It’s lunchtime over here, which makes it the perfect time to talk about poop. Well, poop and pee and diapers to be exact. I know. It would be scary to see where the conversation would go if it wasn’t mealtime.
Since diapers are a big part of my life these days, I’m going to be doing a whole three-part series on them this week. I’ll share some practical things I’ve learned and what kind of diaper stuff I love and don’t love so much, but for today, I thought I might just share my experience for those who came here hoping for some entertaining stories about poop. (In my world, stories about poop are always entertaining!)
The magical land of cloth diapers
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I researched the crap out of cloth diapers (pun intended). I was determined to be a green, crunchy mama, like all the others I read about on the internet, fully expecting that rainbows and unicorns would explode out of the cute, puffy-bum diaper and fly around the nursery to remind us how magical our decision to cloth diaper our baby really was. Ok, maybe not unicorns, but definitely rainbows.
And disposable diapers? Oooooooh. I had a lot of distrust for them. They fill up landfills and have weird things inside of them that I’m not sure I can trust. And they cost so much! Definitely evil.
Two beautiful babies later, a few things have changed. Do I still use cloth diapers? Yup. And the rainbows? Well, I have seen many, many different colours of poop, if that counts for anything. And when I’m lucky, that poop is in a disposable diaper. Yup. Turns out they aren’t so evil after all.
Months before my first was born, I signed up for a diaper service. I agonized over the decision. Which service to use? What style of diaper? Were they using eco-friendly detergents? OMG – would they use DISINFECTANT!!? I needed to avoid harsh chemicals at all costs! I finally settled on a service and arranged to have diapers delivered a month before Élodie was due. Once she did arrive, even after all that research, we still managed to put the first diaper on backwards. But then again everyone does that, right? Ok, so maybe it’s just us.
The service was simple – each week, they would deliver a crap-load (sorry, I can’t help it with the poop references!) of diapers to our apartment. All the dirty diapers went into this huge wetbag – pee, poop and all – and the service would take it away when they brought us the fresh diapers the following week. More than once, I snickered to myself thinking about what a clever gal I was to have found a way to have someone else deal with my kid’s poop.
Outsourcing poop duties does come at a hefty cost though. At a little over $100 a month, it wasn’t the cheapest option, but it was a lifesaver in the early months when we were just getting the hang of things.
About six months after the birth of our daughter, we decided to buy a house. After years of living in an apartment, I was just as giddy about having a washer and dryer as I was about having a home to call our own. And I could buy and wash our own diapers and save all kinds of money! Yipee!
At first, it was bliss. I would put our diapers into the washer and lovingly gaze at the cloudy water and dirty diapers swishing around. Swishing around in my washer. I had my eco/diaper-friendly detergent, my wool dryer balls. I would lovingly fold them and put them away. All mine. How I allowed someone to take a crap in something I held in such high regard is beyond me.
Funk: good for the soul, not for the bum
It wasn’t long though before some funky stuff started happening though. And by funky, I mean literally: FUNKY! That first diaper change in the morning after a night’s sleep was enough to burn your nostrils and make your eyes water. There was even one morning where my daughter had a blister on her bum from the ammonia burning her. Why? Why was this happening! I was such a good crunchy mama! I would have to commune with the cloth diaper gods (or rather, blogs) to see how all of this could be resolved.
While I tried to figure out my problem, my baby’s bum got acquainted with disposable diapers for a few days. In the meantime, I boiled the diapers, I washed them on hot, I added special “stripping” detergents to banish the evil residue. I rinsed them on cold so many times, really, I can’t believe they didn’t die of hypothermia.
After a few cycles of this purification ritual, with the stench always coming back after a few weeks, I said fuck it (or rather, rice cake as we say around here these days) and started using disposables at night. I felt this was a nice compromise. Only one diaper from our house was going to the landfill each day. That was still good. Right?
How to poop like a toddler
And then it happened: my daughter started to eat. Like, a lot. Now until this happened, I had never changed a toddler’s diaper. I know, I led such a sheltered life. If you have never changed a toddler’s poopy diaper, you can see for yourself how the diaper might look by following these five steps:
Ok, so maybe it’s not like that for everyone, but that’s what my kid is like. After all this is done, there is one more step for the cloth diaper-changer:
6 – BONUS! Go rinse out the poopy diaper in the toilet!
I’ll spare you the specifics, but let’s just say that my kid’s poop isn’t like rabbit poop, and there was a lot of sloshing around required to get those bonus points.
Being a good crunchy mama, I diligently rinsed poopy diapers in the toilet several times a day for many months. Then I got pregnant again. And, well, if over time I had managed to develop a special resilience to the stench of poop, pregnancy nausea managed to completely annihilate it. At first, I thought I might try to only use a disposable when I thought my daughter might poop. That was like trying to play mind games with a Jedi. So I packed away the cloth diapers for the next baby and got cozy with Costco and their jumbo packs of diapers.
The second time around
Now that my second daughter is here, I’m a lot more relaxed about the diaper thing. I do my best to put her in cloth diapers when I can, but I always have disposables on hand to use at night or during long walks, or days when things are particularly crazy. My incentive to use cloth is that with each cloth diaper, it means one less for the trash and one less to buy, which is nice for the environment and my pocketbook. Do I wish that I could have used only cloth diapers the whole time with both kids? Sure. Is it worth my sanity though? (remember, I don’t have a whole lot of that to spare) I didn’t think so.
If you are considering cloth diapers, or just really like reading about all things poop-related, stay tuned for the next post in this series where I’ll give you the pros and cons on what I’ve tried and my recommendations for gear that I really loved.
In the meantime, feel free to share your adventures in poopyland with me in the comments! Just don’t send any postcards, ok?
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