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Why We Didn’t Use Cloth Diapers With Our 2nd and 3rd Kids

While cloth diapering is great for many families, you don't have to feel guilty if you choose a different option! Here's an honest look at the pros and cons of cloth diapering!

Cloth diapering is one of those things that is a frugal no-brainer, or so it seems. Using cloth diapers is often much less expensive. It’s better for the environment. And it’s a one-time investment that pays for itself again and again and again — especially if you have more than one child!

However, while we exclusively cloth diapered for our first child, we chose not to use cloth diapers with our second and third kids. Why? Well here are 4 reasons:

 

1. Our Kids Had Extremely Sensitive Skin

Kathrynne, our first daughter, had no issues with cloth diapers. Which was a huge blessing because we had no money at that season of our lives. And I do mean no money.

Some friends of ours gifted us a full set of Fuzzi Bunz diapers and it was one of the best gifts ever. We never invested a dime in diapers — other than paying for the laundry supplies and electricity to run the washer and dryer.

But when Kaitlynn came along, it was a different story. Every kind of cloth diaper broke her skin out. We tried a few different brands. I tried putting them on different ways. I tried washing them different ways.

To no avail.

Only Pampers diapers didn’t break her out. So I finally just gave in and gave up on my plans to exclusively cloth diaper her, too.

2. I Learned How to Get Diapers for Free

By the time Kaitlynn came along, I had discovered this thing called Drugstore Shopping. By carefully pairing coupons and sales with rebate deals, I was able to not only get groceries for free, but I was also able to get overage — and I used that overage to cover the cost of diapers.

When Silas was born, I had learned about Swagbucks and I was able to use my p

 

oints called SB to earn free Amazon gift cards that I used to buy diapers for him. Best of all, when he was a baby and toddler, Amazon Mom did all sorts of incredible promotions that netted all of us some of the hottest diaper steals. I kid you not, the prices were insane — like $1 to $2 per package of name brand diapers shipped!

Why We Chose Not to Cloth Diaper

 

3. I Found the Washing of Diapers to Be Very Time-Consuming

Okay, so this might brand me as utterly lazy, but after a year and a half of washing diapers multiple times per week, I was just plain tired of washing them. You always had to stay ahead. You always had wet and dirty diapers in your laundry room and it seemed like you always, always needed to be washing more diapers.

After my third child was born, I was stretched so thin and struggling with exhaustion and postpartum depression that messing with cloth diapers just felt overwhelming to me. Just being honest here…!

4. I Was Tired of the Stink

 

And to be perfectly honest, I was tired of the stink. Despite what people will tell you, one of the unpleasant side effects of cloth diapers is that they do stink. You can put them in the most expensive stink-proof bags on the market, but when you dump them into the washing machine to wash them, it’s going to stink… and it can be a pretty overpowering smell.

Now here’s the thing: I still think cloth diapers are a great decision for many families! It’s a great way to save money and I’m so glad we had that option when Kathrynne was a baby.

However, I thought that an honest article like this on the cons of cloth diapering and why we didn’t exclusively cloth diaper all of our kids might be helpful to some of you who are in the middle of deciding whether to take the plunge or not.

Why We Chose Not to Cloth Diaper With Our 2nd and 3rd Child

As always, do what works best for you and your family. And don’t feel guilty if it’s completely different than another family!

Do you use cloth diapers? Why or why not? I’d love to hear!

 

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123 Comments

  • I have seven children. I didn’t start cloth diapering until #5. I agree with all of your points. I do find that it is very easy to end up with skin issues if I am even one day late in stripping them, which isn’t always practical to have to be that regimented.

    I have found that as I have had #5, #6, and now #7, I still cloth diaper, but I do use more disposable now than I used to. I was cloth exclusively for #5, but now with #7 in diapers and #6 still in them at night, I do prefer using a disposable for nighttime, and if I just can’t get to washing them on the right day, then I run out of my cloth and am stuck with disposable, which I kind of like 😉 so I may or may not do that on purpose occasionally 😉

    For me, I do still prefer to cloth diaper, but I am not afraid to use disposable when I need to in order to make my life easier.

    • I have 7 kids as well, and my thoughts are similar. My kids had no issues with sensitivity, but I’ve found that where I have been living in recent years has municipal water that doesn’t work well with diapers, even after trying many different types of detergents. So I’ve had FAR more trouble with diapers not rinsing well (which leads to major stinkage and even leaking).

      My youngest baby wets so much at night that even disposables barely contain the pee.

      I use either Naty’s disposable or Earth’s Best, which I get in bulk from Amazon at great prices. Cloth diapers are definitely my first preference though, just for cuteness factor!

      • Jacquelyn says:

        I used cloth diapers with my 2nd and 3rd kids, and as much as we were excited to use them, we found that they didn’t provide the money and environmental savings we’d hoped. We live in a rural area with well water that is very hard, which means we were having to wash each load of diapers over and over and over to get them clean, and there was still always a lingering smell from the buildup in the fabric. We tried every type of diaper detergent, additive, and trick we could find on the internet, and nothing helped. We even replaced our front-loader with a top-loader washing machine so we could soak them longer, but the problem persisted. Running the washing machine 5-6 times per load used such a ridiculous amount of detergent, water and energy that we eventually gave it up. I used Amazon Mom (back when they still had great deals) and drugstore couponing to get disposable diapers for free or cheap. So by comparison, it was costing a LOT more to run the washing machine for cloth diapers than to buy disposables. It’s sad that I still have dozens of adorable Fuzzibunz that I love, with my 3rd and 4th kids still in diapers and another baby on the way, but short of investing in a household water-softening system, it just doesn’t make sense to use them! 🙁

        • We lived at my in-laws for a time while building our house. They have well water. That’s the pits. I surrendered completely then, too!

          • Tejas says:

            I did 5 kids in cloth diapers and would absolutely do it again! This was the old plain, white kind with diaper pins and Gerber plastic pants on top. We still use those old soft diapers for various things, and the 25 year old elastic in the plastic pants still stretches!

        • Kirsten S says:

          I also live in a rural area. We cloth diapered 2 kids and watched my 2 nieces that we also used our stash on. All of that to say for nearly 5.5 yrs we cloth diapered at least one kid. The only thing that ever worked for me was to use Rocking Green Hard rock. We still prefer to use Rocking Green for all of our laundry. 🙂

        • Jennifer Clark says:

          You shouldn’t have to use a “diaper” detergent. 9 times out of 10, what you currently use on your regular laundry is perfectly acceptable. No fabric softeners, no optic brighteners. Otherwise, it’s whatever you want! That was probably your problem. Use a good, strong detergent, and enough of it!

    • Jennifer Clark says:

      You shouldn’t have to strip regularly. Only in extreme circumstances & certainly not as part of your regular routine! I’ve only stripped used diapers & once when I had received bad wash advice. I’d love to help you fix your routine so it’s not so much work for you!

