Hey, Baby Ike. So. This is awkward, but apparently the Internet is very, very interested in hearing about your diapers.
Not in a creepy way! I don't think. Everybody just keeps asking about the cloth diapers and what we think of the cloth diapers and would we recommend the cloth diapers or are we just pointlessly martyring ourselves over the cloth diapers and so forth and so on and etc.
The thing is, there are about 500,340,201,430 (at last count) websites out there that discuss cloth diapers. Probably a good half of those sites specifically cover cloth diapering a newborn. I know, because I read just about every single flipping one while I was pregnant with Ike.
Noah wore disposables, and honestly, it never even occurred to me that cloth was a viable, non-crazy-person option. I switched Ezra over to cloth diapers when he was around four or five-ish months old. I was sick of diaper rash and poop blowouts, and we were making all these other efforts around our home to be more (GAG) "green" and generate less waste and trash, so disposable diapers kinda seemed like something we should eliminate (ZING).
That, plus our inability to EVER remember to buy diapers at the store, since we always THOUGHT we were using fewer diapers than we actually were, is what led to me finally shrieking "THAT'S IT, I'M SWITCHING TO CLOTH" while driving to the store with Ezra in nothing but one of Noah's old swim diapers because GODDDDDDDDdamn.
That process was really easy. I emailed some people who cloth diapered and asked them what they used. Answer: FuzziBunz and bumGenius. Okay then! I hunted around for the best price and plopped down a couple hundred bucks on diapers (half one brand and half the other) and some detergent, promising myself that I would stick with it, and that it was a worthwhile investment.
And it was! Holy cats. The diapers did everything I hoped they would do: Stop blowouts and rash (check), look adorable (check), eliminate our need for both disposable diapers and nighttime pull-ups (check check), and save money in the long run (check check check). And it turned out I was much, much better at remembering to dump the contents of a diaper pail into the washing machine every few days than I was at remembering to pick up another econo-mondo-box of Huggies size...wait, is he a 3 still? Should we move up to 4s? And don't I have a coupon somewhere for Pampers?
I kicked myself for not considering cloth diapers before. TRUTH.
But. I sensed that cloth diapering a newborn might not be so straightforward. The whole "one diaper birth to potty-training" thing isn't really possible -- unless you get a REALLY BIG BABY like Noah, or are willing to snap your infant into a crazy bulky, cinched-up diaper four times the size of his head for a couple weeks. Plus: leaks around the leg holes because newborn babies have thighs like underfed poultry. Plus plus: The umbilical stump! YOU MUST MIND THE STUMP.
So I knew our hand-me-downs would not be a viable option at first.
But then! Going out and buying a whole diapering system just for a few weeks? Or months? Or however long it would take my baby to fit into the hand-me-down one-size diapers? Oof. Doesn't that kinda kill the money-saving part? Especially once you realize how much some newborn-sized fitted diapers and fancy covers can cost, so maybe I should just go with a couple dozen prefolds and cheap waterproof covers? Is that enough? Should I buy more? Do they need something different for nighttime? What about when we're out? Will I really be happy fumbling with prefolds and Snappis in a public restroom with no changing table?
(Now go ahead and repeat that previous paragraph over and over again for about eight straight months. Welcome to my pregnancy! Try not to go completely insane.)
So. Okay. I GET why everyone wants me to talk about cloth diapers, because it's the same reason I wanted everybody else to talk about cloth diapers: I was hoping what worked for you would work for me, too.
Thus, cloth diapering Ike has been an ongoing process of trial and error, tweaks and re-jiggerings and changing our minds about what works best and when and how.
It's a weirdly rewarding process, for sure, because I have two full drawers now of some of the most CRIMINALLY CUTE diapering options in the world, to the point that I'm so HAPPY he was born in the summer because it meant I never, ever felt compelled to put actual clothing on him and cover up the adorableness. Plus, instead of package after package of disposables, I've purchased wonderful diapers and covers handmade by other moms, with my money going to support their home-based businesses, or just to help someone make some money off their hobby, doing something they love.
And when you realize that newborns go through about 8-10 diapers a day...well, shit, man. That's almost 100 non-biodegradable diapers headed for the landfill every 10 days. Some of them having spent all of 30 seconds in active duty on your baby's butt, because newborns have IMPECCABLE poop timing.
I do not judge anyone, however, who chooses to value their sanity over the environment in those first weeks and months. (Or ever, really. My diapering choice isn't meant to one-up yours, or anything. Just trying to lay out why I choose this, and all.) I could definitely make the argument for stealing as many Pampers as the hospital will give you and worrying about cloth diapering later, once your baby gets some chunk and YOU get some damn sleep.
I will say, hey: I have three kids. I work about 25-30 hours a week, on average. I have been known to drive my child (in a fuel-guzzling minivan) to his bus stop two blocks away because it's kinda sort-of raining outside. So I am not Superwoman, either environmentally or otherwise. But if I can do this, I'm pretty sure anyone can. And by anyone I am also including drunk monkeys.
So. Now that I've bored everyone to tears with my preamble, how about some specifics? Like I said yesterday, I'm breaking this magnum opus into a few parts. Tomorrow Imma gonna be brutally honest and tell you about the stuff that didn't work for us and some of the things I'd probably do differently. The next day I'll talk about what did work and where we are now, three months later.
But before I do that, I thought it might be nice to do a little primer on the diaper varieties I've tried so everybody will know What I'm Talking About When I Talk About Cloth Diapers. I was incredibly intimidated by all the different things when I first looked into cloth diapers: I wasn't prepared for such a steep learning curve. One-size? Fitted? AIO? Pocket? PUL? Fleece, wool, wraps, liners, doublers, soakers? WHAT IN THE SAM HILL IS EVERYONE TALKING ABOUT?
After the jump, a brief intro to a few different kinds of diapers. Plus baby pictures! If that's all you're here for.