Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Show some love: caring for your natural fabric diapers

 Modern cloth diapers come in an array of materials – ranging from natural fabrics like cotton (organic), hemp, bamboo and even wool; to synthetic fabrics like suede, microfiber, charcoal bamboo, and other blends. Depending on your baby’s needs, your washing schedule, budget, resources available and overall philosophy you can choose any of these fabrics to cloth diaper your babies.

I personally am leaning towards using cloth diapers made of natural fabrics because my primary reason for going the cloth way is towards being more environmentally friendly and natural fabric is all the way up there on this scale. It’s definitely not a pocket friendly option, but hey, we lost that plot a long time ago! ;)

What makes natural fabrics so special?
They are extremely safe against baby’s skin. It is very rare that a baby will have sensitivity to these fabrics. I have not had even one day of diaper rash with natural fabrics. They do feel wet (don’t have the stay dry effect, unless added) but most babies don’t mind the wetness.
Better at resisting bacterial growth. Completely trust them next to baby’s skin. Also, far less stink issues.
Natural fabrics continue to gain absorbency over subsequent washes. More value for the buck.
They are super absorbent making them some of the most trusted bullet proof solutions for nights and heavy wetters.
They allow baby to understand when she is wet, making elimination easier, read earlier and quicker potty training. (Do we really want that when we love fluff so much, is a topic for another blog post altogether :) )
So when we say natural fabrics are environmentally friendly, it implies that they are easily biodegradable or decomposable, i.e. they will get ruined sooner or later due to break down of the fibres. Now, considering that diapers containing natural fabrics, tend to be more expensive, we should care for them so as to increase their efficiency and longevity.

Here are some tips to use and take care of your natural fabric diapers:

Good prepping – natural fabric diapers need multiple washes before becoming fully absorbent. Use the right amount of detergent and wash in warm water. A good process that I follow and which works well for me is two washes, and one drying followed by another two washes and one drying. I do use the diaper before it’s fully prepped, but for shorter durations. I dare to use them for nights only after they have got around 6+ washes.

Never soak the diapers for a long time – a 30 minute soak in hot/warm soapy water is sufficient. You really don’t need to soak any diaper for hours together. And definitely don’t be too generous with the detergent.

Upon removing a diaper off baby - knock solids off immediately and rinse pee off under a cold water tap. Store correctly until laundry day. It is not advisable to let urine remain in the diaper, this can cause ammonia build up.

Storage until laundry day – after rinsing out, hang the natural fabric diaper/ insert/ flat over the rim of the pail such that the water drips away. Or hang them on a drying rod to drip away. Make sure the room where this system is kept is airy and properly ventilated. This prevents mould, fungus and bacterial growth. If in case you are not able to do your diaper laundry within say 24-48 hours, dry out the diaper entirely by hanging on a rack. Better dry than damp, even if it is a used diaper.

Set up a good wash routine – Pre-wash cold with little or no detergent. Wash in hot/ warm water, and that goes for the rinse too. Clock in an extra rinse if required. Spin and/or line dry.

Ideally wash every day; especially if you live in a humid environment like Mumbai, Goa, or coastal areas.

Resist the urge to strip diapers with harsh bleach etc. In case diapers are stinking/ repelling, I find that multiple hot washes do wonders to revive the fabric. Bleach and harsh chemicals cause breakdown of natural fibres, so avoid them unless absolutely warranted.

So there you go, with a few careful steps you can extend the life of your cloth diapers. It’s really not as complicated or difficult to follow; you just need to make a routine of it. Do share your tips and feedback on how you care for your cloth diapers. Happy diapering!

- Nayantara

About the Author
I am a first time mommy to 6 month old babyT. I am a natural mama – exclusive breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, baby wearing and hoping to use natural methods of weaning, developing etc. down the line. I was completely clueless that a world called cloth diapering exists, until babyT kicked his way into my life. And look where I am today, I think, talk and breathe only cloth diapers. I exclusively cloth diaper my son, and I’ve used almost all types of diapers and various brands, and have finally arrived at diaper heaven
with my tried and tested stash. We haven’t bought disposables since 4 months now.  But I think my biggest success is when I see my son, squirming if anyone even brings a disposable diaper near him. I think this is the biggest indicator that we are doing something right by choosing to cloth diaper.

A little bit of my background – I have 10 years of work experience in the HR function. One fine day after putting up with a lot of stress and health (read: fertility) issues, I decided to call it quits on the corporate world. Things have been much better since the heavy boulder of 9 to 9 work days has been lifted off my back. The biggest gift I got out of this was of course, babyT. I also began my independent HR practice, which doesn’t get much focus these days, but it’s there. I am married to Gaurav, who is equally passionate about bringing up our son the natural way. Together we are amazed at the little wonders that babyT shows us every day and how he teaches us the meaning of true & pure love, happiness and brings more meaning to us as a family.She blogs about her baby raising experiences and adventures at mommyingbabyt.com

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