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Thursday, August 21, 2014

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Five Things I Learned From Having 14 Kinds of Diapers

I learned about modern cloth diapers before I became pregnant, and I envisioned just buying a bunch of the same diaper in different colors, like a pack of underwear. Little did I know that between brands, styles, fasteners and materials, I would end up with 14 different kinds of diapers.

Once I became pregnant, I did some research and started to build my diaper stash in pieces during my pregnancy, taking advantage of good deals on used diapers and “free with minimum order” promotions. I never bought more than three or four of the same brand of diaper, and I left room in my budget to buy more of whatever I liked the most once baby came.

Here is what I’ve learned from diverse diapering.

1) Disposables can make your beginning with cloth a little easier.
For the first two weeks of my son’s life, disposables were the go-to for two reasons: 1) umbilical stump and 2) meconium. I skipped buying newborn sized cloth because I had a hunch I would have a big baby. I was right: our family bought us a couple packs of newborn diapers and once he outgrew those, he began to fit in one-size diapers. So for those first days when baby boy was passing meconium and we had to be careful nothing was irritating the umbilical stump, disposables made our transition to parenthood a little easier. If we had started with cloth in the beginning, we might have just found it too difficult and given up.

2) Get snaps and well-reviewed hook and loop.
One of the first questions I had when I started learning about cloth was “What the heck is Aplix?” After learning it’s a reference to hook and loop fasteners (made famous by brand name Velcro), I also learned that hook and loop is less durable than snaps. Armed with that information, I got a mix of hook and loop and snap fastened diapers and I have been happy with that decision. The durability of snaps was a big selling point for me, but I had a suspicion that my husband would be more open to using hook and loop. I’m glad I did some research as to which brands had the most durable hook and loop. I’ve been pleased with the quality on my Rumparooz, Tots Bots and Thirsties. Based on the rate of wear, I’m confident they’ll hold up for a second baby. I received an aplix closure bumGenius once on accident and had the chance to see the quality difference. I love bumGenius, but I definitely go with snaps on bumGenuis diapers.

3) I only needed one size of prefolds.
I bought a dozen Indian cotton prefolds in size small (12.5" wide x 13.5" long) and I haven’t needed to purchase a larger size yet. When my son was small, I folded his prefolds around him and secured them with snappis, but as he’s gotten older, I’ve just used a pad fold inside of covers and it’s still working beautifully. This size also fits perfectly inside my pocket diapers to make an ultra absorbent night time diaper. If I need even more absorbency I can just add a trim doubler.

4) Different fabrics have different laundry needs.
One of the minor hassles of having a diversified stash is having diapers that have slightly different needs. The microfiber is always harder to get clean than natural fibers. Natural fibers take longer to dry and it’s best to toss them in the dryer to get make them soft. Some AIOs dry quickly when hung (tip of the hat, bumGenius Freetimes and Tots Bots), others take days to dry that way in typical cool and damp Seattle weather. Even though my stash is a little bit higher maintenance with multiple personalities, I appreciate that when I’m having an issue with one kind of diaper (ahem, microfiber) I can use another material for a while.

5) All-in-ones (AIOs) are worth it for daycare use.. and get snaps!
Who wants to cap off a work day pawing through a bag of dirty diapers to remove inserts? Not any working mama or papa I know. Having a stash of eight AIOs was such a relief when my son was in daycare. Our daycare was cloth diaper friendly, but they stipulated that they would only use them if all they had to do was take the diaper off and put it in a bag. I also sent my son to daycare in a pad-folded prefold or flat with a cover because there’s no disassembly required before washing, but I figured that expecting caregivers to know how to put on prefolds and flats (even pad folded) was a little too much to ask. Also, I had one AIO with hook and loop closure and they always rolled up the diaper and secured it closed by sticking the tabs to each other. While neatly containing the mess, it prevented me from just tossing my diapers in the laundry without touching them. Since it wasn’t possible to roll up and secure my snap diapers, I never had to worry about that with them. Yes, AIOs are more expensive, but a little investment to be able to just toss and wash was well worth it.

Bottom line, if you’re looking to start a diaper stash, or perhaps just diversify your current one, I wholly recommend trying a kind of diaper you haven’t used before. Even if it isn’t your favorite, there is likely to be something about it that you enjoy.

Bio: Amber Elbon lives in the Seattle area with her creative husband, curly-haired one-year-old boy, and sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

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Boise Wiebers said...

Bummis' covers have durable and long lasting aplix.

Jill said...

Issues with meconium and umbilical cord stumps are rare. I've used diapers from birth with 2 babies and never had an issue. Some myths need to die a fast death and not a slow one. Meconium won't stain and most diapers fit UNDER a cord even without a cutout, could be rolled down, or safely go over a cord, just like a onesie does, and not cause issues. You change a diaper often enough on newborns that it doesn't get and STAY wet, which is the issue, for example if you used a larger disposable and didn't change it for 12 hours a day and it stays wet, etc.

Andrea D said...

It's awesome that cloth works for you from day 1! Please remember to use grace when making such comments - it feels a bit condemning to those who weren't able to make it work.
My babes were sometimes having issues with the thin, tucked-under disposable diaper rubbing their umbilical cords and causing issues, so I wasn't interested in having them deal with a sturdier material. I wasn't/am not interested in buying diapers specifically for the first 2 weeks, so we will continue to do disposable on newborns for a couple of weeks.
It also made life that much easier to not have diaper laundry; with our 2nd, we switched our toddler to disposable for that time frame as well to reduce duties as we all adjusted! It worked well for us, even if I'm not a fan of buying disposables at all!