Our cloth diaper journey got off to quite the rocky start.
I know now that there are many wonderful reasons to choose cloth, I had no knowledge of any of those reasons when I was pregnant 3 years ago. All I knew was that we were having a baby, and we were also completely broke.
Enter cloth diapers – it was completely out of necessity.
I later learned about the harmful chemicals found in disposable diapers and that was what would motivate me to stay with it (along with the fact that we really did need to be successful with this). I remember my mom asking me if I was going to use prefolds, and I was like, “Mom, nobody uses prefolds anymore…there are so many modern options out there.”
I was given some second hand pocket diapers by several different people, and I was so excited, thinking I had just saved $500. We figured we would use up all the disposables that people bought us for the first month or so while we adjusted to life with a newborn and then we would transition to cloth after that. Then, I gave birth to a 6 pound baby. I knew that she was going to be a smaller baby based on how I had been measuring at my prenatal appointments, but 6 pounds was definitely smaller than I expected.
When she was a month old and 8 pounds, I tried a cloth diaper on her, and it completely swallowed her up!
“Okay,” I thought, “I’ll just wait another month. Everyone says that babies grow so fast.” Babies do grow fast, but the people who said that newborns hardly wear their newborn clothes are probably not people who had 6 pound babies.
I wish I would have known about newborn cloth diapers at the time. She was 6 months old before she finally started fitting into her one size diapers.
They were still a little bulky, but I thought I had a decent enough fit. They worked for a week or two maybe. And then the leaks started. Every. Single. Diaper change.
I was so frustrated and started researching what to do.
- I read about diaper laundry and made some adjustments to my laundry routine. This helped a little, but I was still getting a lot of leaks.
- Then I read that a lot of people don’t recommend microfiber inserts. Being on the tight budget that we were on, I really didn’t want to pay for all new inserts, so I decided I would make my own out of bamboo/hemp fleece. I was still getting leaks.
- We finally realized that many of our second hand diapers had PUL that was delaminating, so we pitched those ones.
- But even the ones that we had that appeared to be in good condition were still leaking on us. We finally consented and realized that our second diapers just were not going to work.
I looked into some different options of what I could get. Pocket diapers were so expensive, and the cost was just too overwhelming.
I ordered a couple of covers in two different brands, Nicki’s and Buttons. The first thing that I noticed was how trim of a fit these diapers gave compared to my Alva hand me downs. I immediately ordered more. I can’t personally recommend “China cheapies” because of the experience I had with them, but I’ve also heard some people say that they have had great success with these diapers. I don’t know why I didn’t or why mine fell apart so easily, but it just goes to show how subjective each person’s experience can be.
My new diapers were fitting her so much better, especially the Buttons diapers, but I was still getting some leaks.
I decided to stop using my homemade inserts and looked into other options. I drooled a bit over the beautiful snap in bamboo inserts for my all in 2 covers, but they were still a bit pricey for me, especially with all the money I had just wasted on making my own inserts.
My most affordable choice was prefolds and flats, and I crinkled my nose a bit at the thought of this. The diapers that my mother used were not at all what I had envisioned for cloth diapering my daughter. After taking a few moments to mourn my fantasy idea of what I had thought cloth diapering would look like, I finally got over my vanity and purchased some prefolds.
To my surprise, I loved them!
The leaks almost completely stopped. I do still get some leaks sometimes, but I’m convinced it’s because my daughter has super skinny legs and it’s just hard to find a diaper that is snug enough, although I did find a couple brands that fit her pretty well.
My daughter was probably about 8 or 9 months old by the time we had her in cloth full time. That was a lot of unexpected money spent on disposable diapers.
I came close to giving up many times, and I’m so glad that I didn’t. Even though we didn’t have her in cloth as much as we wanted to in the beginning, I know that there is still such a huge benefit to her health by having her in them now.
I know that next time we are blessed with a baby, we will already have diapers for him or her and I have more experience and knowledge under my belt to problem solve any hiccups that we might run into.
So I encourage you, if you are running into problems with your cloth, stick with it if you can because there is probably a solution that can be found. I also encourage you to give yourself some grace.
I didn’t plan to use disposables for as long as we did, but that was what happened.
There are no rules for what your cloth journey has to look like. You got this.
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About the Cloth Diaper Podcast
The Cloth Diaper Podcast is a somewhat regular podcast sharing stories from cloth diaper parents, brands and retailers from around the world.
The Cloth Diaper Podcast is not affiliated with any school of thought of diaper laundry but instead focus on the power of peer-to-peer story telling to empower you to make your own cloth diaper journey.
Cloth Diapering is not this or that, but rather many different experiences.