Diapering: You’ll probably do this one activity more often than anything else in the early days (aside from feeding or staring at your baby, of course). It’s a dirty (and smelly!) job, but the right tools can make it a little easier.
Jessie says: “I tried several brands and always came back to Pampers Swaddlers—soft, absorbent, helpful wetness indicator line, and never any leaking issues. They also come up nice and high on baby’s back (even tall babies) to contain the notorious up-the-back poops. They’re a little pricier, but definitely worth it to me.”
Jordan says: “I started out using Pampers Swaddlers, and the only complaint I had was the price. They are definitely a quality product. When he was about a year old, I finally switched to the Target Up & Up brand, and I haven’t had any issues with leaks and they are much easier on the budget.”
Kayla says: “We’ve been so pleased with our decision to cloth diaper. We chose Best Bottoms based on recommendations from friends. They come in two parts: a shell, and a liner. The shell only needs to be washed if it gets soiled, so you change the liners out each diaper change. We have Velcro and snap shells, and we recommend the snap (the Velcro tends to rub on our baby’s belly and irritate it). They also have overnight liners that hold more, and are super easy to clean and change out. The liners come in sizes that grow with your baby, and the shell snaps up or down to different sizes. Also: the shells are completely adorable. I would also recommend getting the spray system if you use cloth diapers. It’s a small hose you connect to your toilet. We used Spray Pal Cloth Diaper Sprayer, and it also comes with a shield. People always come over and think I’m fancy and have a bidet. Ha! It keeps the poop situation under control, and has been so easy to clean diapers–much easier than I even expected, honestly. My husband installed it in less than 5 minutes.”
Lela says: “I used cloth diapers, but I would highly recommend using disposables for the first several weeks. Meconium is gross.
- Prefolds: big square absorbent, padded cloths that you fold around baby’s body and secure with fasteners (careful, the teeth on the fasteners can snag baby’s skin or your own. Less pokey than pins, but still be careful). You will need different sizes. The OsoCozy brand is my favorite. They have all the sizes you need and have tutorials on their website for care and use. I like their unbleached prefolds.
- Diaper covers: You put the waterproof and leak-proof covers over the prefolds. I love the Thirsties brand. I like the structure of their snaps better than other brands. They also have a Velcro option that’s nice for tiny babies (older babies like to pull the Velcro, so I prefer the snaps for older infants). There are two sizes, one for small babies and one for older infants and toddlers.
- All-in-ones: these have the absorbent cloth and the cover attached to each other. Again, I like the Thirsties brand for the all-in-ones. I tend to use this type of cloth diaper when I’m in a hurry and don’t want to mess with multiple steps.
Jessie says: “I tried Pampers Sensitive for a while but always felt like I needed to wipe Ben with a damp cloth after using them to get rid of the residue. I did some research (of course) and read great things about WaterWipes. They’re my absolute favorite because they don’t leave any soapy film or residue on baby’s bottom or your hands. Thick and grabby, they’re good at picking up messes rather than just smearing them around. Plus, no icky chemicals on baby’s delicate butt!”
Jordan says: “I have always used the Up & Up wipes (unscented), and though they completely reformulated them about a year ago and really ruined what was a fantastic product (WHY would you take away any and all texture from a baby wipe?! The texture serves a purpose!), they’re still an OK product for the price. I appreciate the fact that they don’t leave a weird, soapy residue like some of the major brands.”
Lela says: “I used OsoCozy’s flannel wipes. I just use a spray bottle filled with water to wet them down, but I know some people like to make soapy solutions with essential oils, etc. I find just a wet cloth wipe gets the job done fine.”
Jessie says: “One of my favorite mom-friend recommendations was the GroVia Magic Stick Diaper Balm. Like butt chapstick for babies, it’s great smelling alternative to regular diaper cream. I love that I don’t have to touch pasty goop, it’s super easy to apply, Ben has never had even the hint of diaper rash with it, and it lasts forever (6 months and still going strong!).”
