Cloth Diapers: Best for Baby

Many families are spending big bucks for so-called disposable diapers. But the Better Times choice is the plain cloth diaper. You will need 2 to 4 dozen to start. As babies get older, they use fewer diapers each day. Make your own or buy them. One set will do for several babies over a period of years, getting softer as time passes. Eventually they'll make soft rags for dusting and polishing. Disposable diapers are treated with chemicals and are clogging our landfills.

Changing: With chemically enhanced disposables, it's not always easy to tell if baby is wet so they get changed by the clock. With cotton diapers, you change them only when it needs to be done. Each time you pick up the baby, use your finger to check the top of the diaper for dampness or feel the bottom for that heavy, warm sensation. For fastening the diaper, there are various velcro covers available, which are better than the old-fashioned safety pin. If you are breast-feeding your baby, you will find that the diaper doesn't smell quite as bad.

Potty Training. One of the great reasons for using cloth diapers is that it is much easier to potty train your baby and you do so earlier. It's not unusual for cloth diapered kids to be potty trained six months before those using disposable diapers.

Laundry: Scrape off the solids into the toilet, toss into a machine or diaper pail (put about 4 gallons of water and 1 cup of bleach in it). Use hot water and soap, instead of detergent. Ivory flakes is a good choice. Avoid anything with borax or borates. If you use a whitener such as bleach, double rinse.

Drying: Air or sun drying is the preferred method. Sunlight is a natural germ killer and makes everything smell very nice. Sun drying helps reduce diaper rash, but using the clothes dryer works too. When machine drying, clean the lint trap often, especially when diapers are new.

Diaper rash: Avoidance is best. Rinse baby's bottom often. Soaps are not always necessary, as baby poop is water soluble. If you use soap, rinse well. If you travel with baby, keep a little wash cloth wet with water in a baggie in your diaper bag, or make your own baby wipes. Use corn starch for baby powder. Olive oil or cooking oil is as good as baby oil. Your baby's bottom will be healthier for a good dose of occasional sun light and fresh air. Let your baby be without diapers on occasion, but don't leave the baby in the sun where he or she could get sun burned. For certain circumstances, such as traveling, disposable diapers make sense, but for regular use cloth diapers are the best.

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Information summarized from the website of B. Coole Designs, and talks with mothers. http://www.metro.net/bcoole/designs/diapers.htm