Monday, January 3, 2011

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The "Only a Little Wet" Syndrome

I developed a bad habit in my former life as a 'sposie user. Time and time again, I've seen parents leave a disposable diaper on the baby “just a little longer” -and I'm embarrassed to admit I was guilty of this - because it's “not that wet”.

The truth is, even the “stay dry layer” doesn't leave the baby dry. More comfortable, yes, than no layer at all, but not dry. Of course, a parent could get away with less frequent 'sposie changes because superficially the baby seems dry (that is, their jammies aren't sopping yet), but just because those disposables absorb more fluid than most children can produce over the course of a few hours doesn't mean we need to play a game of chicken with the diaper to see who will give in (give out?) first. There was an episode of Malcolm in the Middle where the dads had a contest to see whose baby's diaper weighed the most. It was funny on TV (I just loved Malcolm in the Middle) but not so funny in real life.

How did so many of us come to believe that it's okay to let our babies sit in damp diapers for extended amounts of time just because the disposable “doesn't feel that heavy”? I believe that the high cost of disposable diapers has trained us to change diapers less frequently in a twisted desire to get the most value out of our purchase. Disposables run $0.20 -$0.30 each (that's the cost of an entire roll of toilet paper!), so changing just a few extra 'sposies per day can cost an extra $20 -$40 per month (and for bigger families, just multiply that by the number of children in diapers). That's an entire mega-case of 'sposies every month! That's a few trips to Starbuck every month. As parents, we try to be frugal, and since advertising has convinced us that disposable diapers stay dry next to baby, we tell ourselves that it's an acceptable (and even sensible) practice to wait until a diaper is noticeably wet before being changed. The bad habit becomes ingrained and can be unconsciously carried over to cloth diapering.

If this sounds like you, free yourself of your bad habit! You are no longer at the mercy of your $0.25 'sposies! The cloth diapers are already paid for and they are re-usable. In fact, the MORE you use your cloth diapers, the more value you get from them! (If you spend $500 on your cloth diaper set-up and change an average of 10 times per day for 2.5 years, your diapers cost a nickel per use). Let's wipe, er, eliminate, er... DISPOSE OF the phrases “not that wet” “not that full” and “only a little wet” from our vocabularies.

Tip: Get instant feedback on how often your baby really wets by putting her in coverless fitteds, pinned prefolds, or pinned flats for a day.

By Angie S.

15 comments:

Ashley said...

Thank you for this post! I'm so guilty of the "it's not soaking wet yet and they're playing so well" syndrome :). I'm going to try the method you suggested (diaper with pins) tomorrow to see when/how often they are wet. THANKS!

Janine said...

True that. Another one I saw on a parenting group was moms who don't use a wipe if it's "just pee". (!!!) I just don't see why you wouldn't maintain your baby's hygiene the same as you would your own... Or maybe those mamas dig sitting in their own urine.

My kid will fuss nonstop the instant he pees so I don't have that 'only a little wet' option even if I wanted to.

Julie said...

Wow! This is a great article!

Hannah said...

This is true. I have only ever used cloth and one reason is that I am cheap and I know I would feel conflicted about how often to change disposables.

Anonymous said...

So true! I am a nanny and one day when I first got to work, the baby's dad was just getting her out of bed and changing her out of her "overnight" sposie. He didn't even wipe her! She had been in that diaper for about 12 hours (not to mention the front of her pj's were wet)! I was horrified and I changed her again and wiped her down as soon as he left!

I routinely change her every 2-3 hours and he's always making comments about how much I change her. I just want to ask him how much he would like sitting around in wet drawers all day!

A Gluten Free Mommy said...

I love the comparison pictures! I've never realized how "cheap" the cloth diapers were to use, even though I'm on my second kid with the same set of diapers and even resold the smalls (after both kids)!

http://algutenfreemom.blogspot.com

Kristin said...

Just wanted to comment that durring Naked Time, my daughter goes about 3 times in 15 minutes. I sit there next to her with flatfolds and wipes - replace the flatfold under her bum with a dry one and wipe her bottom! I know I dont change disposables every 15 minutes... And there's no way I change my CD's that often... I'd be washing my stash twice a day at that rate!

Charlotte said...

Guilty guilty guilty. In fact I have taken a break from CD'ing because my daughter pees through cloth so quickly... Disposables, even if we forget she's due a change will hold up longer... And DD isn't fussy about her diaper...

On the topic of not wiping pee; some pediatricians recommend that to prevent rashes... Because wipes are harsh and pee is sterile... But pee is not sterile once it comes into contact with air, so.... My friend said she heard it is better to not wipe, but air dry pee before putting on a new diaper... I prefer to wipe (and wipe dd's entire bum, because the pee spreads across the entirety of the diaper) personally, but there is supposedly a good reason for not wiping after 'just pee'.

Heather Irwin said...

I never had the "just a little wet" syndrome....both my husband and I had oh he peed...change him again syndrome and went through a TON of sposies! I still change him frequently now that he is in cloth but I feel much better about not throwing away so much money while still keeping my son in a dry diaper!

caedmen said...

I don't always wipe every diaper change but my son seems to do better that way. His little bum was getting sore and dried out when I was wiping with every change (I use cloth wipes with water). But I do also change him every 1.5 to 2 hours and more in the morning when he pees more:) I love that when you use cloth diapers it doesn't matter how often you change, it doesn't cost you moe. And when you just change their diaper and baby decides they weren't quite done and messes that one in 5 minutes, who cares, no more money out of my pocket.

Anonymous said...

I am a mom of a 2 month old. We started cloth the day she came home from the hospital due to a reaction she was having from the disposables. We LOVED our diapers and are happy we went with cloth!

Laura said...

So True! I catch my hubby on that quite often when we do use sposies and even our regular cloth use at times. We'll try that when we hit the warm months.

Anonymous said...

Janine mentions... parents not wiping their kids after every pee.. Nope! Not this Mama who is OCD about changing diapers IMMEDIATELY after a wet or mess. My son would have no skin left where I was constantly wiping away nothing or something that wasn't doing any harm to his skin. I believe rashes come from many things/// and not just diet or length of minutes before a diaper is change. I absolutely do not wipe my son down after every pee and he has great skin and neither of my boys have ever needed creams down there wether they were in cloth or sposies.

Your "doesn't wipe the pee" comment just grinds on me. My attention to my kids bottoms is umpteenth times that of the average Mom. Just consider that some people do things beyond just being lazy but bc they have seen what works.

M said...

Didn't realise cloth diapers were that cheap. I change my baby pretty often so never had a problem with a too wet diaper.

Amanda said...

And just think about the money saved when you use cloth wipes and make your own solution. :) We do, however, keep a pack of disposable wipes in the diaper bag.