Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Newborns in Cloth series, pt. 2: How do you fold those things, anyway?

So you're interested in cloth diapering your newborn--or at least in considering the possibility and exploring the benefits... and the logistics. Last week we discussed ways to cloth diaper your too-small-for-their-main-stash newborn in a cost-effective way. This week we'll tackle the (not really all that) hairy how-tos!
 1. Cloth diapering in the hospital: should I? How do I do it?
Cloth in the hospital? Why not?!

If you've invested in a separate stash of newborn-sized cloth diapers, you probably want to get as much use out of it as you can, and where better to test the waters of newborn cloth diapering than in the hospital, where... you just don't have much else to do? Besides, cloth diapers are a much more accurate way to measure 'output' and make sure your baby is having no trouble with feeding and digesting!

If you want to use your cloth in the hospital, include it in your birth and baby care plan. "We are a cloth diapering family! We don't expect the staff to worry about learning to use our diapers; we are happy to handle every diaper change." Make sure your husband is familiar with the system you will be using, and put him in charge of changes if possible--your only jobs are to rest and to feed your baby.

Bring your hanging pail for dirties and your cloth wipes and wipe solution if you want to use cloth wipes. Have your husband go home with dirties to wash them if your stay is extended. Having a diaper sprayer installed at home is helpful for the meconium phase, but if you're breastfeeding, once your transitional milk comes in, no spraying is necessary--breastmilk poop truly is water-soluble.

2. Prefolds: How do they work?

The 'fold' part of the word prefold can be a little intimidating. I thought the point of this modern cloth thing was that I didn't have to do this folding-and-fastening thing? Fret not! Fear not!

Because of the ease of wrap-style covers, folding a prefold is a matter of folding in thirds. For longer babies, fold 'the long way,' along the seams:

Folding 'the long way' is great for taller babies. It can also get you more use out of your prefolds as your baby grows.
For shorter or smaller babies, fold 'the wrong way,' or against the seams:

Fan out in the back for best poop-catching results.

Lay folded prefold inside a cover; change when wet! Covers that don't get poop on them can be reused throughout the day.

3. We choose to circumcise. Can we use cloth while it's healing?

You sure can! Your doctor will probably recommend you treat the surgery site with a combination of Vaseline and Bacitracin and wrap with gauze. The problem? Gauze doesn't exactly contain all those oozey meds, and you don't want anything greasy, thick, or petroleum-based on your fabric, because it isn't water-soluble, and that stuff will spread around inside of and coat your washing machine, leading you straight to Repelling City.

So what to do? I can't take credit for this brilliant idea; it comes from the Padded Tush Stats blog and was sent to me by one of our savvy clients. Put a dollop of those meds on a disposable cotton makeup round! The package of them will cost less than disposable diapers, and you'll only need them for a week or two. Your cloth will be protected, your little guy will heal beautifully, and any diaper-changer volunteer can easily follow these instructions!

4. Changing cloth diapers while out and about is so intimidating to me.

Being away from your changing table can be intimidating, no matter what kind of diapers you're using, especially if you're caring for a circumcision or cord, dealing with skin sensitivity, or worrying about getting sprayed mid-change!

The easiest way to eliminate confusion and keep things quick is to either pre-load your prefolds into covers, mimicking a one-piece system, or to use pockets or AIOs when you're out. As seldom as you're likely to be running the roads with a newborn, you should only need a handful of these pricier 'easy diapers' to get you through your errands!

An organized (and organizable!) diaper bag makes it easy to reach everything you need: changing pad, diapers, cloth wipes, wipe solution (a pre-mixed spray bottle is easiest on-the-go!), Butt Balm (if necessary), and a wet bag for storing the dirty!

As for that mid-change 'baptism' that boys like to pull out of their little bags of newborn tricks, I have a counter-attack in my arsenal that works no matter what kind of diaper you're using. Before you unfasten the wet diaper, wipe your baby's inner thighs, right at the crease, with a pre-wet wipe (or spray your wipe solution, mixed with cooling witch hazel, in the same spot). The surprising, cool wetness encourages the baby to completely void his bladder if there's anything left to spray. Wait a few seconds before changing. This also gives you the opportunity to learn what your baby's "potty face" looks like in case you are interested in practicing elimination communication. (I'm not, but many parents love it!)

5. What about the cord stump?

Keeping the cord stump clean and dry is the best way to promote it falling off in its own time. In order to keep from agitating the wound, simply situate your baby's diaper so that it doesn't touch it.

No need for special cloth diapers with notches for the cord stump! Newborn cloth diapers are cut short enough in the rise to accommodate the cord stump. Both the Thirsties XS Cover and the Thirsties Duo Wrap in Size One are cut perfectly for this purpose.

Well, voila! There you have answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about cloth diapering a newborn. If you've got more questions, please ask them on our Facebook Page! I'll turn them over to our expert consultants AND our expert clients to get feedback for you!