The minute that pee stick turns blue, you enter a world of constant decision making. What to eat and not eat while pregnant. What stroller to buy. And (of importance to this blog) which diapers to choose. Naturally, we turn to the internet for answers, and are instantly exposed to 6 billion options, all contradicting each other, and all claiming to be the correct answer.
I like to keep up on what is happening in the Mommy world, so I spend way too much time on the Internet. While cruising around through cloth diaper forums recently, I ended up getting completely confused, grossed out and almost put off of using cloth diapers all together by some of the advice I read. “ALWAYS make your own washing soda by baking baking soda in the oven for 10 hours.” Ummmm, no. “NEVER think of using a disposable diaper” <<Feels like a failure for using them while down with the flu>> “ALWAYS scrape every bit of poop out of your diapers with a spatula or your fingernails” OMG NOOOOOOOO! Even with years of poopy diapers under my belt, that one still made my stomach heave!
But guess what? Once I suppressed the urge to vomit, I realized that I have never once done any of those things, and have successfully cloth diapered for over 3 years now. There are many opinions out there, but there is no Nobel prize for cloth diaper laundering (yet). As a newbie to cloth, you will be exposed to so much information/misinformation about cloth diapering from friends, family and our mutual buddy, the internet.
Here are my 5 favourite myths I have heard about cloth diapers:
Technology has allowed laundry to progress far beyond hauling your dirties down to the river to beat them on rocks. If you are lazy (like me – I am writing this in my jammies) you will appreciate a simple laundry routine. Some people in the world must enjoy doing laundry, because some laundry routines I have read take 10 hours and an advanced degree in chemical engineering. But this is totally unnecessary, and your laundry routine will actually look something like this:
- Throw in the washing machine
- Rinse in cold water with no detergent
- Wash hot with a cloth diaper safe detergent (add an extra rinse if you want)
- Dry (either line or tumble)
That’s all, and you have the rest of the day to put your feet up and relax. Or chase toddlers, change bums, cook endless meals, clean, etc. etc.
Yep, this is where the spatula comes in. I read discussions about what kitchen utensils work best for removing poo. Now I am not a great chef, but I like my utensils. And they remain firmly in the kitchen and feces free!
Here is the scoop on the poop. The poop scoop.
Exclusively breast fed babies’ poop is entirely water soluble, and super easy to wash out. Just chuck these ones in the diaper pail as is. No scraping required. You don’t even have to look directly at them if you don’t want to. Once your baby is on mostly solid foods, the poop is more formed, and easy to shake out into the toilet. This has a very scientific term for it: ploppable poop!
The only time dealing with poop takes a bit more thought is while transitioning to solids. Poo at this point has kind of a peanut butter like consistency (sorry for the imagery, especially if you are currently eating peanut butter). Again, our friend technology has made this easier as well. There are a couple near magical inventions that have made Dookie Dealing fun and exciting.
Disposable liners come in a roll, and are placed on top of the diaper, between it and baby's bum. When baby pees, it goes right through, but poop stays sitting on top of the liner. At change time, the liner is removed (poo and all) and either flushed or thrown in the garbage. Easy as that.
Diaper sprayers are awesome at this stage as well. They are basically a high pressure sprayer that hooks to your toilet, and lets you hose the nasties out of diapers and directly into the toilet. Pair a sprayer with a Spray Pal shield, and all of the grossness goes down the toilet exactly where it needs to go.
Poop is a reality of life. Everybody poops. They even wrote a book about it. But give me poop contained in a diaper rather than an up-the-back blowout (which happen so much more often with disposables! Really!) Somewhat hilariously, using disposables to avoid touching poop actually creates many more opportunities to deal with it! And another point - technically, poop should be removed from disposable diapers before throwing them in the garbage as well, as landfills are not designed to handle human waste. Not that I've ever seen someone do this, but it's true!
Truth: You can do whatever you want. Cloth diaper during the day, disposable at night. Cloth at home, ‘sposie out and about. Wear them on your head and sing “Yankee Doodle” if you want. Although I would appreciate it mightily if you posted a video of that on YouTube. Please, us work at home moms need a giggle once in a while to stay sane!
Truth: It might, but only if you try to absorb every little bit of information on the internet. The amount you REALLY have to know to be successful is pretty small, and you will learn a lot from hands on experience.
The basics that you will need to know are covered (pretty well, I’d say) in our workshops. If you are in an area where we offer workshops (Vancouver, Edmonton, Brantford and Ottawa) we'd love to see you and chat about cloth diapers. If you aren't (or if you are like me and prefer to live life in pajamas) our workshops are now. They cover all the basics, and the rest is just gravy. And remember, I am always here by email, phone or Skype to answer questions if you need help!
Truth: Forget that noise. This is your decision. I personally prefer cloth diapers (obviously, I run a diaper store!) but it is completely up to you what you use on your baby’s bum. Whatever works best for you is the right decision. You will never get any judgement from me: I am just happy to have helped with one of the many decisions you will make as a parent. Whether you choose cloth or disposable, you are an awesome parent for making the choice that works for your family.
Cheers for now!