Diapering a baby has become a bare essential in this busy life.. Disposable diapers were invented for travels but it has slowly become an essential & convenient tool at home. It is so convenient for the parents. But, is it really convenient for the baby & the environment ? Let’s discuss in detail about the practical solutions that we have in hand to make parents, baby & the environment happier.. This post also has a guide to proper usage of disposable diapers as well as tips & techniques to prevent diaper rashes..
I do agree that disposable diapers have given some free time for moms, especially new moms, as cleaning cloth diapers demand your precious time. Nonetheless, the baby too needs some free time – a diaper-free time, indeed !! Invention of XS sized Newborn diapers have stolen the golden period of diaper-free infancy, as well.. Will you believe me if I say cloth diapers help to increase your baby’s weight ? Here is my justification.. Newborns tend to sleep for a longer period. Too longer naps in the day time might affect their night sleep. If the baby is wrapped in cloth diaper, the wetness will break the baby’s longer nap, which will help them sleep better in the night. An interrupted nap demands more breastfeeding.. So, daytime cloth diapering helps baby to feed well throughout the daytime(to meet the nutrient requirements of the day) & also sleep well in the night. In turn, mom also gets good sleep in the night, which keeps her stress levels down & that aids in more milk secretion. All these factors take care of baby’s healthy weight gain. Agree ?!
The chemicals in the disposable diapers not only blocks leakage, but also blocks air circulation & holds unwanted moisture inside. Baby’s sensitive skin inside diaper area deserves some fresh air.. As a woman, every mom would know how free we feel at the end of our menstrual cycle. That first pad-free day of every month will be so refreshing.. Though many would have switched to eco-friendly menstrual cups by now, still we can’t forget our experience with sanitary pads.. Survey says that many babies are diapered for 1-3 years continuously, without any breaks !! So pitiful !! Changing diapers often will keep the baby away from rashes, but still diaper-free babies will be so comfortable & live naturally. Surveys say that diaper-free babies potty-train so earlier. They understand their body & nature, so quickly. They play heartfully & freely as they don’t want to always carry their excretes as an extra luggage hanging between their legs.. Researches say that diapers influence baby’s mood & movement/walk..
By now, I guess you would have been convinced for cloth diapering. Our Indian traditional cloth diaper is not so expensive as the current fancier ones.. It was nothing but grand-ma’s cotton saree.. A single saree torn into custom sizes would serve the purpose. Saree cloth is so soft on baby’s butt & is so easy to wash and maintain. It is so free to wear and doesn’t hurt baby.. It allows ample air circulation.. This DIY cotton cloth diapering suits best for babies upto 3 to 4 months until baby turns to tummy. Just cut out a square or rectangular piece of cotton cloth(preferably from a plain saree that doesn’t have any works like stones/embroidery/glitters), make a triangular fold and just cover the baby diaper area and connect the corners using simple knots(avoid using pins). If you are using rectangular folds to imitate a disposable diaper model, then you might need hip belts/ropes to insert & tie the corners.. These type of diaper clothes are advised for places with Tropical climates like India. If you are in colder places like US, UK, then you shall opt for store-bought cloth diapers with snaps/velcro as you can put it on easily and put pants over it, to keep the baby warmer. When babies start to walk, avoid velcro/snap models and opt for regular underwear types potty training pants. Even if you are in carpeted house, you can go with good quality potty training pants as it will lock the poop inside and won’t drain down pee in the carpet, provided you attend to the scenarios quickly. Below are the products that I used for my baby and these recommendations are not for promotion but just from my personal use.
- Initially I bought AlvaBaby onesize cloth diaper with adjustable snaps(link) and this was useful in the first year..
- Then, I bought Big Elephants potty taining pants(link) and it was too good before potty training days and this actually helped in potty training, so quickly..
- After potty training, I still got potty training pants(with lesser cushion) to handle any sudden accidents in the carpet. These Peppa pig pants(link) serve the post-potty trained toddler period.
Natural diaper rash cream
And coming to the diaper cream, it acts as a protective layer to reduce friction with the disposable diaper. As the disposable diaper hold the excretes for a longer time, the cream acts as a barrier against enzymes present in the excretes. It is mainly used as a moisture barrier to protect the skin from rashes. And that’s the reason, every diaper cream instructions will direct to apply a thick-layer of cream covering the entire diaper area. I use virgin coconut oil/cooking coconut oil as a natural diaper cream and my baby never had a diaper rash. I personally feel that coconut oil is much efficient than store-bought chemical creams. Just liberally apply coconut oil over the entire diaper area covering the front and back private parts(you can’t apply diaper cream here but coconut oil can be applied), the waistline(where diaper waistband is fastened) & the thighs where diaper leg-cuffs hug. Apply coconut oil before every diaper change. Make sure there is no moisture/wetness in the diaper area, before applying coconut oil. If you have used wet wipes, make sure to pat dry using a soft cotton cloth and then apply the oil and put on the diaper. Diaper cream or coconut oil is not required for cloth diapers, provided you check for pees/poops and change the clothing immediately. I still use disposable diapers when going out and during night time.
Choose chemical-free aqua wipes. To clean poop, wet wipes can be used in night time and during travel. When you are at home, try to wash off baby’s poop rather than opting for wipes to clean. Wet wipes can be used in the night time but water wash is the best during day time. Too much wiping is not advisable on baby’s sensitive skin. Warm water wash, followed by gentle pat dry is highly recommended after every poop. If using disposable diapers, when you remove the pee diaper for change, you shall gently wipe the diaper area using wet wipes, pat dry using cotton cloth, apply diaper cream/coconut oil and then put on the new diaper. When wiping, make sure you wipe from front to back. Do not wipe from back to front, as it might bring the anal bacteria front to cause urinary infections, especially for girl babies. Always gently use the wipe on baby’s soft skin. Do not scrub as it might cause irritations.
