Cloth diaper choices seemed like such a big decision at the time. I didn't know if cloth diapers would work for our family. In pregnancy, I read review after review and watched countless YouTube videos. I had no experience with diapers at all, not even with younger siblings or babysitting. But I knew that cloth diapers were cheaper in the long run and produced less trash. And so I read and read until I found the perfect diaper brand, the one that everyone agreed was an excellent diaper that didn't leak and was highly adjustable. I knew what I wanted to try.
And then I totally forgot about that brand and couldn't even tell you the name anymore. Instead, I bought used newborn diapers from a friend whose baby is five months older than mine. She had a variety of brands and types that I think she bought used as well, but they were in good shape. We got an entire newborn collection for not as expensive as it could have been (but still not cheap!).
The decision to cloth diaper wasn't a given. I absolutely did not want those multi-part complicated designs where I needed to fold and clip together things in just the right way. Convenience was my priority, not cost. My husband didn't want to deal with washing poop at all and still isn't thrilled about it. We tried both cloth and disposable in the beginning, especially as we were getting used to new parenthood and didn't have a laundry routine down. Slowly, we decreased our dependence on disposables until we only used them if we were going to be out of the house for a long time.
This story would be different if our baby was in daycare or if we didn't own a washer and dryer. Because I work from home, I have the opportunity to put soiled diapers in their proper bin instead of carrying it around with me. I have the flexibility to do laundry at any time, day or night. Cloth diapering works for our family.
One thing I learned the hard way was not to get caught up on the hundreds of rules about cloth diapering. We use our normal detergent. We put them through the dryer until dry. Clothes lines aren't allowed in our neighborhood. Initially I was drying them partly in the dryer and then hanging them around the house to dry, which led to damp diapers when I needed them. Now I just throw them in the heat and tumble like anything else, sans dryer sheet. I don't add anything to the wash except detergent. I use the extra long option on my washing machine. Maybe once my baby starts on solids, diaper care will become trickier. But for now, it's way easier than online diapering communities led me to believe.
I was skeptical, but sunning them really does fade away stains. Because of the no clothes line rule, I have to put them on the floor of our patio and move them throughout the day to stay in the light. It's not convenient, but it works and it's free.
After approximately three and a half months, one-size diapers replaced newborn sized. I learned by browsing eBay that for the brands I wanted, new diapers purchased in bulk directly from the company cost around the same as used diapers bought from individuals. I bought two bulk packs from two different brands. I would like to try a third brand, but it's expensive so haven't made that purchase yet.
After trying so many brands and styles in my newborn collection, what did I value highly enough to buy brand new in one-sizer diapers? Convenience! I love the convenience of all-in-ones (AIOs). They are essentially the same level of convenience as disposable diapers. Straight out of the wash, they are ready to use. This means a lot to a mom who doesn't always have time to prep the clean diapers before I need them!
I bought more pocket diapers than AIOs, and I'm glad I did. Double-stuffing pocket diapers with two inserts instead of one ended the problem we had with her leaking through the night. I haven't tried it, though I'd imagine I could triple-stuff if I needed to. I don't know much about inserts yet, but I know there are different types and I could always upgrade to a higher performing fabric.
Back to my pediatrician's point: snaps or velcro? At first I was partial to snaps. Snaps felt secure, especially now as my baby is learning to pull on the velcro tabs. Velcro tangled up in the wash and led to minutes of untangling every single load. Velcro hooks got stuffed with loose threads and fluff, necessitating cleaning by hand. But more and more, velcro is replacing snaps as my favorite. It's the most convenient, the quickest to put on, and the most adjustable fit. In the end, it's a personal preference just like everything else.
A choice I previously undervalued: cuteness! I favor the adorable patterned diapers to the solid color diapers, and I favor the bright and pretty solid colors over the not-so-pretty colors. Pretty patterns have no impact on diaper use and performance, but they do look cute on my baby's bum.
|Josephine napping with the cat in her red newborn Lil Joey.|