O.K., O.K. It has been going over and over in my mind that I need to share my stories of cloth diapering from a novice’s point of view. So there is the disclaimer. I am by no means claiming to be an expert or experienced at cloth diapering. I just thought those of you who are thinking about it may want to hear another’s experiences and point of view.
If you don’t already know, I gave birth to a micro preemie who was 27 weeks gestation, in February. So my little one was less that 6 pounds when he came home. His first diaper, that fit a lime sized bum, was too big and folded in half…
Obviously, at this point we, were still in the NICU. I knew in my mind from the beginning of pregnancy we were going to plan on cloth-diapering. Though I care very much for our earth, my biggest concern was genetic predisposition for very sensitive skin from both sides of the family. Yes, I was the pain in the petushki (technical term), and everything from seams to the wrong fabric caused my skin to break out in welts, and at times, still do. Knowing this, I told my husband it was going to be likely that we would have to cloth anyway, so we were planning on it from the get-go. Then we had a preemie and that solidified it.
So, here is the skinny on what is working for us. We came home with a baby that was less than 6 pounds. None of the one-size diapers would fit him. So, trying to be economical, I started looking for cloth diapers that weren’t as expensive for his first few months. I should tell you, I did try pre-folds and that was a No Go. Yikes! They were way too big for his tiny butt and pinning a cloth diaper is down right dangerous with a squirmy 5 pound baby, for both me and him! I don’t recommend trying it unless you’re very brave and the child is comatose…ha ha ha. I can’t believe that’s all they had back in the day! Thank goodness for new technology. Anyway, I digress. The first thing you need is diapers, right? I found these IMAGINE all-in-one Newborn cloth diapers that I love. They are good for 5-13 pounds. At approximately $10/each, you can’t do better than that. If you’re not familiar with all-in-one diapers, have a look. I absolutely love them. They lesson the work load and it feels like you’re changing a regular old diaper, so it’s less of a learning curve. I have tried others with velcro and with my little one’s skin, it was a no-go, but the snaps are great. Another important aspect for me was the manufacturers recommendations for washing are super easy and exactly right.
We have now graduated to the regular one-size diapers. Again, I bought the IMAGINE product as I had such good luck with them and they are working out great. I actually do tumble dry on low and they have kept up just fine. I also already had Rumparooz one-size pocket cloth diaper, bumGenius Freetime, and Charlie Banana 2 in 1 diapers. Though I use them all and for the most part, like them all, I think the IMAGINEs give you the most bang for your buck! So there’s the diapers.
Well Obviously I use the diapers as I would any other diaper. I do take a break from the cloth diapers when we are out and about. It’s too much a pain to carry that many cloth diapers and a wet bag if I am planning to be gone for an extended period of time. Someone was kind enough to buy us a HUGE box of Huggies, and my son is allergic to them. He immediately gets red in the creases from the elastic or the cut of the diaper. OUCH. So, no Huggies.
As I’m sure you’d imagine, I did my own research prior to coming home from the hospital for my little preemie’s bottom, and the one diaper that seems to get the best reviews both for sensitivity and eco-friendliness are the Bambo Nature diapers. These are the ones we had purchased prior to Jonathan coming home from the NICU and true to reviews, he has no issue with these diapers. They’re great! In a pinch, we are able to use Pampers Sensitive, but I do notice after a while, those can irritate as well. I’ve yet to find a store that sells the Bambos, so it’s good to know an alternative if you need one.
That said for cleaning the bottom and changing, we also only use water and washcloths. Yep, you read right. Washcloths.
You can purchase big package of washcloths at any store at a fairly minimal cost. This bowl, designated for diapering, is the one I used to use at the hospital for his baths, but any bowl will do. I wash the washcloths with and when I wash the diapers. You will note that most cloth diapers say not to use diaper creams with their product, but I always put a little Vaseline on his bottom as a precaution and preventive care for skin. This has not caused any problems with my diapers. Think of it this way…Vaseline is a barrier between direct contact with the skin for urine and stool, which can only help babies with sensitive skin. If absorbed before that, it’s a great lubricant. To me it’s a win-win all the way around.
When I put the last cloth diaper on my little one, I start the wash of the diapers. For detergent, I use plain regular TIDE original powder only. For a list of appropriate diaper washing detergents and comparisons click here. I do a quick wash on cold with water only and then regular long cycle hot/cold with detergent afterwards. Then an extra rinse. When diapers start to get smelly (only about once a month for me), I do a quick wash with water only, then I wash with baking soda 1/2 cup and a Downy ball filled with vinegar.
Extra Rinse. Finally, wash with detergent followed by an extra rinse. It has always made the diapers smell great and it’s so easy. If you’re worried about smells while using cloth diapers, I’ve had great luck with my Dekor Plus hands free diaper pail.
There you have it world! This process works really well for me. If you’re wondering why I don’t use a diaper service, I’ll toss that in too. Bringing a preemie home, one can never be sure what products are used through the service. Also, when you are using a service, you are basically sharing underwear that gets soiled by a bunch of other babies that you don’t know. I know it goes through the laundry, but for my own peace of mind, I just couldn’t do it. Not only for potential exposure to another child’s body fluids while mine was so vulnerable, but also because I wasn’t sure what laundering process or detergents would be used and my child, has my skin. Just food for thought. I hope this helps people out there thinking about cloth diapering! Questions and comments are welcome.