      • Mykel says:

        Washing is my only fear in my choice to cd. If you are offering advice on simple, effective washing, I will happily take it. Due with my first Sept 27th.
        TIA!
        Missmykel@gmail.com

        • Sandra says:

          Our son is 53 years old and we used cloth diapers. Disposables were just coming out. I washed them every other day. I had read in “Hints to Heloise” to do a second rinse with 1 cup of vinegar. I had no problems with soap residue and the diapers stayed white. About the only time my son had a rash was when I was in the hospital and my mother in law washed them without the second rinse.

          • Mykel Giittinger says:

            Thank you! She’s 4 now and we successfully potty trained at 2, but cloth diapered whole time. Thanks again for reply!!!

        • Melissa says:

          Don’t let dirty diapers sit. Keep a 5gal bucket of sudsy water (away from where like can get it or keep a tight lid on it) rinse diaper after change and put into water, dump bucket into washing machine after kids go to bed, run on normal cycle with whatever detergent you like (I use cheap non perfume kinds cause we have sensitive skin and wallet) Enjoy quiet while wash cycle runs then put into dryer on a normal cycle. Go to bed and get some much needed sleep. At some point after the morning crazy dump diapers from dryer into small basket, place in convenient location to grab for changes. (I avoid folding laundry as much as possible personally) when day is done repeat washing cycle. *psst I also wash other stuff with diapers since they’ve already been rinsed and soaked. Usually baby clothes and everyday rags (I don’t use paper towels I have old towels cut up that work better and cost much less)

      • Candace says:

        Those of you that have problems with cloth diapering, you should check out the website http://www.fluffloveuniversity.com because I can almost guarantee you it’s because they’re not being washed properly! Ours don’t smell bad at all & we never EVER strip them! They smell slightly bad after 5 days of sitting, but not overwhelmingly so. Also, we never get rashes anymore and we are saving so much. $$$$!!! Also, I don’t have to worry about putting chemicals on my baby’s bottom.

  • Amy says:

    We planned to cloth diaper our daughter (now 17months)–I really liked the “green” aspect. But she has super-sensitive skin, too (she’s a surprise redhead!!) She HAS to have a heavy layer of diaper cream (the commercial brands–not the cloth-friendly ones) and they can’t really be used with cloth diapers, so we use disposables. It used to be my biggest source of “Mommy Guilt” but I accept it now.

  • Karah says:

    One of the reasons we decided not to do cloth diapering is because is just did not fit in with the season of life that we were in. Before our second came, life was so chaotic that laundry was so often left to collect. We just KNEW we would not take the time to keep up on cloth diapering, despite our best intentions! 🙂

    Also, I am only pointing this out because if it were me, I’d want to know. In your first point, there’s a typo. “To no available.” I think you meant to write “To no avail.” Autocorrect can be such a stinker. 😉

  • Katherine says:

    I cloth diapered my first almost exclusively. When I was pregnant with my 2nd I got new diapers and was super excited to use them. She got thrush, and a yeast rash and I could never get the yeast out of the diapers. I stripped them multiple times and did everything I could find. Needless to say I use disposable diapers that we buy from a warehouse store reasonably. With baby 3 on the way I’d love to cloth again, but I doubt it will happen as I don’t want to buy more diapers!

  • Michelle says:

    After cloth diapering our 2nd child for almost a year, I stopped. Not sure I really gave up as much as I knew what I could handle at the time. Except our child wasn’t sensitive to them, but had a dairy issue we were not aware of and made every diaper utterly disgusting! After about a year I was too frustrated with the whole process including the smell and the constant pile of diapers to wash. Thankfully I was able to resell them at a rummage sale to a woman who was trilled to get them! Factoring in our investment, using for a year, and reselling we broke even. I think it’s wise to assess as our seasons of life change, knowing what we can do and what we simply can not. 🙂

  • I hear ya! I was so tired of washing diapers that I couldn’t bear to start up again after #2 arrived. It’s the constant cycle of never being done that wore on me. My frugality has its limits!

  • S Jones says:

    I exclusively cloth diapered my first daughter and also did NOT do it for my second. I didn’t have any issue with the time it took to wash them or the stink. I had very good wet bags and a huge stash (it was a bit of an obsession), so those things weren’t a problem. However, my second daughter DID have the sensitivity issue. She would get fussy whenever we put her in cloth. It didn’t matter the type of diaper or material it was made from. It made no difference what washing routine I tried. She hated being in cloth! It made me sad to not get to see her in all her cute cloth diapers; there’s something so sweet about a fluffy bum. But, she was happier in Huggies.

  • Kristine says:

    I just had my third child and just decided to start cloth diapering. I started because having two in diapers was killing our budget. I’m not super great at couponing for diapers but would still manage some pretty good deals. Even with that we just can’t afford it on one income. Also, My kids have sensitive skin and I’m finding were having less problems (no more diaper rash or general skin irritation) using cloth. Another reason is that my two youngest are LARGE babies. My just turned two year old is over 35 pounds and wears size 4-5 and my just turned 2 month old is 18 lbs and wears 9 month clothing. I started having a hard time finding diapers that fit my 2 year old. All of the largest size disposables just don’t fit her and she’s no where near ready for potty training (although we are trying). We recently had to purchase a new washer and dryer and without them I think it would be more difficult. We’re using the K.I.S.S. method. We try to wash every night or the next morning so they never sit to long. That helps with the smell and the cleanliness of them. I also did a lot of research for a good brand/style of diapers, which I think makes a big difference. We’ve been at it about a month so far and it’s working wonders. I’m sure there will be struggles but for all of the benefits I can’t go back now!

    • Christina says:

      What kind of cloth did you go with? I’ve got one on the way and put my 2 year old in one at naps and nights since he feels like he is no longer supposed to where them. I think a cloth might work better. Sticker rewards did the trick for him actually (smileys from the dollar tree). 1 sticker for #1 and 2 for #2, I think it took less than a couple weeks. I’ve heard that cloth diapering is also better for getting them trained faster. I am motivated to try training sooner with this next one but I know every child is different. I just know they are way smarter than we know so it’s worth the effort.

      • Kristine says:

        We went with GroVia. We like their hybrids because we can reuse the shell as long as it wasn’t a mess, and the disposable inserts are great for traveling. We use the O.N.E. diapers for at night though. They fit both kids really well and I thinks we’ve only had one or two leaks since we started, both of which were because we waited just a bit to long to change them. They are super flexible and wash up well!

  • Aimee says:

    Yes! I appreciate your honesty! I’ve never cloth diapered, mostly because the time required to constantly launder diapers has never appealed to me. With my first two kids I was working and there was no way I was spending my valuable time at home cleaning diapers. With the third baby, it didn’t seem like a good investment because I knew she was our last.

  • Jayme says:

    I am about to have my 2nd, and will be using disposables again. My husband and I both work outside of the home and will have to do infant daycare where they won’t do cloth. For the 12 weeks of maternity leave, I figured I might as well get baby#2 used to them instead of switching. I may try Amazon mom this time. I used BJs wholesale the last time because they had their own coupons and I could stack the manufacturer’s on top. I had the BJs reward card and ended up making about $50 bucks back and end of year, plus it paid for membership.

