Washable diapers: How and why ?!
Ah, the diapers. One of the less desirable parts of having a tiny baby, but an inevitable task! With everything that comes with a baby and all there is to know and learn, at least the diaper story is often settled with one of the two big brands of disposable diapers!
But is this the only option?
Is it the best thing for the baby?
Fortunately, there are other options besides disposable diapers! For more and more parents, washable diapers are becoming an interesting option for a greener future and small buttocks without sores.
A greener future
Simply put, disposable diapers are not good for the environment and the planet we leave to our children.
During production, they use wood, water, chemicals and a lot of electricity to turn it all into a layer. After a use of 3 to 10 hours, the diaper is thrown in the trash and transported by truck to a dump where it begins a cycle of 350 to 500 year-olds to decompose.
In addition, when it decomposes, it will release chemicals and microplastics into the earth and release greenhouse gases into the air. It is indeed a single-use plastic ... and it is done approximately 600 million times in Quebec!
Contrary to popular myth, cloth diapers do not consume more water than disposable diapers! Even including production and washing, cloth diapers don't use as much water as it takes to make disposables.
Fortunately, there are solutions. Modern cloth diapers have nothing to do with cloth diapers from generations of our parents and grandparents!
No more diaper pins, no more mega leaks! The new cloth diapers are fashionable, practical and come in a variety of styles and types. Depending on where you live, there might even be a diaper service like Baby Auric which provides you with washed diapers every week!
What are the different types of cloth diapers?
The most economical system, the flat layer is made up of two parts: absorption and protection. The diaper cover is the protection and you don't have to wash it every time. Absorption is a rectangular fold-out tongue that makes it the most absorbent option.
However, finding the right way to fold can sometimes be a trial-and-error process! Your postnatal doula can advise you on this topic during a relevailles visit.
This is also a two-part system, absorption and protection, and you don't have to wash the diaper cover every time. The difference between this and the flat diaper is that the molded diaper takes the same shape as the diaper cover, shaped like a panty. So easier, on the other hand, it is the least absorbent system.
Let's continue with the next two-part diaper: the pocket diaper. This involves inserting the insert (absorption) inside the diaper cover. Here, the diaper cover is found to be on the baby's skin which removes moisture from the baby's skin more quickly. It's also easier than the flat diaper, but more washing because you have to wash the diaper cover every time!
And we end with the all-in-one, the easiest to put on the baby especially if it is the grandparents who take care of the little one! The absorption is sewn directly into the protection of the diaper cover so parents don't have to worry about putting it on a little moving baby!
On the other hand, you have to wash the entire layer each time, which creates a greater risk of fungus because it takes longer and is difficult to dry.
So here's a quick summary of the main types of cloth diapers!
Cloth diapers… no more diaper rash?
Perhaps you are asking yourself the question ... what are the effects on the baby?
Maybe you've heard that cloth diapers cause diaper rash. This is wrong! Of course, you need to change the diaper more often than disposable diapers and wash them well (or have them washed by a service), as ammonia can build up and cause or worsen diaper rash.
When washing diapers ourselves, zinc creams cannot be used. That said, the cause of diaper rash is often the commercial wipes! Yes, even the ones in the green boxes where it says 99% natural!
Unlike disposable diapers, it's important to recognize that cloth diapers don't contain chemicals that make them very absorbent. It is also important to know that for little boys the temperature of the scrotum is lower in cloth diapers, which can promote fertility later in life!
And the biggest advantage of cloth diapers… drum roll… getting clean faster and easier! Wow! What wonderful news! Children know their bodies better due to the fact that they feel more humidity, and the connection between how they feel inside their bodies and the elimination result is not broken like with disposable diapers.
What are the considerations to take note of when washing diapers ourselves?
It is definitely important to read the manufacturer's instructions!
These indicate whether to soak the soiled diapers, whether to hang them out to dry or only to dry them in the machine. Choose the type of laundry carefully, something gentle enough on baby's skin and washing diapers well, but without the chemicals we work so hard to avoid!
Choose powder instead of liquid, because transporting laundry is 90% water, it is not a green practice! Finally, you have to take into account how often you can wash because the diapers must be washed every three days maximum.
So what will be the right solution for you? Maybe the flat diapers and all-in-one diapers for when grandparents are looking after the baby? Maybe a diaper service for peace of mind? Or maybe cloth diapers on weekends when both parents are available to take care of all that?
Every family is different and a little thought will lead you to the solution that works best for yours!