Have you considered cloth diapering, but you’re a little bit intimidated by all that it entails? These are really helpful tips!
Guest post from Monica of Mum in The Woods:
Some people cringe when they hear the words. There are so many myths about cloth diapers that put people off, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
I used cloth diapers with both my daughters and I never looked back. It makes me feel great about doing something good for the environment and it saves me so much money. And it’s not hard at all!
So why are so many people still using disposables?
If you simply think cloth diapers are too hard, I hope I can dispel a few myths for you today!
Myth #1: Cloth diapers take time to put on babies.
Wrong! Not necessarily, at least.
The idea of cloth diapers is still one of flat sheets that need to be folded and pinned around the baby’s bottom. But there are so many modern cloth diapers available nowadays that can be as easy as disposable to put on, if not easier.
With Velcro or with snaps, the choice is yours. I won’t make your head spin by going through all the different types, but if you want to find out more you can read more here.
Suggestion: Try more than one type to find the one that works best for you!
When I started with cloth diapers I had about 5 different types. Some were hand-me-downs and some were freebies from a workshop I attended on cloth diapers. I am pretty sure you can find workarounds to get cheap options to test.
I personally ended up using hybrid cloth diapers, with an outer cover and a separate insert. I love the fact that I can just change the insert and keep reusing the outer cover.
The pre-fold hand-me-down cloth diapers? They became perfect burp cloths. They just weren’t working for me. Not all types of cloth diapers are for everybody. You really need to find the one that works for you.
Myth #2: Cloth diapers are expensive as an upfront investment.
Are they, really?
I don’t find modern cloth diapers that expensive compared to disposables. Some models are very affordable, and in the long run, you’ll end up saving a lot of money.
That said, if you are feeling a bit unsure about it, don’t go all in and buy heaps of cloth diapers before the baby is even born!
Buy some to start and try them out first. See if you like them and if they work for you. And, as I mentioned before, try different ones before deciding on your favorite type.
Myth #3: Cloth diapers are hard and take time to wash.
Yes and no. Of course, they are not as easy as disposable diapers, but they don’t have to be a mission to clean.
It personally takes me 2 minutes per poo diaper to clean them. Pee diapers take the same time as disposable. You can actually find many tips on how to wash cloth diapers here.
My favorite tips of all time are:
Use the sun to take any stain away. Particularly if breastfeeding, you only need to put the diaper in the sun to watch the stain magically disappear 100%. No need to use any stain removals.
Use diaper liners. They catch most of the poo so that you can throw it away in the toilet without getting your hands dirty.
Use a diaper sprayer to wash the poo off in the toilet.
That said, if you REALLY can’t deal with a stinky poo for more than 3 seconds, then go with disposables. Cloth diapers are not for you.
Myth #4: Cloth diapers stink.
That’s true, but there are ways around it.
Use a diaper pail to contain the smell until you wash them. It can either be a wet or dry pail. If you don’t want to deal with emptying the water of a wet pail, then use a dry one and you can stick it in the wash together with the diapers. I put them in the washing machine in the garage and just forget about them.
If the smell doesn’t go away after you washed them, then it means you are doing something wrong with them. Most likely, you are using too much or too little detergent and the diapers are not getting cleaned properly.
By the way, disposable diapers smell too if you leave them out for too long!
Myth #5: Cloth diapers leak.
They are not supposed to!
If they do leak, it may be because you used stain removers or fabric softener when washing them (both of which reduce absorbency). You might also be using too much bum cream without a diaper liner.
So many people are obsessed with having pearly white cloth diapers and soak them for hours or put them through unnecessary wash cycles just so that they can have what looks like the perfect diaper. The reality is, they are drastically reducing the life span of the cloth diapers. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to wash them!
And remember that they are just diapers. Nobody other than you is really going to see them. Even if you don’t get rid of ALL the stain, they are still clean. Don’t stress too much about it.
That said, I won’t lie, they are not going to hold pee for 12 hours like some disposable diapers do. So, for example, if you have a baby that ends up staying awake for 2 hours if you change her cloth diaper at night, then I recommend using a disposable diaper at night. And that’s exactly what I do with my daughter!
Myth #6: Cloth diapers are stressful.
I don’t know why, but there’s this idea that you either go full-on cloth diapers, or you don’t use them at all. People get stressed out about leaking diapers at night, traveling with cloth diapers, storing them if outside with friends, etc. And they don’t even consider them.
But it’s perfectly fine to do a mix of both! Take the stress away and use disposable when it’s more convenient for you.
Like I already mentioned, I use disposables for my daughter at night. I tried cloth diapers but she would wake up every time I was changing her and used to stay awake for such a long time. Now I just breastfeed her and put her back in her bed asleep without even looking at her diaper.
I also use disposables if I know I am going to be away from home for a long time and don’t feel like carrying dirty cloth diapers with me.
Another suggestion: Don’t worry too much about using cloth diapers with a newborn. The arrival of a new baby can be stressful enough with all the changes in the family dynamic and so many new things to learn. Unless it’s your second baby and you are super confident with cloth diapers already, give it a few weeks before trying them on.
Feeling a little adventurous?
If you are one of those people who is gung-ho for trying unusual things to make your life easier, then I suggest you look into Elimination Communication (EC). The whole thing sounds a bit too extreme for some parents, but I used it for both my daughters in conjunction with cloth diapers and, let me tell you, I have hardly had to change a poo diaper since they were 6 months old.
EC is based on the belief that babies instinctively resist soiling themselves, their sleep space, and their caregivers, and they clearly communicate about it from birth. So, the caregiver can use timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address a baby’s need to eliminate waste.
Babies are actually pretty smart creatures already and don’t particularly like pooing in their diapers. Have you ever noticed that your baby gets quite fussy when they have just made a poo? So you can easily put them on a potty or on the toilet as soon as you see that they are pushing for a poo, and be amazed as they push it out there instead of in the diaper. If you try to put them on a potty every time you change their diaper, you will also notice that they’ll start making a poo when you do that, as it’s so much more comfortable for them.
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Monica is the proud mom of 2 daughters and the author of the blog Mum in The Woods. Here she shares her journey through motherhood, with a focus on pregnancy, childbirth and babies. You will find lots of tips and suggestions on how to have the best pregnancy and birth experience, as well as how to survive the first years of motherhood.