Monday, August 27, 2012

Cloth Diapering - from the other side of the trenches

Diaper boy! 
When I wrote my previous cloth diapering posts, I was still a mama of one kid.  One kid who had not yet finished potty training and got all of my attention.  Now I am the mama of two (and a third on the way).  One kid out of diapers and the other one on his way out.  My lovely pile of cloth diapers has been through the wringer.  Literally.

Some thoughts from the other side of this adventure.
1. Diapers suck.  Paper, cloth, whatever.  Having to be responsible for the poop of another human being is just gross.  Especially after they start eating solid food and even more so when they are toddlers.  We did as much Elimination Communication with both children as we could and still, there was poop in diapers and sometimes on the floor during the potty training phase.  (And that is why we pulled up the carpets.)  I still stand by my 'shake what you can shake and leave the rest to the washing machine' mantra.  The less contact one has with that stuff, the better.

2. High Efficiency washing machines don't actually clean diapers very well, or clothes for that matter.  And the ones with the short agitator just shred the heck out of my diapers.  I am serious!  They are quickly going to tatters.  Very frustrating, especially when I had planned for them to see me through all of our children, not just the first two.  We saved up and bought our HE washer in September 2011 and I am over it.  It was made for people who gently wear their clothes, not for kids who think it is their job to coat themselves in mud or who pee their pants and then stash the offending undies at the bottom of the laundry basket to be found later when the stench has infiltrated the entire load of clothes.  When you can't get the smell out after 2 hot wash cycles and extra laundry boosters thrown in, the washer is just not doing a good job.  I'm on the hunt for a used washer that actually fills with water, warranty be danged!

Diaper boy! 

3. Cloth diapering loses it's 'fun' aspect after one kid and just becomes work.  This is the reason our mother's generation gleefully dove headlong into the paper diaper movement!  Who needed the extra work?  I'm sure glad these kids are cute!  Don't get me wrong, we still cloth diaper and I'm still grateful for the savings, but it's not fun anymore.  I don't get asked about it much anymore since most of my friends CD as well or have potty trained their kids.  So I rarely get a chance to enthuse about CDing to strangers, educating them in the ways of the cloth.  In hindsight, that was one of the things I loved about CDing...talking about it.  Because who in their right mind really loves a pee and poo soaked piece of cloth?  Am I right?

4. The overnight diaper dilemma.  I'm sure there is a cloth diaper solution for a kid who is a nighttime super-soaker, but I have not done the research on it, apparently.  I've tried inserts and doublers and still, it's not enough.  And without being able to get them really clean (see HE washer paragraph above), the nightime diapers sit on my little guy's bottom so long and have the tendency to burn his skin. (Pee reacts with laundry soap residue left by that stupid HE washer and can cause problems for sensitive skin. Super awesome.) So for now, Judah wears a paper overnight diaper and often still pees through it.  He has a bladder of a cow, I tell ya!  If you have any good ideas for a super-soaker kiddo, let me know. I'm guessing I won't solve this one until we get a new washer.

5. Lest I sound like a complete ingrate, I still would and do choose cloth over paper any day.  We have saved our family thousands of dollars this way and that is no small feat.  We have it down to a science now, with the diaper pail kept only in the laundry room.  Yes, it adds an extra step to the change, but getting rid of the stink from our main rooms was so worth it.  Judah looks cute as all heck when he runs around in those little cloth diaper covers with trees on them (Thirsties).  He is out of the full time diaper phase and into the running around naked and practicing going potty phase so we use a lot less diapers.  We have even introduced undies but at this point, but he uses them like diapers and it's just more for me to wash. We are working on it.  He does loose shorts much better.

All in all, cloth diapers serve a purpose, save some money, look cute and are a great step for reducing waste, but don't feel guilty if it's not for you.  I encourage parents to try it and like everything else we do as parents, give yourself some grace if it isn't perfect. 

Diaper boy!


nala said...

5 amen.

also, SA is a super-soaker at night too. and i have no clue how to potty train him not to pee at night. the only paper diaper that i have found to hold all of his pee at night is Huggies Overnight diapers. (and even then about once a week, it still soaks thru)

Michelle Forlines said...

3rd on the way?? woohoo!

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