The typical response that I receive once a person has figured out that we use cloth diapers. Most people who picture cloth diapering moms see a woman either trapped in the 1950s or a hippie wild child. I of course fit neither of these stereotypes. A little background about myself; I’m Shyana, a single mom by circumstance (DP is deployed) who works full time nights as an RN. Our quest into cloth diapering started long before I was pregnant with our son. I stumbled into the world of attachment/natural parenting when I was 19 or 20. I was looking up parenting styles in a child development class and before I knew it I was sucked into the world of natural birthing, babywearing and cloth diapering. Initially, like most people, I was very skeptical. When I thought of cloth diapers I thought of a mom hanging big white flats and plastic pants on a clothing line outdoors. There was NO way that people actually still did this (seriously?). I laugh when I think of my initial reactions now. I had no idea of the world that existed. After researching the different types of cloth diapers, I knew that would be something I’d do with my own children.
Fast forward 6 years later to my pregnancy with our son. The first thing I purchased was 2 dozen unbleached prefolds and several size small and x-small Thirsties covers (excited much?). By the time I’d given birth to ds our stash consisted of mainly prefolds, Thirsties and Bummis covers and fitteds. Not wanting to overwhelm myself I decided I would use the first 2 weeks to get breastfeeding established and then we’d dive into cloth diapers. At this point I was still slightly skeptical but thought I’d seriously give it a try. We started with prefolds and covers and though I’d heard nothing but amazing things about using them (not to mention they are cheaper), I hated them. No matter what I did I couldn’t keep that breastfed baby poop from leaking out of the prefolds. It didn’t deter me but it did frustrate me a bit. I decided to focus mainly on using fitteds (which I LOVED for the first 6 months!). DS never leaked and they were super easy to use. At this point I was still not confident enough to cloth diaper out and about so I continued to buy our monthly pack of disposables. By the time ds was around 4 months we were cloth diapering full time except at night. For the life of me I could not figure out how to keep ds from having a red tush in the morning so we continued with our one and only disposable at night. We finally figured this out after about 14 months and a trip to the Nappy Shoppe in Allen, TX (thank you G-flappers!).
Today ds is 22 months old and still happily cloth diapered. I went back to work when ds was 4 months old and we’ve pretty much been on the same hectic and sleepless schedule since. I will be the first to admit that my life is about pure survival and what’s convenient. I would never do something that would be time consuming or cause me to exert too much energy (I need sleep for that!!!). A typical work day while cloth diapering consists of us waking up and me changing ds’ nightly diaper. He goes about 2-3 hours between diaper changes these days and if I work that night I will go ahead and do a load of diapers, even if there aren’t many. I pack up 8-10 diapers to take to my parents’ house (yes we have cloth diapering grandparents!) and then I’ll bring those home in the morning. I typically do diaper laundry once every 2-3 days depending on how many diapers we go through. We have several waterproof/stink proof bags that we put the dirty diapers in until laundry day. I throw the diapers in our front loading washer and set it for a cold rinse, hot wash, and cold rinse cycle. Sometime later in the day when I remember I have laundry in the washer I’ll move them to the dryer or hang dry the covers in the laundry room. The whole amount of time I spend tending to diaper laundry is about 5-10 minutes, including stuffing diapers after they are clean and dry.
These days our stash mainly consists of Bum Genius one-size 3.0 pocket diapers, Softbums, Happy Heinys and covers with Sweet Pea hemp inserts. We’ve saved more money on diapers than I can imagine, though I will warn that cloth diapering is addictive. We also have a complete diaper stash for our next baby….and the one after that. DS has NEVER had a diaper rash and it makes me happy to know that I’m helping the planet and not allowing him to sit in chemicals. I know most people worry about the poop factor. I will be honest and say that I did have a bit of a poop aversion when ds started eating food. I am not a fan of big kid poop…..at….all. But you’re a nurse!! That’s right….and I hate big kid poop (the secret is out). Blood I can handle…..poop, you’re pushing it!! With that said, it’s really not that bad. You dump out the waste and throw your diaper in your dirty diaper bag until laundry day and that’s it. If I can manage to cloth diaper full time with my aversion to big kid poop, while shuffling ds to and fro on little or no sleep while working full time nights and dealing with the stress of a deployed spouse, you too can do it!! PROMISE!!!
Shy-the poop averting (gag!) cloth diapering mama J