Our two children were raised a bit differently: Jackson has been breastfed exclusively for almost six months, and will be for another six more. Avery was not so easy, and he had to switch to formula around three months old. We also did not discover cloth diapering until Jackson was three months old, and not at all with Avery, so he wore disposables until the day he turned two. My kids slept differently, started eating differently, and had very different temperaments. Avery cried constantly, wouldn’t sleep more than two hours (and took two years to start sleeping through the night!), and was always a very serious baby, not smiling often until he was about six months old. Jackson is easy peasy, always smiling (and smiling early, only a couple of weeks old), only cries when his immediate life needs aren’t met, and came home from the hospital sleeping five hours at a time (all night by 2-3 weeks old).
All of these differences can probably be attributed to basic personality differences, but not all of it. It’s possible that Avery is my high-strung, terrible sleeping, overly analytical little miniature; Jackson could be Big Daddy’s free-wheeling, optimistic, everyone-loves-him, Mr. Popular, little counterpart, but I like to think that we at least learned a thing or two between our first and second babies. Here’s what we did differently:
When Avery was a baby, we were given a lot of different types of disposable diapers, both at the shower and by friends of my grandparents (we were living with them at the time) after he was born. Cloth diapering, for whatever reason, never even crossed my mind. It seems like the idea would have, considering how broke we were (and still are), but it just didn’t. So for him, we tried tons of disposables, trying to find something that 1) contained his poo-splosions, and 2) didn’t give him a rash.
I can go ahead and tell you right off the bat that we never found anything that helped with the rash. Not diaper-wise. We found some solutions to treat the problem, but none of the disposables we tried ever completely solved the problem.
While nothing really prevented Avery from developing diaper rash, certain products were better than others at treating it once he got it. Desitin was the best for him, followed by the creamy version of A&D. (The vaseline/jelly-type A&D was total rubbish.) Boudreaux’s Butt Paste was okay, but by no means was a cure-all. And, although it’s not really recommended anymore because babies can inhale it, we totally doused Avery’s tush with Johnson’s baby powder at every change. It helped make the rashes occur less often, though they still came. Some of them were so angry, red, and raised up that his pediatrician deemed them “yeasty” and gave him a special cream for when they got that way.
As far as his poo-splosions, boy were they awful. When he was a newborn and he had that breastfeeding poop, it seemed like almost every time he pooped, it came straight up and out the back of his diaper. Sometimes it came so far up his back that it was between his shoulder blades. Sometimes it would even come out the back AND the leg holes of the diaper. This meant a clothing change every time he pooped (which was every time he ate! sometimes eight times a day!), and often a bath, too.
Eventually we discovered our first pattern: Huggies diapers, despite looking more sturdy and fancy with their little poop shield in the back, never contained his poop. Not even a tiny poop. Pampers contained most of the poo-splosions, though some still got away from us. Luvs and various types of store brand diapers all seemed to be the same shape and style (and poop-containing-performance) as the Pampers. The only difference I saw was the cheaper materials, but it was hard to tell if they made Avery’s rashes worse or not since they were so bad to begin with. I did notice that the cheaper store brand versions held less pee, so they had to be changed more often, but that probably helped his rash anyway to be changed more often.
At some point (maybe when Avery was four or five months old) he started peeing too much for the Pampers-style diapers and we had to shop around again. We decided to give the Huggies another try, since his body and the larger size Huggies were shaped differently then the newborn equivalents. Lo and behold, they were a perfect match this time. I don’t remember having any blowouts after that (of course we were also past breastfeeding and his poo was less likely to explode out of the diaper anyway) and the Huggies held much more pee than Pampers & equivalents. He was now able to stay dry during naps and I was off the hook for changing his bedding every day!
We also noticed a major difference in the brands of wipes. Pampers wipes are incredibly thin, which some people like, but just didn’t work for us. I can’t even tell you how many times I got poop on my hand trying to wipe with those dern things. Huggies wipes are much thicker and if you know what you’re doing (wipe, fold, wipe again, and sometimes one more time) you can do an entire poop change with one wipe. That makes them more cost-efficient, too. We didn’t try a whole lot of store brand wipes so I can’t say which are the best, but we did try the Kroger kind. Natural Comfort, I think was the name? I can’t really remember, but they were thick just like Huggies.
So the magic equation (or as close as we got to finding one) for Avery was: Pampers (newborn phase) + Huggies (infant & toddler phase) + Desitin + Johnson’s baby powder + Huggies wipes.
What we did differently with our second child
Jackson’s newborn phase went much like Avery’s (minus the extreme rashes, because he just never seemed prone to those). But when Jackson was three months old, our money situation got so tight that we were wondering how we were going to buy diapers. It really came down to making a decision between the next jumbo pack of diapers or a couple of the cloth diapers I’d been researching to start us off. Needless to say, we chose the cloth diaper route, and the rest is history. Our initial purchase of a couple bumGenius 4.0s (they were buy 2 get 1 free, so we got six) and a starter pack of econobum (1 cover and 3 prefolds). Our stash has since expanded (I wrote a post about it) and I came to love the things so much that I decided to write about them. So far I’ve only reviewed BabyLand/BabyCity Made in China diapers, but I’m working on the next review, too.
We don’t ever use disposables on Jackson, not even when other people are caring for him (such as the church nursery or our very rare baby-free date nights) because pocket diapers are just so dang simple. We keep some disposables around in case I get sick or something and get behind on diaper laundry, but they never get used. We keep some in the vehicle, too, just in case I didn’t bring enough cloth in the diaper bag, but those haven’t gotten used, either!
Part of the deal with using cloth diapers is that you can’t use diaper rash creams or pastes, or any other sort of goodies. (They aren’t really necessary anyway, not for Jackson anyway. He has only had one rash in the two months he’s worn cloth.) We also don’t use disposable wipes anymore – I figured that if I was already going to be washing diapers, I might as well save money on the wipes, too. We still keep Huggies wipes around for various cleanups, and on the off chance that Avery does a #2 in his nighttime diaper (he’s fully diaper trained when awake, but wears Huggies Overnights to sleep in). Jackson uses bumGenius cotton flannel wipes that I keep dry. I just have a spray bottle of water and a capful of Johnson’s baby wash in it that hangs on the diaper caddy that I spray his bottom with, and then wipe with the flannels to get him clean. He has an assortment of cloth diapers, even the cheapest of which performs better than the disposables we tried. I’ll be reviewing as many of these as I can over time.
I think that some of the most significant lessons we learned between our first and second children had to do with diapering. We’ve saved a ton of money (and heartache watching our baby struggle with painful rashes) by switching to cloth. I can’t even imagine how many times we’ve looked at each other and said, “Why didn’t we think of this before?” Not cloth diapering Avery is a big regret of mine, but sometimes you just have to live and learn, and do it better with your next baby!