Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Katie's Story

Like most new parents, I was pretty lost in all the “you need for your baby” lists I found and advice I heard. With a crib, diapers, a baby carrier, car seat, stroller, clothes, blankets and bottles I felt as ready as I could. I had no idea that I'd soon be falling in love with the world of baby-wearing and trading my not-so-baby-friendly Bjorn for a series of wraps and slings; or so successful at breastfeeding that my baby would no need for bottles or formula. In fact, most of my thoughts on “the way I'd be as a parent” went out the window when I started going down a more “holistic” path with my daughter. Some people might call it being a “crunchy mom” or even an “attachment parent” but I just called it instinctive, nurturing, loving and of course, natural. I became a breast-feeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, organic baby food-making, holistic, natural mom.

The final step in “natural mama” transformation was cloth diapering. When I first heard my mom say “oh we just used cloths- those paper things look so uncomfortable” I brushed it off, feeling like no one really does that anymore. Those feelings changed once I started meeting more “natural” type moms like me and doing a little research, discovering that people are now using all sorts of modern cloth diapers. Well, my husband didn't know anything other than the “safety-pin and giant white napkin” kind our parents used and I wasn't so sure about the over-fluffy bottom and questionable poop disposal that come with cloth diapering, so I didn't go for it.

When our little monkey was 6 months old I became very curious about the cloth diapering world. Disposable diapers were a very expensive commitment, as I was only comfortable buying the “pure and natural” kind that, after some investigating, turn out to be not exactly 100% “pure”. I was definitely ready to try something new. I began researching “cloth diapering” online and found a lot of interesting information. It turns out there are numerous types of cloth diapers; all-in-one's, pockets, inserts and covers, pre-folds, hemp, cotton, and some that you can use biodegradable inserts with as well as cloth. I'm not going to lie, all the choices and instructions on how many you need and how to clean them or use a service left me a little overwhelmed. I consulted a couple Facebook mom groups I belonged to and some friends I knew who used cloth and asked them which brands they used and how they wash them, and decided I could buy just a few cloth diapers to try.

At the same time, my husband began working for an environmental non-profit, so naturally he was attracted to the “green” aspect of cloth diapering. We at least agreed that cloth diapering would be good for her in a chemical-free way and good for the earth as well.

We headed down to our nearest giant chain baby store where I knew they sold the BumGenius brand of diapers that had been recommended to me. When I first saw them, I thought they looked bulky and I didn't like the idea of stuffing a pocket. We looked around at a few other options they had and decided to buy a set of gDiaper pants with both cloth and biodegradable inserts. After taking them home and washing the cloths [10 times] to break them in, we stuck them on the baby's booty and instantly fell in love with how cute they were and easy to use! We bought 6 cloths to start with and learned quickly that they would only last us about 24 hours, so we went back and bought a bunch more the following day. And just like that we were converted.

After a couple of months using gDiapers I was still tempted by other brands and different types of cloth diapers. I bought a Thirsties cover and their hemp insert and a GroVia shell with a couple of their snap-in inserts. I absolutely LOVE the GroVia and plan on expanding that collection as well. We even used the gDiaper cloth inserts in the Thirsties and GroVia shells and they work just fine. I'm still curious about the idea of pocket diapers, though I haven't pulled the trigger just yet, but I'm sure I'll get one or two eventually to try them out. I recommend to anyone curious about cloth to either find a store that does a trial with different brands (like granolababies.com) or buy one of a few different brands and see what they like best!

Washing cloth diapers is so much easier that I though as well. It helped that I didn't start until my little bug was eating solid food and produced much more solid poops, but I know for the next baby I'll start as a newborn and invest in a diaper sprayer. I usually just plop the little poops in the toilet and wash my diapers every 3rd day with a free and clear detergent and then again with the rest of the baby laundry. I machine dry my diapers now but I'm considering sun-bleaching on a hanging wire sometime.

Our daughter is now 9 months old and I can't wait to start sewing my own AIO's (all-in-one's) and covers that I recently found patterns for! I'm so happy I made the switch and can't believe I didn't do it sooner. I'll definitely use cloth from the beginning with any future babies.
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Katie is a stay at home mom of a one year old and lives in California. She lovse crafts and cooking but loves spending time with her family most. You can hear more from Katie at krunchykate.com.

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