I can never thank you guys enough for all your kind words and reassurances after my last post. If I had any doubts, you guys confirmed that what I’m going through, body-wise, is completely normal, and while that doesn’t make losing the baby weight any easier, it sure does make me feel a lot less lonely, and for that I am so, so grateful.
Now let’s talk about butts.
Specifically, how to cover them.
(Which we clearly need to do more of in the Powell household.)
Ever since I first heard about it, back when I was still very, very single, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of cloth-diapering. After researching it, I knew without a doubt that if I ever had kid(s), I wanted to cloth-diaper them.
“Kel,” some of you are thinking, “that’s admirable, I guess, but girl, you done lost YO DAMN MIND.”
I know what you’re picturing when I say “cloth diaper”: It’s a dish towel folded into a triangle and held on with a giant safety pin, am I right? The kind my mom tried because it was so much cheaper, but then they would get wet and fall down and leak pee (and worse) all over the place and finally Mom was all “F this S. I’d rather buy Pampers than eat. Mike needs to lose a few pounds anyway”?
Yeah. No. These ain’t your momma’s cloth diapers.
The diapers we use are the one-size “pocket” style. “One-size” means that these diapers are so highly modifiable, through snaps on the front and/or adjustable elastic in the legs, that you can use them from birth until potty training. “Pocket” diapers have a waterproof outer shell that’s lined with soft fabric that wicks moisture away from the baby’s skin. You stuff an absorbent microfiber pad (or multiple pads, if your baby pees like a racehorse, which ours does) into the pocket between the shell and the liner.
After the baby does her business, you first attempt to make her smile by asking, in the highest-pitched voice you can muster, “Are you pooping?! Did you poop?! I think you pooped! Did you poop for momma?! Let’s see if you pooped! I bet you pooped!”
(The Guy thinks this is bar-none the most hilarious thing he’s ever seen, to the point that he’s started turning to me in public and asking, “Are you pooping?!”)
After that, the process is pretty much exactly like that for a disposable diaper except what you do with the dirty diaper. Instead of throwing it away, you fasten the laundry tabs (if it’s Velcro – these keep the tabs from picking up a bunch of lint and whatnot in the wash, which will make them stop sticking), shake out the wet or poopy microfiber pad into a “wet bag” (a washable, waterproof bag) or a lined diaper pail and throw the shell in after it.
Notice I did not say that you have to dump the poop in the toilet or hose it off with a diaper sprayer. As long as a baby eats only breast milk or formula, her poops are water soluble. Meaning they can go straight in the washer.
If that grosses you out, then think about this: I don’t know about you, but MY washer has seen a whole lot worse than a little baby poop.
Everybody thinks the washing process is some giant pain in the rear, but it’s really pretty simple, if time-consuming.
1. Dump the diapers and wet bag/pail liner into washer.
2. Add a little soap. (They recommend that you use special soap with cloth diapers. I don’t understand exactly why, but this is one area where I’m inclined to follow the rules. So we use Rockin’ Green.)
3. Run a short cycle to rinse out the nasties.
4. Add some more soap.
5. Run a regular cycle to wash them.
6. Run an extra rinse.
7. Put the pads in the dryer and line-dry the shells.
8. Once everything is dry, stuff diapers while you watch King of the Hill reruns.
Sometimes, people start having trouble with funky smells and/or leaking, and in that case, there are several things you can do, including soaking your diapers in Rockin’ Green for an hour or so between Steps 3 and 5. Since we’ve only been cloth-diapering for about a month, we haven’t had to do that yet.
It’s not bad, but it’s definitely more trouble than using disposables. Why bother?
Well, here are OUR reasons (in order):
We don’t want to put any more diapers in the landfills than absolutely necessary.
While we’re not saving as much money with Harper since we’ve had to shell out for initial costs such as diapers, wet bags, the diaper pail, etc., all future Powell babies will be diapered at minimal additional cost.
The bleach and other chemicals used to manufacture disposable diapers have been linked to some health problems (see here). While that’s not a huge concern of ours, we figure it’s never a bad thing to minimize your exposure to toxins.
So how much DOES it cost?
Because we plan to use these diapers for multiple babies, we decided to buy all new ones, but we went with the pocket style rather than all-in-ones because they’re a little cheaper. So far, we have 24 diapers (which is probably the minimum you need to diaper one baby full time), all of which are bumGenius and FuzziBunz brands. We did take advantage of a couple of sales wherein if you bought X number of diapers, you got X number for free.
What I’m driving at here is that you CAN buy cheaper and/or second-hand diapers and spend far less money than we did. So consider our costs more toward the high end of things.
24 diapers: $303
2 large wet bags: $38
2 pail liners: $17 (bought one with a gift certificate)
2 small wet bags (for diaper bag): $10 (got one free with a diaper order)
Diaper sprayer: $40
Detergent: $0 (purchased with gift certificate)
Diaper pail: Don’t remember, but it’s just a garbage can with a swinging lid that we bought at Target. Maybe $20?
Paper diaper liners (so that when I need to lotion Harper up really well, it doesn’t soak into the diapers): $0 (gift)
Assuming everything holds up, all this constitute one-time purchases except, of course, for the detergent, which is kind of expensive at $15 a bag. I don’t know how long it’s supposed to last, but we’re a month into this and our bag is about half empty. Or half full, if you’re an optimist.
Also, cloth diapers require a few special products, like diaper rash cream. You can’t use regular ones, because they’re “barrier” creams, and they’ll ruin the absorbability (is that a word?) of your diapers. I mean, if it won’t let moisture into your skin, it won’t let moisture into a diaper, right? So I buy mostly California Baby products, which are all cloth-diaper friendly (and awesome) but HELLA expensive.
Do we still use disposables? Sure, occasionally.
We used them for about the first week and a half of Harper’s life; The Guy and I figured that we had MORE than enough to adjust to without adding anything else, thankyouverymuch. Once we started, we still had to supplement with disposables for a little while because we didn’t have enough cloth yet. And we let the grandparents use disposables if they want when they babysit, but so far, they’ve been champs about using cloth.
I’m not sure yet if we’ll have to use disposables when Harper starts going to Mother’s Day Out. Around here, most childcare facilities will allow you to bring cloth diapers, but they won’t deal with them at all except to dump them in a bag (without removing the pads or fastening the laundry tabs or anything). Which is fine with pee diapers but would be kind of gross if there was poop. Some people who really want to use cloth but have to do the daycare thing just cloth diaper at night but use disposables during the day.
So do I like it? Is it worth it? Am I sure I want to do this with multiple babies?
Yeah, of course. It’s not that much more work, and it’s no more disgusting, in my opinion, than handling a disposable diaper. It’s good for Harper’s skin, too; her rear would get really red when we used disposables, but she’s fine now that we’re using cloth. And I feel good that I’m not throwing diapers in the trash every day.
Plus, they’re cute.
So what do you think? Is cloth diapering something you’d ever try? Or did God make Pampers for a reason?