Learn Some Cloth-Diapering Tips Here!

What comes to mind when at the mention of cloth diapers? Do you have ugly visions of dunking soiled diapers in the toilet bowl? Or do you envision your baby's skin with diaper pin wounds, or stubborn rashes? Have no fear, gentle mama! There have been some innovations since your grandma or mom diapered their babies. Check out these new answers to old complaints.
Lisa Bonanno

1. Used cloth diapers stink up your home
DON'T add soaking water to your diaper pail! The liquid encourages smelly bacterial growth. Some people report good odor control by sprinkling the diaper pail and its contents with baking soda whenever needed. Washing diapers every two to four days is also a big help. If odor persists, a few hours basking in breeze and sun on the clothesline can do wonders. But avoid fabric softeners! They reduce the diaper's absorbency and can damage the waterproofing on some diaper covers. Not a laundry enthusiast? Check your yellow pages for a diaper service. They supply diapers, regularly pick them up for cleaning, and then redeliver to your home.

2. Diaper rash is more troublesome with cloth diapers.
Two factors may have created this myth. First, detergent or other residues are often to blame. Most washers don't rinse out all the detergent in a typical wash cycle. Combat this by filling your fabric softener dispenser with inexpensive white vinegar. If your washer doesn't have one built in, a ball shaped fabric softener dispenser from the supermarket works just as well. An extra cold water rinse helps, too. Also, avoid chlorine bleach. It shortens the diaper's usable life, is tough to rinse, and can harm the environment.

A second factor is breathability. In the past, diaper covers made with rubber and vinyl were popular, but today our choices include PUL (polyurethane laminate), wool, and others. Make sure to change your baby before the diaper gets completely wet and as soon as you know he has had a bowel movement.

3.Leaks and accidents are more common than with plastic diapers
The secret here is individualized fit. First, be sure the diaper is completely inside the cover, or moisture can wick up onto the baby's clothes. If the diaper is too long, just fold an end back against the cover. Most diaper covers adjust with snaps, Velcro or Aplix. With rows of snaps at the sides or front of the diaper or cover, fit can be quite accurately. Velcro or Aplix closures work as long as the hook and pile stays in good shape, and until your baby discovers the joys of unfastening Velcro. Some prefer to use the pull-on panty type of diaper covers with elastic at the legs and waist. A well-fitting panty doesn't often leak, but removing those messy diapers can be tricky. Also, don't put your covers in the dryer! The intense heat causes cracks in the waterproofing.

4.You need to soak or wash with bleach to control germs and stains.
Can you picture rows of snow white diapers hanging on the clothesline next to clear vinyl panties? These days you may see an endless variety of custom colors, prints, plaids, and even holiday designs waving in the breeze. Bleach would just spoil all the fun! Even if you use thick traditional whites, bleach would significantly weaken the fibers, leading to runs, holes, and frays. Your washer's rinse cycle followed by a two to six hour (or overnight) prewash soak usually takes care of stains and odors. Adding white vinegar to the soak water can act as a disinfectant, but a few diaper cover manufacturers advise against this, so check with yours.

5. Poopy diapers are a mess to clean up.
Most of these can be emptied into the potty and the residual dispatched by your washer's rinse cycle. No dunking required except in extreme cases! Even if the situation requires it, there are inexpensive devices like the Diaper Duck available that help you to potty rinse without getting your hands in the bowl. Just make sure you run the diapers through a rinse cycle before soaking or washing.

6.Diaper pins unfasten and wound babies.
Pins are nearly obsolete! The diaper covers fit snugly enough to keep the diapers in place. Some diapers are form fitted, others have their own set of fasteners, and still others fit inside slots in the diaper cover. A traditional rectangular diaper folded in thirds and simply placed inside a well-fitting cover works just fine. Also available are all-in-ones (AIOs), which feature the diaper sewn into the waterproof cover. AIOs shouldn't be machine dried, however, to preserve waterproofing.

The diversity of current designs can be overwhelming. If you're not sure which is best for you, sample one design at a time and seek the experience of others. Parenting message boards are particularly handy for real world information. Since you're going to diaper anyway, why not save some money over the long and add your own sense of style to your baby's bottom?

Want more information?
Check out these links:

www.borntolove.com: Plenty of articles, a large listing of cloth diapering resources, tips from moms and an online store with very reasonable prices.

www.wahmall.com: This is an online auction and marketplace for the products of work-at-home mothers. It's a great place to view the variety of designs available and sample one type at a time without breaking the budget.

www.greenmountaindiapers.htm: High-quality traditional diapers and more.

www.sugarplumbaby.com: High-quality diapers and covers.PregnancyAndBaby.com

Tags: cloth diapering

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