Also, diapering in general doesn't gross me out. I would much rather change a baby's diaper and wipe a tiny butt than do...well, let's just say that being a nurse isn't always the cleanest job.
So, without further ado, here are a few things I wish I had known before cloth diapering my son and things I've learned along the way:
- All that love for prefolds still standing, I have to say that I love pocket diapers. They dry quickly, the absorbency is highly adjustable, and you can pre-stuff so when you're putting the diaper on at the changing table, it's as easy as an AIO. Pocket diapers are simply the best fit for our family for this stage in diapering. If I had a different washing machine (a top-loader that wasn't high-efficiency), I think I would be more inclined to go with the sleeve-type diapers which have openings at both ends of the pocket. With sleeve diapers, the inserts agitate out in the washing machine, so there's no need to un-stuff soiled inserts. What a great idea!
- There's something to be said for having mostly one kind of diaper. It makes it easier for those people in your life who change your baby's diapers less frequently. For partners, family members, and babysitters, learning how to use one kind of diaper is easier than learning a bunch of different kinds. Another solution to this is just leaving the simplest diapers for the less-frequent caregivers to use (a velcro AIO or pocket diaper, for instance), and saving your "more complicated" diapers (say, a fitted with a doubler and a wool cover) for the more experienced cloth diaperers in your baby's life. For us, this hasn't been a big issue, but we don't have Daniel in daycare and we rarely leave him with someone to go out by ourselves (We've been on one date so far in nine months.) so very few different people have changed his diaper.
- You have to buy bigger pants for your kid if you're going to CD them. Cloth diapers are bulkier than disposables, and standard baby clothes are made to go over disposable diapers. Whatever. This hasn't been a big deal for us because I've never tried to put Daniel in a pair of jeans. Apparently those are the hardest since they have very little give to them, and a tighter waistband. We use baby leggings almost every day, which eliminates the need for larger pants, and makes diaper changing time just that much simpler. Another thing I like about the baby leggings is that they'll fit for a long time, no matter how you diaper your baby.
Daniel in a prefold and Thirsties Duo Wrap
- Using cloth wipes isn't hard at all. It's not much more work than washing one more diaper per load. I bought some locally-made wipes which are two layers of cotton flannel serged together. We have some that are designated as "cleaner," used only for wiping Daniel's nose and face, and others that are "dirty," which we use at the changing table. Right now, we only use cloth wipes for after pee diapers, but that may change in the future. Even replacing some of your wipes with cloth will save money and waste.
- Cleaning poop off of diapers really isn't that big of a deal. Breastmilk poop is water soluble, so if you're breastfeeding, poop is a breeze to clean before your kiddo starts solid foods: throw the diaper in the pail and launder as you would a pee diaper—the poop completely dissolves in the washer. I was concerned about how the poop would change when Daniel started eating solids, but it turns out it really hasn't been an issue. As soon as they're eating larger portions of solids, the poop gets more solid, and flushable liners have been wonderful since that point. So really, there's just a transitional time in there between the water soluble poop and the flushable poop, when you have to deal with trying to wipe the sticky poop into the toilet. I've had great success with using a bit of toilet paper or a flushable baby wipe to remove whatever I could, then just spraying the whole thing down with Bac Out before throwing it in the pail. On maybe two or three occasions, one of us has had to swish a particularly, um, coated, diaper in the toilet before spraying and putting it in the diaper pail. If that gives you the willies, wear gloves, and then be grateful that your hands are washable. And no matter what you do, there will not be poop left over inside your washer after you wash a load of dirty diapers. I promise.
- Sunlight does amazing things to stained diapers. I haven't had a stain yet that a little time in the sun hasn't taken care of. I live in the cloudy, drizzly Pacific Northwest, and even I can sun my diapers. It works...even through a window...on a cloudy day. Our place faces East, so I can just stick a stained shell or liner up against one of our front windows (inside) and by the end of the day, it's white again! (Alright, on a really cloudy week, it might take two days in the window to get white again.) You should definitely try it if you haven't; it's so cool to experience the bleaching power of the sun. (Check out these dramatic sunning success photos from Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry.)
- Wool dryer balls are awesome. They really do help to speed drying time, cut down on static, and naturally soften your clothes (and diapers)! You should make some.
I learned a lot about cloth diapers from reading CDing blogs before Daniel was born. I highly recommend Dirty Diaper Laundry. Kim has done tons of cloth diaper video reviews, which I found very helpful when I was first learning about all the various kinds of diapers. And if you're about to buy a certain brand, look to see if she's reviewed it first; you might find out something you didn't know about the diaper! Right now, she's in the process of doing an intro to cloth diapers series, which is explaining all the different types of cloth diapers in individual posts.
For fellow cloth diaper users: What do you wish you had known before beginning to use cloth? What tips and tricks would you share with someone new to CDing? I'd love to hear!