Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cloth Diapering Your Baby

When you are expecting a baby, one of your first big decisions is going to be whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. When the baby showers roll around, diapers will be on top of the gift list. Before you make a decision one way or the other, educate yourself on both options.

As a mother of ten, and a foster mother of more than 50 children, I have used cloth and disposable diapers over the years. Some of my babies have been completely cloth diapered, others completely disposable diapered, and others were a mixture. It’s just something I decide depending on what’s going on in my life with each individual baby.

The first thing I found to be most important when cloth diapering is to buy good quality diapers. Changing diapers is a messy enough job without having to use cheap, stained, nonabsorbent diapers. The best diapers I ever found were from the Home Life company owned by Mary Pride, a homeschooling mother and owner of a homeschooling magazine. They were thick, long lasting diapers.

If you can only buy one size, get the large ones. Babies grow so fast, and the small ones will soon not be big enough. You might buy one dozen of the small ones, and plan on using them for burp pads or mattress pads when the baby has outgrown them.

One of the messiest chores of diapering is when the baby has had a bowel movement. You can buy diaper liners, but I found that the cheapest way to take care of this was to use old material. You can use your families out grown, cast off clothes, old flannel blankets you find at garage sales, scrap material after you sew, worn out towels or any source of material scrapes you can find. Cut the scrapes into rectangles that will fit inside the folded diaper against the baby’s skin. When you change the baby, if the diaper is only wet, toss the material diaper liner into the diaper pail along with the wet diaper to wash and reuse. If the diaper is dirty, simply toss the diaper liner in the trash. Problem solved!

To cut down on the odor of the diaper pail, pour a little vinegar or baking soda into the pail. Tea tree oil is also a good thing to use to disinfect the diapers. When the pail is full of soiled diapers, take it outside and pour off the water into the flower bed or grass. Then you can put the diapers into your washing machine, and run them through a short rinse cycle before you wash them. Rather than dry them in the dryer, you should hang them on the clothes line to both bleach them in the sun, and deodorize them. If they are stiff, give them a short spin in the dryer to soften them up.

Disposable diapers are great too, if you can afford them. Don’t be fooled into thinking you must buy the most expensive diapers on the market. Remember, your baby is just going to potty in them. The cute cartoon characters on the front are fun to look at, but not worth paying extra for. They are going to be covered with clothes anyway. If baby seems to be a little allergic, try coating their diaper area with Vaseline, powder, or diaper rash ointment first. For some boys, it seems to be especially important around the front waist line area of the diaper. If this doesn’t seem to help, then switch brands, but again, go ahead and try another cheaper brand first. Many times one diaper will work where another will not.

Diaper wipes are another thing that does not have to be a big expense. You can make your own wipes. For the solution, you can use a cup or two of water, however much it takes to wet your wipes. To the water, add whatever you like to use for your baby’s skin: baby shampoo, baby oil, aloe vera, or any other kind of skin moisturizing product you like. For the wipe itself, you have several options. You can use cheap washcloths from the Dollar store, more of your scrap material, or cut up squares of flannel. If you want disposable wipes, buy a roll of white Bounty paper towels. Lay the paper towels on their side, and cut them in half. Place one of the halves in a round Rubbermaid container, and pour the solution over them. When the paper towels are completely wet, you will be able to pull the cardboard roll out of the middle, and then the towels will unroll from the middle, too, just like the ones you buy in the store.

Diapering your baby is a big part of caring for your child. It doesn’t have to be something to dread. Pick whichever method is most comfortable to you, and don’t feel guilty. Enjoy your baby!

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