i would rather wear cloth underwear instead of plastic underwear, and so i imagine cloth diapers would feel more comfortable than disposables. when river gets old enough, i plan on asking him. :D
what about diaper rash?
when done the right way, cloth diapered babies get less rash than disposable diaper wearers. this means using the right detergent, getting them completely clean, and changing often. there are some babies with extremely sensitive skin and all they can wear is cloth. there are diaper rash creams made specifically made for cloth diapers that won't leave a gooey residue. you can also use olive oil! i am constantly surprised by the healing properties of olive oil.
are they really absorbant? don't you have to change them more often?
yes, and maybe. the first time i used cloth diapers, i was surprised at how absorbent they are, and how good the covers are at holding it all in! i haven't found i need to change them more often than i'd want to change a disposable. you may need to change them more often, because they don't suck up the wetness like disposables, and it's not going to hold for hours and hours. disposables may be good at staying dryer longer, but the bacteria in the pee and poop is still right against your baby's skin!
what about the poop?
no, you don't have to swish the diaper in the toilet. i mean, you can if you want, but you don't have to. after dumping any solids into the toilet, there are these magical little contraptions called diaper sprayers that spray high-pressure water on the diaper to knock the stickier poop off. genius! we don't have one...yet. so in the meantime, i slip on a pair of rubber gloves and rinse the diaper in the tub. after i'm done, i rinse the tub out and spray it down with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.
what do you do once the diapers are dirty?
i currently use a big plastic bin with a lid to store the dirty diapers, and wash them every three days. i am planning on getting a wet bag someday, which is a water-proof bag specifically designed for storing wet diapers. then it can just be tossed in and washed with the diapers, which makes it even easier.
how do you wash them? do they really get clean?
everyone has a favorite method of washing cloth diapers, but the most common i've heard is cold wash, hot wash, rinse. generally, you don't want to wash protein-based stains with hot water, because it'll sort of "cook" it into the fabric, leaving a darker stain, so the cold wash is to get out the mess a little better; the hot wash, for really cleaning the diaper, and the rinse, to make sure there isn't any detergent residue. it's very simple, really, once you find a detergent that works for you. we don't have our own washer and dryer, so we do our laundry at a laundromat -- if i can do it there, you can definitely do it at home! having a washer and dryer really makes it a breeze. they do really get clean, when washed the right way. the same way the underwear a kid has an accident in really gets clean. and...other things. (use your imagination.) the sun actually really helps -- i'm just now learning this from personal experience. you can stick the ugliest stained diapers in the sun and it'll bleach them beautifully!
river in his one-size wonder wrap that my stepmom gave me ... er, him. ;)
i love these covers. great for night-time wear!
what do you do when you're out?
i haven't found going out while using cloth diapers any more difficult or cumbersome than going out using disposables. you just stick the soiled diaper in a plastic bag or a travel wet bag designed for the road. that goes in your diaper bag, and then into the diaper pail when you get home.
why do you even want to use cloth diapers?
many reasons! it's easier on the pocketbook. i wrote a blog post a while back about how much money we are saving by using cloth. the numbers are amazing! it's better for our planet. disposable diapers sit in our landfills for as long as 500 years, and since plastic isn't biodegradable, it doesn't turn into earth -- it stays forever in our soil and waterways. plus, feces is considered hazardous and should be flushed down the toilet, not stuck in the garbage pail. it's nicer to your baby's bum. extensive studies haven't been done on the effect disposable diapers have on our baby's sensitive skin, but evidence shows it may not be all that great. many chemicals are used in the production of the diaper (chlorine, fragrance, dyes), including dioxin. it is the same stuff that is in tampons and linked to toxic shock syndrome. so why is it still used in our diapers? if child is in diapers for three years, that is three years of their new, vulnerable baby skin (not to mention their most sensitive area... and keep in mind our skin is very permeable) up against these chemicals 24/7! research also shows there may be a link to chemicals in diapers and reproductive issues in men, as well as cancer and immunity problems.
oh, and it's just plain fun. cloth diapers and covers and accessories are so cute. way cuter than disposables. :) i could (and have) spent hours browsing cloth diapering stores.
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