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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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That Dreaded "In Between" Stage

When you’re looking into cloth diapers, they make it seem so simple. First, your baby wears newborn diapers. They keep those until they’re about eight, maybe ten pounds, and then they can wear one-size diapers. If they’re skinny, they might wear their newborns a little bit longer; but the end result is still the same: newborn, then one-size.

Unless you have a tiny, heavy-wetting newborn.

My youngest daughter was cloth diapered starting in the hospital, where she dropped to six pounds, three ounces before discharge. I had a great stash of newborn diapers for her—bumGenius, Thirsties, Lil Joeys, GroVias, you name it, I probably had one or two to try. There was just one problem: by the time she was two weeks old, she was out-peeing the absorbency on most of her newborn diapers. Lil Joeys didn’t hold. Grovias didn’t hold. Her tiny little thighs, in spite of the fact that they were chunking up fast, were so little that she only got to wear her bumGenius newborns a handful of times before they just couldn’t hold enough.

What’s a cloth diapering mom to do? I didn’t want to go buy disposables. I already had a toddler in diapers; the idea of having disposables for one and cloth for the other just seemed like a recipe for crazy, and that’s entirely aside from the fact that I didn’t want to pay for them when I’d already dropped plenty on cloth diapers for her!

Picture Dory from Finding Nemo chanting, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” Now, change her words in your head until she’s saying, “Just keep diapering. Just keep diapering. Just keep trying, trying, trying….” I kept trying…and I did come up with a few wonderful solutions that worked very well for us.

Thirsties. I was highly impressed with Thirsties Duo AIOs. When Thirsties says a diaper starts fitting at six pounds, they mean it! It’s a little fluffy for a six-pounder, but it doesn’t leak, either. These went on her in the hospital, and since they have rise snaps, they had room to grow with her. By two months and ten pounds, my itty bitty heavy wetter needed changed more frequently in these, but they still hold up great with one of Thirsties doublers on top. However, if you do happen to have both an infant and a toddler in the house (and therefore both sizes of Duos), make sure everyone knows which diapers are which. A size 2 Duo on a one-month-old is adorable, but it doesn’t contain much of anything.

bumGenius. With only one child in diapers, I was a huge pocket fan—and I still love bumGenius’s 4.0s. They hold up fine with just the normal insert, but do better for car trips/naps with a hemp insert added to the stack. Hemp inserts are blessedly trim, so I don’t feel like I have more fluff than baby, but they absorb plenty of liquid, especially once they’ve been washed a few times.

I am also absolutely in love with my bumGenius Freetimes. I could rave about them for a while, but instead, I’ll just say that they snapped down trim enough to start fitting around eight or nine pounds—she just had a massive fluffy bum problem that was actually pretty cute. These were and are our preferred overnight diaper, but as she got a little bigger (and started to fill them out better), they became my favorite diaper in general—because they’re also absorbent enough and big enough for my toddler. These are my go-to diaper bag diapers because with one quick snap adjustment, they can fit either the two-year-old or the two-month-old with equal ease.

Prefolds and Covers. Any covers. At least any decent ones. Prefolds get such a bad rap as being old-fashioned or hard to use, but they’re really the most versatile of your diapering options. You can customize absorbency where you need it; prefolds work from infant on up through toddler age; and if you practice a few different folds, you can really minimize leaks during the skinny-leg stage. It is, however, recommended that you practice a time or two on a doll before you try to fasten your first prefold on a screaming newborn.

Sized diapers. I was lucky: I managed to get my Itty Bitty to fit in OS pretty easily, even if it did make for a very fluffy rear. Other babies may not be lucky enough to gain chunky thighs early on, so you may need to pursue sized options. Fuzzibunz and Blueberry are popular brands that offer sized options.

While you’re experimenting, something else to keep in mind is that the elastic on used diapers will almost never be as tight as the elastic on a brand spanking new diaper; and if you don’t hang your diapers to dry (some are “allowed” in the dryer; others, you’re better off drying on a rack), you can avoid stretching the leg elastic until your baby is big enough to fit in it anyway. If you’re using hand-me-down diapers or have purchased used, it may take longer for your OS to fit satisfactorily—even if they’re in excellent shape. Also, if you start having leaks out of the blue from a diaper that has worked well in the past, check your rise. Too short a rise can cause leaks just as easily as a diaper that isn’t unsnapped enough.

Bio: Emily L. Goodman is a cloth diapering, homeschooling, breastfeeding mother of four from Maryville, Tennessee.

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