Cloth Diapers & Babywearing: The 411

The carriers are coming, the carriers are coming!

Boba baby Wrap in Dark Green

Now that our new website has launched (have you visited yet? we'd love to have you by!) we are expanding our assortment. hello Sophie! welcome Jellystone! have you met Driline diapers? And with these small surprises scattered through the store comes one big change - baby carriers! Babywearing is such a natural option for both parents and baby, and we couldn't be more excited to offer this option for IBB families.

Jellystone Owls

There are several brands coming, most of which I'm keeping under wraps (harhar, wraps) until we have confirmed shipping notices. First additions include Ergo and Boba. And stay tuned to Facebook, where we'll announce the latest and greatest.

Ergo in Mystic Purple

Now that you have the skinny - let's turn our attention to the topic at hand - cloth diapers and babywearing! Yes, believe it or not, there are specific types of diapers that work best when babywearing.

Got Compression Leaks? 
If you're baby has ever unexpectedly leaked out of his or her synthetic fiber diaper (typically a Pocket), you've likely experienced a compression leak. Imagine a saturated washcloth sitting beside the sink. Sitting on the counter it is fine, not much excitement. Pick up that washcloth and give it a good wring. Suddenly you've got a decent amount of water in the sink.

This is the same thing that can happen in a synthetic fiber diaper. Microfiber (the usual stuffers in a pocket style diaper) is the most susceptible to compression leaks. The diaper can be decently saturated while your baby plays on the floor and you don't have any issues. Put baby in a jumper seat, car seat or baby carrier, and the direct pressure against the microfiber will squeeze out urine. As the insert is already fairly saturated, there is no where for that urine to go but onwards, upwards and outwards.

Pockets Aren't the Only Culprit
If you are using a synthetic fiber All-in-One or All-in-Two this might also happen. Essentially any time microfiber is at work as the main absorbency material compression leaks will be more common.

So, what now? 
There are a few ways to go -
I haven't purchased my stash yet? Anything specific I should look for when shopping? 
  • Natural fibers - bamboo, cotton and hemp are not susceptible to the same compression tendencies as microfiber
  • Two-piece diaper systems - Fitteds, Contours, Prefolds and Flats - these systems offer two levels of protection - the absorbent piece up closest to baby then the separate waterproof cover. 

Anything else I should look out for? 
Another term for you - wicking. Wicking is what happens when some of the absorbent fabric of the diaper has escaped the confines of the waterproof cover. While baby is at independent play, this bit of errant fabric might not be an issue (though if you ever notice it, use your finger to tuck it back inside). However, if baby is wrapped up snuggly to your chest and there is a 1/4" of fitted sticking out from the cover, this fabric will transmit moisture right up and out, leaving a wet spot on your carrier or shirt.

What about my Wool? The jury (at least, my jury) is still out on wool. I have several customers who report they use wool covers without issue while babywearing. Then I have other customers who report they will only use PUL covers in their carriers. I think the same principles to layering jammies over wool for nighttime applies - if the diaper underneath the wool is adequately absorbent then you can use it without issue. If the diaper's completely saturated in just an hour or two, I suspect there will be some compression leaks. Upgrading to a more absorbent fitted or changing baby more frequently should solve these problems. A sudden issue with compression leaks also can signal the need to relanolize.

So there you have it folks! Feel free to contact me if you'd like any further clarification or help troubleshooting!

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