Monday, April 22, 2013

To cloth or not to cloth?

One of the many types of advice we got when I was pregnant was in the category of "you're going to fail at ______". It was usually some mom or dad who had attempted something they believed would be best for their child, but then for some reason or other realized that it was too difficult/time consuming/expensive or maybe didn't work for their child after all. They would tell me not to "feel bad" when I failed at this thing, because it's not really worth it anyway. This advice usually came up unsolicited in regards to breastfeeding and natural child birth, but also when I mentioned that we were considering cloth diapering.

I'm not sure why people can't just say "we tried that and it didn't work for us, but it might for you". I guess it's easier to justify your own choice by saying that there really is no other choice, but I digress...

Anyway, because we had heard so many negative stories about cloth diapers ("CD"), we were extremely sceptical about the whole thing. I was especially apprehensive because every single lawyer I knew at work who had tried it said it was impossible. [I later realized that I was talking only to men, who were not the ones on mat leave and were way too busy to help their wives with laundry EVER. Fortunately for me, my hubbs is a domestic wonder, which makes a huge difference =)]

Sporting the new "Irwin" print by BumGenius

We did A LOT of research. I probably spent 30 hours researching online and talking to the few people I knew in real life who CD'd. We also went to a workshop put on by a local CD retailer where they explained the different kinds of diapers and all the "accoutrement" you needed to have. We decided we would give it a shot on a trial basis and see how it went and be completely open-minded about both CD's and disposables, and this is how it went down:

When the kitten was born, we used disposable newborn sized diapers for the following reasons:

1. We had never changed diapers before, so we wanted to keep it simple until we got the hang of it.

2. We didn't want to buy the newborn sized CDs that would only last a few weeks. Our daughter doubled her weight really fast, so they would not have lasted long.

3. Newborns poo about a hundred times a day, so we would need a huge stash of CDs to keep up.

When the kitten was about 2 months old, she was big enough for the regular infant CDs. We got one of each kind to try out: an old skool pre-fold with cover, a fitted diaper with cover, and a pocket diaper "all in one". Here is a good summary of the different types of CD's.

When baby was still rather small, the pre-folds were the best because I could fit them perfectly to her shape and they caught all the poop (no blow-outs). However, as she got bigger, the cotton fibers of the pre-folds and the fitteds could not hold all of her pee and she would always be really soaked and uncomfortable. Over time, the pocket diapers became our favourites. We only tried the BumGenius 4.0 pocket diapers (which are made with a moisture wicking pocket and micro-fiber insert) and love them so much that we now have a stash of 20! I have thought about buying cheaper knock-offs but everyone I know who uses pocket diapers loves the BumGenius ones the best (including one of my fave bloggers, Jessica at the Southern Belle Boy Mom, so why mess with a good thing?

BumGenius 4.0

So now we use the pocket CDs every day, all day. We still use disposable diapers at night because they absorb all the nighttime pee... as much as I value CDs, I value my sleep more =) Also, baby doesn't poo at night anymore, so the blow-out risk is very low. But let me tell you, whenever she did have a (breast milk) poo in a disposable, it meant an entire costume change.

In addition to the diapers themselves, we also got some cloth wipes (might as well use those if you're doing diaper laundry), special hydrogen peroxide laundry detergent, a rubbermaid sealable bin to act as a diaper pail, two washable diaper pail liners, and a wet-bag for storing clean and soiled diapers when we're out. Here are some pics of these lovely accessories:

Magical CD-safe detergent
Diaper Pail
Wet Bag

We love our CDs not only because they prevent blow-outs but also because:

1. We never have to worry about running out of diapers
2. We like keeping piles of garbage out of landfills
3. It will save us money in the long run, especially if we are fortunate to have more children in the future.
4. They come in really pretty colours and prints =)


5. It is an important element of INFANT POTTY TRAINING, which will be the subject of my next blog post.

How much work is cloth diapering? I think it depends on what tools and support you have. In my case, I have an in-suite washer/dryer in my apartment and the cost of water is covered by our condo fees (we only pay for electricity). I have a super involved and supportive spouse who loves the idea as much as I do. I have a mother and mother-in-law who come by almost every day to help with chores around the house. As you can see, this environment is conducive to cloth diapering success, and that's why it works for US. I'm not saying that it is for everyone! What I'm saying is that I'm glad I didn't let all the negative people prevent me from trying something for myself.

As I mentioned, stay tuned for our tales of infant potty training (gasp!), and leave me a comment if you have any questions about the whole cloth diaper thing. By this point, I have researched and tried so many things, I could probably help you out if you have any quandaries.
My little genius wearing the "Albert" print. SO CUTE


  1. I wanted to cloth diaper and also got a lot of negative comments about it...mainly from people who never used them. Also after much research I got a bumgenius AIO to try. We've put it on her a handful of times and it has worked well, but the main problem is that the diaper is so big that it comes all the way down to her knees and I can't button her onesie, much less put her pants on or put her in a sleeper. Have you found this to be an issue? I wonder if its because its an AIO or if she is still too small for them at 12 pounds.

  2. Yes, the AIO's were too big at first. They looked massive until she was about 14 pounds, but our little one has chunky thighs and bum, so I think she started to fit into them sooner than most other babies. Before that, I used the prefolds and fitteds a lot. You may want to try it when she's bigger and see how you like it =)