Literally. But more on that later.
Our washing machine quit last Wednesday, with a load of dirty cloth diapers inside it. On Saturday, a repair technician declared it “not worth fixing.” As we await its replacement, we’re heading into our sixth day without a washing machine.
“First world problems” notwithstanding, this sucks.
We’re fortunate that our neighbours have offered us the use of their machine, but I can’t bring myself to wash cloth diapers in someone else’s washer. After two trips to the laundromat in three days, we decided it was more sensible to switch to disposables until our own laundry is back up and running.
Save for a handful of disposables that we tested out in Oliver’s early weeks, we’ve been exclusively cloth diapering for the past 15 months. We’ve used cloth through stomach bugs, international air travel and even a 10-day sailing trip! Despite our present lack of in-suite laundry, we are still using cloth diapers overnight, as the disposables are so thin that I can’t imagine they would successfully keep Oliver dry for his 12 to 13 hour sleeps. We are leaving our overnight diapers to soak in a pail of water, since they are only wet, not soiled. Hopefully we’ll have our new machine in a couple of days, and those few diapers should be none the worse for the wear.
We had a package of Safeway’s Mom to Mom diapers in our earthquake evacuation kit, and on Saturday I began using them in place of our beloved cloth diapers. As far as disposables go, I will give these diapers credit where credit is due. They are unscented. There’s no nauseating, artificial “baby” smell (*ahem* Pampers). They are softer than I expected them to be, and so far they have not irritated Oliver’s sensitive skin. They are relatively inexpensive, at $10 for 31 diapers.
They are also paper thin, which some might consider an asset, but it’s a problem for us because Oliver’s pants — purchased with cloth diapers in mind — keep falling down! The rise is so high that the diapers go a third of the way up his back and stick several inches above the waistline of his pants. I guess this is to protect against up-the-back poop explosions? In any case, I’m thankful that Oliver is eating solids now because there’s no way the leg “elastics” on these diapers would contain runny newborn poop the way the cloth diapers did.
I feel like I am diapering my child with paper, which I guess I am. I also feel like these diapers cannot possibly be comfortable for Oliver, after he’s been accustomed to only soft fabrics and cushy padding against his most sensitive parts. Fortunately, he’s not complaining.
But the most surprising revelation about disposable diapers has been that they stink horribly when soiled. I can tell as soon as Oliver has peed, because I can actually smell it! When he pooped yesterday, I noticed the smell from more than 50 feet away. And don’t even get me started on the diaper pail. We are using the same latching diaper pail we use for the cloth diapers, but lined with a plastic garbage bag instead of a washable pail liner. On Saturday evening, after not even a full day of using disposables, the stench in Oliver’s room was overwhelming — with the pail closed and latched! I should mention that there was no solid waste in the pail, since we empty it in the toilet before disposing of the diaper (did you know that you’re supposed to do that?). I now understand why people buy expensive and complicated diaper disposal systems.
We normally change Oliver’s cloth diapers every hour and a half to two hours, but I’m finding that I need to change the disposable diapers even more frequently because I can smell every single pee. Lucky for Oliver; not so lucky for the environment or our bank account.
Disposable diapers are more convenient given our present circumstances, but I really don’t like them. Our recent exploits have only served to confirm that we made the right decision for our family when we chose cloth diapers. I can’t wait until our new washing machine arrives so I can put these diapers back where they belong: in our emergency evacuation kit.