  • Annie says:

    I used disposables with my first baby, and then I switched to cloth diapers when my second child was born because it was the “fad” at the time. A couple of years later I was at an environmental conference, and I asked one of the experts for her opinion of which diapering system is better. She said that when you consider the water, electricity, detergent, etc., cloth diapers are no better for the environment than disposables.

  • Sarah says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only who gave up cloth diapering. My daughter had rash after rash from cloth diapers (we tried all kinds of cloth and creams and washes and etc….) I sold the cloth diapers and started using coupons and amazon mom for diaper deals. I don’t regret it at all.

  • dawn says:

    I did a mix of cloth and disposable with my first child. The longer I used the diapers, the more difficult it became to get the stink out. I did not persist, as many of you have commented, however, in trying every trick in the book. Luckily for me, the stink started to happen towards the beginning of potty training, so for the partial days that my child was in cloth diapers, it worked. I only put cloth diapers on for sleep when we ran out of disposable. I like cloth diapering because I know what is going on my baby’s skin, and because I like the idea of not contributing to the thousands of diapers in the landfills that I always hear about. So for me, with my second child coming soon, I think I’ll start with the half and half plan, and see how it goes from there. Tiny babies sure do go through A LOT of diapers though, so I might postpone cloth diapering until he/she is a little older, and when I run out and don’t feel like going to the store 😉

  • Kristy says:

    My sister did cloth diapers and her son always kinda smelled. My LO is 9MO and before he was born I couponed for diapers and got a ton but only spent $90. I was given some for my baby shower also. All those diapers have lasted me to this point and I think they will last me until he is 12MO. $90 for one year ain’t bad.

  • Sanju says:

    Yep, same here. Did the cloth diapers for the first one. Learned my lesson. Went for normal diapers with number 2 & 3 🙂

  • I had my one and only 14 years ago, before cloth diapering was a “thing” (at least where I lived.) However, I allowed him to participate in a national cohort study that netted us free Pampers for two years! I had to subject him to a heel-stick blood draw every month but it was worth it to us – and he doesn’t remember it. That, and a surprise gift of clothing for ages 2 months to four years from my college roommate, greatly lowered the cost of babyhood.

  • Becky Walters says:

    Thank you, thank you for saying it’s ok not to cloth diaper! When our first was born ten years ago, cloth diapering wasn’t as big of a thing. And we couldn’t afford start up costs. Plus we were given so many disposables that we didn’t need to. There was such a long time between #2 and our surprise #3 and #4 that I didn’t want to buy all of it just for one kid if they were our last. I don’t play the drug store game, I don’t see the benefit of dragging 3+children in and out of stores just to save $. Thankfully when it came to #4 we found someone “selling” their pampers rewards so all of our diapers for that baby cost us $55. Plus we homeschool, my husband is a pastor also working on the side and I just plain don’t have time to take care of all the diapers. I get all the guilt from my cloth diapering friends(not that they intend it) and I am so glad someone is finally saying, “hey, it’s okay!”

  • Natalia says:

    I love cloth diapering and it has become an addiction of mine 🙂 I have a great wash routine thanks to fluff love and cd science on Facebook. They have helped so many perfect wash routines and my diapers come out smelling fresh every time. In fact I smell them every time because they smell so clean 🙂 I am currently cloth diapering my 3rd and 4th child. I didn’t cloth my first two because I didn’t really know anything about it at the time.

    • selena says:

      fluff love university is the best! and they are the reason that i have had absolutely no issues with rash, stink, or leaks! love that i don’t have to fork over 40 bucks a month at costco to cover my daughter’s bum! we are definitely saving money and she looks so cute in them! we haven’t used cloth on vacations so that’s the only time she’s in sposies and i hate it! leaks and blowouts galore! i am really happy to be using cloth diapers and will continue if we have any other littles join our home!

  • Barb says:

    I have seven children, too. I used a combination of cloth and disposables for all of them.
    I found, over the 15 years that I had diaper-wearing children in the house, that the newer, more efficient washers made it harder and harder to get the diapers clean and sanitized. I had to learn by-pass codes to get the tub to fill with hot water and tricks to get it to fill with more water than my HE washer wanted to. It was really frustrating!

  • Tracy says:

    With my first two I CDed some of the time. With number 3, I cloth diapered about 90% of the time. I love cloth diapering and wish I would have done it more with my first two. I never had the stink issue that some people had, and we never had any diaper rash issues when using cloth. As weird as it sounds, I actually miss cloth diapering. If I ever had another baby I wouldn’t hesitate to use cloth diapers.

  • Julie says:

    It worked just the opposite for me. I was gifted basically a sampler of different kinds of cloth diapers. I used them after the first month or two since my twins were too small for the smallest diapers we had. However when they grew into them I used the exclusively after a few months I would put them in cloth diapers to go the the Drs. office and my son would have a diaper rash by the time I removed his diaper at the Drs. office. He could only wear cloth. Since I had two and only ordered the bare minimum we washed them often. I don’t really remember to much of a stink or it being much of a time issue. I used them for my next to kids almost exclusively too…sometimes when we travelled and it would be too much of an inconvenience we would use disposables. Overall it was a huge cost savings and not that big of a deal for us…but I should add that my husband washed the diapers as much as I did..so I did have help.

  • sdr says:

    I considered cloth–then I had two kids on Neocate (prescription formula due to severe allergies) and there is NO WAY you could use cloth–their poop was like tar and smelled worse than anything I’ve encountered since. The Diaper Geenie did nothing–all soiled diapers were double bagged and taken outside.

  • Becky says:

    I’ve only been a mom for a little over 2 months, but so far, I’m really happy with the cloth diapers. My son gets a lot less diaper rash with them than the first couple of weeks, where we used disposables while I was recovering from giving birth. And I was able to save a little extra money by sewing my own–I got 2 dozen each of 3 different sizes for the cost of about 15 diapers on Amazon, so I’m hoping that swapping them out every so often will help with smells.

  • karen b says:

    We used cloth with all 3 of ours!!! We also did use disposables when we would go out. We had problems with breaking out & discovered it wasn’t the diapers but the detergent we were using changed it & all was good. I say it is OK NO matter what you use for your family. Every family has to do what is right for them 🙂

  • Ashley says:

    This is something I’m going through right now – struggling with whether or not to use our cloth diapers with number 2. It always seemed like a no brainer – once you made the investment you’d use them with all the kids to get the most for your money. But I am so sick of spending time washing diapers and smelling the awful stench! I didn’t mind those things when I only had one kid, but it’s starting to get old. I’ve mainly been using disposables with number 2 (4 months old now), but not sure what the future holds for his diapers.

    • Jennifer Clark says:

      If you would like some help fixing your routine, I’d love to help you out! Diapers shouldn’t stink!

      • Ashley says:

        I’d love to take you up on that. The main problem with the stinkiness is from the wet diapers waiting to be washed. As my son has gotten older (he’s three now and potty trained but we do use cloth on him during naptime and overnight), the ammonia smell of the wet diapers has become nearly unbearable. Add to this the fact that our laundry room is inside our bedroom so our bedroom stinks like ammonia/wet diapers constantly. I store the diapers in a Planet Wise wet bag, but it doesn’t contain the smell. So I need a better storage option for the wet diapers waiting to be washed.

