It seems that cloth diapering is really catching on as a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly alternative to disposables. I bought into the idea before my baby was born and referred to my decision as the “great cloth diapering experiment.” It was exciting to do all the research ahead of time, and then when the baby was finally here, I found that I actually love cloth diapering! But that’s not to say the process of learning to cloth diaper hasn’t come with some bumps in the road. Here are five of the rookie mistakes I made as I started my diapering journey.
Before my baby was born, I wanted to have absolutely everything ready for her – especially her stash of cloth diapers. Unfortunately, I ended up with a lot of a certain style of diaper that it turns out I like less than others. I also purchased several newborn-sized diapers, but by the time we had used up all the disposable diapers we had been given as gifts and were ready to move on to cloth, our baby had already outgrown that size! I suggest doing a cloth diaper trial or rental program to start with, or perhaps purchasing a few different types of diapers and trying them out before investing in a large stash.
Not setting up a wash schedule
Ideally, cloth diapers should be washed every one to three days. When I was first starting out and had an admittedly small stash, I’d often run out of diapers because I wasn’t washing often enough. Not washing soon enough can lead to staining, stink problems, and running-out-of-diaper emergencies, and washing more often than needed can be stressful and use an unnecessary amount of water, electricity, and time. I am finally on a schedule of washing mine every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday, and have plenty of diapers to last me in between.
Not tucking in all the cloth
We use pocket diapers, and every once in a while a piece of cloth from the inside of the diaper will stick out of the waterproof layer. This means that moisture will be absorbed by that cloth but then not contained by the waterproof layer, and where does it end up? On the baby’s clothes! Now we make sure to fan out all leg gussets and tuck in all stray pieces of cloth – especially near the back elastic and at the hips – whenever we put a clean diaper on the baby.
Misplacing hemp doublers
Hemp doublers are beautiful things. They are extra absorbent and provide added security for trips out of the house or for overnight. But there is a rule you need to observe when using hemp doublers: make sure they are tucked closest to the waterproof later and furthest from the baby’s bottom. Hemp absorbs more slowly than other fabrics, so it needs to be the last layer that the moisture gets to in order to avoid pooling and, therefore, leaks.
Believing using cloth overnight is not possible
I had the hardest time finding an effective overnight diaper solution when we stopped changing our baby in the middle of the night. I tried stuffing my pockets with all different combinations of cloth and eventually resigned myself to using disposables at night. That is, until I discovered Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter diapers. These specially designed pocket diapers when stuffed with two inserts, although bulky, keep my baby dry for 12+ hours at night! Other cloth diapering parents swear by wool soakers, and some that don’t have particularly heavy-wetters are able to just double-stuff pocket diapers for nighttime use. In other words, don’t give up! There is a solution out there that will work for you.
Cloth diapering comes with its fair share of challenges but more rewards than I could have imagined. My baby’s rash-free bottom is always cloaked in soft cloth, I have tons of fun trying out new diaper styles and enjoying cute patterns, and we have never used any of our own money on disposable diapers. I’m excited to start cloth diapering another baby someday, and this time, I’ll avoid my rookie mistakes!
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Safety and Sanitation: Preparing Our Home for a Newborn
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