When asked if cloth diapering is hard, parents who use cloth with most likely say “it’s WAY easier than you think.” I’m definitely one of those people. Once you’ve got your routine down, cloth diapering is super easy and can accommodate even the most hectic of schedules. The one time we will all agree that it’s a LOT harder is when your child is ill, especially with a stomach bug! It’s hard enough to see your sweet little one suffering from a fever, cough, or diarrhea. It’s downright torture to also have to deal with getting that diarrhea off a cloth diaper without contaminating the whole house! Even the most die-hard cloth diaper advocate will buy a pack of disposables for these situations, but if you’re wanting to stick to cloth diapering when your baby is sick here are a few tips to get you through:
- Try Diaper Liners – If you don’t already use them, diaper liners are absolutely priceless when you’re dealing with poopy cloth diapers. Diaper liners can be disposable or reusable. The disposable liners look similar to a dryer sheet and reusable ones are made of cloth. They’re placed on top of the diaper, between baby’s bottom and the absorbent material and will catch all the solid waste, keeping it from smearing into the cloth diaper. When you change the diaper you just pick up the liner, dunk it in the toilet, shake off the poop, and transfer it to a pail or trash can beside the toilet. There is no poopy nightmare left on the diaper and you can simply place it in the pail.
- Buy Kitchen Gloves – If you have a diarrhea situation on your hands, things can get very messy very fast. In these instances, even liners may not help because the poop may run outside of the liner. In this case, a $1 pair of kitchen gloves are a lifesaver. This will allow you to either spray off your dirty diaper or dunk the whole thing into the toilet without contaminating your hands. Before you dunk your gloved hands and the diaper into the toilet, just remember to…
- Bring Your Pail! – The last thing you want is to have a soaken-wet poopy cloth diaper with nowhere to put it. You can’t carry it far unless you want a trail of poopy water to clean up on the floor. I know some moms that just keep the pail in the bathroom, but I always just carried it into the bathroom for emergency situations like this. Once you’ve rinsed the diaper off, wring it out and transfer it quickly to the pail. But don’t forget to…
- Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize – Make sure you have the bathroom disinfectant cleaner on-hand for any droplets that fell on the toilet rim, the floor, etc. The stomach flu and other gut-related illnesses are spread through feces, so you’ll want to be diligent about washing your hands and keeping the doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, trash can lids, fridge handles, and other frequently-touched items disinfected.
- Get Ready to Wash – If you’re using cloth throughout a child’s bout with a stomach bug, prepare yourself to do a LOT of laundry. You’ll be tearing through your stash faster than you usually do, so don’t be surprised if you’re washing every day. The good news is that it will probably only last a few days!!
- Give Yourself a Break – If you just can’t get on-board with cloth diapering when your baby is sick, don’t beat yourself up. The convenience of disposable diapers is very alluring, especially when you’ve been up with a sick baby all night and you’re already sleep-deprived. Remember, it’s not a failure to use a disposable, it’s a success each time you use cloth!
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