My Cloth Diapering Experience
I know this is, for the most part, a beauty blog, but I adore being a mommy and can’t help but share some of my experiences too…even the poopy ones.
Ever since my daughter came into my life and I let people know I was using cloth diapers I’ve had loads of conversations and questions about my experience and I want to try to answer them and share what motivated me to make this decision. I realise it’s a complex topic and I’m no expert, but I had a lot of concerns before I started too and this blog post is a reflection of my journey and how I answered my questions.
I should start by saying (and I hope it’s reassuring to any mommys or dad’s considering cloth diapering to know) that even though I’ve washed out many a poopy diaper in the last 9 months I’m still glad I did it and will definitely do it with my next one.
When I set out have children, one of the most exciting things to me about creating a human was the chance to a imagine a new life. It forced me to take stock of my ideals and values and think about the level of awareness I wanted to pass on and instill in Hero. One thing at the forefront of this for me was the importance of being environmentally conscious. I have plenty of wasteful habits and it’s tough to make changes once we’re set in our ways. It was interesting to imagine what I could accomplish if I could instill that conscientiousness for our planet in my little one.
Billions of disposable and non-biodegradable diapers are added to landfills every year. I didn’t want Hero to leave such a large and negative environmental footprint before she could walk. I realize I am no environmental expert and it’s hard to have zero impact especially taking into account pollution from detergents and increased water use well and which can impact resource depletion. But as a parent I sought to inform myself, weighed up the options and came to the conclusion that this was something I thought would be beneficial to us and to the world in its own little way.
How much will it cost?
Besides the environmental benefits, I just thought it would be economically sound and besides an initial investment of around 30,000 Ksh (300USD) and buying 4 packs of disposable diapers to date (9 months in) which I use when I’m traveling or for long days out, I believe we’ve saved lots of money. Keep in mind most cloth diapers are adjustable so as your baby grows you just adjust them accordingly and voila no need to get new diapers.
Where do I start?
It’s hard to know where to start and it’s easy to get overwhelmed especially if you’re trying to navigate the world of cloth diapering while being 7 months pregnant. When our parents or grandparents used cloth diapers there were one or maybe two options for diapers (especially if you grew up in Kenya) but now there are a multitude of options on any given cloth diapering website which can be terribly confusing. I did a little bit of research online to try to educate myself on what’s out there. Here are a few blogs that helped me gain some rudimentary knowledge.
I ended up going for pocket diapers and covers and inserts. I used pocket diapers mostly when she was a newborn. From about 4 months on I’ve only been using the pocket diapers in the evenings because I can increase the amount of inserts depending on how heavy she is wetting at night. During the day I use covers and inserts mainly because she gets changed more frequently.
A really important thing to add to your stock is a wet bag or two, they’re extremely handy for when you have to carry a wet diaper around when you’re out and about. There is a 50% chance that I have a poopy diaper lurking in my handbag right now. Ha
What about the smell?
I think one of the biggest concerns I had about cloth diapers was the smell. I was really worried that they would smell up her nursery and bathroom. Turns out, there’s a simple solution, I keep the dirty ones in a bucket with a cover and a large wet bag so there is Zero smell and I also make sure to wash them every day just in case.
How often will I be washing Diapers?
After a full day of cloth diapering there are usually 6 or 7 diapers in the pail. I rinse out the poopy ones and throw them all in the washing machine. The washing machine does most of the work and cleans them perfectly. Every few washes we do a mild soak with a tiny bit of bleach so no smell accumulates. We also make use of the amazing Nairobi sun (that we have almost every day) because we don’t have a dryer. I love the extra disinfectant that the sun provides and it makes them all warm and toasty.
What about the extra work?
With a washing machine and the help of our amazing nanny Doreen I think it’s very little extra work, it’s just one more thing I’ve added to my list of baby chores like sterilizing bottles and putting away toys. Anything that you institute from the beginning becomes second nature and part of the way things are done in your household so to us cloth diapering is just another one of those things.
Are cloth Diapers available in Kenya?
I struggled to find cloth Diapers here but perhaps I didn’t search enough (I was 7 months pregnant at the time). If you’re reading this and have any great leads let me know.
I did find a few options for Diaper covers on Jumia.com, but they were very limited. I did buy a few covers and inserts from somebody who was selling some that she had never used on NEMS on Facebook. I also found the old-school type of cloth diapers that you pin that can be used as an insert on Biashara Street in the CBD. But at the end of the day I bought the majority of my stock online at the following website and had a friend bring them over.
I hope that if you’re toying with the idea of cloth diapering this blog post provided a little insight and encouragement. Let me know if you have any questions by writing in the comment section below. I believe that as mommies we just want to make the best and most practical decisions for our little ones. So go with your instincts and have fun with it!