When I got pregnant with my first baby, I wanted to make sure that I was well-versed in all there was to know about being a mom and doing the best for my child. I learned about breastfeeding, making my own baby food, natural cleansers for the baby, which carriers would be best for me and my little nugget, and of course cloth diapering.
After reading about cloth diapering, I was convinced it was the way to go. Cloth diapers don’t have the chemicals that disposables do, they supposedly help toddlers potty train faster, they’re good for the environment, and of course, they are far cheaper in the long run than disposables. All of these points sounded great. I was ready to jump on that bandwagon. I started to build my stash and defend my stance to anyone who doubted cloth diapering. Any time somebody asked me what they could gift us for the new baby, I asked for cloth diapers or gift cards to buy cloth diapers. I even forced my husband to sit through a cloth diapering class with me. We were ready, or so we thought.
When Madeline was born, I begrudgingly put her in the “evil” disposable Pampers that the hospital provided. After all, nobody wants to clean meconium from cloth. As soon as we got home though, it was all about the cloth. We had all-in-ones, pockets, fitteds, prefolds, and flats. They ranged from newborn to larger sizes. This was going to work. It had to work, after all, I had studied, talked to friends, gone to classes, watched videos, and built an amazing stash of varying brands. I was saving the environment and money one stinky soaked diaper at a time. Except, it didn’t work like it was supposed to.
During the cloth diapering class, we learned how to put the diapers on properly. You were supposed to get a snug fit, secure the diaper, and be on your way. The snug fit of the cloth diapers supposedly meant fewer blow-outs. This was not our experience. Almost every poopy diaper was a blow-out. At first, I was convinced it was my husband; he wasn’t doing it right. I took over cloth diaper duty and ended up with the same result: blow-out after blow-out, leaky diaper after leaky diaper. How was this possible? We had done the classes, watched the videos, practiced on the teddy bears. I switched around the brands, sizes, and kinds, still to no avail. A week after delivery, and a pack or two of disposables later, we loaded up the baby and drove to the diaper store for some help. The owner informed us that our baby had small legs, and that could make it harder to get a good fit. She changed M’s diaper and showed us “the right way” to get a fit. And we left. When we got home, we were greeted with another blow-out and a car seat cover that needed to be laundered.
I was extremely stubborn and unwilling to admit defeat. I had been adamant; this was the way, and disposable diapers were evil. My husband wasn’t as convinced. My sister gave us an Honest diaper cake, and we started to mix those disposables into the mix, especially at night. I was more willing to use those diapers since they were the “natural” and “less harmful” alternative to cloth. Their cute prints also helped. As she grew, her little thighs started to get bigger, and I was convinced the blow-outs and leaks would stop. They did get fewer, so instead of every diaper leaking or blowing out, it was every-other diaper. It was a struggle. And it wasn’t just the leaking issue that became problematic for us; it was also the laundry.
Before I had any experience, I thought it would be fine to toss the diapers in the wash and move onto the next chore. The diaper laundry would be no big deal. Once again, I was wrong. The diaper laundry was horrendous. Having to rinse every diaper, and smell the horrid smells was not for the faint of heart. And it was mainly my husband who was doing the laundry since the washing machine was right next to his little man cave.
We slowly started to ease into more disposables, to the point that she was probably in disposables 95% of the time. Finally, one day my husband came in and said to me, “Can we just stop with the cloth diapers? It is worth $80 per month for me to not have to wash another diaper.” That was the day I signed up for the Honest diaper service. Which eventually turned into Pampers, then Huggies, and now we use Luvs with our third baby. I did try cloth with our second baby, but the results weren’t much better.
We can all start with the best of intentions: save the earth on diaper at a time. But sometimes those plans don’t work out, and you have to be okay with making changes. I know there are people out there who detest disposable diapers, and I understand that. But for us, it didn’t work. It was not worth the headache of diaper laundry and massive blow-outs or constant leaks. If you’re thinking of cloth diapering, I hope it works out for you. They have cute prints and gadgets to help with the journey. If you plan on using disposables, I hope you find a brand that you like and your baby likes. The real point is to find something that works for you and your family and not worry about what other people think. Just be happy with the choices you make and love your baby with all of your heart.
If you’re looking into cloth diapering and want some good resources, there are plenty. There are several groups on Facebook dedicated to the cause that are full of information. The webiste www.allaboutclothdiapers.com is also good starting place.
For disposable diapers, you can get samples from different brands if you go onto their sites. You can also buy trial/travel size packs to try them out to see which work best for your baby. We had good luck with Honest, Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs. Each brand had their benefits. I especially liked the way Honest fit our newborns. They were the best fitting around their tiny thighs. You may have to experiment with a couple of different brands, but something will work.