When Miss M was born, we lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. The on-site laundry facilities consisted of a single coin-operated washer and two dryers. Whenever I did laundry, I always washed the adult clothes first so the final load of baby stuff would have as little "contamination" as possible -- particularly the residue of other people's laundry detergents and fabric softeners. Miss M had such bad eczema that her tiny baby cheeks would bleed on her crib sheets at night. Prescription ointments didn't work. I wonder now if cloth diapering would have helped with her sensitive skin, but it really wouldn't have been feasible for us what with the time involved and the expense of coin-operated laundering. We finally discovered Aquaphor by Eucerin; it helped keep the worst of the eczema at bay until she outgrew her hypersensitivity.
This time around, however, I have my own washer and dryer (hallelujah!) and have decided to cloth diaper the new baby. It was a bit of a mental dilemma to come to the decision to cloth diaper. See, it's a giant Unknown. I've never been around anyone who has cloth diapered. I haven't seen it done in real life. I've read quite a bit about it online, but I just don't have any real life experience with it, no matter how indirect. (Okay, so my little sister was cloth diapered, but I was only 5-6 at the time and I really don't remember anything other than the plastic pants she had on). So it was a matter of me deciding to take a leap into the Unknown.
One night it came to me that this isn't the first Unknown I've met and surmounted thus far in my life. College was an enormous Unknown. My mom hadn't gone to college and I didn't really have anyone to guide me as I struggled through college applications, financial aid, registering for classes, etc. I felt so overwhelmed my first year of college as I tried to navigate the world of academics, not even knowing what questions I needed to ask to get the information I needed to have. (I consciously made the most of being a "Freshman" because I figured by the second year I would be expected to know how it all worked...at least as a Freshman I had a bit of an excuse for my stupidity). Thankfully I spent my Freshman year at a private university...the personnel there were much more pleasant and helpful than at the state university I attended later on. Slowly the Unknown became the Familiar and I learned to successfully navigate the bureaucracy. Once I realized it was only the Unknown holding me back from cloth diapering, it was easy to decide.
I hate disposable diapers. Not only do I hate how rough and "unnatural" they are (I couldn't bear to put anything other than Pampers on Miss M when she was an infant because they were so much softer than anything else I tried -- don't even get me started on the Costco-sized box of Huggies some one gave us!), but I hate spending the money for them! I hate knowing that they go into a landfill. I hate being dependant on the stores to have them in stock. And silly as it seems, I hate having characters on them -- Sesame Street, Disney, etc. -- if I have to go with disposable diapers, I just want to have plain ol' diapers!
Having finally made the decision to cloth diaper, I went about searching the internet for patterns and materials. Hubby and I went to a few thrift shops this weekend (Labor Day sales made it a bit of a zoo) and I spent a whopping total of $17 for an armload of flannel sheets and wool sweaters. It may not be enough for the duration, but it's definitely enough to get started on...and possibly enough for the first year.
I printed out the Ottobre diaper pattern, read some reviews on it, made a few minor adjustments, and whipped up my first cloth diaper. It turned out to be about equivalent to a size 4 disposable (with the changes I made). So I re-drew the pattern to make it approximate a newborn size disposable and whipped up my second cloth diaper. I love them both! They are so soft! They won't go into a landfill! They're soft! They cost mere pennies to make! Did I mention how soft they are? And cute to boot!
That's a newborn size disposable in the last frame for size comparison.
I used a quarter inch seam allowance, sewed right sides together, turned and topstitched; rather than the way the pattern has you sew wrong sides together and serge the edges...both for neatness and to make it turn out a bit smaller since the reviews I read said the pattern runs large. I can't wait to get started on a whole supply! But I'll need some more velcro soon...