The other night I spent a whopping 20 minutes dunking cloth diapers in the toilet to clean off the solid left overs of the boujee baby food that two days ago my wee lad made a grand show of protesting. Pretty gross, huh?
During pregnancy with baby number two, my husband and I swore the solemn cloth diaper oath. We got the 17,000 diaper inserts. We got the 13,000 designer cloth covers. We even got a bidet attachment for the toilet to spray the contents away. We bought the special cloth diaper laundry detergent to go with the ridiculously over priced cloth diaper pail that came in colors like Dusty Sahara Rose and Ecru. We settled on Robins Egg Blue. Learning that we could not use regular butt paste with cloth diapers we purchased organic balms and coconut oil.
Not having any idea how to use cloth diapers we read hours of reviews and tutorials online, which included some hilariously confusing YouTube videos. Whenever we met up with our parent friends we would grill them for tips and advice. We were heavily invested in this kid’s derriere.
During my nesting phase of pregnancy I washed those suckers repeatedly and line dried them in the hot summer sun. One wash might have been enough, but somewhere I read that the more I washed them the more absorbent they became. And by golly, that stash of cloth diapers had better absorb. I neatly folded each one and lovingly piled them up in the baby’s rapidly expanding changing area. Forget the changing table, this kid was going to need his own bathroom.
When babies are brand spanking new they are pretty much biological blobs of love. When they poop it is actually kind of cute and funny. Parents love to talk about baby poop. You think I’m kidding? Ask me about my oldest son’s first month of life and chances are you’ll get at least four poop stories. When babies progress into roughly month six or seven they begin to eat solid foods. Sure they don’t eat much, but they do eat enough so that those delightfully charming and expensive diapers are now disgusting poop traps for the business end of a growing kid. Now, don’t get me wrong, poop wasn’t the big surprise here. The ridiculous process to clean a particularly sticky and messy cloth diaper is what got my goat.
Fast forward to the other night. My son has been increasing his solid food intake, which is great. Although, since he is exclusively breastfed, this whole solid foods thing is a tricky new adventure. He is reluctant to give up the boob. I am reluctant to clean up his diapers. But we push on into the exhilarating world of gastronomy.
He filled two diapers…one right after the other. The thing about breastfed babies is that it is common for them to not have a bowel movement for a few days in a row. For this lucky housewife, it had been three beautiful poop free days of diaper bliss.
So there I was in the bathroom with two cloth diapers filled with poop. Step one was to open them up and remove the inserts. Gross, but no problem. Step two was to scrap the solid mass off the cloth lining. Grosser still, but this when it became a problem. Step three should have been to soak them before tossing them into the wash. But oh, no, no. This was no ordinary mess. This required scrubbing. Being the Mom, it fell to me to figure this one out. The bidet we special ordered to spray particularly sticky and messy diaper loads did not have the horsepower to tackle this job. So on went the pink rubber gloves as I plunged my hands and cloth diapers into the toilet to scrap off my dignity.
After my tactical bathroom challenge I tossed the offending diapers in the wash and set the washer to heavy duty soak. There really ought to be a setting called Just This Side Of Obliterate. Then I put my feet up and took a deep breath of clean air.
Cloth diapers are cute. They are generally far superior to disposable diapers in fit and function. And they are an obvious choice when considering the environment. But sometimes, just sometimes, a cloth-diapering Mom will face the dreaded one diaper that requires acts of heroic love to clean.