Lela says: “You can’t use conventional diaper cream for cloth diapers because it affects their absorbency. I use the GroVia Magic Stick Diaper Balm because it’s compatible with cloth and easy to apply. Also smells good and has no petroleum!:”
Jessie says: “I did a LOT of research on this one, and people are really passionate about their diaper pails (and outspoken in their hatred of offending products). I finally settled on the good ol’ Diaper Genie due to its relatively low cost, ease of use, easy to find replacement bags, and the fact that it has a foot pedal (because I’m that lazy). It does a pretty good job of smell containment, which is about the best you can ask for from a container full of poop.”
Jordan says: “I initially used the Munchkin Arm & Hammer diaper pail (which seems to have undergone a major redesign since I purchased mine two years ago), and after about 18 months decided to try the Diaper Champ Deluxe instead. I did not like the fact that I had to purchase special bags for the Munchkin when I didn’t feel like it did an exceptional job of containing odor. It also became somewhat difficult to find those bags in stock at my local store (possibly because of the redesign). The appeal of the Diaper Champ is the fact that it takes normal kitchen trash bags. I wouldn’t say that it’s anything special when it comes to performance, but at least I don’t feel like I’m paying its way through college. Honestly, the best decision I’ve made in a long time is to just relegate the diaper pail to the back porch. Glory hallelujah!”
Kayla says: “For cloth diapers, you need a wet bag for soiled diapers when you’re on the go and a diaper pail for the soiled ones at home. We used Planet Wise for the wet bags and the diaper pail liner and loved them. Sturdy material with no leaks, with lots of cute patterns to choose from.”
Changing table, Pad, & Covers
Jessie says: “I got an affordable changing table from Wayfair, and I definitely feel like I have gotten my money’s worth out of it. It has three drawers for storing diapers and supplies and came with a hamper as well. The Summer Infant 4-Sided Changing Pad is nicely cushioned and does a good job with wriggly baby containment, and I love Circo’s Plush Popcorn changing pad cover (I got white for easy bleaching). Topping your cover with a liner is a good idea for extra protection, because babies love to pee (and occasionally poop) when exposed to air.”
Jordan says: “The dresser I use in Jacob’s nursery is the perfect height for a changing table, so I opted to just add a pad to the top, and it worked perfectly. We had pretty limited square footage in his bedroom, so the fact that we could bypass a fairly large piece of furniture was a boon for us. I just used a plain-Jane padded changing pad with a washable cover (with a fresh cover waiting in the top drawer of the dresser), and I never had a problem. I did keep Munchkin waterproof liners on top of the cover, and unless things got really out of hand (*cough* poop on the walls *cough*) I could just wash them as needed instead of taking off the whole elastic cover.”
Lela says: “We bought a dresser instead of a changing table. One, because we didn’t have a ton of room, and two, because you don’t need a changing table that long and we wanted something we could use past baby years. We do have a shelf above the dresser and a cart for all the cloth diaper stuff. I also didn’t like a lot of the baby furniture in the baby stores (it’s so bulky and cheap looking in my opinion), so I scoured Craigslist for a quality piece of furniture and we got a decent deal on a good dresser.”
Jessie says: “We purchased First Years Sure Comfort bathtub, but Ben never really fit in it and always ended up floating down to where the ridge would poke him in the middle of his back. We got the Playtex Baby Bath Cushion to replace it and really like it. We just lay him in the tub on the mat in a few inches of water, and it’s much easier—he can splash and play, and we aren’t constantly worried he’s going to flop over and whack his head.”
Jessie says: “Hooded bath towels are particularly cute (and good at keeping baby warm while wet). I love how thick and soft the Brooklyn Bamboo towel is. We have been really happy with Mustela 2-in-1 cleansing gel (very gentle, cleans well, and smells oh-so-good) and Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Lotion.”
Kayla says: “For bath time, we use Johnson’s products. I will say I am obsessed with their Soothing Vapor Bath for older babies. Any time my son has a stuffy nose, we give him a bath and he immediately feels relief! It’s great!”
Jordan says: “Jacob had cradle cap/baby dandruff for a very long time–probably until about 20 months old. I finally found Mustela, and that helped quite a bit. It’s tear-free, and though more than I would like to pay for baby shampoo, I’ve been using the same bottle for 6 months.”
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