Advice on Cloth Diapering & Bedside Cribs?

It’s shopping month for me, as sales are only allowed in Belgium in January and July, and an upcoming trip to the US (for Thomas) means I need to put in my online orders. Besides, Thomas and I just signed up for the Cambio car sharing program so we can finally drive to the baby super store. (Thanks for taking me earlier, Marisa! It was really helpful to test drive strollers.)

So, I’ve been researching all this baby gear, but I would love some advice from real parents who cloth diapering and use bedside cribs. Here’s my questions:

Cloth Diapering:

  • What brand do you use?
  • Did you start using them as soon as your baby was born?
  • If in Europe, what detergent do you use?
  • Did you make your own wipes? Out of what?
  • What did you use for your wipe solution? Just water or something else?
  • How many diapers do you suggest getting?
  • If I have a European combo washer/dryer that takes a couple hours to wash/dry a load, am I nuts for wanting to do this? Note: Otherwise, I walk to the grocery store and only buy what I can carry (groceries + baby + disposable diapers included).

I’m currently thinking about Bum Genius diapers with the snaps. I like that they use the inserts and will fit the baby for the entire diapering time. I’ve seen them in a Belgium shop, but they’re much more expensive here than in the US. I’ve been keeping an eye for them on US Ebay, but many have the velcro which seems to get worn quickly.

Bedside Cribs:

  • What kind did you use?
  • How long was your baby in it?
  • How did you keep it attached to your bed?
  • Was it important to have the crib on wheels?
  • Where does your baby sleep during naps when you’re not also sleeping?
  • Did you use a bumper?
  • Afterward, did your baby sleep in a crib or a floor bed?

I’m not sure what we’re currently leaning toward for this one yet. We’ve considered just getting a moses basket or possibly a small crib/bassinet, but they would be more separate from our bed, and it sounds like the baby would grow out of that so fast. We’ve also looked at getting a bigger crib with a removable side, like the Ikea Gulliver and strapping it to our bed. This would last the baby much longer, but we have limited space while the baby is in our room.

Part of me feels silly for asking these questions because in the big scheme of things, whatever we end up doing will probably be just fine. But they’re things that match our values, and if we can find a way to make them work by learning how others have done it, then it’s great to have a little experienced advice. Thanks!

13 Comments on Advice on Cloth Diapering & Bedside Cribs?

  1. Jeff G
    July 16, 2010 at 12:39 PM (4 years ago)

    Hi Dallas:

    I don’t know anything about cloth diapering – we’re destroying the environment one Pamper at a time (1505 and counting at 4mo 19days old.

    But we looked at a lot of crib solutions for when he was first born. We decided on a full-blown crib for his room, but we also knew that he wasn’t going to sleep in it for a little while after his birth. What we found was that the Graco Pack & Play’s that come with the “Newborn Napper” attachment worked just perfectly. The P&P wasn’t too huge – but the napper was great for him for the first month or so. After that, we weaned him to his own bed (and out of our room).

    Good luck!

  2. debbie
    July 16, 2010 at 2:55 PM (4 years ago)

    I cant help you with either one of these as we had Zeke in his own room right away. He was right next door to us and we could still hear him when he woke up. I also liked feeding in the rocking chair better then the bed – easier on my back with such a big boy.
    debbie´s last blog post ..3 week road tripMy Profile

  3. Carrollee
    July 16, 2010 at 3:12 PM (4 years ago)

    I used prefolds when Max was an infant. Then once I was able I switched to goodmamas (they are pricey but I love them).
    If you know someone with a snap press, you can get them to convert the velcro/aplix tabs on your diapers to snaps.
    I think a good starter set for diapers is 36. Newborns go through 10-12 diapers a day, so that way you have some extras.
    I bought my cloth wipes from goodmama as well. They’re knit on one side and organic bamboo velour on the other. If you can find some obv you could make your own wipes–I don’t think it’s that challenging. I just use water.
    I’m all about the obv in diapers and wipes because it’s so soft at first and then gets really absorbent.
    My awesome washer in Atlanta took 2 hours alone for the wash cycle, and I still think it’s worth cloth diapering.

