Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cloth Diapering

Many people have been curious about our decision to use cloth diapers. I don't blame them! When I used to think about cloth diapers, I pictured the old-school kind that you had to pin and wear with those ridiculous plastic pants. Thankfully, cloth diapers have come a very long way since then. It's not nearly as difficult or inconvenient as you would imagine.



Here are a lot of the reactions I get...
- Cloth diapers are messy.
- You must spend all your time doing laundry!
- Cloth diapers are too much work.
- How do you use cloth diapers when you travel?
- How do you decide what kind of cloth diapers to get?

Even once I made the decision to use cloth diapers, I was a little intimidated. I wondered if we would actually be able to pull it off with our busy lifestyle. I had many of the same concerns listed above. But I realized that cloth diapers are actually completely do-able. We just had to develop a system that was right for our family and fine-tune that system over time. For example, we don't use cloth wipes. To me, that was just too gross, and I could stomach the cost of disposable wipes more easily than I could using cloth wipes. Also, I always keep a stash of disposable diapers on-hand. When we are out of the house all day, or when we are traveling, disposable diapers really are easier to deal with. But, whenever we are home or just running a quick errand, Lucy wears cloth diapers. This obviously saves us a lot of money, which is the main reason we decided to use cloth diapers in the first place.

- Cloth diapers are messy.
ALL diapers are messy. Diapers are just gross period, whether they are cloth or disposable. Lucy has had "blow-outs" in both, and actually, the cloth diapers contain the blowouts better than the disposables. I can see where people are coming from, though. With disposable diapers, all you have to do is throw them away, but with cloth diapers, you have to clean them. This process is actually not as disgusting as you might imagine. While babies are eating breast milk, you technically don't need to clean the poop out of the diaper before washing because it comes off so easily with detergent. Personally though, I prefer to wipe the poop off the diaper with a little toilet paper before putting it in the diaper pail. It sounds gross, but you'll be doing much grosser things than that as a parent!

- You must spend all your time doing laundry!
With a newborn, you spend all your time doing laundry no matter what! Honestly, we spend more time washing our sheets because Lucy has spit up all over them than we do washing diapers. While Lucy was a brand new baby, we used disposable diapers 1) because she would not fit into her cloth diapers yet, and 2) because she was flying through diapers so fast that we could hardly keep up! We started using cloth diapers around the time that she was one month old. By then, she was not producing nearly as many dirty diapers, which means we don't have to wash them as frequently. Also, washing cloth diapers doesn't take up much time - all you do is throw them in the wash and then hang them on a drying rack to dry. For me, it's easier than washing clothes because you don't have to fold anything!

- Cloth diapers are too much work.
Cloth diapers can be a lot of work, but they don't have to be. Once we made the decision to use cloth diapers, we had to decide on a system that would work best for us. Would we use cloth wipes or disposable? Would we use cloth diapers ONLY, or would we use disposables for things like travel? What kind of cloth diapers would we use, the kind with inserts built in or the kind you have to stuff? You have to make these decisions based on your lifestyle and priorities. I have friends who insist that using cloth wipes is simple when you are already using cloth diapers, but for me, I knew that disposable wipes would just be easier. Some of my friends think stuffing inserts into the diapers is easy, but I would rather use diapers that have inserts built in. It just depends on your preferences. Once you have your system, cloth diapers are no more work than disposables.

- How do you use cloth diapers when you travel?
We don't! We plan to use disposable diapers when we travel, but like I said, that's what is easiest for us. I have friends who use only cloth diapers, including when they travel. Honestly, I don't know how they do it. You should ask them sometime.

- How do you decide what kind of cloth diapers to get?
This is probably one of the hardest parts of using cloth diapers because there are so many options available. I did so much research on cloth diapers before Lucy was born. I read so many reviews, and each brand of cloth diapers has people who love it and people who hate it. Ultimately, I think you have to try a few different brands and types of diapers before you settle on your favorites. I used to babysit a little girl who wore Bum Genius brand cloth diapers, so I already knew that I liked and trusted that particular brand. At my baby shower, we got a few other brands (Rumperooz and Fuzzibunz), and so far, we like them all. Personally, I don't think brand matters so much. What matters more to us is that the diapers are one-size, so that we don't have to keep buying them as Lucy grows. If you want to use cloth diapers but you don't know what kind you want to use, I recommend trying out a few different brands. Don't be overwhelmed by the opinions of others because you won't really know what you like until you try it.



We made the decision to use cloth diapers because it would, in the long run, be more cost-effective and practical for our family. Of course, our decision might have looked different if I was having multiples, or if we knew that Lucy would be in daycare for much of the week. There are so many factors that go into the decision, and I am not advocating that everyone should use cloth diapers! I just wanted to debunk some of the common misconceptions and show how cloth diapering works for the average, busy family :)

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