Way back in the day, when Amanda and I first found out we were pregnant, I made the impetuous decision that we should cloth diaper our baby. God bless my wife, as she didn’t seem too opposed to the idea (nor too excited, either) but my mom would have none of it. All I heard was horror stories about rubber pants and uncomfortable babies and how I was a monster on par with all sorts of historic and Biblical figures of evil. Then I was tasked, rather reasonably, with doing some research and then making a more informed decision instead of one of my world-famous impulsive Eric decisions. I do love me some proving others wrong, so I hit up the old trusty internet and did some research. Since I was never familiar with the old rubber-pants scenarios, everything I read was rather encouraging so I shared that information with Amanda and my mom. Amanda was pretty much on board at this time, and while Mom came a little closer, she was far from sold.
Then, fate intervened when Amanda and my mom went shopping for baby clothes – they came across a store that sold cloth diapers and Mom got her first hands-on experience with them. I don’t think she was completely sold at this point, but she was at least tentatively on board. She walked away pleasantly surprised with how far they had come and that they were much better than expected – definitely a step in my direction.
From there, Amanda and I had to determine the division of labor since obviously they will require more work than disposables (since we didn’t want to pay for a cleaning service). Because I never planned on changing a diaper anyway (read above about me being monstrous and evil) we came to the decision that Amanda would be the primary diaper changer and I would be the primary diaper cleaner. So that’s pretty much been my job.
Here are some of the discoveries that Amanda and I have made together – first off – we’re not really a big fan of the hybrid style of cloth diaper. For those of you not in the know, there are typically three options/variations on the cloth diaper – all in one, all in two, and the hybrid/pocket. The all in one is simple – it’s got an absorbent shell and an absorbent insert. When the baby goes to the bathroom, you pull the whole diaper off and replace with a new diaper. This is the least cleaning-intensive and might be a great option if you’re looking for minimal work, but they’re going to cost more and produce a whole lot more laundry. The all in two is our preferred style – the shell is porous and the insert snaps in with two snaps. If the baby pees or has a small-to-medium poop, you pop the insert out and replace the insert. Finally, the hybrid style (which is what we started with because they were the cheapest and most readily available via craigslist) literally has a semi-porous shell with a giant pouch in the middle where you stuff an insert. The idea here is you can just replace the insert for urine and replace the whole thing for poop. However, in our experience, more often than not we were replacing the whole thing so we were basically treating it like an all in one with the additional work of stuffing/unstuffing the pocket.
In addition, baby Sophie is quite the heavy wetter. I feel confident she pees more at night than I do during the day and even with an extra absorbency insert she was still having some leaking. After some research (Amanda is now a full-time cloth diaper supporter and has Facebook groups and whatever else) we found that the all in one style work best for nighttime heavy wetters so we moved over to those with an extra insert plus the added absorbency of the shell and we’ve been leak free. But we only use them for night.
We got a sprayer attachment for our toilet that has worked wonders for me. There is a bucket that fits over the toilet seat and then the sprayer that rests next to the toilet. I take any poopy diapers, peel the insert out, spray the poop out, then give the shell a quick spray and throw them in the laundry. Three days a week I do a laundry cycle (with bleach on the first cycle) and no matter how disgusting or smelly or gross Sophie’s poop is, they come out looking clean and fresh with no stains. Realistically, I probably spend maybe a little over an hour a week between spraying and starting a laundry cycle along with folding the cloth wipes, but it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I expected.
The other bonuses are that her diapers are much cuter than disposables and she’s gotten some compliments. Plus I brought my mom and Amanda over to the cloth side and so far everyone has been happy with the outcome. I could easily have doubled-down on a bad bet, but thanks to the insistence of my mother, I hit the Google and did some research and ended up making the right decision for the team.