        • Jennifer Clark says:

          Are you storing the bag in a can or anything? Is the bag open or closed? And have you tried rinsing the diapers in the morning? Overnight diapers can be tricky just because there is so much pee!

  • Erin says:

    We cloth diapered our first two, but our third was exactly like your second. Every single diaper, cloth or disposable, broke him out except Pampers Baby Dry. I thought I was going to lose my mind trying different diapers, I am glad to find out I wasn’t alone!

  • Leighann says:

    I used disposable diapers only. I wasn’t lucky enough to have friends or family who were in positions to help us with the jaw-dropping upfront costs of cloth diapers, and that was about the same time as those great Amazon Mom deals mentioned in the post above, so getting diapers was incredibly cheap. The idea of washing the dirty diapers in our washing machine made me feel kind of sick; even when you “pre-rinsed” with a garden hose or something outside, the fecal bacteria still got sloshed around in the washing machine. To be honest, if my kids ever had a big blowout and got their clothes full of poop, too, I usually just tossed the clothes instead of attempting to wash them because of all the poop germs everywhere.

    If I were to have another one, I’d go with the convenience of disposables over cloth diapers any day.

  • I so appreciate your honest post! I feel like sometimes all I hear about cloth diapering is people raving about them. I totally get the financial and environmental benefits and I am so glad they work out great for so many, but I think it’s good for people to understand the cons as well. They are not for everyone, which is okay. 🙂

  • Amanda L says:

    I took a 6 month hiatus recently because my 2nd was constantly breaking out from our cloth diapers. We just recently went back to cloth and the washing and stink are definite down sides. Even with deals on diapers, I see a significant savings since we switched back. We do use disposables at night, but the savings have been good.
    Finding a good wash routine is key, but it often does take up a whole day with the multiple cycles.

  • Leslie says:

    I abandoned cloth when my second turned one. With the deals available, diaper expenses just weren’t that big compared to all the hassle of cloth. You also have to factor in laundry costs. They add up to more than some people think!

  • Erin says:

    I am a first time mom and I absolutely love cloth diapering!!!!! I’m so happy with my decision. I didn’t know anything about it at first, so I was frustrated and close to giving in. But after finding such supportive Facebook groups that troubleshooted my wash routine and gave me wonderful tips I can’t imagine doing it any other way! I also tend to find laundry soothing. My washer is in my garage, so it gets a bit difficult going back and forth and hanging them to dry (yes, I do this too!) but then I take time to myself at night to just fold diaper laundry. I am the only one of my friends that does CD so I’m not knocking disposables at all. But cloth was the answer to my baby’s rashes and my finances. <3

  • Jennifer Clark says:

    It’s actually pretty easy to wash cloth diapers. Prewash, use a normal detergent & enough of it, avoid fabric softeners. Sounds like you were given bad wash advice :-/ My dirty pail doesn’t even stink (air flow is your friend!) when there are poopy diapers in it! Sorry it didn’t work for you, but we love it and tons of my friends do now too 🙂

  • This was similar to my experience as well. I cloth diapered my first pretty much exclusively, but when he was about 15-18 months old, he developed a rash that just wouldn’t go away. Unless I used disposable. When my second came along, I wanted to give cloth diapers another try, and so I stripped them several times according to the directions I found online. However, as soon as I started using them with my baby, he developed a rash too. I tried a few different stripping methods, but nothing worked. I’ve since learned that the issue was likely a yeast buildup in the cloth. I was told that prefolds could be stripped of this, but the microfiber inserts could not. Since we were using a combination of the two, the problem persisted. With my third baby, I just didn’t try. I was so used to the ease of disposable and our income allowed for buying them. Also, we now had three children under 4 and I was okay with giving myself a break on diapering.

    • Jennifer Clark says:

      Yeast absolutely can come out of microfiber! Just disinfect it (bleach, GSE TTO, etc). If you stay in cloth, continue to disinfect your diapers until a week after the rash is gone. Or just use disposable until the rash clears up. But yeast can be killed in any diapers.

  • Diane says:

    I cloth diaper and I have had the best success with all cotton prefolds. I cloth diaper twins and I do wash every other day to keep things from getting to smelly. I don’t mind laundry and I’ll also say hanging them on a clothesline really helps. I have never purchased disposable diapers for my kids. With my first, a friend gave us a package of disposables but I donated them to our crisis pregnancy center. My twins came home from the NICU with their opened packages of diapers and leaked on the bed before we changed them into their cloth. I donated the rest of their package and now two years later are still in cloth/using the toilet. Open air bottom time really helps sensitive skin, too, and my kids have sensitive skin but that’s why we get them started on the potty as soon as they can sit.

  • Kelly says:

    I have 4 kiddos and #5 on the way. Started using cloth with #3 because by then I was working part time, no day care was needed, and of course to save money. #3 and #4 were 19 mo. apart so I felt like I was always washing diapers/trainers! Now I’m a SAHM and plan to CD this one. It’s easy for me, but I tend to use less cloth and more disposable(also pay $5 or less for a pack) in the cold winter months when I can’t hang diapers out. Also, I usually use disposable when we’re out because I’m not too interested in carrying mess with me.

  • Chris says:

    I have used cloth with all of my children. I am currently diapering #5 and #6. My children have never had skin sensitivities. I have taken breaks from cloth occasionally when I need a break, usually a week. I do 3 loads of diapers a week…when you are washing for 8 there’s always something to wash! Everyone has their own opinion but cloth diapering works for me and my family, and it may work for your’s too.

    P.S. – My dishwasher broke 5 weeks after #6 was born and has yet to be replaced, so I am all about disposable dishes if you know of any deals!

    • margaret says:

      I don’t know about any deals… But, if you look up buynothingproject.org you can find a facebook group where you can ask for some.
      Buy Nothing has been my best friend 🙂

  • Charity says:

    I have seven children and am expecting our eighth. I cloth diapered until I had our 5th and 6th babies…identical twin girls that were micro-preemies and had a loooooong NICU stay. That pregnancy and birth turned our world upside down and shook us hard! Since then I haven’t cloth diapered, hung laundry on the line, made homemade baby food and I use paper plates, cups and plastic untesils! Without guilt! 🙂 And there will probably be more things I have to let go once the baby is born…and that’s ok. I will have 4 little ones, ages 2.5 and under….not to mention our other 4 children! Not the season of life for me to try to be wonder woman. Ain’t happening! 😉

  • Claire Roberts says:

    I’ve had 4 children and while we mainly used the old fashioned fold it yourself cloth nappies (I’m Australian), with a clip- not a safety pin- and PVC pant covers, we did have some concessions on the way.
    Because I usually had C-Sections, we used disposables for the the 1st 6 weeks- there was no way I could lift a nappy bucket at that time. We used disposables when we went out.
    By the time no.2 came along we were using disposables at night.
    No.3 &4 were twin boys. Most of our cloth nappies from 1 & 2 were worn very thin. I hesitated about using cloth as at that time we were on tank water, but as someone gifted us with some new terry towelling cloth nappies and we were also gifted with a dryer ( I used to hang them out to dry), I went cloth again. It was very hard work with twins- especially since they seemed to do their “number twos” at the same time. I was washing nappies every day inaddition to everything else. Our new nappies were a much smaller size than we had used previously and I was very relieved when the boys grew out of them, and with an Aldi store newly built in our town I was rejoicing to convert to disposables for the rest of the duration!

