The Good, The Bad, and The Dirty With Modern Cloth Diapering

I love to be frugal. I don’t clip coupons or wrap my baby in hemp, but enjoy saving a dollar when it’s convenient and makes sense (or is that makes cents?). When I found out I was pregnant, my husband and I decided to look into cloth diapering.

You can look up the savings with cloth versus disposable diapers all over the Internet. Instead of reiterating what the price savings is, which type to chose, or what brand is best to buy; I’d like to tell you our experience with using them.

We decided to purchase Best Bottom Diapers,. They are an all-in-two diaper, basically an outer waterproof shell with a snap-in insert.  No stuffing or folding. They are also size adjustable from newborn to toddler.  We thought they looked closest to “normal” diapers, would be easy to use, were highly rated, and we really liked the cute prints. (you can see our two favorites below)

Blue giraffe print diaper shell

We have been using this diaper system for 4 months with Dragon Egg (DE) (with the exception of using disposables when we travel).

Let me add one important note here. If you’re going to use cloth diapers with a newborn, put your partner in charge of everything related to diapering the first few weeks you’re home from the hospital. You will have no tolerance for dealing with them. Also the baby has a lot of stool those first weeks (especially if he/she is breastfed). You can easily become overwhelmed and give up. I’m sure Matthew was changing diapers in his sleep during those first few weeks, but it helped immensely. Another option would be to use disposables for the first two weeks and then transition into cloth diapers. Just remember, you save money even if you only use cloth diapers once a day, instead of disposables.

Moo-licious diaper print.

Here’s what a normal day with using cloth diapers looks like:

  1. When it’s time for a diaper change, we snap a clean insert into a clean outer shell.
  2. Then we remove the dirty diaper. (We have a plastic trash can with lid in the bathroom and process – unsnap the inserts and wipe down the shells – all of the dirty diapers at the end of the day.)
  3. Clean off the baby with wipes and put on a cloth diaper safe cream/ointment*
  4. Put on the new diaper.

*this HAS to be cloth diaper safe. You CANNOT use normal diaper rash creams like Desitin. Desitin creates a barrier on the cloth that prevents it from absorbing liquids. The last thing you want is a diaper that doesn’t absorb! (we learned this the hard way)

We launder diapers once every three days now that DE is older. The first month we cleaned diapers every other day. Every night we unsnap the used inserts from the shells, rinse off all stool into the toilet with a shower head on a hose, and place the inserts into a plastic trashcan with a lid to await the wash. The shells get wiped down and reused or thrown into the wash, depending on how dirty they are.

So here’s a brief summary of what we think about cloth diapering:

Pros:

  • Easy to clean – we spray off any stool and put everything in a trashcan. From there you throw it all into the washer to be cleaned. In the washer, you run the diapers through a rinse cycle, then launder like you would any other article of clothing. We usually add other clothing items into the washer during the normal wash cycle.
  • Saves money, and even more savings if we use them with more than one child.  The savings increase if you make your own wipes and your own laundry detergent – more on that in future posts!
  • The diapers expand easily as baby grows. This diaper system will work until DE is out of diapers.
  • Changing the diaper is no harder to use than disposables (we use snaps, but for those hook and loop lovers, you can purchase cloth diapers with hook and loop closures).
  • Grandparents/child care providers aren’t intimidated to use them, because they look and work like disposable diapers. They just put used diapers in a sealed bag instead of putting them in the trash.
  • You’re helping the environment.
  • They’re really cute! The bold colors and patterns are so much more attractive than the pale washed out boring disposables.  Our baby looks adorable in just his diaper.

Cons:

  • You have to be okay with touching feces/urine
  • It’s hard to keep the inserts pristine white once they’ve been soiled, so we’ve gotten used to realizing that a stain is mere discoloration and does not mean that something isn’t “clean”.
  • Leaks happen, though not often (as baby grows you have to adjust how tight/lose the diaper is).  We’ve had leaks with disposables too.

Things Unique to Cloth Diapers:

  • You must not use normal diaper cream/ointment.  We have tried a few cloth diaper safe creams/ointments including: California Baby, CJ’s Butt Paste, and Angel Baby Bottom Balm.  We’ve found Angel Baby Bottom Balm works the best for DE.  It prevents and treats rashes better than any other brand and is completely worth the cost. It’s incredible how long one small container lasts.
  • Because you can’t use normal diaper rash creams and cloth diapering can be initially intimidating, you also have to educate those who are going to help with diapering your baby on how to do it properly (grandparents, babysitters, day care, church nursery workers…).
  • Consider investing in a waterproof bag to store diapers when you’re out and about.  The one we use is made by Planet Wise. No leaks or smells yet!

Overall, we’re very happy that we’re using cloth diapers. We plan on having several children and I think it’s a cost effective way to diaper. It doesn’t cause a lot of stress and is easy to use once you have a system down. Cloth diapering has come a long way since my parents diapered. Remember, there are a lot of options available for cloth diapering (all-in-two, all-in-one, pocket, and prefolds with shells). This is just the way we’ve chosen to diaper.

Have you ever cloth diapered? Or considered cloth diapering? If so, tell me about your experience and why you would consider cloth diapering in your home.

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2 Responses to The Good, The Bad, and The Dirty With Modern Cloth Diapering

  1. How hilarious! Love those diaper cover patterns! Such imaginative diapers. Reminds me of my friend who has a white cat with black markings…makes him look like a Gateway carton…so friend named him “Gates.” Mom

  2. Sarah says:

    I also cloth diapered….but not until about 5 months. I got tired of the disposables in a lot of ways. We also had the nozzle on the toilet. I thought they were a little extra work, but worth it for all the benefits. I had several brands, mostly bought from Etsy; not much was available! We stopped using them when A was about 22 months because she had weaned her self and was on to eating all regular food. For me, that was enough. We went back to disposable diapers for a time before potty training.

    I ended up giving away the diapers to a few different people. First, my mother in-law took them to Texas where they house some African refugees. One of their biggest complains was the high cost and limited availability of cloth diapers. I was more than happy to pass them on. The other half, I gave to our Pediatrician. He and his wife moved to the area at the same time we did, he from Michigan, us from Ohio. At the time, he was the only Pediatrician short of Portland! About a year after I had A, he and his wife had their first child. I gave him the other half so they could give it a try. When I saw him next, I asked him what he thought. He turned bright red and said his wife couldn’t deal with all the poop! 🙂

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