Adventures in Newborn Cloth Diapering, Part Three
September 19, 2011
Not going to lie: Running out of steam here. I committed more words about cloth diapering last week than any sane human being ever should. (I even went off on a whole big woolie-pant tangent at AlphaMom. SOMEBODY STOP ME.) I kind of just want to go lie down and not listen to myself for awhile.
But okay. Ike is now three-and-a-half-months old. This is what my diapering stash/area/fortress of crazy looks like...
Two dozen newborn-sized prefolds
Nine one-size fitteds
Six one-size FuzziBunz
Two one-size Charlie Bananas (hand-me-downs from Ezra)
One GroBaby all-in-one (same deal)
One BabyKicks hemp fitted (one of Temerity Jane's cast-offs, similarly not adored here, but used)
Two Thirsties Duo Wraps, size one
Two PUL covers from Fluffy's Diapers, size small
Three upcycled wool covers from Ocean Babies, size small
Four fleece covers from Pumpkin Pants, size small
STILL NOT YET IN FIRST-STRING USE:
12 refurbished one-size bumGenius
15 FuzziBunz, size medium
Yes. This is (wait for it) a shitload of diapers. This is way, way more than I need. Way more than anybody needs, for just one measly baby.
This is, however, NOT some damning proof that everything sucks and is wrong and you will hate your life and make ALL THE WRONG CHOICES.
No. This is just damning proof that I need to stop buying so many damn diapers, is all. More of a testament to how much I ENJOY cloth diapering Ike.
There's something addicting about it. Something perversely...fun about the experimenting and the promise that this! THIS diaper! This cover! This laundry process! This will be the perfect one, solving every problem or minor quibble I've ever had with the others! Together, we shall build THE CUTEST MOSTEST PERFECTEST DIAPER IN THE WORRRRRLD!
When Noah was in disposables and I had complaints, it was like, "Well, he's having blow-outs in the Huggies, so...Pampers, I guess? Luvs or generics? Whichever ones have the least annoying cartoon character on them?" And then you switch and really, they're all kinda the same. Whatever.
This time, it's like, "ETSY SHOPPING TIME YAAAAYYYYY!"
But really, we're soooo obviously set. More than set. I do diaper laundry about twice a week, every three days or so. No big deal at all, with a family of five: I'm easily doing laundry almost every day anyway. The diapers just get an overnight soaking first. Other than that, they simply blend in with our regular onslaught of dirty clothes.
(DIAPER PAIL ASIDE: Metal trash can with lid from Ikea. Pail liner from Planet Wise. Spritz wet and soiled diapers with Biokleen Bac-Out to kill odor. We have a secondary pail in the basement, next to the washer, where I sometimes put especially evil diapers, or just the ones we change in places other than Ike's room.)
So, what worked 100% the absolute BEST, when Ike was brand-new? Newborn-sized fitteds, hands down. They were our ultimate solution to the blow-out problem. Turns out Ike needed more elastic around his legs than just a cover alone. They also featured a snap-down for the umbilical cord.
Leanne (Rebel Baby Co.) gave me three of her newborn-sized diapers as a gift, and if I were to cloth diaper a newborn again I would DEFINITELY invest in a few more of these, even though they do seem pricey for something you may not use very long. But we used them A LOT. More than any single onesie or cute little romper. So I'd skip some of the wardrobe purchases next time and buy more diapers.
(I love how I keep saying shit like "next time." No, self. Just...no.)
I was so sad when Ike outgrew the newborn fitteds after a couple months...I could still snap them up just fine, but he is just sooooo loooooong, and they kinda didn't cover up his butt crack all the way. Oops. So I upgraded to (and paid for, though Leanne gave me a discount because she's awesome) the one-size fitteds that we're still using now. Adjustable in the rise, around the waist, snap-in soaker...they are fantastic and worth every penny.
(I know Leanne is on hiatus and probably won't be able to accept a ton of orders right now, so if you absolutely must have something similar to our fitteds RIGHT FREAKING NOW, you can find them at other shops on HyenaCart and Etsy. Perhaps some commenters can some more specific URL guidance?)
We tend to save the fitteds for nighttime or going out, but I also occasionally treat them like a little outfit unto themselves and let Ike kick it in a cover-less fitted and a t-shirt. Maybe some legwarmers, now that he's plumping up a bit. SO CUTE.
