Sunday, March 13, 2016

Cloth Diapering Decisions: Help!

After years of struggling with infertility and a very painful year of treatments, my hubby and I are pregnant. Of course, true to form, the pregnancy has been one difficult challenge after another. The latest: I am on "modified bed rest" at 4.5 months along due to placenta previa. It's definitely been a lesson on expectations, irony and letting go.

During this forced downtime, in order to avoid going crazy I've been researching a whole slew of things, including cloth diapering.

And wow- is that an ever overwhelming world of choices and decisions.

I remembered this from a post I did years back on cloth diapers over on EcoYogini- my takeaway was that the actual event isn't ridiculously difficult, but the choices and decisions that need to be made can be frightfully overwhelming. That doesn't seem to have changed.

After some research I have an idea as to what type of diaper might fit my style and family the best- either the ones where you just change the insert (not a stuffed pocket diaper, but one with a cover) or the prefolds OR the all in ones. I'm just not sure if these styles will actually fit the little bean once she arrives- since body types and babies seem to be the ones who actually choose the diaper in the end.

My biggest dilemma:

Should I:
1.  Start cloth diapering right away to get used to it and never be tempted by the convenience of disposables, or wait a few months until the baby grows and can fit into the diapers that are one size and will last longer?

2. Should I buy a limited amount of different kinds of diapers to start, and once the baby and we figure out what works best go out and purchase that kind OR

3. Make a best guess, save money by getting a bunch of those kinds as gifts or as a package and hope for the best (so I'm not having to make decisions about diapers in a sleep deprived state?).

Thoughts my cloth diapering moms?


s.e. said...

go with cloth from the beginning for sure. Don't know if we have any diaper services anymore in HRM, but that is a great way to go, get somebody or several people to give you a month (or 6 lol) as gifts. I used diaper service for several years and several kids before I started washing my own. I even used diaper service while out of town:)

DramaMama said...

I always encourage moms to start from the beginning and if you find you don't like certain brands or styles, you can swap/sell/gift them with or to another parent. Around here, cloth diapers are snapped up quick when offered for sale! On that note, you might be able to find a friend or someone local to allow you to borrow and try out just a few different styles. I know it's daunting to buy a whole pack of something when you don't even know if you are going to like them! Good luck!

Jessica said...

And congratulations! I'm sure you're still stressed out but what wonderful news!

We have a local diaper service (Pittsburgh PA) that a lot of people use for newborn sizes. I went with disposables for those first few months with my first because there are SO many adjustments and loads of extra laundry was not something I could cope with. I would not spend money on newborn cloth diapers unless you could get them used for a good price; they're outgrown so quickly.

I prefer all-in-ones for ease of use, but I think that the easiest on the environment are pre-folds for two reasons: Covers can be used through several changes before going through the wash, and the pre-folds themselves can become burp rags or cleaning cloths further down the road, unlike all-in-ones or -twos. Pre-folds are also the cheapest. I agree with borrowing/buying a few different types used to see what fits your baby the best - some brands have different shapes that fit skinny/chunky babies better. It all depends on their build.

Helena said...

With respect to your first question, here is what we did, and it worked well with both kids: have your cloth diapers prepped and ready, BUT have at least one pkg of newborn-size disposables also. Meconium (the black, sticky, nasty, tarry poop that newborns have their first few days and up to a week) does not always wash out well, so it's nice to not have to deal with trying to get it out of cloth when you are tired, recovering, and adjusting to your whole life changing overnight. And I'm really sorry to hear about the placenta previa--I assume you're having to plan a C-section unless the placenta moves. When you're recovering from major surgery like that, you don't want to have to worry about whether your diaper laundry is caught up. If you want to use cloth from the beginning, I get that--but if you need to give yourself permission to make it easier at the beginning when you're recovering and also getting used to nursing (if you plan to breastfeed), etc, then it's okay!

Also, I had bumGenius diapers (I decided before I had babies that that was what I wanted because I thought prefolds looked too complicated, and got a bunch as shower gifts) and they did not fit my kids well enough to prevent blowouts until they were about 4 months old--those spindly newborn legs were swimming in the legholes, even on their smallest setting, so I was really glad we had some sposies stashed just in case.

The problem with getting a limited amount of cloth to see what you like while your baby is tiny is that they poop a LOT and if you only have a few diapers you will find yourself doing laundry super frequently to try to keep up. (Just FYI--in an emergency, a flour sack towel or a receiving blanket under a diaper cover will work until your laundry is dry!) Of course, the benefit is that you can see what you like best.

