Here’s a quick review of what I’ve talked about so far in this Cloth Diapering for Beginners series:
So I’m going to wrap it up today, and the thing I really want to convey about cloth diapering is that it is just not a big deal.
I really don’t care if other people use cloth or not. But I do want to make sure people realize it’s a very doable option. Before I was familiar with using cloth, I had this picture in my head that was so gross and complicated. I also figured I’d end up stomping around my house like a grump because I never had any clean diapers. It just hasn’t worked that way. It’s not a big deal. I’m so glad we did it, even though we didn’t start until we were on baby #3. It’s been totally worth it.
Another thing I want to be clear about is that cloth diapering doesn’t have to be all or nothing. A lot of people who use cloth also use disposables sometimes, often at night. Or out in public, which I don’t really get but I’m sure there’s a good reason. Or when you travel. Or, if you just didn’t get the diapers washed and dried in time. It’s no biggie! And as you get started, they can be really helpful in helping you figure out how many you need. It makes sense to start conservatively, only buy the minimum you think you’ll use, and then if you find yourself running out consistently, buy a few more. Better to do that than to over buy, if you’re trying to make cloth affordable at the beginning.
Today I want to talk about how we got started with a newborn.
The diapers we use have a minimum weight of 8lbs. We thought Piper would be between 7 and 8 lbs, so we were prepared with a fairly small number of newborn disposable diapers to use at the beginning. Newborns poop and pee so much that using disposables is a good way to go. Although newborn cloth diapers do exist, I wasn’t interested in making that investment.
Turns out, Piper was 8lbs 11oz at birth, so we were free to try cloth whenever we were ready. At about 2 weeks, I put one on her just to see if it really fit. Although she was technically above the weight recommendation, it leaked out the top of the front because it wasn’t small enough, even what I had it snapped as tight as it would go. So I gave it another week or so and tried again.
STOP THE (WORD)PRESSES. I forgot to tell you the best thing about cloth diapers. THE BEST THING. NO POOP BLOWOUTS.
I’m not kidding. Not a single one. The diapers have elastic around the thighs and waist and I’m not lying when I say we haven’t had a single up-the-back blowout in cloth diapers. If she poops in a disposable, it definitely goes straight up the back, as usual. So I know she doesn’t have a magic bum. It’s the diapers. Guys. It’s awesome.
Okay. So anyway, I tried at about 2 weeks and 9lbs, and the fit wasn’t good enough for the diapers to work. Tried again a few weeks later, and they worked perfectly. From that point, I’d do a cloth diaper or two a day, just to kind of ease into it and get used to it. I didn’t want to get overwhelmed. So by 4 weeks old, I would get Piper up in the morning, and at the first diaper change I’d take off her disposable diaper we used overnight and put her in cloth. It’s important to note that cloth diapers have to be changed more frequently, probably because they don’t have all the chemicals that pull liquid away and absorb it. So I’d change her around every feeding. About 5-6 diapers during the day.
At night, I’d switch to a disposable diaper because, like I said, they don’t have to be changed as frequently. Now, if you want to, you can add extra inserts to bulk up the absorbancy of a cloth diaper in order to use it overnight. But with a small newborn, adding another insert made the diaper awkwardly big. And I didn’t want her to wake unnecessarily because she was uncomfortable. So we used and are still using disposables at night. We use cloth on Eliza (she’s 2.5) at night, but she’s much older and doesn’t wet nearly as much as she sleeps.
So we started slowly. Tried it, it didn’t work, tried it again in a few weeks, and eased in. Within a few weeks of using a cloth diaper without leakage due to poor fit, we were in the rhythm we’ve stayed in, using cloth all day and disposables at night. If I get a little behind and diapers aren’t ready, I use a disposable. And I don’t feel bad about it! Because it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For me, one of the biggest motivating factors is saving money. I love that I’m not sending a bunch of diapers to sit in garbage piles, but mostly, it’s money. And we’re spending so little on disposable diapers that even when we use them, switching to cloth has been absolutely worth it.
So I hope I’ve at least shown that cloth diapers are a realistic option. I’m at home with my kids but most of my friends who use cloth are working moms, so I know it’s doable with a variety of schedules and lifestyles. If you’re on the fence, see if a friend who uses cloth will let you borrow one, even if it’s just to try it on (your baby) or check it out in person. That was helpful for me! Bottom line – you can do it. If you want to.
If you have questions about anything I’ve talked about (or left out), ask in the comments section or email me directly. I’d love to help! I’ve got another somewhat related giveaway coming up – another way to swap out the disposable for the reusable. It’s with a local company and I’m pumped to share!
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