Yep, you heard that right. We're using cloth diapers. Not exclusively, but we are experimenting with them.
Oh, dear. I feel a story coming on. (You're surprised, right?)
It all started when our friend Bethany announced that she plans to use cloth diapers on her little one who is due in August (Squee!!!). Knowing that we would share kids from time to time, and that eventually, I'd probably have to change that cloth diaper, I decided to do some research and get over my extreme "Ewwww" reaction. What I found surprised me. A lot.
See, when I think cloth diapers, I think of these:
Square pieces of cloth, folded into strange designs using what could only be described as mad skills and occult knowledge. And fastened with safety pins. No way could I deal with that. I fail at origami, and I poke myself with safety pins every time I open one. (No, seriously, I really do. Sad, isn't it?)
What I discovered is that prefolds are only one option among several dozen. Literally. There are so many cloth diaper options out there that they now break them down into categories: prefolds, flats, pockets, fitteds, liners, all-in-ones, all-in-twos, covers, one-size, wool. Honestly? It's almost overwhelming.
So, I started by researching the specific type that Bethany had chosen: pocket diapers.
These are diapers designed to look and function almost exactly like disposables, complete with velcro - or snaps - that fasten over the waist, and elastic at the waist and thighs. The big difference is that a pocket diaper has a cloth pocket (thus the Very Creative Name) in which you place a liner. Wet diaper? Remove the liner, wipe down the inside cloth, replace the liner, and you're good to go. Dirty diaper? Replace with new liner and cover, rinse the old ones, and toss in the washing machine. Really not the hassle I had thought.
Around this time, Miles began peeing through every disposable diaper we tried. Slowly, the thought began to bounce around my brain: what if cloth works better? As though reading my mind, other mommies on my forum boards began to suggest using cloth overnight to help solve our problem.
Eventually, I got brave enough to share my change in attitude with Patrick, who (as usual) was incredibly supportive of my Latest Crazy Idea. We decided that we should try one. Buy one, test it out for a few nights, and see what happened. Worst case scenario, we'd be out a few bucks (about the cost of a box of diapers, depending on the style we chose), but it was worth a try.
Re-enter Bethany, who graciously offered to loan us one of the cloth diapers she had received at her baby shower for us to try. So, we did. And it worked. For the first time in weeks, Miles woke up in a dry bed. With his diaper still on.
After a few days, and some experimentation, though, we were finding that they weren't quite the perfect fit for us. The cover tends to smell really bad after even one heavy pee night, meaning that it had to be washed every day. Fine for using them only at night, not so fine if we decided to use them more often than that. Which I was slowly becoming convinced that I wanted to do.
It was only by accident that I discovered all-in-twos. Basically, the cover is exactly like a pocket diaper, except without the pocket. In other words, you simply lay the liner inside the cover and tuck it in on the ends, and you're good to go. Diaper changes mean removing the wet/soiled liner, wiping down the inside of the cover, and putting in a new liner. Much easier. No stuffing (which we found to be way more time-consuming than you'd think). And most importantly, no lingering odors. After a bit of searching, we had found the diapers that seemed like the best fit for our lives.
And this has become a really long post, so we'll finish with part two tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this adorable picture of a soft, cloth-diapered toddler bum. :)