Thursday, December 18

cloth diapering

There seems to be a number of mum bloggers making the decision to cloth diaper. That's great to hear. Amy is doing a series of posts about her experience, which I imagine would be really helpful to many mothers contemplating the change. And over at Adventures in Babywearing, Steph has taken the plunge at baby number 4, and is documenting her experiences, much on video.

It's funny. But for me, it wasn't an issue. I mean, it wasn't anything that occured to me to blog about or document, because I couldn't imagine not using cloth diapers. Whilst for many parents disposables are the default with cloth as an ideal, for me, the issue was a little different.

I had liked the idea of elimination communication (or potty whispering, I like that). I wasn't daunted by the idea at all, so you can imagine how ordinary cloth diapering seemed to me.

But when baby came and I was so sore from surgery and the breastfeeding was going all wrong, that's the last thing I was interested in. And now? I just can't imagine doing it.

The idea is the you're so tuned into your baby's cues that you know when she wants to wee or poop. Well, I am in tune with her. I know when she is about to poop and I know when she is having a wee, though can't predict that. I also realise that not having her wear diapers would force me to be even more in tune.

But how the heck do you not get peed on? And at the risk of TMI, there have been farts with follow-through that not even Nostradamus could have predicted. There's only so close to poop I want to get people! Another thing, it's damn cold here. I couldn't have her naked and by the time you get even the lightest piece of clothing off, the deed is done.

Here's the Wildflower in a modest video getting her cloth diaper on. Nice and easy clip on pre-folds, Onesies, with a cover. You need to click the tiny play button on the bottom left.

I have used a technique of EC, to make a noise or use a word when she 'goes'. This way, when she eventually uses the potty or toilet, there will be a word that she'll associate with going. The idea is to make the transition easier. I also change her immediately after a poop, so she learns to dislike a dirty diaper.

I don't know, I'm in awe at mother's who do it. I wish I could muster the courage. Now that's something I would like to see documented. I can't get my head around the logistics of it all.

And this isn't as weird as it sounds at first. Tribal mums have been doing this since forever. But they have the advantage of organic learning from other mothers.

I will look into it some more, although not sure if I'm too late at 8mths. Would you be game to try something like this?

Resources: diaperfreebaby, ooh, jusy found babiesonpotties video... I'll get back to you.


  1. For me EC was never an option. Although I'm there with my LO pretty much all the time, I knew she was going to be a winter baby so the layer of clothes issue was a definite factor, especially in a cold(ish), damp country such as the UK. I also live with some ongoing health issues and wasn't sure how much my hubby/ other people would have to take care of her. If I do something I do it whole-heartedly.

    I did consider cloth diapering though, but ended up doing disposables. It was the only thing I had personal experience of and, like Steph, I had heard a lot of myths about cloth diapering. With my own health in mind, I just wasn't sure I had the stamina. Two years on we're still on disposables and it seems too late to change now. But having talked to a number of other mums about it over the last two years I now feel confident I wouldmake cloth diapers my number one choice if I was lucky enough to fall pregnant again.

  2. It has been a while since we were at that stage, but I'm not sure I would try it. My nerves were shot as it was. But I am interested to hear how others found it.

  3. I'm way beyond this stage, and no I don't think I could/would do the EC anyway. I have friends who talked about it and I just thought it was crazy. I got enough going on that I'm not going to add that to my list of things to stay "on top of".

    I love the baby video!

  4. I've cloth diapered my three. I did a very loose version of EC with my last. She didn't ever have a noticeable cue for me when she was going to go, so it was rather difficult, but I cued her when I caught her going and put her over the potty regularly. There were busy periods where I didn't do anything, but make sure she was changed immediately after she was wet or soiled and told her that she could let me know when she needed to go. Interestingly, she potty trained very early, but that could just be personality. My first potty trained very early without EC, my second was very long in learning without EC and the third was early with EC.

    It was a good experience and I think it made me much more aware of her feelings and small communications. I would totally do it again.

  5. I didn't use cloth diapers (or nappies as we call them) because I lived in an apartment without a washing machine or dryer, the laundry being at the far end of the building - not to mention the fact it was midwinter. People tried to make me feel guilty about using disposables (and since I was also bottle feeding - not by choice! - you can imagine what a Bad Lazy Mother I was) but I challenge anyone to handwash in a small bathroom sink and hang dry cloth nappies inside an apartment in midwinter!