During the day, at home, Ike wears prefolds with a cover. Jason likes just folding them in threes and using the PUL covers, swearing that's the "easiest" of any of the options we own, pocket diapers included. (He gets a bit weary of snaps, and misses the velcro on the bumGenius. The reason we own as many PUL covers as we do is because I ordered two velcro ones just for him. I'm so romantic, you guys!)
Me? I prefer the breathable covers: the fleece and the wool. Those pull on like little pants, so I have to use a Snappi to fasten the prefold. It took some practice, but I am now ready for the Diaper Folding World Championships, Speed & Accuracy Devision:
Every day I am warming up to the FuzziBunz one-size diapers more and more. Ike has hit the point where his growth will come more in spurts, rather than just CONSTANT NEVER-ENDING EMBIGGENING. It occurred to me, after I wrote about how much I hated messing with all that infernal elastic that it has actually been awhile since I had to mess with it. Figures.
I'd give the Charlie Banana diapers a slight edge over the FuzziBunz in this regard -- they have adjustable elastic around the legs only, and you can tighten the waist enough using just the snaps, because the flaps can actually snap OVER and ONTO each other. (Our fitteds so this as well. It's...just stupidly brilliant and I don't know why the FuzziBunz haven't added this feature yet.) (Velcro diapers are also great in this regard, because you can fasten velcro on top of velcro. Our velcro on the bumGenius diapers was just BEYOND DEAD and had to go, but sadly, with snaps, they just don't fit a tiny skinny baby as well as they used to.)
So the CB diapers fit just great and work like any other pocket diaper system (all the inserts are compatible across all the brands -- you don't have to try to keep them straight or anything, just wash and stuff), but my only quibble with THEM is that they're made in China. The company seems like a very good one, but as I mentioned in Part One, I also like knowing my money is going to fellow moms.
The next project is to really attack the mystery of the leaking one-size diapers: I THOUGHT the leaks were all fit-related, or because the leg elastic is shot in some of the hand-me-downs. But last night Ike wore a double-stuffed FuzziBunz (which is new) and woke up soaking wet. That suggests we've got a repelling problem and it's time to strip them. (This has always happened periodically with the pocket diapers, but not once with prefolds or fitteds. Is that...weird? Normal? Still just a matter of time? Dunno.)
It's ALSO possible that our microfiber inserts are simply toast and I should replace them with some new hemp ones...or maybe just start stuffing the pocket diapers with a prefold. Or it could be a combination of issues and I'll still have to decide whether to replace all that elastic in the hand-me-downs...or just buy the next size up in prefolds.
But you know, for a stash of diapers that saw CONSTANT ROUND-THE-CLOCK USE for over TWO YEARS, they served us very well. I salute you, beat-up, broke-down diapers! I salute you.
So it's obvious that you can basically just wind me up and I will ramble all over the place until I fall asleep or get distracted by something shiny. Like wine. Shiny, pretty wine.
What? Oh, right. Okay. How about I try to write out a little timeline and leave it at that? Kind of structured and organized, though not 100% to-the-day accurate, because I was kind of too busy keeping small human beings alive to keep notes. But if you're trying to guesstimate what will fit when and for how long, this might help. Or confuse you even further when your baby turns out to be a completely different size or body type than mine:
Day One: Meconium poops. Black, tarry disgustingness. Screw that. Go with disposables until it's over.
Day Leaving The Hospital: STEAL ALL THE DIAPERS.
Day Yay We're Home: OMG, he's so small. Barely seven pounds, no meat on his bones to speak of. Preemie fitteds and covers are the only things that don't gap around the legs or cover the stump. Not sure I'd bother buying those again, even though they weren't that expensive, because we had PLENTY of free disposables to tide us over. Then again: The earth, and stuff.
Day Hazy Newborn Fog: Poops are expode-y bursts of mustard water. Leak out prefold legholes every time. Need new cover every time. Out of clean covers and it's only lunchtime. Hmm.
Day First Well-Baby Visit: Figure out that newborn fitteds are where it's AT in avoiding leg-hole leaks. They become go-to diaper for any time we leave the house, because prefolds simply cannot be trusted. Quote from pediatrician: "Oh my God, that is the cutest diaper I have ever seen in my life."
