Our cloth diapering adventure

So I've been avoiding the blog because I know I'm supposed to be writing part 2 of the sock knitting post, and I really don't feel like exerting the brainpower necessary. I realized that I have a formula that usually works for *me* to figure out heels, but it wouldn't translate for everyone and every pattern, so I need to do some math & thinking about how to make it universal. And I just haven't felt able to do that lately!

But I have lots of other things I've been wanting to blog about, and I decided it was silly to put all of those on hold until I had the time & brainpower to put the sock stuff into words. Plus, Catt tells me that she got some help from post #1 anyway, so maybe post #2 isn't vitally needed by anyone right now? At any rate, it's going to take a backseat to things like baby stuff for now!

Before Evan was born, we decided we were going to do cloth diapers, and we have enough friends who were also doing it that we felt fairly confident about it. In particular, Mandy wrote a very thorough post about her experiences, and our local cloth diaper store offers workshops to learn about everything in person. So I thought I'd pass on some lessons we've learned, in case it helps anyone else out!

1. Modern cloth diapers can be confusing, because there are so many different types. If you can learn about them in person, I recommend it. There's lots of information online, but early on I found myself reading & re-reading and still not able to visualize all the types of diapers & keep them straight. If you have a local diaper store, see if they offer a workshop, and if not, at least go in and have an employee explain everything to you. Once you've done that, take some time to re-read information online and ponder what will work best for you before you make any purchases.
2. Consider trying before you buy. Lots of stores (including some online retailers) offer rental programs or other trials where you can sample a variety of diapers before you make a purchase. Different babies have different needs, so sometimes it helps to try different diapers on your baby. Additionally, a lot of babies only fit in newborn sized diapers for a few weeks (but are really too small to get a good fit with bigger diapers), so you may not want to spend a lot of money buying newborn diapers. Our store offers a newborn rental program, so we used their newborn sized diapers (and some prefolds, more about that in a minute!) for a few weeks, then made some purchases in larger sizes. If that isn't an option for you, maybe you have a friend who can loan you a few diapers to try out. Additionally, there are lots of places to buy used diapers, and discount sites you can sign up for to get new ones at a steep discount on some kinds of diapers. If you want to sample lots of kinds of diapers and can't borrow/rent them, at least either buy them used or on sale!
3. Sometimes simpler is better. There are lots of fancy diaper systems on the market, but a lot of people find some of the "old fashioned" options the best. I know a lot of people who swear by flats, which are about as old school as you can get. I haven't gotten my hands on any, so I can't speak to that, but we like the next step up the rung--prefolds--quite a bit. They offer a lot of customization (there are many ways to fold/attach them depending on your needs--we like the angel wing fold & a snappi, but that's not for everyone. They're also MUCH more affordable than the other options out there, and they're natural fibres (most frequently cotton), which offer a variety of benefits.
4. If you're a knitter/crocheter, wool covers (soakers/shorties/longies) are generally quick to make and work REALLY well. While the most common PUL-based covers on the market are a lot nicer than the old "plastic pants", they still don't breathe as well as wool, so if you don't change frequently enough your baby may be prone to rashes. And wool, if properly lanolized, really does work just as well as PUL most of the time! We use wool at night (over fitteds with doublers, generally) because we've never had a leak with wool, unlike other options, and because I know even after a long night Evan will still be cool & comfortable. My favourite pattern so far has been Sheepy Pants, but I hope to try another longies pattern in the near future, and will probably make some more soakers for spring/summer. I don't do a lot of crochet, but Mandy made us some fabulous crocheted soakers, which are nice & thick and have worked really well at night!
5. If you're interested in Elimination Communication, I'd say you definitely want to go with cloth! I find fitteds work really well with EC, but we also use our prefolds. I'll be blogging about EC & how it works for us later, so if you have no clue what I'm talking about, you can keep an eye out for that. :-)

I think that's enough information for now! I hope to do a follow-up post with reviews of some of the specific diapers we've used. But in the meantime, if I want to blog about other things, I'll go ahead and do it without waiting to write that one! :-P


Mandyz said…
Hey Linds, this is the first I've perused your blog in a long time and was (happily) surprised to find myself referenced. I'm so glad to hear that your cloth diapering and EC experience is going well, although I realize you and I have never really spoken about it. (Granted, we'd have to catch each other out at the same time to talk...)
My mind has returned to cloth diapering and EC of late - in anticipation of the next 'round', doubled. So we'll have to chat more in the coming months. I'll be needing more diapers and would love to hear about some of the ones I've not tried.
Robin seems to think I should accept hand-me-down diapers of any type because "free is always good". Personally, I'd rather not have a free pain-in-my-ass, leaky diaper making more work for me. As the primary diaper-person I have certain expectations... and ease of use and washing will certainly be high on that list with two.
Apparently I'm also supposed to be working on more soakers rather than knitting more shawls. That's just crazy talk. There's plenty of time yet for me to whip up some soakers. Especially those crochet ones you spoke of - those are my favourite quick project. Still waiting to know the sexes before I proceed. Especially for longies. This time around I want more longies. And cute extras on them. Last time I was new to knitting.