This morning I read a very honest article, Confessions of a Cloth-Diapering Failure. Part of the business of promoting and selling cloth diapers, of course, is troubleshooting with customers when their cloth diapering experience doesn't measure up to their initial expectations.
We have all made snap decisions based on a whim or even, as with cloth diapering, based on our baby's health, the family budget, or the ever-present environmental concerns, only later to wonder what in the world we were thinking. There are times, like when we bought that Flowbee or the Professional Brazilian Waxing Kit, that we can chalk it up to lunacy. However, there are other times when a well-thought out decision isn't what we thought it would be, in which case we may need to just dig in our heels and ride the wave of uncertainty or even, inconvenience, until this newfound "whim" or thoughtful decision turns into newfound conviction.
In the article linked above the decision was made to cloth diaper their baby. It made sense to the couple economically and ecologically. After a period of time the initial decision gave way to the daily grind and it just was not working for them.
I would daresay that it wasn't as simple as that. If this couple had spent some time breaking down "WHY" it wasn't working for them and perhaps even asked for help from the establishment where they purchased their cloth diapers, they may have easily resolved the situation. Instead, they ditched cloth diapering altogether. The best laid plans are never perfect and often require redirection and modifications.
If their story sounds a lot like yours, take a few minutes to evaluate the "WHY" factors with me.
WHY were their cloth diapers leaking?
In the article linked above, one of the concerns was leaks. They would reach for disposable diapers over cloth diapers anytime they didn't want to chance a leak. The mother writes, "We had been using disposables for various errands and other ventures outside the house."
Cloth diapers, today's designs at least, do not lend themselves to leakage. Cotton and other natural fibers used for cloth diapers are highly absorbent, and depending on the style, do a better job of holding in leaks than their paper counterpart, the disposable diaper. The mother had already stated the problem - or at the least, her "WHY" - fit was an issue.
"Our little bundle of joy was kind of small, so she didn't fit the modern diaper covers that have replaced painful pins to keep the cloth attached to the baby."
By communicating her concern with the cloth diaper reseller, the sizing issue could have easily been remedied. It takes only minutes to measure baby to determine the right cloth diaper size. The age and size of a baby can limit the brands or styles that will retain messes and remain comfortable when choosing a diaper cover. Consider the number of blue jean styles and brands available on the market. Depending on our body build, height, weight, and/or personal style, certain brands will fit better than others. This is no different for a growing baby. A little bit of help and this mother could have purchased the perfect style and size of diaper and diaper cover to contain any leaks with prefold diapers or any messes overall.
WHY so many night-time diaper changes?
Another reason these parents reached for disposable diapers over cloth diapers was related to night-time diapering.
We had also, in an admittedly selfish decision, been using them overnight to reduce the number of times that one of us had to do a bleary-eyed diaper change.
There are times when night-time diaper changes are a necessity. When baby isn't sleeping through the night, they will often have bowel movements, which of course need to be changed immediately, regardless of diaper style or type. Once baby starts sleeping in longer stretches they may wake long enough to wet their diaper, but quickly go back to sleep. This does not always necessitate a diaper change, especially as today's modern cloth diapers are highly absorbent and have fabrics that draw moisture away from baby's skin.
Night-time cloth diapering IS different from day-time cloth diapering. We often recommend pocket diapers for night-time diapering because a parent can adjust absorbency by what type of pocket diaper insert, doubler or prefold they use to "fill" the pocket, and the microfleece interior keeps baby comfortable, so baby doesn't wake from feeling wet.
Pocket Diapers are not the only suggestion for night-time cloth diapering. Some parents prefer only natural fibers against their baby's skin and over their baby's cloth diapers. In this case, wool soakers are a viable solution to the night-time cloth diapering problem.
There are so many other options, but ones that might not be readily evident to a new cloth diapering parent, which is where the reseller or store-owner plays a pivotal part. Ask for help. Usually there is a solution to make your cloth diapering experience less a spiral to failure and more an agreeable, even enjoyable, experience for the entire family.