> Cloth Diapers
Let's get one thing straight: These aren't your mother's cloth diapers. Rags and rubber pants are to cloth diapers what punch cards are to computers – antique.
Modern Cloth Diapers
By guest writer Christine Amsden
Modern cloth diapers are easy to use, leak proof, breathable, and absorbent. The biggest problem with them, as far as I can tell, is that the word isn't getting out. Babies 'R Us does not stock real cloth diapers, only Gerber diapers (we use these as burp rags). I learned the truth from a friend and regret that my first child was two years old before I did. I could have saved so much space in a landfill!
Where can you get these diapers? Over the Internet, of course! There are dozens of reputable on-line stores that sell many types of cloth diapers. I will warn you now, there are quite a few different types of diapers. I won't overwhelm you with all of them, but depending upon your own needs and budgets, there is probably a cloth diaper for you.
My personal favorites are the pocket diapers. The “pocket” includes an outer layer of breathable, waterproof material that prevents leaks. The inside is made of a soft fleece or similar material that pulls moisture away form your baby's butt, reducing diaper rash. In between you stuff an insert (more than one insert for overnight or heavy wetters – the versatility is one of their advantages) which absorbs moisture. Once stuffed, these are just like a disposable diaper. Well, no, they're cuter! (Seriously, some of these diapers come in stylish colors and patterns.) They go on and come off just like a disposable diaper. I don't think we own a safety pin. Instead of sticky tabs, they have velcro or snaps.
These work just as well as disposables and in some cases, better. You do not have to change clothes or bedding all the time because you use cloth. They're not infallible – sometimes a baby just pees a river – but they work.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let me send you over to the product information for my personal favorite, the Bum Genius version 3.0
one size fits all pocket diaper:
This diaper works! It also does not need to be sized up. My 2-month-old and my 2-year-old are both wearing these. This means that a single up-front investment will take care of almost all of your diapering needs. Granted, they are about $200 a dozen, but disposables will cost you about $2000 over about two and a half years so you can buy a lot of Bum Geniuses for that!
Oh, and did I mention that studies have shown that babies who are diapered in cloth potty train sooner? Not too bad a deal, huh?
If stuffing a diaper is too much work for you, there are even diapers called all in one's which are just what they sound like – a complete, all in one diaper.
I first chose cloth primarily for environmental reasons, although when I experimented with it on my son, I immediately noted an even more important reason – my 2-year-old preferred it! After 2 years of disposables and 2 days of cloth, he was asking for the cloth diapers. I guess paper doesn't feel as nice on a baby's bottom. Disposable diapers also have chemicals in them that I'm not thrilled with. Babies with sensitive skin may have an easier time with cloth.
There are financial benefits, even if you add in the water and energy usage. Some of the pricier cloth diapers will get you close to breaking even for one baby, but keep in mind that you can use the diapers again if you have another baby.
I won't lie about it – you have to do the laundry. As someone who hates laundry almost as much as she hates cleaning the toilet, this was a hard one to get past. But I did the math and it turns out that I'm really only spending an extra 15-30 minutes a week on this and that includes washing the diapers every 2 days. The machines really do most of the work and folding diapers – well, actually, I don't fold them. I toss them in a drawer and stuff them as I go. (Hey, I can take short cuts.)
Every time I take a load down to the washing machine instead of the trash can, though, I feel pretty good about myself.
As far as poop goes, that was my other big issue, but there are sprayers and things you can use so that you don't have to get your hands dirty. (Or at least no dirtier than you would have had to get them wiping your baby's bottom.) As an added bonus, if you are exclusively breast feeding (no solids or formula), you can just toss the diaper, poop and all, into the pail. Breast fed poop dissolves easily enough that it doesn't need rinsing.
My advice is to start by doing your homework. There is lots of information out there if you look around and I'll give you some links to get started. You will want to have 2-3 dozen diapers for a newborn, depending upon how often you want to do the laundry. I have 27 diapers for a 2-month-old and it's usually good for 2 days. I have 12 diapers for my 2-year-old and it is also good for 2 days.
I personally used disposables for the first few weeks because cloth is so bulky on a tiny newborn. Granted, I had a 5 lb. 14 oz. baby girl. That's pretty small. (We bought preemie size diapers for a week or so.) The Bum Genius diapers started to fit when she was about 8 lbs., though I continued to put her in disposables when I wanted to show her off until she reached about 10 lbs. At that point, the bulkiness factor no longer seemed to be an issue.
I would order a few diapers to check them out before you go for a full stash. It couldn't hurt to try.
Here are some great resources for you:
– get reviews, product information, washing instructions, etc. There is also a forum where you can ask questions.
– A cloth diaper store. I have done a lot of business with them and I recommend them to someone just playing around with the idea because they have so many different types of diapers. They have my favorites, the Bum Geniuses, as well as Fuzzi Bunz, another excellent pocket diaper. They have all in one's, fitteds, prefolds...You can buy a couple of different diapers there and decide what's right for you.
– This is a busy cloth diapering community where you can look around and ask questions. You can also buy, sell or trade diapers here. If you're on a tight budget, trying out used diapers instead of the new ones may be the way to go, especially if you're not sure which ones are right for you.