Day 4 of our cloth diapering series! Thank you Maggie for sharing your experiences with my readers and I. 🙂 Maria
Even though Will and I love our Blueberry Basix, it isn’t always rosy in the world of cloth.
Challenge One? Diaper Rash.
Treating this type of rash typically involves:
Frequent changings (dry diaper is best)
This was particularly difficult at night. If we changed Maizey in the wee hours, none of us got any rest. We tried using super-absorbent inserts but that just meant more wetness and a fiercer rash. The solution? Disposables. Admittedly, I was ashamed to purchase Pampers after my declarations about the greatness of cloth diapering. But rational dad, Will, stepped in. My pride or my baby’s butt? We chose the latter and Maizey has been in disposables every night since.
Using a barrier type diaper cream
Unfortunately, if a cream forms a barrier on your baby’s bottom, it also will form a barrier on your cloth diaper. This includes all the old stand-bys “ Desitin, A&D, Butt-Paste. I knew this ahead of time (thanks to the cloth diaper class) and registered for cloth diaper safe creams. But by rash day twelve, after purchasing and testing out four additional cd- safe creams, we knew we needed to try a barrier formula. I spoke to the folks at The Little Seedling and purchased a pack of microfiber liners “ strips of fleece that you use to line the cloth diaper. Problem solved. We could now use the doctor-prescribed diaper cream and Maizey’s cloth diapers.
Now, seven months in, we have a pretty solid system to control her rashes. Disposables at night and anytime I won’t be able to change her frequently. Coconut oil at every diaper change “ it’s cheap, cloth-diaper friendly and smells great. Find it at any grocery store, usually in the natural food section. And a barrier cream, with a liner, when she has a flare-up.
There were times at the beginning when I entertained thoughts of dropping the cloth. Being a new mom is overwhelming. Problem-solving diapers was not something I was ready to add to my to-do list. It caused me more stress than I like to admit. Yeah “ we figured it out but I also deduced (very quickly) that my plan and my baby’s reality were not always going to jive.
Challenge Two? The stinkies, stripping and stains.
The cloth diaper class made laundering cloth diapers sound pretty painless. With breast-fed babes just toss in the machine, rinse and wash. When starting solid food, roll the poo into the toilet, toss in the machine, rinse and wash. They failed to mention that at some point, when you pull a fresh diaper from the dryer, it won’t smell so fresh. Enter more cloth diaper maintenance.
There are heaps of reasons why cloth diapers eventually carry an odor. I won’t repeat them. Just check out this link. (Our initial problem? Our new, high efficiency top-loading Maytag Bravos washing machine. It wasn’t using enough water in the rinse cycle and I couldn’t manually adjust the water level. Some cloth diapering experts (yes, they exist) suggested adding wet towels to fool your machine. Unfortunately, my machine was smarter than your average appliance. Back to Google. After 4 hours of searching, I learned to use my machines Bulk setting, which completely fills the wash basin.)
How to deal with stinky diapers? Why strip them, of course. (Watch this video to learn if you need to strip your diapers.) How to strip diapers? Well, this is where is gets complicated. For every link about cloth diapering, there is a link about how to strip diapers. The most universally accepted? Do multiple hot water washes without detergent. Other suggestions? Wash diapers with Dawn dish detergent, bleach or Original Tide Powder. Oh, and boil them.
When we got the stinkies I was perplexed, cried a little, then when online. After more head-spinning internet searches, I went old-school and called the company that makes our fave diaper. A super-helpful lady directed me to their Facebook page and a plethora of helpful hints. Check them out, or call your cloth diaper company and see what they recommend for your brand.
Our current routine when I discover the stinkies? First, I try the hot water wash without detergent. Still stinky? I soak the clean but stinky diapers overnight in a solution of hot water and washing soda (high-power baking soda you can find in the laundry section of the grocery). Then I run the diapers through the hot water/no detergent cycle a couple times to be sure they’re thoroughly rinsed. Luckily, this has worked so far. No need for a boiling stock pot of diapers on the range. Yet.
And finally, stains. Surprisingly, this has been the easiest, most successful part of our cloth diapering maintenance. Diapers not looking spring-time fresh?
Instead of tossing them in the dryer, put them in the sun. The hood of your car works great. Stains bleach right out. Honest.
Yes, we cloth diaper, but not full-time and not with unbridled enthusiasm. I won’t say it’s the greatest thing I’ve done as a mom, but I am proud that we’ve stuck with it through the challenges. The whole song and dance taught me a lot about parenting, and for that alone I am thankful. What have I learned? There is such a thing as too much information. Trust your gut. Try your best. And follow your baby’s lead.