Cloth Diapering 101
Cloth Diapering 101- My take on modern cloth diapers
The Gross Factor, cloth vs. sposies
Cloth diapers are gross! Yeah, I get that a lot too. Well, I am a nurse, so my version of gross is slightly skewed. Yes, cloth diapering can be gross. But— part of being a parent is dealing with the gross factor. Babies pee, poo, spit up, and projectile vomit (and just wait until they're toddlers). We tend to overlook how gross they are when they giggle and coo.
I don't find cloth diapering any more “gross” than using disposable diapers (aka sposies). I've done both. Before I had my daughter Grace (3 years old) I was a foster parent. We used sposies with our foster daughter because I really didn't even think cloth was an option anymore. I am now cloth diapering a second time with our biological child, Zacharias (5 months). Let's get down to the nitty gritty:
- The Stink: Let me tell you- no matter what we did- our fancy disposable diaper pail (it was a Diaper Genie, I think) reeked. Her whole room smelled like poo. No air freshener could hide the smell of plastic filled with chemicals and bodily fluids. We currently use a dry-pail method of storing our dirty cloth diapers. It's a basic plastic trash can with a reusable waterproof pail liner. For some reason- the diaper pail barely has an odor. And when it does, a sprinkle of diaper pail deodorizing powder neutralizes it. I think the lack of chemicals and use of natural fibers causes this phenomenon, but I'm a mom not a chemist.
- The Poo: Despite your choice of diapering method, you have to deal with poo. Did you know that all sposie brands used to sport instructions to flush the poo? Really, who wants poo rotting in a landfill for 500 years—what a legacy! So this should even the score between the two, but most people ignore this directive. Now let's move on to cloth. Many parents who choose cloth also choose to breastfeed. Did you know that the poo from an exclusively breastfed baby is water soluble? This means all you have to do is throw the diaper in the pail. When the child moves to solids, in most cases the poo just rolls right off the diaper and into the toilet. And when it doesn't, a diaper sprayer easily takes care of the mess.
- The Washing: The big difference between cloth and sposies. Sposies go from the diaper pail to the trash (and stink up your outside in the summer sun!). Cloth diapers go right from the pail into the washing machine. Using a reusable diaper pail liner means the diapers go into the washing machine without requiring you to touch them. Everyone eventually develops a wash cycle that gets the diapers clean. I'll share mine here. I use a basic toploading washing machine without any bells and whistles.
- Cold rinse with the maximum allowed water setting.
- Hot wash with a cloth diaper safe detergent (I use powdered Tide).
- Extra rinse to get any residual soap out
So that's it—the straight poo. Verdict: Diapers are gross. At least cloth is cute!