Cloth Diaper Redux

Now that I have cloth diapered one baby from birth to potty training, I wanted to revisit the subject and share what I’ve learned.

1. It is easy. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. They are either feeling defensive about their choice to use disposables (as if that is under attack) or are of an earlier generation when it was much more difficult and annoying than it is now. The extra laundry is not even that big a deal–we had two loads of diapers a week when Sam was a toddler, and maybe one more than that when he was an infant (they poop more and pee whenever they feel the need). We have coin-op machines. If I can do this, anyone can.

2. Different diapers fit different babies. Just like one parent will swear by Huggies while another says they leaked and only Pampers work, different babies are different shapes and therefore different diapers will work best. For anyone starting out with cloth, whether you have a newborn or an older baby or a toddler, I really recommend getting a selection. Use them all a few times, then purchase or make more of the kind that works best for you. Cloth diapers have tremendous resale value, and you’ll be able to earn back most of your initial investment. (Some diaper stores will also take returns.)

2A. Different cloth diapers fit the same baby at different stages. So your baby might have chubby thighs and do best in one type as an infant, then slim down when he starts to crawl and need another type. Or he may need a different type once he starts walking. But since he’ll need bigger diapers at that point anyway, you’ll be able to work with it.

3. It does not have to be all or nothing. We used disposables at night and for most travel for the first year of Sam’s life. Then we found the (more expensive) pocket diaper option and never looked back–literally, he has only been in one disposable diaper since then, and it was when family was watching him and used one of his cousin’s diapers. Using cloth exclusively worked for us, because I am home with Sam and don’t mind the laundry. For babies in daycare, you might want to use cloth at home and disposables during the day. (Ask, though, if you want to use cloth–many daycare providers are happy to use All-in-Ones or Pocket diapers, and some will even use prefolds.) There is also the option of G-Diapers, which have the flushable/disposable liner and reusable pants.

4. There are a lot of different reasons to use cloth diapers. You might do it for the environment. You might do it for your baby’s health. You might do it for economic reasons. We did it for all three. It saved us a ton of money, Sam almost never had diaper rashes, and we put almost zero plastics and gels (chemicals) into the landfill. Two extra loads of laundry a week is not so much water use that I feel any guilt, even living in the land of water shortages. (Besides, the amount of water used in making disposables is way more than I could ever manage to use.)

5. Cloth diapers really are cuter. Even if you use plain prefolds, you can put sweet wool pants over them, or adorable plastic wraps.

So. Any questions?

9 thoughts on “Cloth Diaper Redux

  1. B

    March 25, 2009 at 12:20pm

    No silly, the answer was supposed to be “it Depends…”

    I think my favorite reason to use them is #5.

    B’s last blog post..Two Against One

  2. Jenn

    March 25, 2009 at 7:30pm

    Yeah. It was so hard to hear that I had to try different ones out at the beginning. Helloooo, I’m getting all prepared for the birth of my child and I have to TEST OUT DIAPERS? But, as you mentioned, it is the same for sposies. I hate huggies. Pampers rock my world. The generic store brand that is half the cost of pampers will do just fine thankyouverymuch given how rarely we use them (travel and nights right now due to the amazing peeing boy who can go through a TRIPLE stuffed pocket with a bamboo insert and wool cover).

    But, we tried things out, got a whole bunch used, sold a whole bunch – and found out that I enjoy shopping on etsy like nobody’s business.

  3. Jenn

    March 25, 2009 at 7:35pm

    Well crap. I was here to spread the cloth diaper love and ended up talking more about sposies. To rectify that I’ll share what we used. We started with prefolds (infant) with bummis and kushies covers. Then added wool. Love the wool and the kushies (who knew!). Bummis have always been a bit… to wide? Too something.

    Used my own homemade diapers and still use them now. I have a terry insert from monkey doodlez that rocks them hardcore.

    We have about 20 pockets. Best ones, by far, fuzzibunz and bumgenius. Second best a WAHM from etsy. She also did some pockets with cotton on the outside that wicked. Would suggest staying away from cute cotton outers. Especially as PUL is coming in some crazy cute colours and patterns now.

    Another WAHM does the best AIO ever. It is amazing. Malcolm can wear it overnight. And that says a whole lot.

    In other news, I need to make and sell more cards on etsy so I can buy more diapers…

  4. B

    March 26, 2009 at 7:15am

    Okay on a more serious note:
    You say to get a few different kinds to start: What kinds did you start with as an infant? What worked better when he started to thin out and walk?
    What sources for cloth diapers do you suggest?

    I admit I’m a bit overwhelmed to start this up with the next kid so i’m info gathering

    B’s last blog post..Two Against One

  5. Annika

    March 26, 2009 at 7:31am

    We started with a stack of infant prefolds and some Very Baby fitteds that my mom made, with a couple Very Baby wrap covers and some wool pants to go over the diapers. I vastly preferred the fitteds when he was tiny, then used prefolds for a while. He was a champion pisser, though, and the prefolds we had just weren’t absorbent enough. For the next baby I’m planning to get new prefolds and some hemp inserts in case we have another crazy pee monster. Around a year, which is when he started walking, we started using gDiapers with prefolds instead of the flushable liners, and that’s when we started using Bum Genius pocket diapers overnight. By age two we were using prefolds almost exclusively again (with the pockets at night). I wish I’d had more AIOs at every stage–somehow I never had more than one or two, and they are great.

    Good online stores are,, and – plus there are tons of WAHMs to buy from. Check for a list of cottage licensees, I really like their diapers. Most stores have package deals, which are great for starting out. For covers, I prefer wool but I also love Bummis Super Whisper Wrap–though as you can see from Jenn’s comment, that is another case of different diapers fitting different babies.

  6. Angela

    April 1, 2009 at 5:27pm

    Amen on #2 – my middle child had quite the tush and wonderfully chubby baby thighs, and the handmedown diapers that were her sister’s (22 mo older) did not fit her well and i had to invest in some covers and contour diapers with larger leg openings and more room in the tushy!

    Angela’s last blog post..Toy Daydreaming

  7. Natalie

    May 19, 2009 at 3:22pm

    I think the reason most parents don’t use cloth diapers is because many think you have to be committed and use them 100% of the time. It is much harder to use cloth diapers with smaller babies, just because they go so often. But when you kid is a bit older it makes perfect sense. But then again if you have to use disposable diaper here and there, it’s not a problem.

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