This week I decided it was time to take stock of my cloth diaper stash to see what all I will be needing before the new baby comes in a little over 4 months.
Initially with Eli I had planned to cloth diaper all the way through until potty training. Then I began to use disposables when we were traveling because keeping a big old musty bag of used diapers in the car for a few days on end just seemed to be a bit much (and the 10 day trip via airplane when he was 5 months old… UNFATHOMABLE!). Once the ‘sposies were in the house I found just how much more convenient they were in certain situations… like being out of the house for more than just a couple of hours. Since we often didn’t use a stroller, and I was already wearing Eli in a carrier I didn’t want to bring along a lot of bulky cloth diapers as unless I was out with my husband I was carrying both baby and diaper bag.
Then Eli hit the crawling stage at 6 months. He was already a very big baby for his age and squeezing the cloth diapers on him under his pants made for a rather mobiley-compromized baby. I was also finding it hard to fit him into his car seat for some reason. Perhaps it was just his personal body shape because I’ve never read anyone else discuss that issue on the cloth diapering blogs. So slowly, but surely cloth was used less and less, really only when we were going to be at home and then only during the day. (With all of the night waking issues we had, as soon as I discovered overnight disposables I was very happy to leave that little bit of early hour baby stimulation behind.) Eventually I found I was not accumulating enough to justify running the washer for a diapers-only load before they would begin to reek on day 3. So (feeling a bit like a crunchy-mama failure) when Eli was about 18 months old I packed all of the cloth diapers away to await our next child.
I had read often enough about the laborious process of stripping diapers when the ammonia smell begins to remain even after washing, but I had never actually done it. My diapers never got smelly. Maybe that’s due to the Charlie’s Soap Powder I use, the fact we have a top loading washer, or because I rarely used the clothes drier for them but let the Southern California sun work it’s wonders instead. What ever the case may be it wasn’t something I wanted to take on if it didn’t seem necessary. But seeing as the diapers had now spent a year in boxes in the garage, and they would be used by a different person it seemed like maybe now was the time.
So I waited until Eli was at preschool, cranked up the temperature on the water heater,
began filling the tub with diapers,
and as the water filled the tub went online to double check the amount of Dawn dishwashing detergent that I should use. That’s when I found that, unlike the sites I had read before describing boiling diapers on the stove or soaking them in near-boiling water in the tub, I could just do the stripping in my washing machine!
The dreaded day of drudgery turned out to be ever-so-easy as far as the diapers were concerned, allowing me time to sew another baby nightgown before Eli returned from preschool.
For anyone needing to know how to strip cloth diapers here’s a link to the site that saved my day. You’re welcome.
Now with all of the diapers super clean, I’ve been sorting them by size and trying to figure out if I have all that we will need. Even though these diapers were used by Eli first, I do have a fair amount of girly diapers as when I made these I didn’t know who would be coming our way to use them yet. (Actually for a good portion of my pregnancy we thought that Eli was going to be Elianna )Between prefolds and the homemade fitted diapers I have about 30 in the smallest size. Figuring about 10 diapers a day and no more than 3 days between washes I should just have enough, but I will probably make a couple more to have on hand just in case.
These represent one of my very first sewing ventures away from the realm of quilting. I remember Eli outgrew them so quickly as I made the majority of them with woven flannel receiving blankets repurposed for the outer fabrics. Fuzzy and adorable but they don’t stretch at all!
As for sticking with the whole cloth diapering thing this time around, I have a few ideas that will make things go a bit more smoothly. I will still use disposable (Earth’s Best or Seventh Generation) when traveling and probably for the first couple of weeks home from the hospital, especially if I end up needing another C-section. I am laying in a store of Mama-made pants created specifically for the fluffy-bummed baby. (Posts on those will follow!) Perhaps a better designed diaper bag would help with the schlepping of cloth diapers when we are out and about as once again I plan on wearing this baby.
(I am also becoming interested in Elimination Communication, but haven’t made any decisions about that either way at this point. Who knows? Perhaps in the end we might go diaper-free all together?! Not too sure about that one… But intrigued. Definitely intrigued.)