Posts Tagged ‘cloth diapering

I don’t feel strongly about “defining my parenting style.” (Natural parenting, gentle parenting, free-range parenting? What does that even mean?) However, I always chafe at being pigeonholed, and for some reason I’m especially resistant to the “attachment parent” label, even though – or maybe because? – I practice many of the things attachment parents advocate.

I had a natural homebirth. The “home” part was an accident, but it will forever make an awesome story. I was indeed crossing my fingers for a natural birth, but it was supposed to occur at the hospital. (I felt safer having my first at a hospital, you know, in case of complications. Plus the facilities at BC Women’s are wonderful.) But I held off too long and Ashelyn came too quickly. Strictly speaking, I had a freebirth, or unassisted birth.

I breastfeed. I’m fortunate and thankful to have encountered no hurdles here, so the boob it is. It’s convenient. It’s free. Ashelyn’s a fan. Actually she’s never tried formula; she’s never even used a bottle, because I’m crazy lazy. We’ll probably continue until Ashelyn wants to stop, unless she turns two and still doesn’t, in which case HELP. (I’m no elitist, though. If a mother who is perfectly capable of breastfeeding chooses to use formula just because, we can totally still be friends.)

We chose baby-led weaning. Because who wants to bother with separate food prep for munchkin? Certainly not I. We try to avoid processed foods and excess salt and sugar, although now that Ashelyn’s older I’m less likely to freak out if someone gives her a piece of croissant. I don’t care about buying organic or avoiding GMO; I’m not convinced the benefits justify the price.

I babywear more often than I use a stroller. We started with slings, but haven’t really looked back since acquiring an Ergo. It’s just that I’ve found a carrier to be more versatile, and more likely to result in peaceful cooperation. I’ve also done my fair share of toting Ashelyn around in my arms (and I’ve got the biceps to show for it).

We co-sleep. A while ago we sidecar-ed the crib, but Ashelyn doesn’t spend a ton of time sleeping in her space, preferring instead to cuddle with me. Which is sweet and all, but bedsharing is the one thing I’m not proud to admit, because ideologically I believe in the marital bed, not the family bed. Unfortunately Ashelyn was a sleepfighter from day one, and this is where the path of least resistance has led us. I still haven’t committed to any form of sleep training, not because I’m opposed to CIO, but because I doubt it’ll work on my girl without crossing a threshold of unpleasantness to which I am opposed.

We do EC and cloth diaper and use disposables. Ashelyn has pooped in the potty since she was five months old, because she is awesome. So is poop-free cloth diapering! Still, there’s no denying the convenience and absorption power of disposables; we use them, sparingly, for (longer) outings and overnight.

We vaccinate. On schedule. In all other matters I stand behind the decisions of well-meaning parents, even controversial ones like spanking or crying it out. But unless your child is immuno-compromised, if you don’t vaccinate, I say you’re doing it wrong, and I shake my fist at you for weakening herd immunity.

I’m a proud product of the public education system, and biased in its favour. Although there’s plenty of time for shifts of opinion on this front, presently I’m not very interested in private institutions, and I don’t intend to homeschool.


I’m no expert on babies. I am, however, an expert on one baby. And that’s all the authority I need.


What happens when a Pampers Baby Dry accidentally goes through a soak cycle with the cloth diaper laundry?

It swells up into a giant water-logged sausage.

I knew disposable diapers get their absorbency from a polymer gel that holds a hundred thirty times its weight in water … but whoa. No wonder crunchy granola mothers say that disposables these days are “too good.”

I’m just glad it wasn’t a poopy diaper that ended up in there. Eww.

And that it didn’t also go through the dryer, in which case it may have exploded into a mass of tiny gel beads all over the other laundry.

(Because, as I later learned, that was what happened to a friend of mine.)

We started on cloth diapers in Ashelyn’s fifth week. It took that long for me to overcome the mental hurdle of poop-in-the-laundry. Besides, coming into this with close to zero diapering experience, we thought it best to start easy.

