When I was pregnant with my first child I was intrigued by the idea of cloth diapering. It seemed like the right thing to do: better for the environment, better for my child’s skin and reproductive health. But there was so much information, so many choices… I was overwhelmed and intimidated. Not knowing where to begin, I went the simple route and chose to use a local cloth diaper service for the first 18 months of my son’s life. The flat cotton diapers the service provided were adequate and my husband and I felt like we were at least doing our part to keep some disposables out of the land-fill. But we never really got passionate about cloth diapering; we never caught the cloth diapering bug. Our cloth diapering experience with our second son was even shorter lived then with our first, we gave up using the service after a year.
Now, with my third and last babe, I have decided to join in with those proud cloth diapering mommas, earn my environmentally conscious mommy badge and really cloth diaper. That means buying into a whole system that involves liners, and pockets and folds and snaps and covers. Truly, an engineering marvel. Predictably, I could go on and on about the immense cloth diaper culture that is out there. There are women who create and sew intricate and stunning diapers with embroidery and hand dyed fabric for other women’s babies to poop in. Cyber cat-fights break out at various on-line malls as intelligent, caring, and normally sane women virtually elbow each other to the front of the check out line to get the cloth diaper they’ve deemed to be good enough for their sweet babe’s little bum. Of course, the vast majority of cloth diaper users are simply people who prefer to use a more environmentally friendly means of keeping pee and poop off the furniture.
The flat cotton cloth diapers of my infanthood are still popularly used, but the real passion lies with the cloth diapers that are shaped, fitted, and are surprisingly attractive. Think of advanced cloth diapers as being divided into 3 groups: the fitted diapers, the pocket diapers, and the all-in-ones.
Fitted diapers are a great choice for people who want to use natural fabrics when diapering. These diapers can be found made from cotton, hemp (both organic or not) and even bamboo. Fitted diapers on their own will not keep baby dry though. You’ll need an additional diaper cover made from either water-proof polyester or wool. I recently acquired some extremely soft cotton velour fitted diapers for my little girl, combined with the ultra-soft knit organic merino wool diapers covers given to me as a gift, my babe has one luxuriously covered bum.
Pocket diapers are very easy to use and take care of. Generally these diapers have a waterproof outer layer, an inner layer that pulls moisture away from baby’s delicate skin, and as their name describes, a pocket in which you can stuff other absorbent material. The great thing about pocket diapers is that you can stuff them with as much or as little absorbent material your baby needs. Plus, that the pocket material comes out for washing means that these diapers wash up and dry quickly. The polar fleeced lined pocket diapers I have are fabulous for when diaper rash strikes by effectively wicking away moisture from her sensitive areas.
The cloth diaper that is the closest to the ease and convenience of the disposable diaper has got to be the All-in-One. The All-in-One has the waterproof outer layer and inner absorbent material all sewn together in one neat little package that you can just put on your little one and go. There’s nothing to stuff, fold or pin. This is the cloth diaper for those feeling a bit intimidated by all the various cloth diapering choices, or for when the grandparents and other cloth diapering novices are babysitting.
Most cloth diaper stashes have a few diapers from each of the above categories. And as a parent becomes more comfortable and confident, the kind of cloth diaper that works best for you and your babe will become very clear. Perhaps even an obsession. As I get more and more comfortable using cloth diapers, and develop our routine, I find myself being drawn to the vast array of cloth diaper web sites out there. Who knows, perhaps I too will eventually succumb to the cloth diapering obsession of getting that perfect diaper. Until then, I am enjoying the satisfaction of someone who’s done a good, earth-friendly deed for the day every time I change my girl’s diaper.
By: Kazia Mullin