    Sleeping–I coslept in separate room with Max for the first four months and then moved him to a crib because he was just too excited to sleep with me and it was bad for both of us.
    Max is in a crib and has been since 4 months. No wheels, but I like the drop side. I know there’s a lot of controversy over that but it makes a big difference once the crib mattress is in a lower setting and you have to lean way over to get them out. No bumpers or anything in Max’s crib.
    I’d recommend getting something that attaches to your bed or can be RIGHT THERE because when you’re nursing in the night it’s so much easier to just pop the baby on and then you can doze and she’ll be able to nurse and sleep as well.

  4. Nancie
    July 16, 2010 at 3:28 PM (4 years ago)

    Obviously I wouldn’t know what works since we’re due the same month but from asking around on the sleeping I went with a Pack & Play. I have a crib for when he sleeps during the day and when he’s past the first few months but with his room being upstairs from my bed I knew something was needed for the bedroom. I have one of Graco’s with the newborn napper attachments. My friends have all said the pack n plays are very helpful not just for evening sleeping but of course using it to keep them confined for play time plus because it’s portable grandma, etc won’t need a crib and when they nap in other places it’s a bit comforting to have something they’re used to. Also many have said it comes in handy for a changing table too. Mine has the changing table attachment so I’m hoping that will come in handy to use downstairs so I have one in his room and one downstairs.

    For bumper I went the breathable bumper route. They’re not as cute as making my own or the standard ones they sell but I worried about bumpers from the safety standpoint. I have a friend who is a pediatrician and recent first time mom so I asked for her advice. She advised against them since a baby can suffocate when they’re starting to roll but haven’t mastered it yet and then when they’re older and that’s no longer a risk they can use the bumper to climb on top of to get out of the crib. I like the idea of a bumper not just for visual appeal but keeping their little hands and feet from getting stuck and pacifiers not falling out. Though I would imagine my breathable one will do nothing for preventing them from bruising themselves against the slats in the crib.

  5. Jenna
    July 16, 2010 at 5:04 PM (4 years ago)

    I thought about doing cloth diapers for green purposes but for quick and easy I am using disposable diapers. I did find that they make a shower head attachment for your toilet to clean the poo off the diapers first before washing them, which I thought was neat. But they do seem to run kind of pricey. In the first few months with Logan, I think we went through about 12 diapers a day. And how many cloth diapers you would need to get would be based on how often you want to do laundry. I don’t think your crazy, but what you could do is get a few cloth diapers and try it for a few weeks. If you find it to be to much or to messy you can switch.

    We did co-sleeping for the first 2 or 3 months. We were given a bassinet with wheels by a friend of a friend. It was nice having the wheels because I could easily move it with him in it around the house so he could be close by. He didn’t like it to much so we only used it when I needed to shower and Chris wasn’t home or for a nap when our hands were busy. At night he would sleep with us in our bed. Which was nice when it came time for those late/early morning feedings because I could just nurse in bed. After around the 3 month mark we moved him into his own crib with a bumper. And he did fine. If you do plan on nursing they do recommend that the baby sleeps in your room or in your bed with you because it helps with the milk let-down. When your asleep your body will start letting down the milk when it hears your baby starts rooting. Which can make nursing easier and faster.

    Are you apart of any baby networks like babycenter.com? They have a ton of information on these subjects and more. Plus you can get other mom’s input.

