Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Making the Switch to Cloth Diapers: Part 1

After struggling with potty training our oldest child, and once we found out we were expecting again, my husband and I started researching cloth diapers for our second son. We had heard that since cloth diapers allow baby to feel some dampness, potty training happens sooner and with less difficulty than with disposable diapers.

That alone was good reason for us to make the switch. But, even if (or especially if) potty training doesn't happen sooner this time around, we will at least save a ton of money on the number of disposable diapers necessary to get to that point. And then there's the huge benefit of keeping thousands of disposable diapers out of the local landfill - something I am particular concerned about considering I can see the turkey vultures circling over the landfill from my neighborhood.

When we decided to invest in cloth diapers, I was lucky enough to get some good advice from a friend who had been through it all before, and who has since opened her own online store dedicated to providing information and products pertaining to cloth diapering. She answered all of my questions and I was able to see everything before buying.

After trying a bunch of different types and brands of cloth diapers, I can confidently say that my favorites are the bumGenius Pocket Diapers.

Pocket diapers have inserts that need to removed before washing and reinserted before diapering baby. While there are all-in-ones that eliminate this step, I find the pocket diapers are easier to clean and dry much faster. Pocket diapers are also Dad-friendly (as long as Mom reassembles them after washing).

We also use Flip All-in-Twos, also by bumGenius. The inserts for these diapers don't fit into a pocket, but lay inside the shell. I like them because if not heavily wet (or soiled), the insert can be removed, the shell wiped down, and a second insert added during a single diaper change. This means a whole new diaper is not used during every diaper change, cutting down on how quickly I need to get to the laundry. However, my husband avoids this type of diaper, because making sure it is fit properly while changing a wiggling baby is an art form that requires a lot of practice.

Both of these types of diapers are adjustable in their sizing as well, so we won't have to invest in new sets as baby grows. They use either hook and loop closures or a series of snaps to ensure a proper fit. At first I couldn't fathom why anyone would choose snaps over the easier (and most comparable to disposable diapers) hook and loop closure. Now that I have a toddler who has mastered taking off his own diaper in mid-stride, I completely understand the benefit of snaps (and/or padlocks).

I will admit that I keep some disposable diapers on hand - for the occasional use of a cloth-phobic babysitter, when we need to heavily apply cream to a diaper rash*, or for when Mommy falls behind on the laundry. (It's happened once or twice.) But overall, I am very happy with our switch to cloth diapers and it takes some of the Mommy-guilt off of me as well.


*The use of diaper creams is discouraged with cloth diapers because they decrease the absorbency and are hard to wash out. There are some creams specifically designed for the use of cloth diapers, but I haven't found one that I love yet.

Next Tuesday, Making the Switch to Cloth Diapers: Part 2 will discuss washing and water usage.

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