Please take a look at this post’s title again and recognize that I wrote our cloth diapering experience. So many times on Facebook groups and in mommy circles I’ve read/heard from different moms that they “make” their husband cloth diaper their babies. It always astonishes me. I read one Facebook post a couple of weeks ago from a woman who said her husband isn’t on board with cloth diapering so he hasn’t ever changed a diaper… Her kid is 18 months old! I was in complete disbelief. I don’t (or should I say “can’t”) force my husband to do anything. Did he love the idea of cloth diapering when I first mentioned it? No… His biggest hesitation was regarding the poop issue (rinsing, washing, etc). But he was on board with trying it out, and he proactively cloth diapers our daughter even though we have a supply of disposables in the house for emergencies or were given as gifts. We are a team and we both deal with poopy diapers!
I think my hubby would be the first to say that I am more eager about the whole cloth diapering than he is. If I were to say “let’s give this up,” I don’t think he would put up a fight. Does my hubby spend any time researching cloth options online? No… Has he gone out and purchased any diapers himself without my input? No… When I ask for him to hand me a BumGenius or Applecheeks, he often says “which one is that again?” But he knows exactly which diaper to use at night and is always willing to try out a new diaper. And I always get super excited when he randomly gives unsolicited input, like the other day when he said “I think I like these [Thirsties hemp prefolds] better than these [Applecheeks bamboo prefolds]. I think they’re more absorbent.” If I had asked him which was bamboo and which was hemp, he probably wouldn’t be able to tell, just like he wouldn’t be able to tell me which brand was which. But I still swooned.
I couldn’t cloth diaper our daughter without him on board because we’re partners in this whole parenting thing.
While Mark is on board, he does think some cloth diapering mommas are a little… How should I say… Insane? When I told him how much a Samoa Applecheeks has sold for, he merely walked away saying “I don’t want to hear anymore… Just stop.” And when I told him that a cloth diapering momma posted on a Facebook group saying she had in excess of 200 diapers (for 1 child I might add…), he shook his head. (To be honest, I told him about that momma for my benefit – if he ever gives me a hard time about buying too many diapers, I can just say “at least we don’t have over 200!).
That being said, nothing is funnier than when Mark throws out cloth diapering lingo for the sake of it. Like the day when I got really frustrated because A.J. was leaking out of all her diapers. I was ticked off at getting peed on multiple times that day and Mark says, with a huge grin, “maybe they need to be stripped. Look at me, talking like I know what I’m talking about!” And he throws out a joke about an Applecheeks Samoa every once in a while.
Before A.J. was born, I spent hours upon hours reading everything I could about cloth diapering. Terms like All In Ones, pocket diapers, covers, wool, flats, prefolds, were completely foreign to me. One review would say that prefolds and covers were the way to go, while another swore by pocket diapers, and another AIOs. It was incredibly overwhelming, and we took the following into consideration when making decisions about what kind of cloth diapers we wanted to use:
- How easy they were to use. I didn’t mind a little bit of a learning curve, but I wanted Mark to feel at ease with the range of diapers in our stash.
- Cost! Cloth diapering can be less expensive than using disposables in the long run (and if you don’t buy a Samoa…!). But “in the long run” is the key phrase. Cloth diapering is expensive upfront. We were lucky to receive a couple cloth diapers at our baby shower, and I also buy diapers second hand, but buying diapers during sales or ones that are generally not too expensive is important to us especially with my hours being reduced after A.J. was born and Mark being off work with his injury for the first 5 months of A.J.’s life (he has now returned back to work! More on that coming in a future post…).
It’s funny because I typically 1) am not the most patient person and 2) do not like puzzles… And yet I love the challenges that arise from cloth diapering. Why are we facing poopy blow outs? How do we alter our wash routine because of our hard water? What works best at night? Why did this diaper fit perfectly last week, and now she’s peeing out the sides no matter how I tighten it? I’ve spent more time reading about cloth diapers, wash routines, reviews, etc. than I care to admit… But I’ve really loved the cloth diapering experience.
