no info on pocket diapers, AIOs, etc., unless they’re cotton. (Plus, they’ll enclose a free Bible with your order, if you ask!)
OK. What I’ve learned:
- Cloth diapering has its own language and abbreviations, and if you want to cloth diaper, you’re going to have to cruise some websites for a few weeks to acquaint yourself with the terms. There just are no short cuts to education on anything, except maybe a good friend who cloth diapers who can walk you through the ins and outs.
- Baby clothes today are NOT cut to fit cloth diapered baby buns. I used to be such a fan of onesies — not any more! Now, I’m all about a cute top, and possibly a widely-cut little skirt or pair of shorts. Or a dress, usually without the matching bloomers. Fiala is a lot wider than Audrey ever was, and when you add a puffy diaper to that, it means that very few of Audrey’s things fit Fiala.
- I thought I’d like covers that close with snaps. Nope. It’s velcro all the way, baby! Faster, better fit.
- “Wipe clean” is a total misnomer for diaper covers. If any baby poop has gotten on the cover, it goes in the wash.
- eBay is awash with companies from China trying to market their polyester diapers direct to the consumer — lots of microfiber and microfleece — it’s all polyester, which I just don’t prefer. It’s really hard to find cloth diaper stuff on eBay unless you REALLY know what you’re looking for. I had much greater success with Craigslist.
- I thought my hubby and nursery workers would have a hard time with a Snappi, but no; though it looks a bit strange, the Snappi is super-easy to figure out. Many times, though, I have found Fiala in a diaper cover that is inside out and/or backwards, after being changed by someone else. 😆
- It is absolutely no trouble to wash, dry, and (usually) fold a load of diapers every other day.
- I have tried both a wet pail and a dry pail. With a wet pail, I didn’t need to pre-soak the diapers, but I found it too heavy to lug a full five-gallon bucket across the house to the washing machine, yet too inconvenient to keep it in the laundry room, not to mention the icky business of hoisting and dumping a bucket of poopy water. So, I’m back to a dry pail. I do need a pail liner, though… Right now, I’m keeping a small 2 gallon bucket in my bedroom/bathroom, and the larger 5 gal bucket in the laundry room.
- The ONLY diaper rash Fiala has gotten while on cloth diapers was when I tried to make a diaper lotion potion using baby (mineral) oil. I get concerned when I change her right after a long nap or at nighttime, when her diaper is soaked. But, even though it seems like that soaky diaper must be uncomfortable, it doesn’t give her a rash.
- Frequently, when I change her, I just let Fiala cruise for an hour or so in an uncovered cloth diaper. Surely that helps to keep her rash-free, too.
- Laying/Hanging things out in the sun really takes out stains like magic. Here in the hot Arizona desert, it literally takes only 3-4 hours for stains to disappear. I had read that many times, but thought it couldn’t be that effective, until I tried it.
- The idea of using wool covers is really attractive to me, but at $30+ a pop, it would cost about the same as a year’s worth of disposables to get all I need, and that doesn’t take into account the cost and time to relanolize the covers regularly.
- Plus… I can’t see the diaper covers that I have lasting all the way until she outgrows them — washing them every other day is already starting to take a toll on them.
When I started writing this post more than a week ago, I also had a number of things that weren’t going so well. I don’t know if they have simply resolved themselves in the meantime, or if I’ve just plum (plumb?) forgotten. So, part of my original purpose was to elicit help. Now that I don’t remember what I need help for, I feel like this post is near-meaningless, because I read a number of similar posts by others before I started cloth diapering, and apparently, I didn’t remember any of it — though I typically learn well from advice and pitfalls of others’ experiences — because I had to, yet again, re-invent the wheel and learn for myself. But, at this point, I’ve invested too much time on the post to just hit “delete.” Ugh. I guess all blog posts don’t have to be Deep and Meaningful. 😀