Cloth Diapers: Success throught Trial and error

Baby G turns 7 weeks this weekend and I’ve been cloth diapering part time for the last 6 weeks since we got back from the hospital. It’s been alot of trial and error, to say the least, wee leaks and figuring out his pee/poo schedule. Some tips on troubleshooting leaks.

secondhand All-in-one Thirsties

I cloth diaper during the day, but he’s using disposables at night for my sanity as cloth diapers need to be changed more often – every 1.5 hours on average compared to disposables that require a change every couple of hours.

Natural is best, but it’s also more labour intensive. I’m not an eco hippie, but I’m trying to reduce my carbon footprint and it doesn’t take that much extra effort (couple rounds more changes in the day – Covid times, we’re all at home anyway and laundry has become therapy for me where I can hide in the bathroom for some peace and quiet to sort laundry).

Yes, it uses more water and detergent, but it’s the lesser evil to plastics that stay forever. We use Bambo disposables which is biodegradable and I was recommended Kit & Kin which are oh so cute and 100% biodegradable but definitely not economically sustainable as they are so expensive! And we have to compromise for every biodegradable pack of diapers (it’s about twice the price of the other brands), we also buy Merries, it’s all in Japanese so I can’t read the labels. Cloth diapering is the compromise to manage my eco-anxiety.

Cloth diapering today compared to when I was growing up is so much more convenient. I’m also a sucker for the colours and prints – this will save on laundry in the long run too because the baby can run around in them without having to put on shorts.

AIO (All in one) cloth diapers

Most commercial disposable diapers are made of microplastics and live on pretty much forever in the landfills and of course seeps into the ecosystem that our children are growing up in. I figured saving 5-8 diapers a day from the landfills over the period of 3 years makes a significant difference for me to persevere. That’s saving over 6500 disposable diapers from the landfills, as a conservative estimate.

Now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, it’s becoming quite routine. As with everything, trial and error, practice makes perfect. And every now and then I still have wee leaks and still get peed on.

In Hong Kong, Petit Tippi runs monthly cloth diaper workshops and sells cloth diaper starter kits. I got mine from there and then grew the collection, mostly secondhand buys on Facebook – there’s a wonderful group of cloth diapering mums to get advice from as well as purchase secondhand diapers.

Now that I’m starting to see a pattern in the baby’s routine, I am getting better with using the flushable liners that act as excellent “poo catchers”. I used to use them at every change as I have qualms about spending my time shaking and picking mushy poo off the bamboo insert.

A mixed stash of Baby beehinds, Grovia, Nicki’s and Imagine – trying all variations

Here is my newborn stash. There are so many varieties of diapering systems, you have to pick the one that suits your baby and you best. More on all the different terminology here.

Baby G is a heavy wetter so All in Ones tend to leak if I don’t add a prefold or additional booster. The All in Two are waterproof PUL covers that I find are the most versatile and you just keep changing the inserts/prefolds that are soiled and put in new ones, and you keep the covers for at least 2-3 changes.

The cute cloth diapers don’t come cheap, fortunately the secondhand market has plenty, some in brand new mint condition. The longer the bamboo and hemp inserts have been used, they get more absorbent with every wash, so it’s not a bad idea to get used ones.

I’m no cloth diapering expert, but I’m here to say that it’s totally doable and it’s not an mammoth insane task to try. It’s a little more effort that’s much kinder to the planet.

Additionally, it’s just cotton, bamboo and hemp on your baby’s skin without any chemicals or nasties. Those stripes that change colour when the diaper is wet? It’s lots of little beads inside and god knows what other chemicals. Disposable diapers have only been tested on one generation, so who knows what are the adverse effects in the long run. 🤷🏻‍♀️

I like Nicki’s Diapers for their designs best and their hook and loop (velcro fasteners) mirror using disposable diapers. I also like Thirsties, Grovia (the size runs a little smaller for leaner babies), Apple cheeks and Baby Beehinds. There’s also the Chinese brands Happy Flute and Alva Baby which are a fraction of the price, very absorbent and really well designed (no leaks so far!), just that their prints are more limited and less my cup of tea.

We don’t have the full options in Hong Kong like in North America or Australia, but it’s pretty substantial what we can find here.

1/3 diaper 2/3 baby

Cloth diapers are bulkier and it is sometimes a little more difficult to button the snaps at the crotch of onesies, so I recommend scaling up a size in onesies or the zippy pyjamas are much roomier. Sometimes I just leave it open since we spend most of our time at home.

Now that the temperatures are going down, I put him in full onesies with footies which has plenty of room for the extra crotch bulge 😂. Besides, we’re not going anyway these days with Covid19 still lurking about and likely to stay and evolve.

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