Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Really, aren't baby butts cute either way?

I have a shameful secret: I've been using disposable diapers for the last month, and I'm loving it.

We switched Nate to cloth diapers back in January, after the breastmilk poop fought the Huggies and won a few too many times.

I generally have never minded using the cloth. They're adorable, they really aren't that much of a pain to wash, and they allow me to feel a tiny bit of that smug superiority that environmentalists all seem to carry around with them.

Our new house, though, has a front-loading washer instead of a top loader, and a somewhat old one at that. I'm sure front loaders have improved in recent years in their ability to get clothes really clean, but this one totally sucks. Within a couple of weeks of moving into the new place, I started to notice that Nate's wet diapers would get a strong ammonia odor that they'd never had before.

I'd always been perfectly happy with the diapers before just by running a cold cycle with no detergent, then a hot cycle with a small amount of Charlie's Soap, then an extra rinse. I'd been trying the same routine here, but I just can't get enough water in the machine.

I tried stripping them (running them through the wash multiple times without detergent, in order to remove detergent buildup), but there was no improvement. I also switched to a different brand of detergent that is supposed to rinse out of diapers particularly well. It hasn't worked.

And then, last month, Nate got a horrible yeast diaper rash. It took days and days and a ton of Lotrimin to get it cleared up, and we had to use disposables while using the cream on him. In the meantime, I ran the cloth diapers through multiple hot cycles with bleach to kill the yeast.

The day I put him back in the cloth diapers, he started to get a rash again.

That was the last straw. I told David that I wasn't going to use the cloth diapers any more until we could get a top-loading washer that would make me feel confident that Nate's diapers were getting clean. At the time, I felt kind of bad about it. I'd been using disposables in the diaper bag and when we traveled (I learned on our first trip to see my family in Georgia that traveling with cloth isn't worth the hassle), and I always felt a little guilty when I had to throw a diaper away.

I have to admit, though, that over the past month I have not-so-secretly been enjoying the disposables. I decidedly do not enjoy the smell, which can be awful--we don't have a Diaper Genie or anything similar, and a few poopy diapers in the nursery trash can (which is a really nice Simple Human can with a lid, not something with an open top) can make things really foul really quick. But I had come to dread dumping Nate's diapers into the toilet, using the diaper sprayer (which seems to get water everywhere), and trying to keep Nate from either grabbing the diaper or sticking his hand into the dirty water before I could get everything flushed away.

Here's the thing: Everyone who uses cloth talks about how easy it really is. And it's true. Using cloth diapers is a lot easier than you'd expect using cloth diapers to be. Before Nate started solids, it was really a cinch, because I didn't have to dump and rinse poopy diapers.

But the fact that it's easier than you'd think does not mean that it's easier than using disposables. And so even though I'm feeling slightly guilty at the sheer number of diapers I'm putting out with the trash every week, I can't say I really mind having to take a hiatus from cloth. I'll still go back to the cloth when we acquire a new washer, both because it seems silly to have invested in a nice cloth diaper stash and then use disposables unnecessarily, and also because I really am susceptible to guilt from the tree-hugging types.

For now, though? I'll take easy.


claire said...

Don't feel guilty! There are environmental advantages to both cloth and disposables, as well as ways to save money with both. Your son's skin is the most important factor! And as far as cuteness, I absolutely loved when my son was in the newborn disposables (which he was for his first two months, because he was so tiny). Seeing stacks of those adorable tiny diapers is something I miss to this day. I recently read a blog post about how cloth diapering made diaper changes a bonding experience. I'm glad it works for her, but changing disposable diapers can be a bonding experience too. It's not the type of diaper that makes the bond or makes one a good mother!

Sarah in Ottawa said...

I am glad that you aren't feeling guilty. You need to do what's right for you!

We used disposables for Teddy's first 19 months; we didn't switch until after the baby was born. And we're still running into issues with ammonia in fitted, overnight diapers. I felt so awful when we had a rash from the ammonia build up! I have a couple more ideas for stripping the night diapers but if they don't work - we'll stay in disposables at night for the duration.

But I am sorry about the link I sent you in the email yesterday - you already knew about it!

Oh - and Happy Thanksgiving!

hopeforcambodia said...

Lauren, we use cloth nappies (BGV4). I'm bummed (ha!)to hear that rockin' green does not get rid of that smell! I was going to try it. Ours aren't too bad, as I wash on a really long cycle (we have a bosch front loader and it is great!) and line-dry in the sun (most Aussies do this!). But they do have a certain aroma sometimes that is a bit gross. Still, the benefits outweigh the cons and I have a ton of nappies, so will chug on. I actually won a full-time set of B.G. after purchasing twelve, which was awesome!

I wouldn't feel bad about disposables. They really are necessary at times.

Brooke said...

You know how I feel about disposables...absolutely no guilt here. However, I do admire that you went nearly a year with cloth. Anyway, try Pampers, not Huggies. My experience has been that Huggies are looser around the legs, therefore causing more messes.

perennial-mommy said...

This post is so funny to me...I just decided to go back to cloth and ordered cloth one size all in ones for John Mason. We'll see. :)