Look at those scrawny legs, and you'll realize what we were dealing with.
Day Seven: Dear God, we need more fitteds. Prefolds no match for poop onslaught. One-sizes still comically gigantic, bad position for stump.
Day 14: Informed by pediatrician that Ike's umbilical stump is "extra substantial" and will take longer than usual to fall off. Indeed, it hangs on for almost a month, and even then needed "help" from Noah, who was promptly traumatized for life. Still limping around with combo of hospital diapers, prefolds and our three newborn fitteds, which have come to be known as MY PRESHUSSSSS around these parts.
Week Three: Preemie size everything is retired. Poops decrease to once a day or once every other day. Still have to replace the cover when it happens in a prefold, but it's an improvement.
Week Four: Nine spanking-new one-size fitteds arrive. Angels sing, clouds part.
Week Five: Ike is nine pounds, five ounces. I keep trying the FuzziBunz but am still not happy with the fit.
Week Six or Seven, What Am I, A Wizard? Begin reasessing our choice of all PUL covers. It's hot out. Ike's getting rashes. Start staring very hard at wool and fleece covers online. Slowly have realization that the different style leg hole might solve more than a few problems. Breathe heavily through mouth, do nothing.
Week Eight: Go to the beach, stay at relative's condo. We've taken cloth diapers there before and recieved much enthusiastic support and the free reign of their washer and dryer, but Ike is still going through such a high number of diapers every day that I cheat and bring a jumbo back of generic disposables. I resent them for their highly not-cute appearance and think they smell chemical-ish, but still. Way easier.
Two Months: Ike is 10 pounds, 15 ounces. Order fleece and wool covers from Etsy. Jason looks at me like I have lost my damn mind, aren't they going to be...hot? You want to put him in butt sweaters? I ignore him, but leave out the part about the wool covers needing to be handwashed, la la laaaaa.
Two Months & Five Minutes: A brand-new wool cover goes through the wash. OF COURSE IT DOES. I manage to stretch it back into shape, then realize that my worst fear has arrived: Re-lanolizing a wool cover, which sounds scary and complicated and...
Two Months & Six Minutes: Discover that "lanolizing" involves filling sink with warm water and squirting some goddamn leftover lanolin NIPPLE OINTMENT in there, then tossing the cover into the sink. Swish around, wring out, hang on towel bar. Uh. Okay. That was...easy.
Two Months & Seven Minutes: Discover the joy of a fitted paired with a wool cover for overnight. Holy hell, that's some sweet-ass diapering.
Two Months & Eight Minutes: Prefolds make their grand reappearance, using a Snappi under the new covers. Old PUL covers suddenly fit well enough to go over a non-Shappied prefold, much to Jason's joy and delight.
Three Months: Cruising right along with prefolds and fitteds. New FuzziBunz and old bumGenius finally seem to fit, but are more prone to leakage. (Pee, not poop.) However, they're easier to toss in the diaper bag and change while we're out. I'm surprised how much better I like the more "complicated" diapering options, though. Pockets were all I ever knew and I thought they were the Cadillac of diapers, given the price, but...there you have it. I am officially a cloth diapering weirdo.
Three Months & 19 Days: Today! I have no idea how much Ike weighs right now, but I know that he is very long, very lean and solidly in size 3-6 month clothing. Everything, save for the hand-me-downs, is working absolutely fine, at this size and stage.
He wears prefolds with whatever cover I grab out of the drawer during the day. He wears a fitted with a wool cover at night (and I have not needed to wash and/or lanolize a single wool cover again, so don't let the ZOMGHANDWASH AREYOUHIGH care instructions for wool freak you out). He wears a fitted or a FuzzBunz when we go out. After he wears them, I wash them. I dry them. I put them back in the drawer. No superpowers required, other than EPIC self-control when it comes to Etsy and all the handmade customized wooliepant covers with the designs on the butts and the fitted in the cute fabrics AH MAH GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.
And that concludes my manifesto on cloth diapering. As always, feel free to ask me specific questions over at the Advice Smackdown (and not just about cloth diapers, I'll yak about anything other there, really).
For everybody else, thank you for putting up with this nonsense, and know that I will try my God's honest damnedness to talk about something -- ANYTHING -- besides cloth diapers for a good, long time.