I’ve been quietly battling leaks since… well since I started this whole cloth thing. My little guy’s onesie has been wet in one (or both) of two places at some point almost every. single. day. There’s often a wet patch on his belly, right at the top of the diaper. If not, then there’s probably one around his legs. Sometimes I start undressing him to change his diaper and prematurely celebrate leak-less-ness. Then as I unsnap the dry looking onesie I feel the leg leak that I couldn’t see. Ugh.
Why are there so many leaks? I’m buttoning all of the buttons! This shouldn’t be rocket science. I see baby after baby wearing cloth and looking dry online. All of these amazing moms are chatting about the cutest fabrics and who’s having a diaper sale. No one is complaining that their every day is wet and leaky… except me. And, only in my head. I want this to work so badly that I am maintaining a relentlessly optimistic attitude.
Until recently, most of my problem solving attempts have involved shopping. “I’ll just try another brand. This one probably just isn’t a good fit for us! Or this brand… or this style…” Increasing the variety of diapers, of course, has only complicated the situation- as I can’t figure out which ones leak, if there are any patterns etc.
Two weeks ago, I got serious about getting to the bottom of this. I had the opportunity to buy someone’s entire stash of 30 pre-loved Fuzzi Bunz diapers. Now, I already had one Fuzzi Bunz Elite- and it seemed to hold up against leaks better than most of my diapers. Buying these diapers would help me eliminate several variables and get to the business of stopping leaks. So I cleaned all of the diapers and talked my husband into spending and evening adjusting elastics with me so that all of the new diapers would be exactly the same size. We separated any whose elastics might need replacing and vowed to use only diapers from this new lot until I figured out what was going on. And within just a few days, I had! There was one bump in the road (massive leak) that had me questioning if the PUL was too old and was no longer water resistant. That was quite a scare because that would mean that I had just wasted $200, and I wondered if I could justify keeping this up. But I stayed focused, put that one in the wet bag marked, “diapers that leak” and kept plugging along.
I learned some things that I was able to generalize across multiple styles and brands of diapers.
1. The leg leaks (usually minor- more like dampness) are not so much ‘leaks’ as they are a result of the cotton in the onesie doing what cotton does and wicking the liquid from the diaper. If I only snap the middle of the three snaps on the onesie, this doesn’t happen. I learned this when I posted a picture of a wet onesie to Fluff Love Photostream and asked for advice. The middle snap and slightly larger onesie advice were game changers!
2. Microfiber absorbs quickly, hemp absorbs a ton. Layering a microfiber insert on top of a hemp insert is a great strategy. It hasn’t failed me yet and I’ve been using that combination consistently for several days now. Next, I’m going to try charcoal inserts and another fabric called Zorb. I was expecting much too much from my pile of trim microfiber inserts. Now that I’m using them with a hemp doubler though- I am happy and my baby is dry.
1. I am not alone. Turns out everyone in the world (except for everyone I know) is a cloth diaper enthusiast.
2. Facebook is not just a way to keep in touch with friends and be surprised at who else knows someone you know. You can learn TONS there.
3. Facebook groups have files. SO many amazing files to read and learn from.
4. I can learn about things other than cloth diapering. I joined a Respectful Sleep Training training group, a Breastfeeding Support Group and others. I have truly been supported.
5. People buy, sell and trade their cloth diapers ALL THE TIME. When you buy someone’s diapers, you might be able to meet them and actually KNOW someone else who cloth diapers.
6. Cloth diapering can be used as a verb! I had no idea!
7. I put my first cloth diaper on Kade backwards. I only knew because I posted a picture to Fluff Love Photostream (another awesome group) and another member let me know… in such a kind way! It was a GDiaper. Now I know that the G goes in the back;)
8. An online language: A WAHM is a work at home mom. ISO means in search of. Your LO is your little one. And if you buy used, EUC means excellent used condition and VGUC means very good used condition.
9. Diapers hold their value better than cars!
10. Skittle farts are a real thing. Your LO can fart like skittles too if you use Tide & Gain Apple Mango Tango to wash his diapers.
Still not having any clear picture of what cloth diapering would be like for me, I decided to start a registry. I thought it would be best to register for a wide variety of diapers so that I could experiment and see what I liked best. The act of registering helped me process what I had learned about cloth so far and start to make sense of terms like: AIO, AI2 and fitteds… I didn’t actually receive many cloth diapers though- which I get. I mean, two years ago, I probably would have considered cloth diapering crazy too.
I did buy myself a couple of newborn diapers at a consignment sale. And just having a handful of cloth diapers at home made me feel like this could work. I didn’t plan on doing much with cloth for the first few months. I learned in that workshop that the OS (one size) diapers wouldn’t fit very well in the beginning. So, I figured when the baby was around 3-4 months, I’d give it a shot. In the meantime, I would follow the FB group Fluff Love & CD Science closely, so that I could learn from others’ questions and comments.
I was pregnant and reading everything I could get my hands on. That kind of reading you do when you’re searching for something, but don’t know what. Blogs, articles, advocates of this, naysayers of that. During this time of intense research about nothing in particular, but everything ‘baby,’ I somehow came across an interview with Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers in NY News & Politics that left me feeling inspired and uneasy all at once.
Lauren Singer has made it her mission to create no waste. All of her trash from two years fit inside a Mason jar. Here at my house, we had just paid for another 10 yard dumpster to take away the ‘trash’ from remodeling. Lauren writes on her blog, about a professor encouraging her to live her values, which tugged right at the guilt I was beginning to have about always practicing what I preach and leading by example… to this baby growing in my belly. I knew the Mason jar was out of reach… but what wasn’t?
Some of the Google searches that followed, pointed me toward cloth diapering. I read that every baby who wears disposable diapers produces 2000lbs. of garbage in two years.
I didn’t know anyone who had cloth diapered their kids except my nana, who did it in the 50s, and thought my doing it in 2015 was nuts. I suddenly felt very strongly that for me- disposables shouldn’t be the default choice in diapering. I wouldn’t beat myself up over it if I needed to use them, but I should at least have a reason to use them. I needed to talk to someone who wouldn’t just dismiss my thinking as crazy- someone who had done it herself.. recently.
Enter Bellani Maternity in Warwick, RI, a cute maternity shop selling a little bit of everything and offering all kinds of classes and workshops. I found a cloth diapering workshop on their website and signed up. Finally, I would be able to ask questions to someone who actually knew the answers, or at the very least- had actual experience with cloth diapers.
The best part of the workshop was that everyone there was at least considering cloth diapering. I took copious notes (that are still on my iPhone). The woman who facilitated the class had used cloth on both of her two children and was preparing to do it all over again with her third. This was doable. I left that workshop armed with notes, a place to return with questions and the name of a Facebook group that would also be a great resource.