Cloth Diapering: A First-time Mom’s Experience

Lyrica in yellow Boogoo brand cloth diaper

Lyrica in yellow Boogoo brand cloth diaper

Even before I found out I was pregnant, all this research on green living and saving money has gotten me familiar with the concept of cloth diapering. So while I was still carrying, I decided to give it a go once my baby girl was born. I Googled as much as my brain could wrap around the foreign concept and even attended a workshop where got my first trial cloth nappy pack, but all the theory on the net won’t be the same as my very own, first-hand experience. Now that my carefully purchased stash now has a real baby bum to cling to, this is how cloth diapering has panned out for me in my first week of trying:

Monday: Setting Up

They say that cloth diapering can be as cheap or expensive, complicated or simple as you want it to be (naturally I leaned towards the cheap and simple). I purchased all my cloth diapers second hand on Trademe — I was lucky enough to get a whole set of Bambino Mio’s and one-size-fits-all fitted nappies of different sorts. As I didn’t have my nappy sprayer assembled yet, I made sure I put the nappy liners in all the nappy inserts so that I would just shake the poo off in the toilet or toss the liner in. I made sure my pail liners were fitted snugly in the two covered plastic pails I purchased just for this purpose. Easy as.

Tuesday: Fitting my first diapers

The Bambino Mio prefolds were more intuitive to use than the fitted nappies because the waterproof cover had the same mechanism as the disposable nappies. All I had to do was put the insert and flushable liner in the cover and put it on baby, adjusting the velcro straps accordingly.

As for the fitted nappies, it took me several minutes to remember that if the boosters extend beyond the length of the nappy, the excess can be tucked into the elasticized space at the back of the nappy. The fitted nappies that I bought were quite tricky to fit because I had to snap the white buttons to size in order to fit Lyrica. Once that was all figured out, I didn’t have to exert any more extra brain power on this aspect, or so I thought…

Wednesday: First problems

With disposable diapers, just a pinch of the nappy told me whether it was already time for a change. For cloth, I couldn’t easily tell when it was time. I am probably one of those naughty mums who would rather change a diaper when it was near full of wee or when baby had a poo (whichever came first) than every 3 to 4 hours round the clock. Because of carrying over this bad habit, I experienced wee leaking through the waterproof cover because the liners were so full, and another leakage incident because the fitted nappy wasn’t fitted properly onto baby. While she was lying to the side, like a slow motion movie I just sat there watching her wee slowly leak onto the bed covers in real time. So much for keeping the sheets dry!

In fairness to me all the fitted nappies that I bought had adjustable locks that you could snap on and off as baby grew in size, so it was a matter of trial and error before I got the right fit for my baby. Unless you buy the right size I think there will really be a bit of guesswork here.

Thursday: Dirty Diaper Management

I have been breastfeeding baby exclusively since she was born less than two weeks ago, so her poop took on the characteristic bright yellow, non-smelly, grainy type. The first time she did this on the first cloth nappy I put on her, my husband was there with me. He took the initiative of washing it. He tried washing it by hand at first and remarked how difficult it was to remove the bright yellow stain. I told him this was not the case, and that he didn’t have to hand wash it next time. All we needed to do was throw all the soiled nappy parts sans the poop into the dry pail and run it through the washing machine every 2 to 3 days.

Friday: Laundering and Drying

I read that breastfed baby poop washes away the easiest in washing machines with no extra muscle required on your part. You just have to shake the solids off in the toilet the way you would with older/ formula fed baby poo. True enough, after running our first diaper load on our usual quick 30-minute cycle and line drying afterwards, there wasn’t a mustard yellow trace of poop left in sight and neither smell nor stains were an issue.

Saturday: Getting the Hang of It

After getting through my first diaper change, first pailful of dirty diapers, first accident, first load in the wash, I now realize there isn’t that much work to cloth diapering in comparison to using regular disposables. It’s just a matter of getting into a routine and working with a cloth nappy brand or type that suits your needs and baby’s. Now that I’m officially using cloth (while we are home, at least) I’m sure it will be second nature to me, my husband, and nana in no time, and our routine will get more efficient with a few more changes under our belt.

Sunday: Improvements for Next Week

I forgot to mention that with cloth diapering at home, I just also use homemade, reusable cloth wipes. I realize that the only ongoing expense I have will be the flushable liners, unless I find reusable nappy liners fast. I did not realize that I already had them with a previous second hand purchase that I made. I thought they were reusable wipes until I saw more of them being sold on Trademe. Now, everything in my cloth diapering arsenal is reusable.

This week, I will just be more vigilant with the frequency of baby’s diaper changes and make sure that the nappies are fitted properly. Everything else should be alright.

If I manage to keep this up until Lyrica potty trains, even if it’s just part time, I will have saved a considerable amount of money in addition to saving some trees along the way.

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