Cloth diapers are addictive.
Many people, mostly people who don’t use cloth or don’t have kids, will stare at you blankly when those words come out of your mouth. For heaven’s sake, they are diapers! It’s easy to understand buying an entire clothing line of baby clothes you think are adorable, or several of the same cute blankie because you know a few will get lost as the years go by. But…diapers? They’re just diapers, right?
No. They are not just diapers. They are diapers made out of mind-controlling, obsessive magical fabric that spurn you to open your wallet the second your favorite cloth diaper company comes out with a new line of prints, sending you running to grab the mail a few days later, throwing the diapers in the wash and the packaging in the recycle bin before your spouse can come home so they don’t realize you’ve bought EVEN MORE DIAPERS. This crazy obsession with cloth diapers has led to people spending hundreds of dollars on a single hard-to-find, highly sought after print (these people make far more money than me, by the way).
If you’re on a budget, or are afraid of getting caught up in the obsessive side of the world of cloth diapers, then a “Plain Jane” stash might be for you. The definition of a plain cloth diaper stash is a little different depending on the person, but it is basically a simple stash without the hundred-dollar prints or dozens of different types of diapers. For many people, it is a stash of flats and prefolds with some white covers. For others, it might be a stash of 25 white all-in-ones. Still others might have 30 tie-dyed prefolds and a couple of wool covers. Plain stashes can cross over with minimalism, so if you don’t have a lot of space or you just hate having “extra” things lying around (no 100-diaper stashes for you!), this might be something to consider.
So you’ve decided to cloth diaper, and you have a baby on the way. You’ve decided on the style and brand of diapers to buy, and now you just need to decide how many to buy. As tempting as it is to get all of the styles and colors possible, you will discover that buying cloth diapers upfront can absolutely bankrupt you if you go a little crazy. Many people know this from experience. I, uh, may or may not be one of those people. So, before you drain your bank account, let’s explore the question: how many do you really need?
There are many, many newborn diapers to choose from!
Okay. You’ve chosen between using hook-and-loop or snap closures on your diapers, or even a mixture of both. No more closure issues to deal with, right? Well, guess what—not all snap closures are the same, and different snap configurations can be the difference between you being able to use a diaper on your child or not!
I don’t mean to depress you, or send cloth diaper newbies away screaming at all the choices they have to make. But more than once, I have heard stories about parents buying a big-brand diaper that others rave about, only to discover that the snaps are too low or too far apart to get a good fit on their child, and they sadly return the diaper. Unfortunately, you won’t know what snap styles will fit your child until you are actually putting the diaper on him or her. Luckily, you can make most diapers work, but it can be frustrating when one just won’t fit properly and you know it’s because of snap placements. Let’s look at some snap styles below.
A colorful collection of snap diapers. I even use some of them.
I was a little worried when I decided to try cloth diapers for the first time. They look complicated. Especially the ones that I got. Mine were of the snapping variety that have removable pads. I was worried about how my son would deal with the new feel of cloth rather than disposable diaper on his rump. I was even worried about not being able to snap them properly and them falling off of my son. I shouldn’t have worries.
Why Snap Diapers
I chose snaps for one reason. I wanted to save money, so I wanted to know that the diaper would grow with my child. I didn’t want to use the most basic cloth diapers because I had no desire to use safety pins that near my child’s skin. Although the velcro diapers may have been able to adjust in the same way, I could see it with the snapping diapers. They looked like they could adjust from our second child being a newborn all the way through the toddler years when it was time to potty train. There were snaps to fold the diapers to the proper size as well as snaps to make the leg holes and waist smaller. Also, they were visually appealing.
The pads that came with the diapers were made of bamboo microfibers. They were much softer than I expected. I was relieved about that. A child goes through about six to eight diapers a day. I only had the six inserts that came with the diapers. I ordered thirty more so that when my second child came I would have enough for both of them. It would be enough for me to rotate in the laundry without an interruption in my diapering.
My Child’s Reaction
My son loved the diapers and would actually hold still for a diaper change. I know that this may seem like a small thing, but he usually tried to squirm away from a changing as soon as the old diaper was off. He had endured some skin irritation due to his disposables in the past, and wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of having another diaper put on him. I liked the way that they breathed. I noticed that he didn’t try to take it off. I also liked that he would immediately come to me when he needed changing because, while absorbent, the removable pads still felt wet. This was ideal for preparing him to potty train. In fact, the only thing he seemed to miss was the sound that his diaper made when he was walking. He got over that fast.
The Down Side
I noticed that my son was getting a little red down below. It may have been because he was having stomach issues that week. It may also have been because he was chafing. Either way I would recommend stocking up on your favorite diaper rash remedy, just in case. That is the only down side that I experienced. All in all I enjoy our new cloth diapers, and so does my little one.
“I want to use cloth diapers for our kid,” I said out of the blue one day as my husband and I sat on the couch, spending quality time together after dinner staring vacantly at the TV while mindlessly mashing buttons on the video game controllers we were both holding.
“Okay,” he said.
“It will save us money in the long run and—wait, okay?”
“Yeah, I’m cool with that,” he replied as something onscreen blew up in an amazingly colorful fashion.
And thus our cloth diapering experiences began in the most normal, boring way possible.
Of course the whole thing had started a few months earlier, when one morning before work I peed on a stick and then almost peed myself again when two bright pink lines unexpectedly popped up on the pregnancy test. Sometime between then and the conversation with my husband I started researching cloth diapers for our child-to-be. I suppose it is a testament to how routine and normal cloth diapers are in our household now that I don’t even remember why, or how, or where I began my research. The idea must have always been lurking at the back of my mind, though, because I’d always had sensitivities to disposable menstrual products while growing up. In college I discovered cloth menstrual pads and menstrual cups and for one week a month my life was suddenly much more tolerable, even though my family teased that I was now Officially a Liberal Hippie. When I found out I was pregnant, it wasn’t a stretch at all to wonder if my children would be sensitive
The first time I heard the dreaded “W” word in regards to cloth diapering, even the walls of my apartment trembled in fear (never mind that there was construction on the building going on).
It was foreign-sounding. Like enchiladas, except less tasty.
It was bewildering. Confusing. Like when you wake up from accidentally drifting off on the couch, because Elmo’s World ended and now your toddler is happily screaming while jumping up and down on the coffee table throwing the remains of her lunch in the air and the cats are running around in circles catching bits of ham and chicken raining down on them.
At one point this butt had never known the wonders of wool covers.
For one who has not yet been initiated into the Cult of Wool, the entire concept is strange and a little scary. PUL diaper covers, okay, easy. They wrap around the diaper and snap or velcro shut. Pull on nylon covers, also easy. That’s all waterproof material. Totally understandable how it keeps your kid from leaking pee all over the carpet.