THE LAST 10 MONTHS
My son turns 10 months this week! It's also our 10th month of adventures in cloth diapering. We don’t use cloth diapers 100% of the time, but I hope the times we do help offset my little one’s precious baby carbon footprint. Before he was born I purchased 6 “Bummi” wraps (must-haves) and 2 sizes of unbleached, pre-folded, cloth diapers from www.clothdiaper.com. The website was recommended to me by a Babies R Us employee in response to my shock that the only cloth diapers carried in the store were really only suitable as burp rags. The diapers from this site are comparably priced and of fantastic quality – drastically better than you can find in stores.
At 10 months, he’s finally big enough for the next size cloth diapers I’ve had packed away all his life. I pulled them out of storage a couple of weeks ago to put them through a few wash cycles, an important step to fluff them up prior to use. The way to wash cloth diapers, new or soiled, is in hot water with “clean and clear” detergent, white vinegar in the rinse cycle, with a second rinse. If possible, it’s best to line dry once you’re using them because the sun acts as a disinfectant. It also acts as a bleach – I was amazed to find the stool stains I’d been machine drying for 2 months disappeared the first time I line-dried. The small diapers that hung on the line all summer are visibly whiter than the new ones.
We started with disposable diapers his first week of life, as the doctor felt disposables would protect the circumcision better. After that, we switched to cloth during the day and disposables at night (so that if by chance he was only wet, I didn’t have to add disruption to a time I wanted him to sleep). The cloth diapers were a breeze the first 4 months – in fact, I found them easier than disposables. As a breastfed baby, he had a lot of little stools all day that were as liquid as any diaper-filler. The liquidity eliminated the need for toilet pre-rinsing, the most unpleasant part of cloth diapering. The only advantage of cloth diapers over disposables is their absorbency, requiring less wet diaper changes, and the poop frequency at this young age eliminated this advantage. Poops have to be changed to matter what!
In those early days, the cloth diapers came in handy when his diaper rash got out of control. There were a few days he had to go without a diaper to allow air to dry the rash, so having the cloths to lay open underneath and over him saved us allot of mess. Now he wears the “Bummi” wrap over the diaper, keeping the wetness inside and keeping the diaper on without pins, but for the first couple months, he wore the diaper by itself because he was too small for the “Bummi.”
It wasn’t bad though – there are stretchy-plastic-ace-bandage-clip-style alternatives to pins and the diaper only soaked through occasionally. It was best to wrap him in a blanket if holding him for extended periods. Ah, the newborn days. How times have changed!
There was a short period the cloth diapers were a bit of a bear – I refer to this as the “pudding poop” stage. Luckily it only lasted a month or two, or I’m not sure we’d still be so eco-friendly. It started when he began solid foods. The stools became less frequent, but much, much, much larger with a consistency of, well, pudding. Eewww! This required the dreaded toilet pre-rinse before the washer could handle the mess. I hated this part, holding the diaper over the toilet at arms-reach between 2 fingers and swirling, just hoping the stools would break free without having to dip low enough to feel moisture on my fingertips.
Thank goodness that did not last! Very soon his stool became a harder mass that plops right off the diaper into the toilet, leaving nothing behind that the washer can’t handle. It’s easy to save the planet again! He does require more frequent changing at this stage than he would in disposables because, as I mentioned, disposables are more absorbent so wet cloth diapers require more attention. So he is still in disposables all night, or for long car rides, but I’m committed to cloth during the day. Day in and day out, my motivation stems from my desire to live green. When we go out or to friends’ houses, I must admit I do it to impress. But perhaps the best reason to cloth diaper is they’re so cute on baby!
THIS TIME LAST YEAR
I was doing research on cloth diapers at this time last year. What else was I going to do all day at work? I sure couldn’t think about work with baby-planning on my mind. But it wasn’t just baby on the brain that was making work difficult. I was getting pretty uncomfortable and feeling more tired than I ever. I was ready to be home on leave, and was just counting the days while I got everything prepared at work and at home. One preparation I wish I’d given more attention to was signing up for classes at the hospital. Kaiser offers many free classes, some of which we took and some I wish we would have.
My husband and I took several classes together. We took Preparing for Childbirth, the only one that cost money. Although I was a little disappointed with our instructor, it was a worthwhile class. I loved the Newborn Care class. It was extremely informative with an awesome instructor who was into cloth diapers! She showed me how to make pre-folds easy to put on baby. We also took a hospital tour, which made me much more comfortable on delivery day.
I wish I would have signed up for the breastfeeding class and the baby safety/CPR class. We ended up having to move unexpectedly in my 8th month, so I was busy and thought I could take these two classes after the baby was born. How little did I know about being busy! Baby care leaves time for nothing, let me repeat, NOTHING else, during the first 2 months at least. We didn’t end up taking CPR until he was 4 months old. We never took the breastfeeding class and I think it would have saved me some heartache. I advise every pregnant woman to be completely prepared for baby’s arrival long before the due date.
The one bright spot of this month last year was a pregnancy photo shoot. My little sister is a professional photographer, so I got this wonderful gift at no cost! She does fine work and can be found at www.zoedesignandphoto.com.