Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cloth Diapering, why I do it...

Man it's funny. On my journey to cloth diaper my first child I've discovered a lot. Where I thought Cloth diapers would be a pain in the ass, they are actually fun, silly, easy to use, easy to make, and my daughter loves them. I can only hope that my son appreciates them as much as well.

I've gotten emails and IM's and notes in my blogs about what do I use, what are the primo diapers made out of, what's my favorites, why are they my favorites and would I go back to using any other kind of diaper for my children ever again. Several of my F-list have converted to cloth for their present kiddo's since I've been such a strong cloth advocate (not all on my influence, but in part I'm sure) and several plan to use cloth when they have kids. One is already building her stash and she's not even trying to conceive yet.

So - in what has become an every now and again thing - why I choose to cloth diaper, updated to reflect my current thoughts and opinions on the subject.

Ecologically cloth diapers made sense... the decomposition time of a disposable diaper is obscene. I didn't want to be a party of that if I could avoid it. Plus I hate taking out the garbage and will do everything in my power to avoid being the one who has to drag the can down the hill to the road. Its not far, but still...

With disposables my daughters little butt was covered in these crystals of Sodium Polyacrylate. You don't want to risk inhaling the stuff while it's powder as it increases in volume to a level that is obscene. A microscopic crystal of dried powder of the stuff turns into a 1/4th inch ball. If that got into your lungs? Or worse - a baby's lungs? No way. I'm asthmatic and the idea of that was just terrifying.

Then she started getting rashes - it appeared to be an allergy to the Sodium Polyacrylate... compounded with teething and then compounded by the fact that disposables just don't allow any exchange of gas, and there's no opportunity for vapors to escape. Nastiness might have been soaked into the diaper, but she was still wet, still sitting in a chemical stew, and still no amount of ointments were helping with getting rid of the rashes.

Um yeah. So there we were, spending loads of money on poop receptacles that we were going to be torn through by my peeing machine in a matter of "it's put on her and 10 minutes its off as she's soaked again." For just over the cost of one case of diapers I went to my favorite "Crunchy" store in West Hartford Connecticut- called Papaya Patch, and picked up one dozen Chinese Pre-Folds, a snappi diaper fastener, and three Bummi Super Whisper Wraps. I came home and washed the diapers on hot until they puffed up and set them up on the diaper table replacing her stash of disposables.

We transitioned into cloth diapering with some minor resistance from the in-laws, and my husband HATES Snappi's but for what we could afford at the time, who was I to complain. I did most of the changing, and when DH changed her he used the BSWW's which have a little envelope you slide a pre-fold folded in thirds into and he didn't bother with fastening the diapers onto her.

I joined cloth diapering communities on LJ, I discovered Little Lambs on Ebay, and for a breif time we used the little lambs AIO's more than we used the pre-folds - at least by day. They didn't work for night time, but all in all for what I paid for them - they were ok.

Not spectacularly, but ok.

Getting them shipped in a timely manner didn't always happen either, and I've since learned that Little Lambs was rather chronic about this and later was shut down for poor business practices. Which is a good thing - as who wants to spend a lot of money and not get your purchase or worse have it be poorly made...

Then somewhere along the way, like a virus, I got exposed to fitteds, to narrow it down even more - SOS diapers. I'd discovered FuzziBunz too and they were great - but there was this allure of the SOS diaper... it was elusive, it was pretty, it looked comfortable...Yeah - LJ's cloth diapering community can be blamed for that. SOS' are expensive, so I'd buy one here and there, and try to get them used in good condition if I could. More often than not someone else’s definition of "Excellent Condition" and my definition were not in synch... so I have a few SOS that are in less than stellar condition - even so, they work, and that's all that matters.

We have some Muttaquins in our cache of cloth diapers here, and some clothbaby.com diapers... but to be honest we love the SOS diapers for the fit for our little girl, and the fact that we can use the same diapers for the next baby, at whatever age - 8# to 35#. She hates wearing any other type of diaper - cloth or not. This doesn't mean that an SOS is right for every baby. Those little thighs and hips are just as much a pain in the tail when it comes to babies, as it is for some adults. There is no perfect diaper for every child. Even FuzziBunz work for some kids, and don't for others. Our Fuzzibunz just didn't work with our lean legged daughter and we had leaks. lots of leaks. I was not impressed over the long run.

There are a lot of different brands out there, and a lot of different types - it's important to not judge all cloth diapers on one particular brand and style. Each baby's body is different - so there's no saying that one diaper is going to work for all kids.

So based on the health factors, the fit for my daughter, the expense difference and being environmentally friendly we cloth diaper. BTW – I’ve not even touched the subject of making your own here… and my daughter loves the diapers Mommy has made for her as much as she loves her SOS’.

We're going to cloth diaper my son - who's due in 6 weeks or so. I've been buffing up the stash of diapers that will fit a new born. The SOS will fit 8 to 35 pounds, and the Bellabottoms will fit 8-40 pounds. For the hospital we've just bought 3 doz prefolds. We have 3 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap (BSWW) covers and a small stash of wool covers as well.

Do you need this many diapers when you first start out? No you don't. It's what works for us however as I wanted to have enough of a stash to go three days without doing laundry and my daughter was a super soaker.

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