Kudos to all my friends who use cloth diapers to save money, create less waste, and keep chemicals away from baby bums. I also realize that for many families, that just won’t work. There are, however, ways to limit the number of disposable diapers that you toss. The following tips will be especially helpful for new parents.
Eat, Poop, Sleep – Repeat
For infants, a good rule of thumb is to follow a cycle of Eat, Poop, Sleep. This system works for attachment parenting, schedules, preemies, and everyone in between. To be successful, simply pop baby on the breast as soon as he or she wakes up. Babies who are satisfied as soon as they wake often have a more peaceful demeanor because they don’t have to wait for food. The added bonus is that babies generally soil a diaper 5-10 minutes after a meal, so if you wait for that you may only have to change about 8-10 diapers per day!
Following the same rule, when baby wakes from a late afternoon nap he or she should eat first and then have a relaxing bath. After that, a dry diaper goes on.
Keep a Cloth Diaper on Standby
A cloth diaper on the changing table is a useful tool in case baby goes mid-change. Every parent should have a few for burp cloths, too. Cotton prefolds are also indispensable for dealing with diaper rash. Using this old-school method of diapering while keeping baby on a waterproof pad for a portion of the day can help quickly clear up a rash.
Know How Many Diapers to Expect
Babies don’t have much waste at all at the beginning, so 2 or 3 diapers per day may be all that you need. It is important to carefully monitor wet and soiled diapers. The AAP suggests that for days 1-5, babies should have the same number of wet and soiled diapers as their age. Shortly after that, the number increases to 6 wet diapers per day. Ultimately, Baby should have one wet diaper for each meal and a few soiled diapers each day.
Introduce Potty Learning Early
Having a potty available for babies as young as 15 or even 12 months old is an important step in potty learning. Around this age, babies will gain an awareness of their bodily functions and they can respond very positively to a slow introduction to the bathroom. Offering a chance to use the potty directly after waking up, eating, and changing activities can save a few diapers. The savings will add up over time especially if Baby swaps to undies around age 2!