When we were having our son more than 3 years ago and Meg brought up the topic of cloth diapers, I kept an open mind, but admit, my lack of knowledge on the subject made me pretty darn skeptical.
We tried , but as with many things that go with the whirlwind of a first child, it didn’t exactly go as planned and after a few attempts, ended up going the route of disposable diapers until he was out of them and into big boy undies.
When our little girl arrived four months ago, we had decided to try again. While I still was slightly skeptical, I realized this time that any skepticism was mostly due, once again, to my inexperience with cloth diapers.
I had questions
But how do you wash them?
What do you do with the poop?
Is this sanitary?
I had a lot of questions. But, as with many things when a second child comes around, parents find themselves a little more at ease having been through it before. So, this time, as my wife was determined to make this commitment, I was determined to learn more and get on board with it.
It took a few diaper changes to learn how, but man, was this learning curve easy. We’re not talking about the old cloth diapers from the old Disney and Looney Tunes shorts with a wrap of white cloth and a baby pin. No, no, no. Those still exist, but truly, I can’t believe how far cloth diapers have come. The material, the styles, the sheer variety (pre-fold, pockets, all-in-one – all phrases I never thought I would know, let alone use) is mind-boggling.
We stocked up in an effort to be prepared, because if you’re going to do this, you’re going to need quite a few. Think about how many diapers you go through in the course of a day, then think about if you had to wash and wait for each to dry before using.
So, there’s a lot of bins filled with these patterned and colorful diapers that look a bit like a bin of Easter eggs. As I say, variety, variety, variety.
I was certainly game and as I say, the changing of them was a quick learn. Unsnap/unbutton (yes, they have buttons/snaps these days!), fold up, put into a vinyl diaper bag (instead of the trash), wipe as normal, and then put a nice, new, cushy cloth diaper on those little buns. And voila, we’re changed! That vinyl bag of diapers fills up over time and when it’s full, the diapers get washed, dried, and if the weather’s nice, put out in the sun for some added sunkissed sanitation and whitening.
Of course, I’m still going to admit how new this is to me. I have not yet actually done a load of these cloth diapers in the wash yet. Meg has. So I am sure there is a whole other layer to this I’ve yet to explore in my ignorance. But I will say that in terms of the changing, it’s been a piece of cake.
The proof is in the pudding…er…in the poop
The true test, though…what really pushed me over the edge and on board…was, well quite, frankly, the poop.
Like so many babies, our little lady has had her fair share of blowouts in the first few months of her life. You know what i mean. It goes everywhere. Up the front, up the back. Everywhere. And I can’t tell you how many outfits have had poop go right through, calling for a whole new cleaning and outfit.
But, knock on wood, not when she’s been wearing her cloth diapers. I certainly can’t rattle off the brand names to you, as I don’t know them all, but I have noticed the little tags on them while I’ve changed, and two that spring to mind are Thirsties and BumGenius cloth diapers. And these things are thick. Thick, yet soft. And puffy. And based on every time I’ve had to change a blowout diaper, I would take a cloth diaper over disposable to handle those explosions any day of the week. They absorb, they keep it all in, just where it’s supposed to be, leaving daddy to just wipe and change the diaper versus wipe, change the diaper, wash her and change an entire outfit that got soaked through.
I am all about this.
I now find myself a father and husband completely on board with the idea of cloth diapers.
They’re soft, they’re re-usable, and man, do they absorb and hold in so much more than the disposables. We all have our fair share of baby blowouts and I feel pretty confident now in saying that in those blowout moments, I’d much rather have her in a cloth diaper than a disposable, keeping in everything we don’t want getting out (if you know what I mean).
Things will change
And yeah, once she reaches the stage of solid foods and stops nursing, things will change – as poop from a breastmilk-only diet is water soluable, that solid-food poop – not so much. That will mean trips to the potty before the diapers can be washed to dump out each diaper and spray it with water when the time comes. So will I be singing the same tune then? I hope so, but, I admit, we will see when the time comes.
Don’t mistake my appreciation for a full-on lifestyle change or an implication that anyone else needs to feel the same way. As I’ll be honest, we still use disposable diapers during the overnight hours, we still use them at grandma’s house, and we still use them when we’re not at home and out and about.
It’s a balance.
But, the mere fact that they are an option to us, allowing us (if even a little) to cut back on how much we spend, how much we add to the trash pile, and to really soak up those baby poops a little better, I’m all for.
“We have only been home from the hospital for three hours and I don’t think I have ever been so tired in my life.
I feel terrible even using the phrase ‘I’m tired’ as I feel that my wife had redefined the word after her past few days.
Since we’ve been home these three hours, our little guy has had two feedings, a diaper change, and is now napping.
Both Meg and myself are trying to heed the advice given to us by many and try to nap when he naps, even if it’s for just a fewer items.
Since we are still adjusting the baby and our cats to the wonderful world of co existence, our napping has been in shifts so that one can keep an eye on the baby and cats while the other one sleeps.
But with every little noise he makes, we wake and check.
As I write this, Meg is asleep on the couch, the cats all asleep in various spots, the baby asleep in the pack and play, and I on the chair.
She has tried to convince me to do something lazy and mindless while she and they sleep, such as watching cartoons. But despite the lure of a gilded invitation to do so, I just can’t find the energy to go more than blindly just ‘sit’.
I’ve run races and never felt so tired, but the emotional wallop of the past few days does not compare to any race.”
Now, several days later, we are doing a little bit better. By better, I mean my wife and I are adjusting (as are the cats).
The little guy has taken to feedings at a multitude of intervals throughout the night, starting around 11 or midnight, and wanting to go again every hour or so. That is not counting any of his diaper changes, of which there are several during the night.
During the day, he seems to eat a lot in the morning and then sleep through most of the day, waking in the evening for another feeding before sleeping and starting his nocturnal activities.
A lot of people have told us we need to sleep when he sleeps, but it becomes difficult, as when he is sleeping (and not screaming to be fed or changed) seems to be the only time to tackle things that need to be done around the house, be it laundry, dishes, etc, etc. So, a small cat nap here or there, but no large slumbers for us thus far.
Some people have told us “oh no, he’s got his days and nights mixed up,” but our pediatrician says that, being only a week old, he will, in time, start to develop a more normal routine. We’re hoping this is the case.
Our sleep has still been few and far between, which sometimes makes irritability an issue between my wife and I, but we’re managing. We know that this too, shall pass, and that this is all a part of the wild world of babies, children, and parenting.
I take a huge chunk of responsibility for part of our fatigue, as, with various requests “to meet the baby” I scheduled visits with friends/family each night of the week this week, meaning every night has been occupied. I admit, I think I may have overextended us.