How cloth diapering can differ from child to childWhen I had my second child, I expected that he would be different from my daughter. I thought maybe I could look forward to differences in looks, personalities, schedules, temperaments, eating habits… but I didn’t really think that diapering a second child would be much different from diapering my first, even taking into account their gender difference. I felt like kind of a cloth diapering expert after my first child. I knew the ins and outs of many different styles and brands and I hadn’t yet found a cloth diapering issue I couldn’t troubleshoot. Of all the things I thought I’d have to face with a second child, I didn’t think that trouble with cloth diapers —my favorite and most trusted cloth diapers even— would be something I’d have to worry about.
How was it different?Diapering my son might as well be a different art altogether. My son not only wets mostly the front of his cloth diaper, but he must have a really, powerful flow of pee because he goes from dry to soaking, leaking, and dripping in five seconds flat. Attempting to fix this issue, we stripped the microfiber inserts, double stuffed the pockets, switched to natural fiber inserts, adjusted the sizing on the OS diapers, switched the inserts again, made repairs on Velcro and snaps, threw out a couple of really, tired diapers, switched to only the diapers that seemed to have the least amount of issues …and still, he continued to have leaking problems. He leaked in everything: the few new diapers we bought, tried and true ones from my four year old stash, the inexpensive pockets, and the expensive pockets. I was at a loss and really tired of going through 23 outfits in a day. My daughter never leaked. It was one of the things I raved about when talking about my cloth diapers. Then, here my son comes along to make a liar out of me.
Finally, I decided that using primarily pocket diapers might be the problem. For whatever reason, whether his body type or his wetting patterns, they just weren’t completely reliable with him. They did work most of the time, but only one or two leaks a day was still a problem. We switched to mostly fitteds and prefolds under PUL covers with an extra newborn prefold added to the front at night, and his leakage issues have gone down to almost never. Only on nights when he nurses more than normal and we change him less than normal do we have real issues. During the day, only one prefold or fitted is necessary (and we still use some pockets during the day) but I need to make sure I change him often and use my most absorbent diapers during naptime or I’ll pull him out of bed to find a wet little belly. My little man just needs lots of absorbency and the extra leak protection that a diaper cover offers. But boy, did that learning curve take much longer than I’d expected, and all because I simply had trouble accepting that what worked for my daughter wouldn’t necessarily work for my son.
It was a good life lesson, and hopefully one I’ll remember in the future when it comes to other things I take for granted between the two of them. He is a different little guy, and I love the diversity of personalities the two of them bring to our family. But the cloth diaper thing really threw me for a loop. I just thought diapering was a “one size fits all” thing, so to speak. People had told me that it isn’t and I thought I believed them, but I really didn’t. Now I know for myself that different babies often have different diapering needs. That’s why it’s great to have so many cloth diapering options. I don’t know what I’d do if he were in disposables!