Tuesday, February 1, 2011


8:05 PM

Tonight seems like a good time to discuss my experience thus far with cloth diapers.  Why tonight, you ask?  Well, tonight was my first experience with a true blow out.  I mean, there was poop everywhere.  From what I hear, waiting three months to get one of those is nothing short of a miracle.  A miracle that I have attributed to my use of fancy-pants (really). 
She does look fancy, right?

Anyway, I don't even remember when I decided to use cloth diapers.  It was probably around 9th grade, when my favorite t-shirt said: "If you hurt the trees, the birdies won't have anywhere to sit" and I thought I was all kinds of environmentally aware.  Basically, the thought of all the waste that comes with disposables was hard for my little hippie heart to handle.  Of course, I didn't focus on the details (i.e. poop), because that would make it too real. 

I got older and my friends had babies.  Some of them used cloth diapers and shared some information regarding both the benefits of cloth diapering and the modernization of the cloth diaper.  I was hooked.  Once I knew Bean was on her way, I started researching for real.  I chose the Rumparooz One-size pocket diaper and spent what felt like a small fortune on a starter set.  They came and I oohed and ahhed over the cuteness and convenience.  I pre-washed, stuffed, and stored them, and then waited anxiously to have a baby to put them on.  Then the "anxious" took another turn.  I was nervous to use them.  What if they didn't work?  What if I couldn't handle the poop?  What if I had wasted all that money (even more than most folks, we really don't have money to waste)?  What if . . . .?

I didn't take the diapers to the hospital.  I figured meconium was a great reason to use disposables.  Then I realized that Bean had a tender little stump that the cloth diapers would cover.  I had just been worried about irritation, but I learned that keeping it dry was paramount, not easy to do when cover with damp cloth.  The first night home, Wonderman and my mom went to buy a pack of disposables.  I felt defeated, as though I had abandoned my ideals.   Would anyone know?  If they knew, would they judge me after I had ranted and raved about the importance of cloth diapers?  I felt like such a failure (over-emotional much?  especially just one day after giving birth?).  That package of diapers was my first experience with diaper-changing of any kind in literally decades (Wonderman did all the hospital diapering and my baby experience was almost non-existent).  It was so easy.  Just wipe and toss.  I felt guilty, but I loved (as much as you can love anything related to diapering) it.  Plus, the diapers were so tiny, I wasn't coming anywhere near the huge garbage cans full of just diapers that I had seen my neighbors putting out on the curb.  I was in a good place.  Bean's stub continued to hold on.  We bought another pack of disposables.  Part of me cringed, the other breathed a sigh of relief. 

The day her stub fell off, I was nearing the end of a pack of diapers, and I realized that my moment of truth had come.  I was tired and stressed and she wasn't sleeping well and I missed my husband and I was by that time terrified of what the switch to cloth would entail (more work on changing and more laundry that had to be done).  My mommy (remember, I was staying with my mom and Bill while Wonderman went back to the island for school?) reassured me that it would be ok if I waited a while.  Another package of disposables entered my life.  I honestly don't even know how many we went through before I decided I was ready to jump in and try cloth.  I told my mom, and she bought me another pack of disposables - I could sense her lack of faith.  She said it was because there was a big storm coming and it was better to have them than not.  How wise her words were.

I remember the first cloth diaper I put on Bean.  It was purple.  And soft.  And so cute.  And it leaked within twenty minutes of me putting it on her.  She was laying on her side to nurse and urine just poured right out onto my lap as though the diaper had been a spigot and not absorbent at all.  Not what I'd call an auspicious beginning.  I switched it for another.  It also leaked, this time in back.  Again I tried.  Again it leaked.  100% of the tries ended in leakage.  I was grateful to retreat to the Pampers (I must say, if disposables must be in the mix, I prefer Pampers to Huggies.  Huggies left gel balls on Bean's bum.  No good.  Target's store brand also worked quite well for us). 

I did more internet research.  Rumparooz had rave reviews all around, that's part of why I bought them.  I contacted the company and got some good advice.  More importantly, I reviewed the sizing info and realized that while Bean was a newborn, she wasn't technically newborn size.  I increased the size, which allowed for an increase in insert absorption power.  I still remember the sense of accomplishment I felt after using solely cloth diapers for a week.  I have had essentially zero problems since.  Once in a while there will be a tiny bit of leakage because I, in my negligence, have left Bean in a diaper for too long and it just can't hold any more.  When she wore tights to church, they wicked the moisture nicely so I always had to toss tights in the wash.  Nothing serious.  The diapers were miraculous.  I had none of the blow-outs that my new-mommy peers were experiencing.  I had a baby with such a cutely-clad bum.  All was well. 

Until tonight.  I heard her working on it, as I often do.  I teasingly talked to her about the good job she was doing and the hard work it was taking.  I was also doing this while reading my email and not looking at the baby beside me.  When I did glance over, I saw that she was literally soaked.  It threw off my whole night.  I'm not experienced in the emergency bath.  I forgot half of her bathing supplies.  I got poop everywhere as I undressed her.  The washing machine leaked water all over the floor during the emergency load (this is not because of my bumbling, but it did add to my sense of bewilderment).  I'm just grateful beyond words that none of it got on the couch she was on (thank heaven for the boppy).

Still, she is now clean and sleeping soundly while just on the other side of the room colorful fluff laundry dries, ready to wrap her bum in cloth (I do love the colorful part of the endeavor, both on her and on the line).  I've never been so worried about her diapers before.  I certainly hope this was a one-time deal and that the cloth diapers will step back up and guard me from all such things in the future (I checked the sizing - technically she's still on the right setting for her weight.  Maybe that's what needs to change.  Maybe this was just bad chance).  That's not too much to ask, right?  Anyway, I am all in, as we're now in a foreign land where good disposables are difficult to find and more than pricey to purchase.  It has to work.  However, I may be more aware about taking emergency supplies with me.  And about putting even more of her bathing supplies all in one spot.  Or maybe now that I've been through it, it won't seem like such a big deal ever again.  Time will tell.

Conclusion:  Pride goeth before the fall.  Also, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing again.  And again.  Even with setbacks.


brenda hatch said...

I heart cloth diapers!

Amy and Clark said...

I've heard about those...It's been a weighty debate in my mind. You'll have to keep me posted on your love for them.