  6. Tavus
    July 16, 2010 at 7:39 PM (4 years ago)

    I had good intentions by using cloth diapers when I was pregnant with our first child. I bought one of each kinds out there to test them out. I was annoyed at how big they were though. The babies are so tiny when they are born and the cloth diapers I had just were too clunky. I used Pampers then, and later tried cloth diapering again. But, I was annoyed again at leakage. And I simply couldn’t keep up with all the washing. You can’t just throw the poopie diapers into the machine, so you have to soak them in a bucket w/ water first, wash them out. I did use paper inserts for these but they still didn’t hold the poop. So, then I gave up.
    I admire those who continue using them and learn how to get by with them. With trial and error, everything is learnable and practical. But, I just couldn’t keep up myself.
    So, I would say try them but don’t get upset when they don’t work. And keep in mind that using so much electricity and water by washing the cloth diapers is also just as damaging as using disposables. I know I read an article about this somewhere, I just can’t remember. With disposables, the infants use about a package a week. You can get about four or five new-born diapers to start. And then go from there. — Taking care of the baby, especially the first one, is so hard that you needn’t add more pressure to your daily to dos. Especially if you live in a foreign country where you don’t have your usual support system. –I have another baby right now and I’m still using disposables, even though with this one I thought I would use the cloth diapers. It’s even crazier with two little kids, needless to say.

    About beds – I co-slept with the first child for six months. Wasn’t good for either of us and it was hard to change him to another bed. When we did, we used Graco Pack and Play. Was fine till he turned one, then we got a wooden bed from IKEA here in Bru. With my second baby now I use the co-sleeper. There is two sizes for that. I use the small one. Right now, the baby is two months old. I don’t put the side down, even if I can. Whether you put it down or not, you still need to sit up to pick the baby up. Either way, this bed is small and cozy and fits in small rooms well. Also, you can fold it up and travel with it.

    Have you thought about buying a breast milk pump? I have one, and it has been soooo useful.

    I hope this helps. By the way, I live close to Merode stop if you ever want to meet. I would love to. I can show you the bed I use, and other baby stuff I use for our baby now. I’m here till July 25th. Then back in early August. Let me know.
    Tavus´s last blog post ..Dear Brussels-My Profile

  7. Amber
    July 18, 2010 at 6:15 AM (4 years ago)

    I have the BumGenius one size with velcro, because that’s the only kind they had when I bought them 2 years ago. But I have been using the same diapers for almost 2 years now, from newborn to toddler, and they’re still going strong. I did wait a few days to start them, until the meconium was over, but other than that they’ve been good to go from day 1.

    I will say that I have BumGenius pocket diapers and BumGenius organic cotton all-in-ones. If I were to do it again, I would opt for all cotton all-in-ones over pocket diapers. They are easier to wash, or at least I find them to be so, and they’re also easier for my husband to use.
    Amber´s last blog post ..Feminist – MotherMy Profile

  8. Cara
    July 19, 2010 at 2:12 AM (4 years ago)

    I use Green Mountain prefolds with a snappi or a Thirsties cover, and cheapo baby washcloths and water for wipes. We’ve used them from the start, but she’s only two weeks old so our experience is very limited. One warning GMD prefolds take forever to dry in the sun, but then again we have alot of humidity. So, while I think cloth diapers would be doable if you have space to dry them, you might actually want something a little less thick and absorbent. We use a Moses basket, so I have no experience on the cribs.

  9. Lisa's Chaos
    July 24, 2010 at 7:46 AM (4 years ago)

    I’m not sure I’m much help but I’ll answer anyway. When my kids were little I did try cloth diapers with my first two. I quickly gave up because my daughter was continually wet and then my son kept having a rash – they just didn’t work for me and when I totaled up the cost of washing them all the time I decided it was a wash $wise – and we didn’t have diaper genies back then you had a bucket of bleach water and that was always nasty, washing off poo in toilets and such – just wasn’t for me – wish it could have been.

    I kept a playpen next to my bed for my wee ones, or a bassinet, or cradle – they all had their own things. My middle son slept in a drawer for as long as I could get away with it, lol. My grandkids have done well in the new playpens, much nicer than my kids had. My daughter just kept her babies in bed with her between her and her husband, it does make it easier to nurse, my babies always ended up in bed with me too, lol.
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  10. Brussels Sprout Katharine
    July 24, 2010 at 1:52 PM (4 years ago)

    Good questions and good info :) I’m a part of La Leche League’s forum and they have a pg first-time mother forum that could be helpful. There was a thread some time recently about a forum called ‘baby(okay, I forgot the rest) which is infamous for having trolls and not-well informed mums who recommended ‘crying it out’ as sleep training and putting rice cereal into a bottle at 3 weeks of age (sorry, that’s dangerous).

