Confessions of an inept cloth diaperer

Right off the bat let me be clear about one thing…I’m not very good at diapering. Any diapering. But I’d had it in my head when I was pregnant with Boo that I wanted to give cloth a go. So I bought a bunch of prefolds, a few fitteds, some doublers and some covers. I also bought some disposables. Because.

When Boo was born, he was tiny. So tiny. With stiff legs (I’ve talked about his legs before). And I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to fold and put on the cloth diapers so that Boo was lying flat….seriously. They were so bulky his middle was the highest point on his body. So I used my disposables and waited a bit for him to grow.

From time to time I’d give his cloth diapers another try until Eureka! they finally fit! I should note, by this time I’d given up on everything but the newspaper fold, placed directly into the cover. No pins, no snappis…just the bare minimum. It got the job done, and I was happy. I was cloth diapering!

Boo Boo in Applecheeks

But I never got too fanatic about it. Sure, I was pleased to be saving money, and especially to keep our garbage to a minimum. But I still use disposables. At night, for instance…Boo proved too heavy a wetter, and I couldn’t match the absorbency and dryness of a disposable. And when we go visiting. As much as I love not creating waste at home, I also love not creating unnecessary laundry when I’m not at home.

And even though I’m not exactly committed to exclusive cloth diapering, I am over one year into it, and I think I’ve learned a few things along the way. So without further ado…

10 THINGS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT CLOTH DIAPERING (SO FAR):

  1. A squirming baby is difficult to diaper no matter what your diaper of choice.
  2. Coloured and patterned diaper covers are so cute. Like, incredibly cute. I don’t care how disposables try to emulate this cuteness factor (hello Honest Company!), they just can’t match the vibrancy or colour saturation of a diaper cover.
  3. A trim cloth diaper is like winning the lottery. A not-so-trim diaper means having to size up when putting my little man into pants (for real…depending on his diaper my Boo Boo fits into 6-12 month pants all the way up to 2T). Oh, and the word “trim” suddenly becomes a regular part of your vocabulary.
  4. The xylophone and Boo

  5. Velcro closures are wonderful. At first. When you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing, velcro is so much easier and faster to fasten. Later, though, you discover the ugly side of velcro. It snags everything in the laundry, and once your little one gets mobile, it can scratch their belly. Snaps are definitely the way to go once you’ve got your feet wet. You’ll also discover that aplix is the same thing as velcro.
  6. Snappis are the devil. Though they sound like a huge advancement over safety pins….actually getting them to hook, stay in place, and hold a prefold diaper on your little one? Never worked for me (of course, I’m an inept diaperer, so they probably work for other people).
  7. Sure, a fitted cloth diaper sounds easier. But unless you’re going for AIOs (all-in-ones), it means you’ve got TWO things to fasten – the diaper and the cover. Which turns out to be double the trouble (for me).
  8. Boo playing in his diaper

  9. Washing cloth diapers isn’t all that bad. Drying them, however, is the biggest ever pain in the ass. I mean, they’re made to be absorbent, right? So they retain a lot of water. So much that I have to run them through the dryer twice if I’m unable to hang them out to dry (which, let’s face it, only happens during the summer).
  10. You will, without a doubt, find yourself sniffing those “pee pee only” diaper covers a little too closely, as you attempt to determine if you can use it one more time before laundering.
  11. Don’t worry about the poo, it’s totally manageable. This is especially true once solids are started and you use a diaper liner. The foul stench of day-old urine, however…is like an assault on your nasal passage every time you open your wet bag. It is not for the faint of heart.
  12. It’s a miracle how blowouts can be completely avoided with a good cloth diaper cover…I think while Boo was exclusively breastfed, he had maybe one blowout while wearing cloth. Maybe. I can’t count how many he had while wearing disposables. Too many (I’ve blocked it out). This alone is reason enough to use cloth.

So there you have it. I’m pretty sure these 10 things are not the only things I’ve learned (surely?), but they’re what I’m sharing with you today. Got any more hard learned lessons on cloth diapering? Please share them in the comments!

Boo Boo in his wagon

In a future post, I’ll share my thoughts and review some of the actual products I’ve used.

In case you’re curious, the diaper covers pictured in the above photos are (in descending order): Applecheeks’ Lake Echo, Bummis’ Simply Lite Elephant Tales, Blueberry Coverall’s Monsters, and Applecheeks’ Steel Me (they’re barely visible in the above picture, but I just thought it was cute!)

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2 comments on “Confessions of an inept cloth diaperer

  1. Tania

    hey, even though I have older kids, I wish I can not gone with disposable diapers, I just did not dare venturing in the unknown. … So I found this very interesting and insightful.

    1. Andrea (Modern Rags)

      Thanks Tania! It definitely felt like I was heading into uncharted territory….but as it is with everything else, you figure it out eventually! (or, at least pretend that you’ve figured it out!)

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