A Look Inside Cloth Diapers: An Update

Back in August I wrote a post called A Look Inside Cloth Diapers, detailing how the whole cloth diapering experience of my five-month old daughter was going. Reading that post now, it is interesting to see how consumed I was with diapering then and how very long ago it seems.

The comments that followed the post were where the real action took place and I learned more there than in all of my online research. My little baby is now a toddler, almost fifteen months old, and much has changed in all aspects of our lives, including diapering. Here is an updated look inside our cloth diapers:

First off, I will admit the major error of my original post: equating little to no diaper rash with cloth diapers. The problem wasn't that I made the association between my daughter, cloth diapers and no diaper rash--I still give full credit to the wicking material that bumGenius uses in the lining of their diapers. The part that I got called to the carpet for was implying that this would be the case for all cloth diaper users.

Having done most of my pre-diapering research on green-leaning websites resulted in many glowing testimonials of diaper rash disappearing once cloth diapers were embraced. The comments below my original post showed me that sometimes, the exact opposite is true. Switching from cloth to disposables can be the solution to stubborn diaper rash that won't go away. The underlying lesson is an obvious one: all babies are different, and what works for one won't work for everyone else. Point taken.

Diapering a toddler is much different than diapering a baby. We are using fewer diapers over the course of the day, which is great, but their content is definitely more potent. Giving heavily soiled diapers a pre-wash is key to keeping the diapers in good shape and the diaper pail from stinking up the joint. This is achieved with a sprayer that is attached to the intake valve on your toilet. The model we have is the Handy Spray by etooti and it works great. You simply hold the diaper over the toilet and spray away. The high-pressure stream of water removes almost all of the diaper's contents and leaves the diaper itself amazingly clean.

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In my original post I predicted we would have a diaper pail with a lid by now but it still has not been necessary. All we use is a wet bag in a regular kitchen-sized garbage can, just like we did before. The only difference is we keep the bag folded shut, and that is working just fine.. When you unfold and open the bag, stand back! But the bag itself does very well at keeping in odors.

The biggest change in our diapering habits has been the introduction of disposable overnight diapers. When our daughter finally started sleeping through the night, we found the cloth diapers just could not handle all of that pee. We tried extra liners and other strategies but eventually decided to go with disposables, both for her comfort and to make our life a bit easier. When regular disposables proved to not be up to the task, we upgraded to overnight diapers, which have done the trick. The brand we use is Seventh Generation, to avoid dyes and fragrances. So in the end we are using more disposables than we ever thought we would, but we're not kicking ourselves over it. We do our best and move on.

Our original diapers were bumGenius 4.0 with the hook and loop closure tabs. These worked great for a long time and the hook and loop made putting them on quick and easy. Unfortunately, the hook and loop part started to deteriorate before one year had passed, even though we followed the meticulous washing instructions to the letter. They were beginning to lift and fray, and we feared this problem would get worse as our daughter became more active and mobile. So we contacted bumGenius and kudos to them for providing excellent customer service. We had saved all of our receipts so they replaced all of our original diapers with new ones that utilized the snap closures. These take a bit more time to put on but we have no fear of them failing or falling apart.

Blow-outs have been few and far between. When they happen they are memorable to be sure, but they are part of the parenting experience from what I understand. It happens to everyone every now and then and I have found having a plastic bag handy at all times is a sound strategy, as this post-blowout picture from last year can attest to.

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Creeping wetness is a much more common occurrence if you try to push the diaper past its limits. We have discovered that for our daughter at this stage in her life, three hours is as far as we should push it. We have gone longer but then we often end up changing pants, a onesie and a diaper, so we try to be smart and stay on top of it.

All in all cloth diapering is going very well for us. Like I said in the beginning we do not give it much thought anymore. It is second nature to rinse, wash, hang dry, and assemble them every three days or so. And since I still feel like we are catching up on sleep, anything that we do not need to think about is a good thing.

(Images: Richard Popovic)