    EC is a great idea. But I can understand why it works better for tribal mothers than modern western women. They don't have to take their babies on the bus or in the car, they don't have to worry about being poop-covered just before an important meeting or in the middle of the supermarket, and it is considered normal practice by their culture.

    I'd be interested next time in using baby sign language so my child could tell me herself when she needed to go to the toilet.

  6. I agree about the health issue aspect of EC...I was struggling with MAJOR health issues with Compostgirl ( Rheumatoid Arthritis overnight as a result of a bad antibiotic reaction given to treat a gallbladder and jaundice problem .....which meant I spent 5 days out of 7 in hospital for 3 months... during CG's first 7 months of life...:-( )

    so I needed to be in a routine which could be passed over to Compostman or other primary caregivers IF I was carted off back to the hospital for a few days
    BUT we did use cloth nappies despite all this and Compostgirl was dry in the day by 2 years old, and dry at night by 2 1/2.........

    so I think we must have got something right!

    I could tell when she wanted to "go" and often got her on the potty beforehand, thus saving a cloth nappy from a wash!

    but it was a lot of time involved...and I guess it would have been much easier in a more EC oriented climate and culture....

  7. I have seen friends do EC and it amazes me. Something I'd definitely consider!


  8. I did cloth diapers with my son, with wool Nikky covers, and it worked great. It wasn't too much work (I had a washer and dryer in my home then) and it worked well for us. We did use disposables when traveling, and then when my daughter came when he was 19 months old, I ended up using disposables after a few months because it was too much work at that point.

    Elimination communication is OK I guess, but I think it puts the baby's consciousness is a place that is not really normal for them. Babies just don't seem to be tuned in to that part of their existence yet, as they are to what they see and their hunger pangs. It sounds to me like you've found a middle road with it that might work well, especially your idea of connecting a word with it for later.

  9. I cloth diapered my first and plan on using EC with our next (due in 2 months). I have friends who used it and it was wonderful. They weren't weighed down by having to be on top of the issue all the time. If they were at home, they watched the signals and used the potty. If they were on a bus and the signals happened, the baby would go in his diaper and they would change it as soon as they got off. It wasn't a strict or stressful thing. Some had diapers on all the time and took them off when they saw signals... some only used diapers at night. The main thing was that babies usually use the potty when they wake up and after they eat, so at those times, it was easy to put the baby over a potty, make cue noises, and have them go. I'm excited to try it for myself.

  10. Love reading all your experiences. maria, look forward to reading more of yours!

  11. I read about that method, not using diapers at all. Of course, you HAVE to get peed on! There is no other way!!! Too funny. I am in tune with my baby, but I do not want to be THAT in tune.

  12. Fresh BFing baby pee is nothing compared to washing 1 day old diapers! EC really works like magic if you are relaxed and in tune w/ your babe...

  13. Welcome undercova mutha. I'll be looking to you for tips then. ;)

  14. Hey, Mon, I almost skipped this post because it was titled "cloth diapering"! It's too bad you didn't try EC! Doing this with my son was a lifesaver for my sanity in the first months when we were struggling with breastfeeding. I was so depressed about the breastfeeding, but each time we had a "catch" with EC, I felt elated. At least I was able to do that for my baby, and he sure appreciated it! (and they definitely know when they have to go!)

    I'm working on labeling all my blog posts, so it will be easy to find stuff, like potty posts, if you are interested. I know Wildflower is a year now, but you can still EC her!

    I have always used diapers as backup for Michael (it wasn't the pee that I was afraid of, but rather the surprise poops). I wanted to use cloth, but the all-in-ones were so expensive, and the ones that required a cover were so bulky and I didn't feel right about putting all that bulk between my baby's legs.

    I just want to point out also that not just tribal people do EC. There are non-Western industrialized cultures like Indian and Japanese that do this. And yes, they take their bare-bottomed babies on the bus and in cars!

  15. Lisa, I'm still considering it. But if I had tried it before 9mths I would have gone insane. lol More pressing things to deal with.


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