If you are using cloth diapers,
- Have a separate bucket to collect used/soiled diapers. If it’s a pee, just wash the diaper under running tap water(preferably warm), squeeze the water and throw it into the diaper pail. If it’s a poop, gently dump the solids into the toilet and flush out. Again, wash the soiled diaper under running tap water(preferably warm), squeeze the water and throw it into the diaper pail.
- Wash the used cloth diapers using baby detergent. Either wash it using hands using warm water or machine wash with hot water settings. If sun is available, always prefer to sun-dry the washed cloth diapers. When sun is unavailable, opt for a hot dry in dryer machine.
- I don’t recommend dry pail and wet pail. Dry pail is just throwing the used diapers(after dropping the solid waste into toilet) in a pail until laundry day. This might stink and stain. Wet pail is half-filling the bucket with water & throwing the used diaper (after dropping the solid waste into toilet) in the water pail until laundry day. This might cause a stinky odor from stagnant water. In both these pails, people add baking soda, vinegar and/or essential oils for odor control. I personally don’t recommend usage of such chemicals. As mentioned in the above pointer, always rinse the used diaper under tap water, squeeze out the excess water and put it in a pail(no water) until laundry day. For newborns(first 3-4 months), you can maintain a wet pail as most of them will be poopy diapers. But, always take time to wash it under tap water before adding to the pail. In such wet pail, opt for daily washing. Do not add the water in the pail to the washer. No need to squeeze out the water from the diaper. Just pour out the excess water from the pail and add the diapers to the washer. Be it any pail, if you feel any stinky smell, first run a plain rinse & spin cycle and then add the baby detergent & go for usual hot wash.
- Have at least a dozen or more cloth diapers depending upon baby’s age. Younger babies needed more diapers as they pee/poop often than the older kids.
- Wash cloth diapers daily for younger babies and in alternate days for older babies. Never postpone beyond 2 days as bacteria might thrive in damp cloth diapers.
If you are using disposable diapers,
- Apply diaper cream/coconut oil before changing every diaper.
- Change diaper after every poop. If it’s all pee, look for change of color in wetness indicator in the diaper. Read the diaper instructions for brand-specific wetness indicator. Usually the middle line changes from yellow to blue color. For one pee, you will get quarter or half blue line and for 2 to 3 pees, full blue line. Don’t always wait for full blue line. Change diaper every 3 to 4 hours, even if it is half or quarter blue line. Even if it’s a single pee, carrying it for a longer time might encourage bacterial build-up.
- Don’t use torn diapers.. Remove bulged diaper asap. Once saturated or torn, jelly like crystal balls(those are responsible for absorbing wetness) escape & stick to baby’s skin. If it’s just one or two balls, it is easy to wipe away.. But an explosion of those balls might demand bathing the baby & cleaning the messier spilled place..
- Once used, properly wrap the diaper inwards(by rolling the diaper up), seal it using the provided sticky tapes and drop it in a toilet bin lined with garbage bag. Opt for closed bins(with proper lid) & preferably the ones that open by pressing with foot. If it’s a poop, discard the poop in the toilet, flush the solids and neatly wrap the diaper, seal it using the provided tapes and then drop it in the same toilet bin. Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water, after disposing the diaper. Below pic depicts a properly wrapped & sealed diaper, ready for disposal – view from 3 sides..
- Discarding the poop from disposable diaper may seem new/odd to some people. But, this will be printed in almost all disposable diaper boxes/packs. Below is the pic from Kirkland diaper box that I get for my baby. Pls read the message printed next to Important..
Flushing out the poop before disposing diaper,
- Avoids stinky smell whenever opening the bin..
- Avoids massive bacterial buildups..
- Avoids faecal bacteria from accidentally seeping to groundwater..
- Helps sanitary workers as it avoids stinking..
- Reduces the unnecessary bulk in your bin..
- Follows proper disposal of faeces in sewage system..
- When we can’t withstand the smell of our baby’s dirty diaper, no one else can. So, never dispose dirty diapers in areas like
- Your or your friend’s kitchen bin. The scent of a used diaper is unwanted in kitchen arena. Also to keep diaper bacteria at bay.
- In Flight’s common trash can. You have to drop in separate diaper trash can available in every airplane’s toilet.
- Throwing out of a car in an empty land or in wild as it will pollute the environment & may affect the groundwater, as well.
- In compact places where strong scents might disturb the people inside like waiting rooms..
- In places where food is prepared or served..
- In public places, properly wrap and seal the diaper and put it in a garbage/grocery bag, tie a knot and then dispose the bag in closed dust bin.
- Proper disposal of disposable diaper is highly recommended in all places(at home, during travel & in public places) for a neat & safe planet. Never flush the disposable diaper as it might clog a toilet. Just drop the solid waste into toilet, flush it, properly wrap and dispose the diaper in diaper trash bin, if any. Else, use the appropriate bin, nearby.
A baby’s diaper might take several hundred years to decompose. When each baby requires 8 diapers a day, don’t dare to do the math with this over-populated world !! It is our responsibility to pass on a safer planet(mother earth) to the next generation to live peacefully.. Come on moms.. Let’s contribute our part.. Either, fully switch to cloth diapering or at the least, give more diaper-free time for your lil ones.. Happy Parenting 🙂 And next time, when you goto meet a newborn, don’t get confused about what gift to buy.. Buy cloth diaper set & that would be the best gift to the baby’s butt, his/her parent’s wallet & our environment.