Right at about three months into using cloth diapers, I was ready to write a glowing review of the brand of cloth diapers I bought and why everything was going freaking awesome. Until then it wasn’t.
Everything was truly working out great in Boston, but then after moving to Texas, everything got ugly. Apparently I had no idea how good I had it with Boston’s amazing water because the water out here is hard and has made my cloth diapering routine more difficult.
So while I do see myself sticking with it despite some hiccups, here’s some things you should consider if you are interested in cloth diapering or just want to know more about the process.
1 // You are adding another chore to your daily routine.
This aspect didn’t really bother me because I knew I’d be staying home. I do laundry all the time, so what’s another load? Some days it does get annoying to remember I must do a load of laundry or I won’t have diapers for the next day.
If you plan to work outside the home, though, it could very annoying to add yet another thing to your to do list with limited time at home.
2 // Your area’s water type may not be best for cloth.
I did not realize that certain types of water made washing cloth diapers a nightmare. Boston had great water, I just didn’t know it until I went somewhere with horrible water!
To explain, hard water has lots of minerals in it. When you wash the diapers in hard water, the minerals stick to the diaper. This can cause all sorts of problems. At first for me, it was causing horrible smell in my diapers because the detergent was basically not getting through to the diaper because the minerals from the water were so built up. It also causes horrible leaking because the minerals make the diapers less absorbent.
The only way around hard water is to use a water softener like Borax or Calgon. This doesn’t really make the whole issue go away for me though. If I knew I was moving to a place with such hard water (like, it’s EXTREME hard where I am in Texas), I may have considered not going cloth just because it’s added a huge headache for me.
3 // Cloth diapering is not perfect.
That being said, cloth diapering is not a one-and-done, everything is hunky dory kind of deal. I naively thought by choosing cloth that I would be free from any diapering issues like diaper rash, leaks, skin sensitivity, etc.
Cloth is a great option, but I don’t think any cloth diaper-er is without some issues. Your diapers may start to leak when your baby starts to wet them more as they get older. You may need to strip your diapers because your washer doesn’t get them clean enough. You may need to buy additional inserts to accommodate the leaking or for heavy wetters overnight. You may not be using the right detergent and have to play around with your wash routine. It’s far from perfect, but when you do find a routine that works for you, I find it’s all very worth it.
4 // Baby clothing is not made to fit cloth diapers.
This was a huge surprise to me, just something that I totally didn’t realize until I was there. Cloth diapers are big, hence the term “fluff butt.” I chose a particularly “fluffy” brand of cloth too, so mine are pretty huge. Add to it that C is a little peanut, the cloth diapers look kind of huge on her even though they do fit.
Most pants/shirt combo outfits look absolutely ridiculous with cloth because of how small/tight the pants are. It makes the diaper look very obvious. I still use baby pants but I much prefer all-in-one outfits or dresses.
I have also had to size up C’s bottoms to accommodate the diaper. She can wear some 9 and 12 month pants right now at 6 months and she is a SMALL baby, so that’s how huge they really are. It’s not that big of a deal, but still something to consider!
5 // You will feel really bad/guilty if you quit on cloth (or even want to).
When my cloth routine went from easy to having no idea what was causing the leaking, I was ready to quit. There was a period where I was changing C’s clothes as often as I was diapers, which was about every hour and a half. Thankfully the girl has enough clothes for triplets, but still – not what I wanted to be doing!
I remember telling my husband on several occasions that I was ready to quit cloth diapering, but then intense guilt set in. We had already invested all this money and time into our cloth diapers. I felt like I was doing the absolute best thing for our baby and the environment by going cloth, so the concept of quitting was unbearable to think about, much less actually quit on.
Thankfully, I fixed some of my cloth issues and got some new inserts to help our leaking problem. Cloth is doable now, but I still have days where I want to quit.
6 // Other mom’s (and people in general) will think you’re nuts.
Surprisingly, I haven’t met that many other moms who use cloth. I only know two personally, actually. Unless you are surrounded by a tribe of crunchy cloth diapering momma’s, most people are going to think you are nuts for cloth diapering.
Before I had C, a friend had a very long and serious conversation with me about how cloth diapering would not work, how it was so terrible and not a good idea. Had she ever cloth diapered? No. Did she know anyone who did? Nope. I have no idea why cloth seems so weird to some people. Disposable diapers are actually a much newer concept than cloth ones! 😉
I didn’t realize that people would think it’s weird/gross, would judge me for it (but isn’t that everything in parenting? ugh), and that cloth would be the unpopular choice, at least for the people I have encountered.
7 // You still have to use disposables (and you’ll hate that).
Before C was born, I got some disposable inserts to go with my cloth diapers. They are made from 100% natural bamboo and are 100% biodegradable. I was in heaven thinking I’d never had to use a disposable diaper, with the exception of when she was a newborn. Yeah, right!
We have done a lot of traveling since C was born, along with moving across country. There is no way I could have used cloth for travel or moving because you can’t let a cloth diaper sit dirty for more than about 2-3 days before it becomes so nasty/ruins the diaper. We are traveling two more times before the end of the year and then moving early next year and you bet I won’t be using cloth during those times.
I actually always keep disposable on hand to keep in the car and for emergency diaper changes. Sometimes C gets really bad diaper rash lately from a new solid we are trying or what not, and I’ll use a disposable with some rash cream since I can’t use rash cream with my cloth ones. There will unfortunately always be a need for disposables for the way we live. I feel so guilty picking up a pack of diapers sometimes, but I also like having them as a back up in case I forgot to do laundry or something.
There is definitely a lot to consider if you’re going to do cloth diapers. These are some of the things I wish I had known about beforehand, but either way, I am still glad I’m doing cloth. This post may not sound like I love cloth, but I really do!
If you are cloth diapering or considering it, I hope you found this helpful.
Questions for You:
- Is the concept of cloth diapers weird to you? Why?
- Were you cloth diapered as a baby? I was with the old school diapers & pins!