I can’t remember when we decided that we were going to use cloth diapers or what exactly made us chose this route. I don’t think there’s just one reason that swayed us. I love the idea of not buying and throwing away thousands of diapers that cost us more money and end up in landfills. I love the idea of saving money. Since cloth diapering, I’ve found that A.J. is much more prone to diaper rashes when she’s in disposables than when she’s in cloth. And she just looks so darned cute in her colourful cloth!
I am no expert in cloth diapering. I’ve only been doing it for (almost) six months and have only recently started dealing with solid food poops (oh, do I miss the day of breastfed poops!), but here are some recommendations I have for other first time cloth mommies.
- Try different kinds! I mean it! I too heard this advice when I first started researching cloth diapers and thought “nope, I’m finding the perfect diaper and filling my stash with one kind!” You won’t know what you like till you’ve had the chance to feel and try out multiple types. One of the reasons I was hesitant to try out different kinds was the cost. I didn’t want to spend too much money buying different types of diapers if I wasn’t going to use all of them. To those with a similar mindset, I would suggest searching for used diaper groups in your area (there are so many groups on Facebook!). This is a great way to 1) try other diapers at lower costs and 2) unload any diapers you’re not happy with!
- Because of the previous suggestion, refrain from buying too large of a stash of just one kind of diaper in case you aren’t happy with them. If you have a variety of diapers, you can always use your least favourites as back ups. Keep an eye out for sales so you can try a new diaper every couple of weeks if you are unable to pay for a full load of diapers up front (I am still continuing to build up our stash; we first only had enough for 1 day, meaning I had to do laundry every night. Now I can easily get through 2 days (I don’t like to wash less than every two days) but I like having a larger stash so the diapers are in a larger rotation and can last multiple children). You will come across diapers that don’t fit your babe well or you just dislike – it happens, and you don’t want to be stuck with a full stash if you went too overboard with purchasing them all from the get go.
- Realize you may like different diapers for different stages of your baby’s growth. For example, the first couple of weeks of A.J.’s life I loved Thirsties AIO. I had the size 1s which fit nice and tiny and they were super easy being all in ones. But after a couple of weeks, I found I couldn’t get a good fit, and she was constantly leaking out of the legs. By then, she could fit into BumGenius Freetimes (also AIOs) and they were our go-to diaper while other diapers (Applecheeks and Thirsties covers with pre-folds) were more of our back up diapers. Then I went through a very short period where I found that getting a good fit was awkward. (I’ve also heard people say that there is an awkward stage between size 1 and 2 Applecheeks). With the Thirsties, I held onto the diapers for a while after the poor fit and tried them again every couple of weeks. After trying multiple times, I (sadly!) decided to sell them in order to get funds to grow my stash with diapers that do work. With the BumGenius Freetimes, she wasn’t leaking, they just looked a little awkward until I could figure out the right combination between the waist snaps and the rise snaps.
- Don’t get discouraged! Take a break and use disposables if you need to. Cloth diapering can be difficult if you are having problems with a wash routine, are battling illnesses (you or your babe!), or life is just a little too chaotic. I love cloth diapering and have persisted through figuring out a wash routine that works for our hard water, battling the flu and mastitis, and taking care of my hubby post surgery. But that’s because doing an extra load of laundry every other day wasn’t a deal breaker during those difficult times, and I have a stash of disposables to fall back on if I have to. I have to travel for work soon and will be bringing A.J. with me; as much as I really want to cloth diaper her while we’re away, I’ve admitted to myself that it’s just too much so we will be using disposables.
Before buying a new diaper, I usually make sure to read multiple reviews (keeping in mind that what works for some parents might not work for others). Over the next couple of months, I will be reviewing the various diapers that we use (or have used) on A.J. in hopes that our experiences and reviews will be of use to others!