Today’s guest post is by Nishoni Harvey- be sure to read her bio at the end of the post!
“Sweetheart, what do you think about using cloth diapers on Sierra?”
Surprise briefly flickered across my husband’s features before he settled into a thoughtful reverie. He sat silently for a few minutes, pondering this request, before finally looking up to meet my questioning gaze. “Cloth diapers, huh? Why do you want to do that?”
“Well…” I had done my research and had my answers ready to rattle off, “They are a lot cheaper in the long run. Children who use them tend to potty train faster. They are healthier for her since they don’t have all the chemicals in them that paper diapers do, and did you know paper diapers have been linked to asthma?! And since we both have asthma and Sierra is at risk for it… Well, it just seems smart.”
My husband, Matthew, was smiling at me in that unnerving way that always makes me blush. “Nishoni, what about all the extra time it will take cleaning diapers that you could be throwing away? And you can’t just stick dirty diapers right in the washer. They’ll need to be rinsed first. You are going to have to change her more often too, since cloth diapers don’t act like disposable in keeping the urine away from her skin. There will be a lot more work involved for you. And exactly how much money are we talking?”
I was ready. “I don’t mind the extra work if it’s better for her, and it won’t be THAT bad. I’ll rinse the soiled diapers in the toilet before they go in the wash; that’s what my mom did.” When he opened his mouth to protest, I quickly raised my hands and said, “Hey! At least the toilet will stay clean…” He laughed at this, so I went on, “I already change her diaper every two hours on the hour, sooner if she fills it before that, so that won’t really be a problem. As far as cost, there are many different kinds of them. I can get the cheap kind with cloth, pins, and vinyl underwear at Wal-Mart for pretty cheap.”
I was relieved when he nodded his head in consent, but there were a few things I was not quite ready for, things I had to learn the hard way, things I had not considered. That is what I want to convey here so your path with be paved a little more smoothly as you start out on this wild and new, yet sometimes humbling and befuddling adventure. Here are a few things that stick out in my mind that I never thought about until it was too late:
1. The Wick Effect
I realize that is kind of an odd title. Inside every kerosene lamp is a wick, usually made of cotton, which pulls the oil up from the bottom container so it can slowly burn off, giving light. Cloth diapers, also made of cotton, tend to produce the same effect, thus causing the heart wrenching tendency that urine has of seeping out of the diaper if any part of it at all, even the smallest piece, is sticking out of the vinyl underwear. There is a simple, yet very important, step you can take toward preserving your sanity. When you diaper your baby, make sure every, and I mean EVERY, part of the cloth diaper is tucked inside the vinyl underwear!
2. What Do I Do With it Now?!
When you take that very first diaper off, if you are anything like me, you will be actively seeking a place to set the dirty diaper and start to panic as you realize, “I have a soaked diaper in one hand, the legs of a time bomb that’s liable to explode or pee on me any minute in the other hand, and I’m stuck! I can’t set it down, or my carpet will need cleaned!” There was only one option… “MATTHEW!!!!” I quickly learned, and started keeping a bucket with a trash liner in it by the changing table.
When your baby is newborn, especially if you breastfeed, their manure rinses right out. I did this in the toilet, but like I said, my toilet staid very clean this way! As your baby gets bigger, their stool will become solid, and it will simply fall off into the toilet for you without you having to even touch the water. I put pee diapers right in the lined bucket. If you use a trash liner or old grocery bag, you can easily dump the dirty diapers right into the washer! I have learned to wash the diapers every day or every other day if I do not want that… smell… emanating into the room. If you sprinkle a little baking soda in the bucket before putting the liner in, it helps a little, and if you use a pail with a lid, it helps a lot.
Some people simply put the diapers right into a pail of water mixed with baking soda and vinegar or essential oil to soak. It acts as a pre-soak and helps with the staining. I choose not to do this for a few reasons. I worry about an accidental drowning. Also, the water in ours tended to stagnate quickly, the bucket ended up very heavy, and I ALWAYS ended up splashing it on myself! …Ewww…
3. Other People’s Opinions
Be ready for other people’s opinions and smart remarks. Someone once told me, “Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has two of them, and they both stink.” People tend to express their opinions, often uninvited and in a demeaning manner, whether they mean to or not. People will tell you how their method of cloth diapering is better, how they think cloth diapering is outdated or unhealthy, or how they think it is silly to do “all that extra, ‘unnecessary’ work”. Do not take it to heart. They are just trying to help in their own way. Just thank them, smile, and either use the advice or forget about it. If they did not care about you, they would not offer the advice at all.
4. When Going Out
Our first time going out, I never thought about what I would do if I had to change Sierra’s diaper. I never thought about how I would get it home again. I never thought I would have to beg a trash bag off of the restaurant waitress. I quickly learned to keep gallon size Zip-lock bags in my diaper bag!
5. Educate Any Childcare Workers
Because the ladies in the nursery at our church were above 65 years old, I just assumed they would know how to change a cloth diaper. I never asked… This mistake resulted in me being paged into the nursery by a very flustered nursery worker to diaper a screaming baby, who had already peed all over the changing table, the nursery worker, and herself. If you leave your baby with anyone, do not neglect to educate them in the proper way to diaper your baby, even if you think they may already know.
I hope this simple list helps you in your journey! May your journey be sweet and full of happy memories. May the good LORD bless you with a child that is not squirmy, does not wait until the diaper is off to piddle, and does not wait for a fresh diaper before making a poo. Good luck, and GOD bless!
Nishoni L. Harvey is a saved, sanctified, and soul-winning Baptist. Her husband, Matthew Harvey, and their three young children serve faithfully at Hope Baptist Church in Harrison, Michigan, where they are active members. A graduate of Landmark Baptist College, Nishoni loves teaching, writing stories and poetry, playing her instruments, and being a Mommy.
Nishoni’s love for writing started as a young child, at which time she wrote imaginative stories that kept her family in suspense and eager for each new chapter to be completed so they could know what happened next in each tale. She went on to write for the “Blacksburg Times”, a newspaper, as a teenager. She further culminated her writing skills by taking a course through the “Institute of Children’s Literature” and by gaining her Bachelors in Secondary Education with a major in English. She continues to write often and is always in search of ways to use her talents for GOD. Check out her new blog Becoming a Humble Homemaker! Nishoni also just had her first book, entitled “The Fanatics”, published. To learn more about her book, please visit http://www.wordofhismouth.
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