Try Cloth Diapers Risk Free

Monday, December 16, 2013

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Packing the OTHER Hospital Bag

Congratulations- you’re pregnant and you’ve decided to cloth diaper your baby! Many moms (and dads) choose to use the disposables offered by the hospital, overwhelmed by the ‘newness’ of it all. That’s a perfectly valid choice and I definitely understand it. That was how I felt with my first newborn! If you’re committed to using 100% cloth, or this isn’t your first baby, especially if you’ve cloth diapered before, you may look at the hospital proffered items and think ‘no way’. So…then what?

Establish your stash:

Through baby shower gifts or registries, purchases from diaper stores like Kelly’s Closet, gently used, or sewing/using materials from home, you can diaper your baby from day 1. Think variety. Chances are if you’ve cloth diapered before, you know what you like, but newborns can be a whole other ‘animal’. A good mix of newborn or small pocket diapers or AIOs, flats or prefolds with covers, or small fitting one size diapers will give you plenty of options for those first bleary eyed hours—and great photo opportunities, too. By the time you get home, you’ll be a pro!

Sort and divide:

Most newborns require 12 diapers per day, so if you think you’ll be in the hospital for 2 days, you’d need 24-30 diapers total. This is a good stash for washing every 2 days, and a great way to get you on a schedule to keep those diapers clean and ready when you need them. Think about packing 2 smaller bags, and leaving one in the car to trade out after the first day. You’ll have less clutter in your hospital room, which is helpful when you’ve got visitors that need a chair, and give you and your partner less to carry out at the end of your stay, as well. Don’t forget to take at least ONE diaper with you into labor and delivery or surgery -your partner can keep track of it, or it can be placed on the bassinet to be used by the medical professional caring for your baby immediately after birth. Be sure that all your nurses know that cloth diapers are your choice and show them the diaper you have picked out as your baby’s first! Letting your OBGYN know, and including it on your birth plan is also helpful, since it will be in writing ahead of time.

Add accessories:

If you’ve got prefolds, flats, or snapless fitted/contour diapers, you may want to pack a snappi or boingos to hold them closed before adding a cover. A wetbag is an essential, it’s where you’ll stash your dirty diapers for the duration of your stay, and they’ll be safe from well meaning nurses or custodians, attempting to ‘help’ you by disposing of the diapers on accident. They’re a lot less likely to be mistaken for trash in a wetbag than in a grocery sack! A large hanging wetbag is perfect, because you could use it on a doorknob or the handle of the bassinet cart for easy access. It’s where you’ll do most of your diaper changes anyway! A second smaller wetbag might be helpful if your partner takes the dirties away after the first night, and should last you long enough to get home. You can choose whether to take cloth wipes with you or use the disposables provided by the hospital. Since meconium generally washes right out of the diapers, there’s not necessarily a need for liners, but if it would make you feel better to be SURE that your brand new fluff won’t get stained, go ahead and pack some to take with you!

What about washing?

If your partner is going home to sleep, check on other kids or pets, or just grab a quick shower, then you can send the first day’s worth home and have them run through a quick wash to be ready for your return. This is especially helpful if you know you’ll be in the hospital longer than the standard amount of time (for C-section, over the weekend, etc). If needed, write down instructions and tack them to your washing machine so it’s foolproof for the person doing the laundry! Most of all, don’t panic! Even if your helper makes a faux pas once, they're not likely to ruin your stash. Contrary to naysayers in chatrooms, they're actually quite resilient to the occasional laundry 'oops'. So let your spouse tackle the diaper laundry while you're recovering!

There are disposables already in the room, now what?

No need to panic. Simply ask your nurse what their policy is. The last time my room was already stocked with disposables (an open package in the cart drawer). I asked if they could be donated to another mom and the nurse told me that was impossible, if they weren’t used, they would be thrown out as ‘used’, even though they weren’t even touched. The only thing they keep are the linens (blankets, baby clothes, etc). So I packed them up, took them home and gave them to another mom that could use them. You could easily donate them to a daycare, church, or other charitable organization if you don’t know anyone that could use them right away.

Final Tips:

Pre-fold your flats/prefolds before packing them up. They'll be easier to change and fit better into your bag.

This is YOUR baby and you will make the decisions for your little one from here on out. You are your baby's best advocate, so speak up!

In some rare cases, cloth diapers aren’t allowed or at least preferred to be used on a newborn. For example: in the NICU. If you’re able and willing to be forceful, you may have some luck in getting your way. The nurses want to weigh the diapers before and after, and they obviously deal with thousands of diapers over the years. Having the knowledge of what one of their disposables weighs is an easy shortcut for them. So be kind and willing to help them make the decision YOU want.

Be prepared to inform whoever is caring for your baby besides you that your baby is wearing a cloth diaper and explain the wetbag if the baby needs to leave your side for any reason. Hearing test, car seat test, bath, etc. I was pleasantly surprised when our hospital photographer was familiar with cloth diapers and let me change my baby a few times to get some adorable pics!

Most of all, enjoy! These quiet first few days will soon turn into a flurry of activity as baby grows as is awake more throughout the day, so grab a nap and enjoy that fluffy bum!

Bio: Jill blogs about her growing family (expanding within the month), country living, cloth diapers, and a life 'just this side of crunchy' at

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1 comment:

lunachick265 said...

I'm due with my second in March, and I definitely plan on cloth diapering at the hospital. I'd love to hear from other moms who've done it and what tips they have after dealing with the nurses and other staff. Hopefully it's easy and they love fluff as much as we do!