Just gotta say– if you had told me in 2007 when I was nursing my first baby at o’dark thirty every night that one day I’d be able to read! in the dark! with one hand! (and shop for baby gear and household paraphernalia, and take pictures and video, and did I mention READ IN THE DARK!), I would have asked you if I should look for my cape in that there phone booth. Smartphones are the most awesome nursing accessory ever.
Half a year, Miry, my dearie, equally distant from the sun as we were the day you were born (plus a few days, at this point). One hundred eighty-even days of you in our lives, here with us. No more waiting in the wings, but here with us finally, having decided for yourself that it was time for you to join our family.
With you, our family is balanced, even. Two and two. I’m not surprised at all that you are a Libra. All that balance. You are mellow, round, sweet, even.
You’re also a whole heap of fun! You squawk. But you also growl. You smile easily, but then return to seriousness. You bring your hands together in front of you, tap tap, and light up when we say, “clap, clap.”
My sweet baby cakes, sunshine, smiley buttons, sweetie pie, growly bear with the drool and the raspberries and the chub, I just want to zerbert you until you laugh. To pump your legs so you “run” in place while giggling. To cuddle you while you still fit on my lap.
You think kicking the water and now splashing with your hands is fabulous, and have started to lean toward the bathtub as soon as you realize the water is running. You love yourself a good bath–until you don’t, all of a sudden, and it’s time to whisk you out of the tub, struggle your diaper, onesie, pajamas, and zipper gown onto you, and nurse you. Just you and I in the dark bedroom. That’s our quiet time.
The moment I saw you outside my body, I knew you. But I knew you–know you–as a mystery, too. I still know so little of you. More and more of you shines out as you have transitioned from not-yet-fully-of-this-world newborn to full-on baby, beginning to cling to me like a baby monkey when I put you on my hip. You feel so familiar on your own, and look so familiar with your sister that I have flashbacks to six years ago with her. Yet, I know we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg and there’s so much more of your personality to emerge.
You, you are your own joy. You are a joy to us.
Times are changing around here. Your awesome, kind, loving grandparents have been watching you on workdays, commuting early and from Leesburg to do so. They have other grandkids waiting for their turns, so you’ll start daycare next week. The 6-month class should be fun for you– you love looking in the mirror at that one smiley baby. Just imagine how fun it will be to have other babies to play with.
Not that those other babies will ever be able to compare to your favorite playmate at home, that awesome sister of yours. Your mutual adoration club fills our time together with lots of giggles, squawks, raspberries, songs, and belly laughs. She thinks you get more fun every day, and is thrilled that you’ve started to share a room with her now that your sleep pattern’s pretty solid. Before you, she often asked us why she had to sleep alone when your dad and I got to share a room. Now, she has you. You will never know life without a sister; she had six years as an only child and, in that time, did not realize what she was missing– until we told her she was going to be a big sister and she realized that she was missing, because she didn’t yet have you.
And now she does.
And you have her.
And so do we.
I’m so glad.
I’ve established that we were relatively experienced with cloth diapers when we (read: I) decided to go ahead and cloth diaper a newborn. Frankly, I was inspired by the example of one of my favorite bloggers, Amalah. (She’s written a LOT about cloth diapering generally and a primer about cloth diapering newborns specifically.) I’m now speaking with a month of experience cloth diapering a newborn. Oh, and I’m not speaking because I have any affiliation or sponsorship with any diaper companies or anything like that.
Since I knew we already liked all-in-ones and would use them again when Myriam got big enough, I decided to experiment with the newborn diapers to find out if there’s a system or style that we like better. We went with cotton cloth diapers with wrap covers. I got a little of everything: chlorine-free prefolded, organic prefolded, and fitted styles of the actual cotton diapers, and a fairly wide sample of different covers. None of the wrap covers stand out as my favorite, frankly. The thought is that the wraps can stay clean/get reused through several changes of cloth diapers, but I’ve found that they all get dirtied at about the same rate. Hey, its hard to keep breastfed baby poop contained. It often makes it past the cotton layer, but only occasionally gets out of the cover, too.
This approach definitely kept a pile of newborn diapers out of the landfill, but probably won’t save us $$ long term. If Myriam was a 6-pound, Jayne-sized baby, we would have gotten a lot more use out of the newborn cloth diapers. Myriam, however, is an 8-pound, Myriam-sized baby who will be ready to wear all-in-ones far earlier than I predicted. It’s already becoming hard to get a cotton prefold closed with a snappi (which is fine, really, as we tend to just fold the prefolds in thirds and lay them inside the cover. ‘m not really sure why they call them prefolds– they’re not, like, folded in advance).
Basically, I’m looking forward to phasing out the cotton diapers. Overall, they’re just more fiddly. Our high efficiency dryer has a hard time getting them truly dry, sometimes taking 3+ of its “smart” drying cycles (it thinks its done before it is). I also don’t like how the cotton holds moisture next to her skin– and I especially dislike having to remove a pee-soaked fitted diaper because here’s no way to avoid touching the soaking wet parts when we unsnap them. Some of the covers seem to always leave red marks. And, perhaps most importantly, they’re harder to put on. Both Ben and I would be terrible at getting these on an older baby who knows how to wiggle around. Ben already dislikes these so much he generally passes them up for the disposables we keep on hand. I think we get more blowouts with disposables, though. I’ll stick with these till she outgrows them and then will probably transition back to the all-in-ones we like better. Maybe we’ll use the prefolds to double up with the polyester liners.
Okay, so that brings me to the tip section that M asked me for in the first place. Here they be:
- Try a few different types or brands– if you don’t like cloth diapering at first, it might simply be that you haven’t found the system or diaper type that works for you and fits your kiddo best. I might try a few other types of all-in-ones when Myriam outgrows our current cotton diapers. Probably not too many, though, as having too many options can overwhelm others who want to help change diapers and kinda drives me crazy, too.