  • Keisha says:

    I have not ever done cloth, and honestly it never occurred to me to even try. It never seemed appealing at all! My sister has pretty much exclusively cloth-diapered her 3 kids, except when they are travelling. She really enjoys it, but for some reason I just never caught even an interest. I have mainly only used Parent’s Choice diapers from Walmart. I pay maybe $30 a month on diapers, and they have never been leaky or harsh on my kids’ skin. My daughter did have blow-outs every once in a while, so I usually put her in a more expensive brand for nighttime, but that was only for the first 6ish months of her life. Thankfully she potty-trained at 18 months, so I figured that was my “go green” contribution by getting her out of diapers so early. My son is almost 18 months now, and he is nowhere near ready to potty-train, which is fine with me since he wears the Walmart brand so easily and they are cheap without having to coupon!

  • Lisa says:

    We are cloth diapering 2 kids right now. We started when our toddler (now 2) was born. We had planned on it from the beginning and were very glad we did as she broke out from every type of disposable including the organic/free and clear ones, and even the synthetic fabric cloth diapers. She’s much less sensitive now and can wear pretty much anything, which is good since she leaks through any type of cloth besides wool at night. Our 6 week old is also in cloth since the beginning. It’s much easier to keep up on laundry now that I’m home all the time.

  • Karen says:

    I used cloth for my twins til they were 8 months old. Then one developed a terrible rash and the doctor suggested we us disposable til it cleared up. It would clear up and we’d switch back to clothis and the rash would appear again. His twin had no problem with the cloth.

  • Tracy says:

    I love cloth diapering. But I really enjoy doing laundry, so that’s probably the main reason 🙂

  • Heather says:

    Im cloth diapering my third now, as I did with my first two. I don’t think its a hassle. For awhile i had all three kids in cloth diapers

  • Alejandra says:

    I didn’t cloth diaper my first or second I wish I would of thought of cloth diapers when they were born.Now I cloth diaper my third and have been doing it for 10 months and it still don’t get old and I have never had any problems since I wash my diapers with mainstream detergent and I have well water before that I was using a (cloth diaper safe detergent that will not be named ) and started having issues right away with stink. But I have NEVER had to do a strip other than when I switched to mainstream detergent (like tide no febreze) and my diapers as long as I rinse the poop diapers I don’t get that awful stink. I have no problems with them at all. That’s my personal experience some people may disagree and have a right to disagree

  • Kristen K says:

    I’ve been cloth diapering my 10 week old since day 7 when we ran out of the hospital disposables. In the 6 days we used disposables she had 3 blowouts! Since she’s been in cloth she’s only had one blowout (I scurried to get it on her while she was screaming at 2AM, I knew the fit needed adjusting but I wanted to hurry and feed her). She’s never had a rash, we haven’t had any stink issues yet(on clean diapers), our water bill only went up $1/month, I love how cute the diapers are, and personally I enjoy doing cloth laundry (weird cause I’ve always hated laundry!). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with disposables, but I’d hate to see anyone scared off from cloth diapering because of this article! So few people give it a chance as it is.

  • Abney says:

    So I cloth diaper and have never had any problems . There is a great informational website out there called Fluff Love University that can teach you how to properly wash diapers so you never have any problems . I have a large stash so I wash once a week. My diaper pail does not smell unless you stick your nose right into it ~ I use tide powder and have very hard water so I use a water softener to avoid hard water mineral buildup . If you have a good routine cloth diapering is so easy (: My diapers are going strong and will most likely last for multiple children ! To address the sensitive skin issue ~ it could be helped by many things whether it’s changing detergents, using a rash cream as a barrier on a liner to wick away moisture, or using organic fibers such as bamboo . It’s heartbreaking to see an article like this when cloth isn’t difficult or bad as you make it out to seem . Awesome job couponing, but I’m sorry I disagree about your statements on cloth . It still is the best option out there for MANY families .

  • Maquis says:

    For my first, I cloth diaperrd starting around 9 months, and quit at 2.5, about 2 months after my husband deployed. With my second child, we did cloth from 2 weeks old until a month after he turned 2, when my husband was informed that he would be deploying soon.

    I love the cuteness of cloth. But, I cannot deal with cloth diapering when my husband is overseas. That is the point where it changes from “ooh, look at the cute diapers” to “yet another thing I have to get done”…

  • Brandie says:

    I have 3 children and have been using cloth since my oldest was 14 or 15 months old ( she’s 4 now). I only ever had a problem with stink when using supposedly cloth friendly detergent because that is what my friend had told me I needed. And only 2 Tabelspoons of detergent. I used super cheap cloth diapers I had found on Amazon that cost me about $2 a diaper for the fist 6 mo tha and washed almost everyday. With the help of my mother, a friend whose so. Potty trained and using some saved money did I finally start building up a stash that would get me to 2-2.5 days for my 2 children. It wasn’t until I was having such stink issues with my diapers and had my toddler dump all my diaper detergent across the living room floor that I started my own research into how to properly wash diapers. I found that “cloth diaper” soaps were almost all just water aoftners and that the only amount of them that would actually clean my diapers would be much more costly then the alternative which was to buy regular laundry soap that contained surficants which are what actually cleans your clothes. These surficants are either completely missing or in such low amounts in cloth friendly detergents that they become useless. I then striped to remove all the funk and gunk my bad choice of laundry detergent and my bad wash routine has caused. Fluff Love and Cloth Diaper Science a Facebook group helped me come up with a routine so amazing it’s been over a year since that I have only stripped my diapers once more and that was partially due to obtaining a large uses stash from someone but also because where I currently live the water is below the national average for clean water. I have begun to sell off diapers we no longer need as my oldest is completely potty trained and my middle only wears diapers at naptime and overnight. I spent maybe $150 (200 after the diapers my mother bought me in the beginning) total on enough diapers for 3 children to wash every 2-3 days. I have been cloth diapering almost 3 years saving myself and my family close to 2000 a year in disposables(multiple kids) and what I’ve sold I have recouped $45 dollars. My electric bills only ever went up maybe $4 and while living in apartments my water has been covered. Id say that cloth diapers are more then worth the effort and yes I worked full time until my last child was born and have gone to PT but I find it isn’t hard to keep up with diapers as long as you remember to do it right away

  • I have to agree with the author, all relevant points. I bought expensive cloth diapers to my son as well, but I got so frustrated over time. It totally wasn’t worth it at all.