    The major brands of nappies are generally famous for a reason :) so probably any that you pick will go fine. Lots of mums like Chinese prefolds with Snappis for newborns, which can tailor perfectly to fit, there’s no pins to deal with, and the nappies are workhorses which go on to become nighttime inserts for older babies, and burp cloths (although yours are infinitely more handsome). They’re cheap which for me makes them ideal for trying out CDing. You’ll still need a cover. Amazon sells Chinese prefolds and Snappis very very cheaply. I went for Sandy’s diapers as a friend told me she used them through 3 boys(!)–they have a great starter kit option for shipping to the US, have a look. If you’ll do it full-time, 36 really is the ideal number to have on hand for newborns in order to keep up with the wash.

    I’d highly recommend you buy the Waschmittel liquid detergent sold at Napur Pur or Les Choux Verts because it has no bio enzymes, which can cause a persistent and painful nappy rash. My DD had it until I found out about the cause and switched, no problems now.

    I too just use water to clean DD :)

    Let me know if you’d like to borrow some of my newborn flannel prefolds! It can be nice just to try out CDing before sinking lots of money into it. Since you’re on Cambio now it might be easier to drop by.

    We have the GUlliver crib and I wish we didn’t. It’s a four-sided crib so it can’t be converted to side-war without compromising stability(!) but IKEA sells a drop-sided one.
    http://www.freewebs.com/sidecarcrib/index.htm
    We happily bedshare and our family gets the most sleep that way. DD will be 6mos in a few days (sniff!). I took in all the ‘good mother’ marketing and thought cribs, pushchairs, bottles and soothers were necessary for babies. Nope. We don’t or rarely use any of them. Like a pp I put DD in her crib when I have to take a shower and DD isn’t home. We all love ‘portage’ (babywearing) which, unlike pushchairs, has been shown in published research to reduce crying. Plus she is just the cutest accessory ever :) Tons of mamas do babywearing here in Bxl–have you noticed? OTOH we’re about to buy a Chariot CX bike trailer/jogging or inline skating pushchair, which is approved for newborns to 5 years. Can’t wait to get back to sports, and taking Madeline along with us. When she goes to the crèche in September she’ll have a bottle of ebm, but that’s it for the bottle! No pacis ever since they are associated with lots of side effects that we want to avoid.
    Brussels Sprout Katharine´s last blog post ..Shirred dress tutorial from threadbangerMy Profile

  11. Julie
    July 26, 2010 at 5:40 PM (4 years ago)

    All your friends have such great ideas! I am an old mom so I have dated advice, but I will give it anyway. With Maria I used cloth diapers with velcro outer wraps. I was committed to it but I remember nasty leaks and the velcro on the wraps got stuck to everything in the washer. Using cloth diapers really motivated me to potty train as soon as possible. I just wanted to get the entire diaper affair over with! Funny thing is that I used disposables with the twins and I wanted to potty train ASAP with them too. The difference was that I was tired of buying diapers so we got the girls out of them quickly. Truthfully both methods worked great!

    All the girls slept in their own beds which were very close to our room. As I recall, they slept in little bassenettes for the first couple of weeks and then they were off to their own room!

    Good luck…Have you heard Amber’s news???!!!
    Julie´s last blog post ..Ni Hao from China!My Profile

  12. Brussels Sprout Katharine
    August 4, 2010 at 5:50 PM (4 years ago)

    BTW you probably already know this but breastfed babies make water-soluble poo, so you don’t need to rinse off solids before laundering. Just pop in a long cycle at 60C with a prewash and spin, or set your machine for a rinse/spin + regular wash cycle. Then dry with your preferred method. Do you wash overnight? Then the timing is no prob. My DD is now just over 6 mos and eats a very tiny bit of solids, but still her poo rinses clean in the wash.
    Cloth nappies are always cheaper than disposables, including the washing cost. Check out the CD savings calculator: http://www.diaperpin.com/calculator/calculator.asp
    Brussels Sprout Katharine´s last blog post ..Shirred dress tutorial from threadbangerMy Profile