- You don’t have to go all or nothing. We keep (generally environmentally friendly) disposables around and often use them when we’re going out. It’s just easier. It’s better to use cloth some of the time than not at all.
- If we do leave the house with cloth diapers on, we toss a wet bag into the diaper bag to hold dirties. Our Blueberry wet-dry tote is a little bigger than we need right now (we don’t have twins), but it’ll be good for when Myriam starts daycare.
- Get some cloth wipes so you can just toss them in with the diapers. We like flannel wipes, but find two-sided wipes to be too rough and small. We keep them in a re-purposed disposable wipes case and just add water. Just water works great– I tend to think that even disposable wipes for sensative skin are a little harsh.
- Many standard diaper creams are not compatible with cloth diapers; they’ll impair the absorbancy. We’re currently using Earth Mama Angel Baby and like it. Next I’m going to try a Grovia Magic Stick so we don’t have to get fingers so messy.
- I’ve never seen the need for a diaper sprayer. Breastmilk poo is water soluble (my laundry instructions below). Later, solids can get shaken into the toilet. (Disclaimer: our experience = limited to an older toddler and a newborn, so maybe we haven’t yet encountered the cloth diapering stage at which a sprayer is useful).
- We toss our diapers in a lidded garbage can. Since it’s in our bedroom, I got a nicer one than many probably need because I wanted to make sure it keeps the stink contained.
- Get a washable pail liner and you can use it like a glove to shove the diapers in the wash without touching them, and then just toss the liner in after them.
- Try, though, to close up the velcro on any tabs before you put them in the pail. Velcro will last longer and the diapers won’t ball up on you in the wash.
- To wash, first run a cold wash to get the yuck out. If your machine allows, run the soak and extra rinse functions. I like to use a scoop of Charlie’s Soap. Next, pull out the waterproof covers, as the hot water can ruin the waterproofing; they can get rewashed with the baby clothes if needed. Then, run a hot wash, also with soak and extra rinse. I use a scant scoop of Charlie’s Soap. It’s important to use a natural, non-petroleum based soap that will rinse thoroughly because any buildup will impair absorbency.
- Don’t use fabric softener liquids or sheets for that same reason. I use these dryer balls with the baby clothes and diapers.
And… that’s where I’m going to stop for now. Let me know if I missed something or if you have questions!
My friend M asked me for some cloth diapering tips, cause she knows that I like our family to do our bit for the environment. Also, we like cute things.
First, some background. I initially got into cloth diapering when Jayne was 18 months old and did so because of the cost savings. We were moving from the US to the UK at the time, and my research about living expenses made cloth diapers seem like a financially responsible choice, given the dollar-to-pound conversion rate at the time and the cost of UK disposables. Paying US prices for cloth diapers we could pack with us became pretty attractive.
Also, we were determined that, unlike our American apartment, our UK flat would have a washer/dryer, which would make cloth diapering a feasible option for us fur the first time. No way, no how were we going to start lugging more laundry to the common facility in our apartment building. We had THAT principal reinforced when we tried hybrid diapers (namely gDiapers). Although I liked the environmental advantages of flushable inserts, IMHO, cloth diapers with paper inserts were the worst of both worlds. Extra laundry, extra cost, and the extra work of always having to remember to get more before we ran out. Boo. So, it was all or nothing for us.
After reading reviews, I purchased a dozen BumGenius diapers. They’re pocket diapers, which means they have a waterproof cover with a pocket that holds cloth inserts. When it comes to getting the thing actually ON a kid, pocket diapers are as easy as disposables. Only cuter.
That dozen was all we needed for our older toddler if we did laundry no more than every 3 days. We used them until Jayne was far enough into potty training to demand pullups. Prolly could have used them longer except that she figured out how to take them off and refused to wear them because she wanted to be a big girl, with pullups to match. (She would have done the same with the tabs of disposable diapers, too.) I suppose cloth diapers with snaps instead of hook and loops (i.e. velcro) closures might have helped with that, but it was silly to invest in more diapers at that point. Some people just put the diapers on with the velcro in the back at this stage, but there was no fooling Jayne.
We were very happy with the pocket diapers. The polyester of the inside pockets seemed to wick moisture away from her skin, which kept her skin rash free (to the best of my memory). We didn’t have trouble with leaks or blowouts (again, to the best of my memory). They held up really well. They did collect some weird pilling inside, but I think that owes to our UK washer/dryer. (For those who don’t know, European machines are generally all-in-one machines– once the water drains from the washer, you dry things in the same drum. None of the machines in any of the three apartments we eventually had in the UK had good lint filters, so I blame the pills on the machines not the diapers (especially since the pills are the color of Ben’s socks, and many clothing items got them). They didn’t impact the function). ETA: with regular washing in our current machine, the pills have gone away. It was definitely the UK machine.
In short, I’m looking forward to using our pocket diapers again with Myriam.
However, we aren’t using them yet with Myriam. I’ll admit that I’ve been eying them now that she’s up to 10 pounds. I’ve tried them on her here and there in the last couple days, but even adjusted to the smallest setting, they’re comically big on her. It’s difficult to get her 0-3 month clothing on over the bubble butt they give her. And it doesn’t look comfortable when we lay her down.
Good thing there are lots of other cloth options for diapering newborns. And, not only have I tried out a good many of them, I apparently have much to say about them before I start doling out the tips M asked for.
Since I also have a newborn to feed and, hopefully, a much better night of sleep to be had tonight than last, I’m going to save that blog fodder for another post. I’m pretty sure my friend M will understand.