  • Amanda says:

    I am on baby number 3. My other two kids are 10&8. I didn’t cloth diper the first two cause i didn’t really know too much about it and it wasnt as big back then. I have been cloth diapering this one for a while now and i absolutely love it and will never go back. The group fluff love and science on Facebook is awesome! They have really great information about washing and everything to do with cloth and getting them to be awesome and smell good too!

    I cloth diaper mainly because i love knowing whats going on my baby and at 5 dollars a diaper that can be used over and over again its a no brainer. It costs about 80 a month in disposable diapers for my baby. So i totally spent less than that for my whole stash. And now that’s money that can be saved for Disneyland or other fub family activities.

  • I did a small mix of both, but we did the diaper-free method mostly, to cut down on costs and messes and at mother-in-laws insistance. It’s absolutely amazing and worked so well for us. We live in China so it helps that it’s what all the “locals” do (diapers are insanely expensive and cloth ones are just old t-shrits they place over baby’s bottom); I know it’s not popular in the USA and developed places. But it’s worth a try if you’d rahter empty a potty chair than wash another diaper. 🙂 My kids were diaper-free well before their first birthdays.

    Here’s a post I wrote about it, if I may share: http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/child-without-diapers-save-money/

  • Helen Cone says:

    Gosh lots of comments! No surprise there. my children are now 26 and 28. Diapers need to be sterilized. My Grand mothers would have boiled them.
    I soaked the diapers over night in “nappysan” ( a New Zealand brand) or a dilute bleach solution. Then the next morning I put them through the washing machine using little or no detergent and hung them on the clothes line. the sunshine completes the sterilization and gives the diapers a lovely fresh smell
    Its a daily routine and just fine for a stay at home Mom

  • Alison says:

    I cloth diapered my first 2 almost exclusively. This third one is now in sposies full time. We did about 1/2 and 1/2 for the first year and a half, but now she is almost potty trained and she was getting rashes with cloth. Our season of life was so busy and on the go with her, cloth seemed more like a burden than a blessing this time around.

  • Lisa says:

    I don’t mean this to give anyone ‘mommy’ guilt at all!! But I think it is important to mention that frugality and the environment are not the only reasons to cloth diaper . . . I really don’t think a lot of people are aware how many harmful chemicals there are in disposable diapers. If you are putting a huge amount of effort into eating organic food, etc. you probably want to try googling ‘chemicals in diapers’ for a good eye-opener! If you don’t want your child ingesting harmful chemicals, you probably don’t want him/her constantly sitting in them, either.

    Anyway, just wanted to mention that!

  • Deana says:

    Thank you for your honest post. We also recently stopped using cloth on our fourth child. I had been cloth diapering for 6 years. He didn’t have rash problems but was just more sensitive to a wet diaper so I was changing him more often. With homeschooling and motherhood I knew cloth diapers was one thing I could let go. It seems small but it has made such a difference in my days not having to change him every hour and wash diapers on top of all the other laundry. I debated for about a month because at first I thought I was giving up and I was feeling guilty about that. He’s a happier baby now and I’m a happier mommy and it was a good decision for us.

  • Jennifer says:

    I used disposables with all three of mine. I researched cloth with my third, but came to the conclusion it was not for us. We are very sensitive to “smells” so I would have to wash daily. Between purchasing, cost of washin and drying, plus time; I just did not think the savings were enough for me to switch during this season of life.
    For those who do use cloth only (even for leaving the house), please remember not everyone knows how to use your cloth diapers. A friend at our co-op uses cloth and her diapers have so many snaps, I had no idea where to begin!! Please explain the process and the “bag” (that holds those dirty ones) to those watching your children. Never assume they know!
    For those who only use disposable, cloth can be overwhelming. Even those who used cloth but now have older children can have questions. They have really came a long way. Nothing wrong with cloth or disposables, personal preference:) I just prefer disposable.

  • Ashley says:

    We started cloth diapering with our first baby, and when she was 21 months, her little sister was born. With two kids in cloth diapers, I was always struggling to keep up with reassembling the clean diapers. It helped to put the baby in mostly prefolds and covers, because those are less time-consuming to fold than stuffing pocket diapers. At 2 1/2 our oldest started toilet training in homemade trainers (underwear with extra absorbency sewn in). She had a lot of accidents, but when they were clean there wasn’t any folding or assembly, so that lightened the laundry load a little. We’re planning to keep using cloth. Hopefully our oldest will be fully trained before we have a third baby.

  • Robin says:

    How interesting! I’m on my first child and we cloth diaper (at home, disposables at daycare M-F). I really like cloth diapering and find that she only has diaper rash with disposables rather the opposite. Do you find that the time spent on coupon hunting & shopping online & in-store is equal to time spent washing cloth diapers? I would think they are similar each week. No need to strap the kids in the car and travel to the store to buy diapers if you just throw loads in the wash. I find as a working mom I used to do the more coupon hunting & best deals before baby, but now I don’t have time for that.

  • Laura says:

    With my first, I had my nose turned up at cloth diapers – I had no idea that you didn’t have to use pins anymore!

    With my second, I hopped on the cloth diaper train and we did nearly all cloth diapers!

    By the time our third came, I only had it in me to use cloth diapers for another 6 months with him and then I just conceited that we’d saved lots of money, did a good job for the environment for a good stretch but that the work of cloth diapering was too much for me with 3 kids. Love that as moms we have so many options now! 🙂

  • tina says:

    We dont cloth diaper but we do use honest company disposable diapers. They’re biodegradable. It’s been “good enough” for us. I have high respect for those that can cloth diaper though.

  • Amy says:

    With our first I totally shot down cloth diapering. I thought it was all pre-folds and pins, and I really didn’t want to wash in the toilet. ( One of the scary rumors I had heard)
    With our second it never crossed my mind.
    With our third child (this meant 2 in diapers ) I started thinking about it more and more. We only used disposables at first. Then things got really tight as my husband was laid off and beginning a new job. My sister-in-law gifted a huge box of different kinds of diapers to us. Fuzzi Bunz, Grovia, and Bum Genius to name a few. We used them off an on for a while. Then we discovered Best bottoms and fell in love with the system they used. While playing around online one day I ran across loveuniversity.com/
    This site has helped me with my wash routine, and any leaks we had before. Now the only reason we use disposables is at church. The nursery won’t allow cloth for sanitary reasons. I wish I would have come across cloth diapers and knew then what I know now. I might have possibly cloth diapered all 3 of my boys and saved a ton of money. However I do think when you’re first starting out and learning all there is to know about cloth, and getting your wash / strip routine down, it is VERY overwhelming. I almost quit. I am so gad I didn’t.

  • Kristie says:

    It helped me to compromise: I used cloth when home all day, and disposables when we were out and about. We used the same pack of diapers on 5 kids until they were in shreds. Kiddo #6 got disposables. 🙂

  • Morgan E. says:

    That’s unfortunate that you had issues with future kids and cloth diapering. It sounds like your youngest was allergic to synthetic fibers and needed a natural fiber like cotton, bamboo or hemp. I am on my second child and honestly the stink just isn’t there. I use an open pail and it sound like it would be more stinky but actually a closed pail/zipped wetbag will cause more stink issues then just leaving the lid off! Took me a while to learn that trick and help from online facebook support groups that are there to help with problems. I am not sure if I would be cloth diapering without those groups and being able to trouble shoot problems that I have encountered in the 3 1/2 years of cloth diapering. My second is allergic to disposable diapers so we really don’t have a choice.

