But I am about the most hard headed person you will meet, so even if it involved going down to the creek and beating them on a rock at sunup every morning, I was determined to do it. Cloth diapering and breast feeding were two issues I just refused to budge on - I'd do it or die.
And both of them....have turned out to be SO much easier than I ever dreamed. Breast feeding is a post for another day, but cloth diapering is equally easy and fantastic.
First of all, Ira tends to have somewhat sensitive skin, so I hate to imagine what his poor little butt would look like in plastic pants with all the chemicals and whatnot in them. There is nothing better than feeling a fuzzy fleece diaper lining and knowing that that's what your baby has on his little hiney. We used disposables in the hospital, and I do not miss them a bit for that reason!
Well sure, I can sell you on the fact that fleecy hineys are much more comfortable and cute than plastic butts. But most people think cloth diapers involve pinning dishcloths on your baby in an origami fashion. That is SO not the case! We use pocket diapers, and if you can use a disposable, you can use a pocket diaper. You stick the diaper under the baby and snap it on...ta-da!
The sticking point for most people though, even if you're still with me to this point, is the washing of the diapers. Everyone says, "Oh, you must use a service, right?" Well no, because a) a diaper service gives you those dish rags that you put on your baby with the origami folds and b) because then I'd be spending probably more money than I would on disposables.
Here's how we do it. All pocket diapers have microfleece inserts that basically look like a big, cloth maxi pad. They're nice because they absorb everything and keep any liquids inside the diaper. We pull those out (just so they get nice and clean), and toss that and the outer shell of the diaper into a metal trash can with a waterproof, washable liner. When we're ready to wash, we shake the whole thing into the washer, add some Rockin' Green detergent, and press play. That's it. No spraying, scraping, or beating on a rock in the creek. Close the lid on the trash can and you'll never know it's there. Your house will not smell, your baby's room will not smell, your neighbors will not call the EPA to report a sewage leak. Promise.
At this point, you're wrinkling your nose and saying, But you're putting POOP in your WASHER. Let me get real with you for a minute, y'all. I think most people who haven't had a baby, or haven't had a teeny tiny baby in awhile, forget what baby poop is like. We picture putting our own poop, or our dog's poop, or something in between, in our washer. Yes, that would be horrible and nasty and just plain wouldn't work. But really, if your baby doesn't eat solids, pretty much all of it is going to be liquid and it's going right into that microfiber insert. If there's anything left on top, it's really thin and liquid-like too. Not to mention, your baby's poop is just digested milk - it really doesn't smell. We might hear him poop, but that's the only way we know...you could be holding him in your lap and not smell it. And let me assure you, with some hot water and a heavy duty wash, you will not have poop in your washer for long. I have been washing diapers almost every single day for 5 weeks and some change, and I have yet to see poop in there, pull anything out that smells or looks like poop, or have any issues at all. If you're willing to wash your own sweaty underpants in your washer, I promise your baby's diapers are not that much worse, and they probably smell better.
We either line dry the diapers because it takes out any stains, and because it makes me feel like a pioneer woman, or we toss them in the dryer on low for an hour. And there you have it - fluffy, clean diapers, ready for your baby's butt.
Our favorite diapers when he was a teeny tiny newborn baby were Charlie Bananas, because you can adjust the leg elastics and they fit him almost immediately for that reason. I still like those, but my only complaint is that the pocket opening is in the front, so it tends to be wetter up there when you have to pull out the insert. I find myself reaching for our Just Simply Baby diapers a lot, because they fit really well and I like how the snaps are configured.
Oh, and I almost forgot - we use cloth wipes too! My mom got some printed flannel and made us some super cute ones. I keep a spray bottle with a few squirts of Diaper Lotion Potion mixed with a lot of water on the changing table. I usually just squirt his butt directly with it, or maybe wet the wipe a tad if I need to. It gets tossed right in the can with the dirty diapers, just like you would with a disposable setup. I love them because you truly can use just one of them and the job is done.
We even use cloth when we're out, because it's honestly easier than swapping over to disposables to go out for a few hours. I just keep a smaller wet bag in my diaper bag, a few cloth dipes, and I pull the insert and toss it and the diaper in my wet bag if we're out. Then I shake it into my diaper pail at home and wash the wet bag right along with the diaper laundry. I do use disposable wipes if we're out (though I don't love them), because it's easier than carrying a spray bottle that could potentially leak.
So next time you see cloth diapers on zulily (which is where most of ours came from), get yourself a few and try them out. I promise, this doesn't just work for me because I'm supermom - I am the most disorganized person you've ever met. Laundry is perhaps my most hated chore, but mainly because I hate folding and putting away clothes. Diaper laundry is my favorite because it's all diapers, they all get tossed in my changing table, and it's so satisfying to have a whole load of clean, cute diapers. Even PB, who is really not a crunchy hippie like me at all, will get out a diaper and give you a whole demo if you come over because he likes them so much more than disposables. Even my mom, who was the world's biggest skeptic, especially when it came to the laundry part, will tell you it's no big deal...she's even joined in on my diaper-buying addiction.
Even if you just use them part of the time, or decide to try them, you're saving money and you're keeping yucky plastic diapers out of landfills. Even if you have an older baby, it isn't too late! They adjust so well that they'll fit Ira until he's potty trained (assuming that happens before, say, third grade). I plan to reuse my diapers if we ever have more babies, so they may even pay for themselves another time over. They're well worth the money and they're some of my favorite baby items!