Cloth diapering is a personal choice that a parent needs to make. Just like breastfeeding vs formula, co-sleeping vs not co-sleeping, etc. etc. As a cloth diaper advocate and a Mom that is obsessed with cloth diapers I have to continually realize that the rest of the world just might not choose to cloth diaper.
Just like political views and religious beliefs; styles of parenting and choices that parents make need to be respected. It may be hard to do; especially when you are so passionate about something that has to deal with our babies.
This post will be focusing on breastfeeding and cloth diapering and my experiences. Again, whatever choices you decide for you and your baby are your choices and are to be respected and remember you are a GOOD Mom or Dad no matter what you decide!
I have 3 children and one on the way that is making her debut in a few weeks. I have breastfed all my children. My first born took the most adjustment (as with anything you do for the first time.) I had all the intentions to cloth diaper my first born (born in 1997) and had what most think of when you mention cloth diapers- the traditional cloth rectangles that you swish around in the toilet. The ‘modern’ cloth diaper industry had not been born at that time and there was very little educational material (written or otherwise). After 5 changes in cloth I quickly converted to disposables.
My 2nd child was born in 2000 and I breastfed and used disposable diapers until he was a year old. At that time I had started an online baby clothing business that quickly switched to selling cloth diapers and I switched to cloth diapering as well. What an amazing difference in just 3 years. Not only were the cloth diapering options improved but the education and written material was widely available.
My 3rd child was born in 2008 and I breastfed and used cloth diapers from birth. Having access to almost every style and brand available was a luxury and I quickly learned what cloth diapering systems worked best for me and my baby. When initially choosing cloth diapers (whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed) it is much like trying on a pair of jeans to get the perfect fit. My best suggestion is to start with a sampling of styles/brands before you commit to 24-36 of one style of brand. With most companies offering quick shipping it shouldn’t take long to get your cloth diaper stash in its entirety but it is wise to wait until baby arrives and you try a few options before making a big purchase.
So more about breastfeeding and cloth diapering– I am just going to be candid here. POOP is dreaded by most. Runny poop, sticky poop, semi-solid poop, peanut-butter chunk-style poop (i know GROSS), colored poop- it WILL happen and ‘It is what it is’. The one thing I can guarantee you is that if you exclusively breastfeed (and after the first few bowel movements of meconium past- the bowel movements of thick, tar-like poop) the bowel movements will be like a mustard colored water. They are completely water-soluble- no need to use flushable liners or a diaper sprayer during this time- are virtually odorless (sometime even sweet smelling- weird, huh?) I am not sure if I grossed you out by my initial description of poops or have relieved you letting you know that breastfed poop is the easiest to deal with? (Hopefully the latter.)
To wrap up here are my initial suggestions if you plan to breastfeed and use cloth diapers:
Sample- Sample at least 5-6 styles/brands on your baby first before making a large purchase. For example:
2- All-in-One Diapers (one-piece systems -easy to use like disposables)
2-Pocket-Style Diapers (2-piece system with a pocket cover and insert)
1-Diaper Cover and Prefold Diaper
Cloth breast pads and Nipple Cream- Usually 8-10 pairs of breast pads to start. (Yes, these can be washed with the cloth diapers. If that makes you uncomfortable hand-washing and line-drying is just fine.) Purchase a jar of lanolin free, non-toxic nipple cream to help with sore or cracked nipples.
The wash cycle- Wash on hot and set machine to an extra rinse if that is available. Line-dry or set cycle on medium/high.
Troubleshooting- If you have fit issues, washing problems, etc. contact the manufacturer of the brands of cloth diapers you are using or reach out to reputable cloth diaper retailer.
Be patient- Be patient with yourself. Especially if you are a first time Mom..everything is new. There is no test to pass. Get rest. If you use a few disposables…it is OK. Ask for help.
Bottom line- do what is best for you and your baby in the moment. ALWAYS remember…YOU are a GOOD MOM!