I am a cloth diaper “Newbie.” I wear that title with pride and passion. Though I’m a Newbie I’m already a lot of other things…obsessed, in love, ready to sing from the hilltops!
If there is a “typical” cloth diapering mom (which I’m quickly learning there isn’t) I certainly don’t fit the profile. If you know me well you know that I care about the environment and have made some big changes to my lifestyle to live a greener life, but I don’t advertise or preach it. My family was surprised that I would move to cloth diapers, but might have expected it. My extended circle of friends is shocked, curious and a little grossed out! I’m comfortable with the role of being a cloth diapering trendsetter amongst my peers and determined to create some converts.
With a little research (okay hours, but who’s counting when it’s so much fun) I was able to quickly choose my first cloth diaper purchases to get me started on my trial. The obvious first picks were the popular Fuzzi Bunz and bumGenius. With those two brands I was able to try out Snaps vs. Velcro, Fitted vs. One-Size and Pocket vs. All-in-One. I purchased a 2 pack of sized Fuzzi Bunz, a bumGenius One Size 3.0 and a bumGenius Organic All-in-One One Size diaper. I threw in a Happy Heinys One Size pocket diaper as well, after reading some reviews, to have a direct comparison to the bumGenius pocket. Armed with my mini-stash and a very willing 4 month old (did she really have a choice?) I got to it.
There are a couple of universal hurdles, myths and fears that I think makes everyone nervous with cloth diapers. I think these are the main reasons why people are resistant to even trying cloth diapers: poops, laundry, leaks and diaper rash. I used these issues as the basis for my testing and tackled each one head-on: I encountered the first cloth diaper hurdle when I got my first poop. I took it straight to our utility sink in our laundry room and rinsed it there. Considering that every poop in a disposable had resulted in a blow-out, I was very accustomed to rinsing out my daughter’s clothes. Rinsing the diaper was much easier and a lot less icky (a very technical term when testing cloth diapers). I have since purchased the bumGenius diaper sprayer which has made poop diapers even easier to deal with. Score one for the cloth diapers!
The second hurdle for cloth diapers…laundry. Dare I say, I love washing my cloth diapers! Twisted, right? I set up two small, inexpensive laundry baskets, one in the baby’s room and one in the laundry room. These are shallow, plastic laundry baskets that are open to the air without any bag or liner. I like that I don’t have to reach into a damp, stinky pail on laundry day and I can just wipe the basket out when empty. As long as I do laundry every other day I haven’t found there to be any smell. I do a quickwash cycle with cold water and Charlie’s Soap and immediately follow with a hot, longer cycle, again with Charlie’s Soap and an extra rinse cycle. Super easy. Score two for the cloth diapers.
My next test, and probably the most important to me, was keeping my daughter dry and rash-free. Each time I took off her diapers I would pat her little bottom to see how wet or dry it was. It was dry every time! The insert could be soaked, but the part of the diaper touching her body was dry and her skin was perfect. And, I must say, I have put these diapers through the test. I have left one on her for up to four hours during the day (I say with embarrassment) and I use a bumGenius overnight with a doubler without any leaks or rashes…ever! Now, I’ve lost track of the score, but the cloth diapers are definitely the winner!
I really wanted to love this cloth diapering thing and I wanted it to work for my family. I was so worried that something: leaks, inconveniences, rashes, etc would make me give up. I put them through so many tests: changed them on the go, taken them on vacation, left them on much longer than I should, used them overnight, cleaned the poops, done the laundry, used them for long car rides and they have far surpassed my expectations. They are greener, better performing and gentler for my baby than disposables. And don’t even get me started on how cute they are!!! — By Jennifer G.