I used to be afraid of handling newborns, in that “they’re so fragile what if I break them” way, but you get over that quickly when you have your own. (Especially if you and your spouse were the only ones present at her birth and thus forced to deliver her.) In a similar vein, diapering in general, and cloth diapering in particular, hasn’t been nearly as bad as I feared. It’s actually kind of fun. I’m discerning a pattern in which I expect things to be horrendously difficult; that way, if they aren’t I’m pleasantly surprised! Self-deceptive? Perhaps.

At this point we’re not cloth diapering exclusively. We still use disposables at night and when we go out, which works out to roughly 3-5 a day.

Here’s our change station:

1. Diaper pail. There are two bags inside, a washable Monkey Doodlez liner (we got two for $15 off Craigslist) and an old grocery bag for the disposables. The latter is held in place with clips.

2. A basket of cloth wipes. By “cloth wipes,” I mean cotton t-shirts cut up into squares. We use these for pee diapers.

3. For poopy diapers, we still prefer disposable wipes. (Aside: Ashelyn’s poop is the exact colour and consistency of mustard. On average, we’re down to one giant poop a day.)

4. A water spritzer, for moistening cloth wipes. Or spraying baby’s butt, although that usually creates more mess than it’s worth.

5. Two snappis for our prefolds.

6. This basket has nothing to do with diapering, it just happens to be parked there. Inside are washcloths and extra blankets. I need the blankets when I nurse, to prevent milk from shooting everywhere. No, really.

Now, a closer look inside:

There’s a pack of Pampers, size 2. And baby powder, which is sitting there because it was part of a baby shower gift, but we never use it. The rest is our cloth diaper stash, obtained during a fortuitous February sale at Hip Baby.

1. Dri-Line prefolds, small (<20 lbs). We have twelve of these, and they’re actually turning out to be our most frequently used diaper.

2. Three diaper covers: a purple Bummis super lite in small (8-16 lbs), a white Bummis super snap in small (8-15 lbs), and a yellow Motherease airflow cover in medium (10-20 lbs). I find the Motherease to be ugliest but, due to its coverage, most leak-proof.

And three brands of one-size pocket diapers with snaps. My original plan was to get ten of the ubiquitous BumGenius (in addition to the dozen prefolds) and call it a day, but the store owner recommended diversifying the stash. I still like the uniformity of my original plan, but diversifying was close to $100 cheaper.

3. BumGenius 4.0, three in “noodle” and three in “butternut.”

4. One Fuzzibunz elite in mint. This and my BumGenius are so cute it almost hurts to have them pooped in, which of course is ridiculous and defeats the purpose.

5. AMP duo, one in sage and one in light blue. These are the bulkiest, but partly because I stuff them with the extra, larger inserts from the other two pocket diapers.

6. Extra inserts that come with the BumGenius and Fuzzibunz. Right now we’re using the smaller newborn inserts.

7. Not pictured is a Kissaluvs fitted diaper, newborn size (5-15 lbs). I forgot that it was on the laundry rack for some extra drying time.

In retrospect, though there’s nothing wrong with it, I would’ve passed on the fitted diaper. Between the one-size pockets (for convenience) and the prefolds (for economy and longevity), Ashelyn and future siblings should be covered. A fitted diaper is slightly more convenient than a prefold but less so than an all-in-one, slightly cheaper than an all-in-one but more expensive than prefolds. And this one is sized, which means she’ll outgrow it before being out of diapers.

As Ashelyn grows we’ll need to buy a set of bigger covers, and possibly the same prefolds in large (>20 lbs). But that’s it, and it won’t be for some time.

So, cloth diapering has been coming along rather swimmingly. By now I’m resigned to extra laundry anyway, so another load every couple of days doesn’t faze me. I run them through a cold soak, then add the covers and diaper pail liner for a hot wash with Hydrox. The prefolds, inserts, and wipes go in the dryer while I hang-dry the pocket diapers and covers. We haven’t had any incidence of diaper rash, with either cloth or disposables. Leakage hasn’t been an issue, either; mostly when it does happen it’s human error – our fault – a clumsy diaper change or lopsided positioning of the leg gussets, for example.

One last thing. Is it just me, or are the brand names for cloth diapers especially ridiculous? You know you’re a mother when you finally become desensitized and stop scoffing at them. Nursing products are pretty bad too … hello, My Brest Friend? Bamboobies?