  • Madre says:

    Hey Crystal,
    This column made me laugh! My baby is now 22…but way back when…one encounter with the diaper pail was all it took for me. I don’t have any issues with cloth diapers if that is what folks choose. But I just could not go there.
    Take good care,
    Madre

  • Elizabeth Herbert-Wasson says:

    I am surprised about all the diapers breaking your baby out. My daughter has excema, but we have never even had to use diaper cream with her in the cloth diapers. We use a wide variety of cloth – primarily for environmental, poop blowout, and cuteness purposes – but used Pampers for a week when we were traveling without laundry. We thought the convenience of the disposables would make things so much easier, but we couldn’t wait to get back into the cloth. My daughter had never had a rash like the one she had by the end of that week. It was awful.

  • Laura says:

    We investigated cloth with my oldest, but we were living in a condo building with shared laundry and I thought it would be rude to the other residents to wash my kid’s soiled diapers in a communal laundry. Plus, daycare wouldn’t work with us. I went with a name-brand and didn’t look back. Our daycare now takes cloth diapers, so I might investigate a diaper service (we have several more services in our area now than we did 6 years ago). But I wouldn’t judge anyone that opted for disposables.

  • Sharon Johnson says:

    My kids are in their mid to late 20’s. I had to use disposable at daycare and church. I used cloth at home. I even let them nap without a diaper at times. I’m sorry, I believe a baby’s butt needs to breathe and disposables does not allow for that.

  • Carla says:

    Love this post. It’s easy to get judgmental about things that worked well for you. It’s so good to remind ourselves that no one else is caring for your particular child with his/her particular needs, with your spouse, with your financial situation, etc.

    Ha ha! I laughed out loud at all the people who say “stink is not a problem”. I laugh because it isn’t a problem for me, but my husband is apparently much more sensitive to smells than I am. He can smell things that I simply wouldn’t know existed. Before telling others that it “doesn’t stink”, make sure they have the same smelling capabilities as you do as well as the same conditions (location of bucket, washer, air flow, etc.)

    We did a combo with my son. I didn’t start cloth until he started on solid food and his BMs regulated. I could usually time it that he was in a disposable for that, so that helped with the “ick” factor. It also helped that I could throw the wet ones in with my son’s regular laundry after rinsing them out. I appreciated the cost savings while I did it, but am blessed that cost didn’t have to be the only factor I considered.

  • Alana says:

    I am using fuzzibunz and bumgenius for my first child. She is almost 5 months old, and we have been using them for 4 months now. I LOVE them!! I see some are commenting about a smell with cloth diapers, but I have yet to experience a smelly wet bag except for the time it takes to put the bag out of the trash can and carry it to the washer (I wash 2 times a week). So many times I have been around my siblings’ kids and disposal diapers smell awful. Just one in the trash makes it smell all week!

    I do agree however, that they are not for everyone. Especially when kids have sensitivities or even both parents working full time jobs.

    I do intend to cloth diaper any future children as well.

  • Kayla says:

    Good for you! We don’t CD exclusively and I could see it becoming more of a burden if we are blessed with more kids. We’ll see though!

    One thing I’d like to note for moms having issues CDing or thinking about it is improper wash routine (think using CD “safe” detergents over Tide or Gain) and babying your diapers. CD detergents usually don’t clean the diaper well which results in a ton of rash problems.

    Fluff Love University (a website and FB group) was so helpful when I learned how to cloth diaper. You can find out the perfect detergent and wash routine for your particular lifestyle, location (hard vs soft water), and washing machine. Good luck to mamas thinking about it! It’s great!

    • Jen E says:

      I agree with all of this!! Fluff Love and Cloth Diaper Science is great. A lot has changed in 5 years on good practice for washing and maintaining cloth diapers.

  • We tried everything we could to cloth diaper our first two boys – different brands, different liners, different laundry detergent, and every single trick we could, but had very similar problems – sensitive skin and awful rashes. We found out later it was related to their autoimmune problems. So now by the third boy we just use Pampers because those are the only ones they don’t get a rash in!

  • Sarah Kamolz says:

    My daughter is 13 months and we have exclusively cloth diapered her since she was 7 weeks old, except on vacations. We have enough diapers that the laundry is no big deal and I can have an entire load sitting in the dryer and still have enough diapers for 2-3 more days. I realize that a lot of families can’t afford to have that many diapers on hand, but we have been able to do that and the laundry has been no problem for us. We did have a skin sensitivity issue about a month ago, but it turns out that I was using a soap that was plant based and wasn’t really getting the diapers clean. As soon as I realized there was an issue and it wasn’t just a one time thing, I called my diaper companies customer service and they told me exactly what to do which was super easy and now we don’t have any problems. My parent’s seem to think I’m overworked because we use cloth and they must think I spend endless hours doing laundry and both are totally not true. I am actually surprised how easy cloth diapering has been compared to my thoughts about it before we tried it. We have disposables on hand if we need them and don’t beat ourselves up either way, even though the more we use the cloth, the less money I’m spending buying more sposies. We use cloth because it does save money, but also because it drives me crazy to think about all the trash that disposable products create. We don’t even use paper plates, napkins or paper towels. We use all cloth just because lots of trash that could be avoided bothers me. However, we do use paper toilet paper.

  • Hannah Beth Reid says:

    We cloth diaper off and on…and I have started later with each of my three children. Mostly just at home where it is super convenient. The main reason we chose to try some cloth diapers was to save money and I think it has definitely helped in that department.

  • Clara says:

    Just had first baby and I’ve always wanted to cloth diaper for many reasons. We did the research and bought different brands to try. And I can say, so far it’s been wonderful. EXCEPT that we run the washer every single day and that get exhausting and a little frustrating, using so much water and electricity. Trying to help the environment right? We’ll see about next babies but I think I’ll stick to cloth over disposables for now.

  • The cloth vs disposables debate is like the nursing vs formula debate to me—never ending and people can be very passionate that their way is the only way. Personally, I think each mom needs to do what works for her and her baby. No guilt or defense needed!

  • Beth says:

    I’m with the mom from China (we also live in China) – early potty training is great. I was new to the idea so it took me longer to teach my son than the average Chinese family (most kids are fully day time trained by a year and night time trained by two years). He still uses disposables at nap and night time (he’s 2 1/2) but he’s been out of day time diapers since before he was two. We used a mix of cloth and disposable when he was a baby (didn’t quite go diaperless 😉 but maybe next baby.) Early training does take a fair amount of work and especially routine. So research it before you try. We struggled because we traveled a lot and I’d get him off the routine. But I’m glad he’s now trained when most moms are just starting. And here it’s not really a great option to wait. All the grandmas will criticize you for keeping your kid in a diaper :).

