Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cloth diapers, training pants, and assorted thoughts.

I love modern cloth diapers because they’re friendly. Easy. Non-threatening. Velcro and snaps are total game changers from those plastic pants that would drag the poop down babys’ legs. A new mother or caregiver looks at these diapers and will say “Oh, that’s not bad at all! I could use THAT – I thought I’d have to use pins!” And cute! Goodness, would the cloth diaper community be the same if moms weren’t enjoying the adorable prints and colors on those diapers? And squishy soft, with their plush linings, but still so trim with the microfiber inserts! Modern diapers really bring cloth diapering to people that would otherwise never try it. I’ve met many moms who decided to use cloth, but only pockets or AIOs because they looked easy. After all, cloth is such an investment that you want to be sure you (and anyone caring for baby) will use them rather than having a disposable relapse. And even though they tend toward the pricier end, they still cost less than disposables and can be resold or used for another baby. 

That said, I’m over them - the fancy ones, anyway. Yes, they’re easy to put on and take off, but washing them can be finicky, and heaven forbid you void the warranty by using the wrong detergent. (I don’t want a diaper that is so expensive that it requires a warranty to begin with!) They’re cute… but they’re diapers – unless it’s summertime, my baby isn’t going to be showing their diaper. (Yes, there are those full-length leg warmers, but they always leave a gap at the top of the leg that looks chilly.) I still have some, but they're really not my go-to solution, especially because of the finicky fabric care involved. I can't use most rash creams with them, detergents can leave a build up causing them to become less absorbent, and stuffing them is a pain.

So what do I use? Good, old fashioned, cotton prefolds! 

Some Green Mountain Diaper prefolds, some are retired diaper service diapers, and most were bought used. The only prefolds I bought new are the ones I like the least, from Kawaii – even after repeated washing, they’re not very soft. But the rest – oh! Soft, plush, they absorb without a hitch, they’re easy to wash, they can be folded in different ways for nearly any baby butt, and with a good cover I can honestly say that I never get leaks! I've used Boingos or a Snappi to fasten the prefold, then I put a one size snap cover over them. Done. I can get away with trifolding the prefold and laying it in the cover too. I like the added containment of fastening the prefold – it’s like an extra poop barrier.

I have to say though, I do find prefolds to be more ornery as babies get to the toddler stage. I’ve had to fasten a trifolded prefold in a snap cover while the little guy was standing and trying to play with the toilet paper holder. That’s frustrating. Having the prefold slip around in the cover as you try to fasten it – well, it’s no wonder people like less fiddly solutions for this age. So sometimes I fasten my pocket diapers a little loose, so we can pull them up and down like training pants.

But to my absolute delight (and a little teeth gnashing, because I had something like this idea about 8 months ago, and just wish I could have just gotten some of the credit for it) Super Undies has come out with a training pant that uses prefold diapers as an insert. 
Do you see how there's a collar of fabric all the way around, so you can tuck the diaper underneath and not have it shift? Isn't that brilliant? You can pull that up and down, if there was a mess, you change out the prefold, and you have all the easy wash/fast dry benefits of prefolds and covers with the easy-to-manage training pant style. I was working on something similar, based on Chinese diaper designs.

See, in China, they often don't use diapers at all. They use kaidangku, or "split crotch pants".

 Babies and toddlers traditionally just squat and go where they like, and as they get older they (hopefully) start to go in the toilet. But as hygiene awareness grows in China, more people are trying to use diapers that will keep baby covered, but that they can still pull away quickly to allow baby to use the potty. The cloth diapers have a velcro waistband and a drop front with a fabric collar to keep the prefold in place. I can't copy the image here, but you can see the diaper covers here on Alibaba.

I was tinkering with that pattern, and even thinking of importing those covers. But I had missed a serious point - that design is not child-operated. It's for very young toddlers and babies that depend on someone else to open and close the flaps - people who do elimination communication, for example. Super Undies are meant to pull up and down. Much smarter for Western customers.

I want one. Or five. I could probably spring for one at $35 - you don't have to buy as many as you would regular trainers, since you don't always have to change and wash the whole thing. And I just may make my own versions of them (not for sale, just to use) so I can beef up my trainer collection.

Then again, I hear from everyone that naked is the best way to potty train... and naked is free...

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