Though I work as a pediatrician full time, vaccinate on schedule, and sometimes hit the closest drive-though for a quick meal, I am often called “crunchy” by my co-workers and friends. There are many aspects of “natural ” parenting that feel right to me, including, cloth diapering, breastfeeding (or pumping) for as long as possible, homemade organic baby foods, and baby wearing. As a working parent, my life is an act of compromise, so I am flexible with my “crunchy” side.
The decision to use cloth diapers with our second child was not easy, but after reading many blogs and talking to parents who have used them, we decided it was worth a try. There are many pros to cloth diapering, including reduced cost, diaper rash, disposable diapers sitting in landfills (for who knows how long), plus they are so cute! We make it work by realizing that we don’t have to use them all the time to reap the benefits. We have used several different brands, all with inserts and covers. We use a diaper sprayer on the toilet and we wash them ourselves. However, we don’t take them on vacation or use them during diarrhea illnesses and when my son started daycare, we brought disposables to use there. As he gets closer to potty training, we have less diapers to wash and truthfully, I enjoy using them more!
Cloth diapering tips:
1) Talk to other parents who have used them and people who work at local stores who sell them
2) Choose a style that works with your lifestyle
3) Make a washing schedule – we do ours every 2-3 days (buy enough to make it at least a couple of days)
4) Use newborn diapers until the umbilical cord falls off – I could not find a way to make the diaper fit without irritating the umbilical stump. Please comment below if you have the secret!
5) Buy a diaper sprayer for your toilet
6) Use extra inserts for overnight – we use hemp (they are thin, but absorbent)
7) Bleach, strip, and lay out in the sun to dry once in a while
8) Use essential oil in your dry bag to hide the smell
Once you figure out a routine and get used to washing poop, it really is doable for any parent who would like to give it a try. Every cloth diaper that is used, means one less disposable diaper sitting in a landfill!
Heather Joyce, MD