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Monday, March 31, 2014

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Newborn Cloth Diapering Myths: You CAN Handle It

I see the same silly (to me) ideas popping up in cloth diapering threads everywhere. The musts, you-shouldn'ts, and vapors-inducing incidents surrounding cloth diapering a newborn leave me alternately shaking my head and laughing. Not to toot my own horn (beep!) but I've done this 3 times now. I've learned a little bit each time around, first starting at 3 weeks part time, then full time from 4 days and finally from the recovery room (don't get me started on my husband agreeing to putting her in a disposable in the operating room--I haven't forgiven him for that yet, but maybe someday I will-no idea what he was thinking). With each baby I feel like I've reached a new level on some awesome video game. So when I see moms just flat out refuse to cloth diaper over some myth that someone put into their heads, well it astounds me. Yes, some moms just want to wait, and that is totally fine, but if you're letting one of these things slow you down before you even get started, DON'T!!

MYTH #1: Newborns wiggle too much.TRUTH: This one really makes me giggle. Like a toddler running at full speed that you need to tackle and hold down is easier to change? Ha! For the most part, newborns lay pretty still for changes. You can use this time to perfect your wiping techniques, prefold origami, or just stare into those gorgeous eyes. Okay, fine, you will barely have your eyes open for the first couple of weeks, just get used to putting a diaper on while half-asleep, and once your baby sleeps more than an hour at a time, you can worry about prefold origami. Either way, you won't have to worry about too much wiggling.

MYTH #2: I don't have enough fancy cut-down diapers to avoid the umbilical cord. TRUTH: All 3 of my kids had diapers that rode up over the umbilical cord from time to time. The only real issue would be if the cord got and continued to stay wet (thus no immersion baths). Since you're changing your baby every 2 hours (or 2 minutes depending on the situation), there's not much chance you'll have a baby that gets an infection or has the umbilical cord get 'rubbed' by a diaper. Let's face it, if it's not getting rubbed by a diaper, then it's getting rubbed by a onesie, blanket sleeper, or mom's clothes. My 3rd kid's ripped out while she wiggled during nursing-it pulled on my clothes. There was a tiny bit of bleeding, which I cleaned out with a few diaper changes and that was it. My other 2 lost theirs in bed, most likely by it being pulled off by clothing or their own hands at night. Short and sweet? Don't worry overly much about the diaper cut outs--most diapers you can fasten BELOW the cord if you wish and it doesn't affect absorbency OR fit--just raise it up a little higher in back to lower the front rise. If your baby was to get a (rare) infection, contact your pediatrician. Remember, though, that the cord is mom's tissue, not baby's, and it doesn't hurt!

MYTH #3: OMG The meconium will stain my precious diapers. TRUTH: No, it won't. We saw some really awful meconium with our 3rd baby and never saw a glimpse of a stain! If there happened to be a residual stain, it would either wash out with continued use, or sun out in a matter of minutes. Don't worry about resale value of diapers that haven't even touched your baby yet! This is one myth that needs to die!

MYTH #4: One size diapers don't fit babies from birth. TRUTH: Larger babies 8+ lbs will fit into some brands of one size cloth diapers easily. Even some smaller babies can fit into pocket diapers like Rumparooz, Imagine one-size diaper covers and flats or prefolds, or Moraki. If you do have a much smaller baby, you can always use flats, prefolds, or fitteds with one size diapers as the outer, wrapped down as tightly as they will go-and just be aware that some nominal leaking could occur. Or, go coverless or use fleece pants. It's not the end of the world. Pinky swear.

MYTH #5: I won't be able to keep up with the laundry. TRUTH: This goes for all parents first starting cloth, they're worried about the TIME commitment. I can tell you that if you have a machine in your house or building and no deal-breaker extenuating circumstances (surgery where you can't climb stairs for a downstairs machine with zero help from friends, family, neighbors, or you have to hand wash and must immediately return to work 24 hours on, 24 hours off) then you'll probably be okay. For most 2 parent households (or singles with help in the first few days) it's not even remotely overwhelming. Friends or family can easily do a load of laundry for you, and they're not going to mess them up too badly, I promise! Machines take seconds to load, transfer and empty. It's okay if diapers sit clean in a basket for a day or 3-- or until you use all of them up-- really it is! They don't have to be pinterest perfect neat-they just have to catch poo! Washing every other day is a great way to stay on top of your other laundry, too! By 2 weeks post-partum (C section) I was able to load and wash diapers, and when my husband came home (or poked his nose in and asked what was needed) I asked him to transfer to the dryer and get them out an hour later. No big deal! Yes I'm lucky, my hubby did the diaper laundry totally the first 2 weeks and assisted with everything for 4 weeks after that- 6 weeks and he shut me off-cold turkey, but that's okay, he still does changes! .....and if one of those deal breakers happens to you? Relax. It's okay. No one (sane) is going to judge you. We've all been there, and we understand! Take care of yourself and your baby and once those things have been met (and you get a little sleep) then you can worry about laundry!

MYTH #6: The price isn't worth it. TRUTH: Okay if you only have one child, it's a very large newborn that won't use them for more than a couple of weeks, and you don't plan to attempt to re-sell any newborn diapers, or donate them to charity, or give to them a friend, then a full stash of all in one (disposable like) diapers probably isn't worth it to you on price alone. However, if you plan to have more than one child, re-sell them, donate or loan them out, or would consent to using prefolds and covers for part or all of your stash, then the price IS worth it. With every use, the cost goes down, until you're (at least figuratively) putting money back in your pocket!


Bio: Jill blogs about her experiences as a stay at home mom to 3 girls, country living, cloth diapers, and a life 'just this side of crunchy' at

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1 comment:

lunachick265 said...

I've heard all the myths, and having cloth diapered two newborns (one right now), I can tell you that they're largely untrue. With this one, we did cloth from birth (the nurses thought our little purple diaper was so cute!) I did find that the meconium didn't wash out of my diapers (HE top loader machine), so I used a designated butter knife to scrape it off. I ran them through again and they were just fine. The sun takes care of the stains.