Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cloth Diapering and the Flu

We are just getting over a terrible case of stomach flu so it seems like a good time to write about diapering during illnesses. Is this something you've considered? It's not something I'd thought of.

In our case, the illness came on fairly quickly. My daughter and husband got it too, but I went from mild cold symptoms to intense illness in a matter of minutes. Fortunately, it was a Saturday and my husband was home and could immediately take over care of our 1 year old. For me, it was horrible. Fever, vomiting, headache, incredible muscle aches... and then I realized he put our last clean diaper on our daughter.

The LAST thing I wanted to worry about when I was hovering over the toilet was doing diaper laundry.

Now, I've heard from the cloth diaper crowd that cloth is better because there will never be any midnight trips to the grocery store to buy diapers when you realize you're out. I'm sure cloth advocates would sympathize with my lack of desire to do laundry but remind me that it's better than having to go to the store in my state.

But very few 'sposie users get diapers at the grocery store. Many will order online through a site like or who offer free shipping and will also send reminders or set up a regular delivery schedule. I personally like for their unbelievably fast delivery. I once ordered at 10pm and had my kid in those diapers by noon the next day.

Anyway, the other big difference is that "nearly out" is very different for cloth and disposable users. I'd go into panic mode and consider us "nearly out" when we had 50-75 disposable diapers left. This is roughly a week. With cloth, I only have 20 diapers total so I don't do diaper laundry until I'm down the the last 4-5. I'm always within 48 hours of running out of diapers. If I got sick when we were suddenly "nearly out" of disposables, I'd just need to pop onto the computer and easily reorder. Much easier than doing laundry.

Of course, I ran into a snag this time. I was out of cloth completely and we were low on disposables. I went to order more disposables and is out of pampers swaddlers size 3. Unusual, definitely, but a risk from ordering from somewhere. This would be a time to order from somewhere else, choose a different brand/style, or perhaps send someone make that trip to the grocery store.

In our case, I just did laundry. It was a task I really didn't want to do but the diapers had already been sitting around for days stinking up the entire apartment. (We had no poopy diapers in this mix, fortunately.) I was too congested to smell it but my husband assures me this smell was unreal. The diapers need to be washed every 2-3 days or the ammonia build up will require additional washing. Therefore, even if we had plenty of disposables to switch to, the diapers would still need to be washed for their sake.

Now, if we'd been using a diaper service, my illness would not have made a difference. The diapers would have come and gone just like normal.

Just another thing to consider in deciding cloth vs disposable.

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