Personally, if I had it to do again, I would go with prefolds, some snappis, and some covers. NOT the cheap Chinese imports that they sell by the dozen in big box baby stores, those don't absorb well. The laundry is less stressful because you're not worried about ruining the special fabrics, the snappis make the "diaper origami" aspect of it that I found so intimidating a moot point, and you can use a cover multiple times (as long as it was just pee and not poop, you can change the diaper and reuse the cover) so you don't need as many covers as you do diapers. I would also add a couple of fitteds if you plan to have someone watching the baby, or helping you, who may not be comfortable with prefolds. (When my 2nd baby was still quite small, a friend loaned us some fitteds and prefolds to get us through until our BGs fit him and they were SO much easier than my pocket diapers.)

I would NOT recommend pocket diapers. They worked okay for my kids, and since I had them I used them, but I seriously did not realize what a pain it would be to have to stuff the diapers. It sounds like a small thing until you're trying to fly through laundry quickly while the baby is sleeping or at least happy, and not having to stuff diapers would have been awesome.

Hope this helps!

Dillon Hendrick said...

I'm not sure where you're located - I'm in Michigan and I work for a local natural parenting store. I use and sell a LOT of cloth diapers (and car seats, wooden toys, baby carriers, etc.) We have a 21 day diaper trial and a newborn sized diaper rental! Here's my advice:
1. You can totally start at the beginning. I will for the next one but I didn't for my first because I was overwhelmed. It's okay to ease into it. Also, newborns have tiny thighs that sometimes cause one-size diapers to leak - don't despair they will grow into them. Newborn diapers exist but it's a big expense to buy them for two months (which is why we do a rental program).

2. You can buy different styles but I find that Bumgenius, Blueberry, and pre folds with Thirsties covers tend to fit most babies well. You can pick one or have a combo set. I have a combo set. I like using pre folds sometimes and pockets or all in ones at other times.

3. Pre folds and covers are the least expensive way to go about this. But all in ones are the easiest.

I'm totally happy to chat about more details if you want. I seriously love helping new parents figure this stuff out. Let me know and we can email.

богдан ян said...

I would be very thankful if you continue with quality what you are serving right now with your blog...I really enjoyed it...and i really appreciate to you for this....its always pleasure to read so....Thanks for sharing!!! essay writer

Julia (Color Me Green) said...

We have a cloth diaper service and it's working great so far. They provide/wash the pre-folds and cloth wipes and we provide/wash the covers. I do recommend starting from the beginning. With pre-folds, you only have to buy new diaper covers when they get bigger, and you only need about six covers and may be able to get them used if there are any local parent groups for buy/sell/trading baby stuff. We have two kinds of covers for now - Imse Vimse (organic) newborn which I think will last us through the first three months and Thirsties size one which they say can go through 9 months (they have more snaps for size adjustments on them). I also second what Jessica says about reusing prefolds - we are using a handful of prefolds from my childhood as burp cloths!

Eco Yogini said...

This is excellent advice! Thank you! I'm in Canada, and there isn't a local diapering service unfortunately. BUT I am part of a local cloth diapering facebook page that has daily buy-sell posts, so I'll definitely look into that for a few different kinds. Being on rest hopefully will mean that I can practice with some prefolds, but yeah if I do have a C-Section (a very real possibility with the previa if it doesn't move) then I may decide to wait- depending on how I feel. That said- line drying is only possible here until about November, then it gets trickier and depends on whether the temp dips below freezing.

Anonymous said...


I am writing in from India, where most of us cloth diaper at home. The weather in India is warm, and that helps us line dry almost throughout the year. In my experience, the first few days as a first time mother are very very trying - and you don't want to be saddled with laundry worries, then. In my case, since we are traditionally a cloth diapering country, and we have plenty of family support, I used only cloth nappies ( until my son could fit into cloth diapers (I use the ones with separate inserts). These nappies need to be changed after every poop / pee, and my son still wears these at home, but I didn't see it as a problem initially, because babies don't move - we used to lay my son on quick dry sheets and some bits of old cotton saris my mother has worn through the years, wash those every day along with all our other laundry. I think I bought a packet of disposable diapers, but was overcome with guilt every night I tried to use them on my son - and since we were all sleepless anyway (my husband, my parents and an aunt), we decided we could invest some efforts into using only reusables.

Also, I had some issues with my placenta as well - please don't worry and be optimistic - stress, I can assure you from first hand experience, affects milk production as well.My son was born a month early through a planned C-section, and is doing perfectly fine.

Good luck with everything!


Delora said...

One of the sites I purchased a lot of my diapers from runs a newborn rental program. They do ship to Cananda, so might be worth emailing and asking if they can do the newborn rental for Canada. This is a great method to try out multiple brands and styles. You may decide prefolds and covers are just as easy as an all-in-one, and save yourself a bundle since prefolds are so inexpensive!

Evan Peters said...

Don't overreact. The internet is a big place. Just read, read and read. You will get to a conclusion. And good luck with the pregnancy :)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin