cloth diaper your baby can be a challenge. It seems as though everyone is telling you something different, and just when you have it figured out, problems arise that make you feel as though you’re back at square one. The diaper that has fit perfectly for three months suddenly no longer works for your child. The wash routine that has worked since you started cloth diapering is failing you miserably. And the poop after you start solids…well, let’s not get started on that. You’ve turned to your trusty cloth diapering boards for advice, but you’re getting a huge amount of advice that is contradictory and frankly doesn’t make sense! Who are you supposed to trust?
Luckily, some truths are universal.
The diaper that works best for your baby may not be the diaper that works best for someone else’s baby. Neither will the diaper that works best for their baby automatically be a perfect fit for yours. It’s kind of like blue jeans. You know that absolutely perfect pair of jeans that looks amazingly awesome on you? You know how it doesn’t look the same on your best friend? Yeah. Diapers are like that, too. Different tiny bums are shaped differently, just like bigger bums. Girls and boys have different plumbing and therefore leak out of different places in the diapers. Force of poop expulsion, force of pee, and quantity can all be different depending on the baby. Don’t despair, though—just like the elusive pair of jeans that will make your post-baby body look just like it did when you were in college, the perfect diaper is out there!
Diapers need soap. Not chemicals, not to be beaten with a stick, soap. There are some fascinating reads out there that suggest putting some…interesting…concoctions onto your diapers.
I know so-and-so put Cascade on her diapers, and it turned them white as can be and they made her son’s poop smell lemony fresh for weeks. That doesn’t make it a good idea. It voids warranties (which seem unimportant right up until you have a snap come off, or a delaminated diaper, and suddenly, you don’t want to be out the money to replace it), leaves residue on the diaper that you probably don’t want on your baby’s bum, and probably doesn’t help much with the issues you were experiencing.
If your diapers stink, add detergent. Preferably a detergent that is considered an “acceptable” brand by your diaper company of choice, but hey, if Tide works for you, Roll Tide! (Oh, wait, that’s a sports team.) Just realize that it may void that pesky warranty. On the other hand, if your tiny fluffy princess’s bum breaks out at the mere mention of any detergent but the one you’ve been using since birth…warranty, shmarranty. Sometimes, you have to do what works for you. If they still stink, try bleach. Also, try sun. (That’s that big yellow ball that’s been teasing us for months. I have it on good authority that someday, it will come back out….maybe even by the time this post is published!) Have stains? Try sun.
Repelling is not a myth. Diapers are made of cloth. The cloth is what sucks up the liquid (in this case, pee). If something interferes with that (fabric softener, not-cloth-safe rash cream), the cloth no longer sucks up liquid sufficiently well. Therefore, sometimes, repelling does happen. Rinse your diapers really well. Wash them. Sun them. See if they’re still repelling. If so, a little bit of Dawn dish soap (which should never, ever be put directly in your washer…that silly warranty thing yet again) and a toothbrush applied to rash cream stains goes a long way. If that doesn’t solve the problem, rinse, rinse, rinse and try again. It could be a case of fabric softener or some other detergent built up in your diapers. If they smell like soap out of the washer, there’s probably still soap in them—rinse one more time just for good measure.
Your wash routine shouldn’t read like an itinerary for a trip. They’re diapers, not your great-grandma’s handmade quilt. Prewash, wash, rinse, dry (either by hanging or by dryer, depending on your brand and personal preferences). Place back on baby. Diaper laundry shouldn’t be an all-day affair! It’s a little more complicated than other laundry might be because you want it to be as sanitary as possible, but it’s not rocket science, either. It’s also harder to “ruin” diapers than you think it is. If you’re having trouble, contact the customer service team for your favorite diaper company. They’d probably be delighted to give you a helping hand.
They’re not as hard as you fear. Once you find a routine that works for you—and you will find a working routine!—cloth diapering becomes just as natural as disposable diapering your baby. Sure, it’s a little bit of work sometimes (so is sending your husband to the store at two in the morning because Little Precious developed diarrhea from the new food she ate, and that box that you thought would last ‘til tomorrow…won’t). Sure, there will be times when you wonder if it’s really worth it. But once you get the routine down, it’s no harder than any other aspect of life with a new baby—and there are all sorts of benefits that you’ll appreciate. Plus, who doesn’t love watching a little fluffy bum crawling around?
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