This is a follow-up post to my original, To Cloth Diaper or Not to Cloth Diaper, That is the Question. Here are a few cloth diaper problems and solutions we’ve experienced.
Poop is an unavoidable part of parenting. In fact, poop was the primary reason why my husband did not want a third child. No matter what kind of diaper you use, you have to deal with poop, unless you are a lucky person who can hire a full time nanny. Cloth diapers make you a little more intimately aware of your child’s poop because you have to scrape it off. Even if you use a diapering service where they wash your diapers for you, you generally still need to get most of the solids off. Once your child is on solid foods, usually the poop will just plop in the toilet with little problem, but when your baby is still on formula or breast milk, it can be pretty icky.
SOLUTION: The best way to handle poop is to get a handheld diaper washer that attaches to your toilet. We’ve had one for about two years and it makes life so much easier. You just spray the poop off and go about your business. Sometimes they are sold as bidets, but the main thing is to install it as soon as humanly possible.
PROBLEM: The Night Pee-er
All of my kids peed heavily at night. It didn’t matter what kind of cloth diaper I used, my sons would wet them so thoroughly they’d lead through. This was incredibly frustrating because once my babies reached 4 months old they slept 12 hours a night and there was no way I was going to wake them up to change them.
SOLUTION: At first my solution was buying wool covers. These worked well because my son would continue to pee like crazy, but he’d never FEEL wet. The only problem with these wool covers was that I had to hand wash them every single day, sometimes more than that due to naps. With my second child I gave up on being 100% eco-friendly and bought disposable diapers for sleep. I only used them when we would go on vacation or when my son went to sleep. This worked like a charm.
PROBLEM: Diaper Rash
Every baby has sensitive skin, but my kids seem to get a mark just by touching them their skin is so sensitive. So it isn’t surprising that each of my kids have had some pretty mean diaper rashes. What we’ve discovered is nine times out of ten, our kids had diaper rashes because of something they ate, not because of the cloth diapers. For a while we had to keep our kids away from too many blueberries, too much citrus, and not surprisingly, dairy, so with our children, a clear bum is usually a sign that we are feeding them the right foods.
SOLUTION: However, we have found that they did get a diaper rash from diapers at least once and it was because the diapers were washing with general laundry soap. We normally use dye free laundry soap because my husband and I also have sensitive skin (surprise surprise), and I’ve read others who say that you can use regular laundry soap on cloth diapers, but we have found that using the dye-free stuff specifically made for cloth diapers makes a difference. Not to mention, all the poop residue completely creeps me out, so I am happy to pay more for the stuff that says it is specially formulated to take care of the poop, even if it is only a marketing gimmick.
PROBLEM: Leaky diapers
I think most people are worried about leaky diapers, whether you buy disposables or use cloth diapers and we are no exception. We’ve had many a leaky diaper and usually the reason is we forgot to change the poor child for hours. I’m not sure how anyone else does it because we’ve never asked, but we tend to change our children based on our napping schedule or if we’ve heard some suspicious bowel activity, so it wasn’t unusual that once our children got older, we forgot to change them. With cloth diapers, we’ve learned to change them every couple of hours. I’m not sure how this compares to other families that use cloth diapers, but this seems to work for us.
SOLUTION: Sometimes the pee just runs out of the diaper and down our child’s leg, even when the diaper is brand new and when that happens, we know we’ve got soap build up. Evidently this can happen, because on the website for the diapers we use, they recommend using Dawn dish soap once a month or so to get rid of the soap build up. So we keep an extra bottle of the blue Dawn around for the rare occasion when this happens.
Our number one problem with babies and diapers is smell. My husband and I hate that our bathrooms smell like poopy diapers. Now in our house, we think this whether we are using cloth diapers or disposable diapers. With all of our children, we used disposable diapers for the two months. This is primarily because that nasty tar poop is sticky and we weren’t about to see if there was a way to get it off of cloth diapers. The smell of disposable diapers is weird to me, since we’ve spent so much time around cloth diapers, so either way, I think the stink is a problem.
SOLUTION: Our main solution is washing our reusable diapers more often. I know there are diapers out there where you can line the cloth portion with a kind of cheese cloth that lets the wet absorb into the cloth and the poop part can be thrown out. My kids did not like the feel of these inserts on their bum so we’ve never used them for long. This might have been a good solution had we been able to use it. Instead we cope with having air fresheners wherever a diaper pail is and a diaper spray that helps to combat odor. It doesn’t solve the problem 100%, but it works well enough for us to live.