  • Dana says:

    A balance of cloth & disposable works for us. I don’t even attempt cloth until they’re out of the gooey, runny poop stage. We also don’t us cloth overnight, or if I may need to change them while we’re away from the house. I have 12 BumGenius diapers that are hand-me-downs, so my 2-year-old is the 4th child to use them. They’re still in excellent condition! Balancing cloth & disposable works out so that I only have to wash the diapers 2-3 times a week. I always wash hot, use All Free detergent, and air dry. Drying in the sun works wonders. A practical approach has saved us a lot of money. I like the flexibility of choosing which to use, and the freedom of changing frequently without thinking $$.

  • Allie says:

    I have to say, I used cloth diapers for my son almost exclusively for 22 months before he potty trained (early, a benefit of cloth diapering!) and we never really had problems with the smell. We just put them in a dry diaper pail (without a tight-fitting lid – just a swinging top kitchen garbage can – it seems backwards but letting air circulate kept the smell from building up) and washed every 2-3 days. We stripped them in vinegar about once a month to get rid of detergent build up. We sincerely did not have a smelly home or washing machine (keep the door open for high-efficiency machines when not in use!). However, I did recently visit a friend who is cloth diapering her child and the smell about knocked me over as soon as I walked in the door. I don’t know what she is doing differently but it was unpleasant. I would absolutely cloth diaper again.

    • Allie says:

      I should probably add that I am normally VERY sensitive to smells (my husband says I have a nose like a wolf) so when I say it wasn’t smelly… it really wasn’t. However, I do understand using the right detergent makes all the difference.

  • LeahB says:

    I got criticism from a couple of friends for not being willing to try cloth diapers. Finally I had to say, “Ok, YOU come over to my apartment building, drag the diapers down 2 floors, into the coin laundry machines ($1/wash, $1/dry) that are shared by a dozen other families.”

    Everybody has to make choices that work best for their family! 🙂

    For kid #3, we recently switched to Seventh Generation Touch of Cloth (not the Free & Clear), and like them better than any other brand we’ve used, including Pampers. I don’t understand how they work so well, and they don’t swell up, get squishy/droopy, or smell like chemicals. I’ve found some deals, but they’re still more expensive. However, they work so well that I can change them a little less often.

    It’s funny how every baby will react to diapers/detergents/etc. differently, right? It’s like they’re trying to keep us on our toes!

  • nina says:

    Cloth diapers only stink if they aren’t washed properly. If they smell after baby pees in them or sitting in the wet bag it means that the uric acid wasn’t completely washed out and this builds up over time and causes rashes. With my first child I didn’t know how to wash them and yep! They stunk, but my third child, no…not even the overnight ones. The trick to getting them clean is to use the proper ratio of detergent, agitation, and time. Do a cold wash with just a little detergent on whatever cycle is the shortest on your machine that agitates the diapers. This releases the poo and pee sitting on top of the diaper. Then, open your washer up, fluff the diapers and add small clothing to fill the washer to 2/3-3/4 full add enough detergent for a heavily soiled load (dirty diapers…heavily soiled, correct?) and put the washer going on it’s heaviest soil, strongest agitation and longest cycle. Those babies will be clean enough I am not scared of my baby chewing on them!

  • Bethany says:

    We’ve always used disposable. With our first, we got so many diapers from our shower and my parents, we didn’t have to buy any for almost a year. For our second, I couldn’t justify the cost of cloth diapers and time it took to wash them versus disposable, especially since I work full time, and we were traveling for my work, moving every 3 months. Our first was potty trained by the time our second was born.

  • Melissa says:

    I had no intentions on cloth diapering. So when my third came along I stocked up on diapers. However my son was allergic to disposable diapers. I tried name brands, store brands, organic diapers…. you name it I gave them a whirl. For the first eight weeks of his life he had bloody diaper rashes. At his two month well baby apt the doctor asked if I tried cloth diapers yet.

    I laughed with some crying I am sure as well. He was my third and my second had special needs and we were always running to doctors or therapies. So, NO, I had not ventured into cloth diapers. I had no time for that. But I agreed to try it to say I tried.

    Yet within 24 hours his bum had cleared up. For the first time since birth his skin wasn’t blistering and bloody. So I started out old school with prefolded diapers, pins, and rubber pants. After eight months I switched to the fuzzi bunz that I bought off a friend who tried and gave up on cloth diapers.

    I had set days to do diapers and things just happened. I got over the overwhelming feelings once I realized this is what I had to do for my son. I actually enjoyed saving money too. It was an experience but I learned to enjoy cloth diapers and developed a deep appreciation for those who venture into the world of cloth diapers.

  • Robbi says:

    I have two in cloth. Not always the easiest, but I don’t like the chemicals in disposables. I haven’t found coupon in worth it, since I make our soap, personal products and we do real food meals, there’s never coupons for products we use. So far my kids have not had issues with cloth. So we’ll stick with cloth diapers.

  • Ruth says:

    I cloth diapered with my first two children, but not exclusively and not from birth.

    My 3rd child was in a cloth diaper, right after she was born, and remained in cloth until she potty trained at 25 months. She was in mostly hand me down cloth, from the older two and we saved a ton of money by never buying disposables.

    If we have any more children, I’ll definitely start right away again. It was so easy to do it from birth.

  • linda D. says:

    When our son was born,i used cloth diapers and rubberpants on him only and didnt mind washing them,and didnt have many problems with him wearing them.After he was born,i had to have a hysterectomy,so no more babies!We had always wanted to complete our family with a daughter,so when the son was 14,we adopted a 13 year old girl from an orphange in Ireland and started her off right away in the cloth diapers and rubberpants 24/7.She was having day time wetting accidents and wetting the bed some at night,so the cloth diapers and rubberpants worked well for her.She was in them untill just past her 15th birthday when she finially stopped the wetting.

  • Danna says:

    I started out cloth diapering our 1st son. But abandoned it pretty quickly. Our 1st son was an incredibly difficult baby. He was born 4 weeks early via a medically necessary c-section (life threatening condition for both he and he made it necessary). What we didn’t know until several years later is that he has, and has had since birth, a sleep disorder. So, for the 1st year he never slept more than 20-40 min and then cried for 2 hours, 24 hours a day. We also didn’t know that he has sensory processing disorder. His SPD contributed to motor skills and motor planning issues. He also had extremely severe GERD. So, even after 6 months of lactation consulting, lots of Le Leche meetings etc. My son wold nurse for 60 min and pull about an ounce of milk. But the pediatrician wanted him on breast milk not formula. So I pumped for a year and bottle fed him my breast milk. I was blessed to be able to pump about 40 oz a day, but that meant I was pumping 7-12 times a day and I was getting up in the middle of the night multiple times to pump. Ultimately we gave up cloth diapering because I needed to simplify everything to survive. I wasn’t sleeping (due to pumping and due to my son’s sleep disorder) more than about 3-4 hours in 24 hours. I was in constant OT, lactation and medical appointments. So I decided that what we fed him mattered a lot more than what caught his poop. And we switched to disposable diapers because they gave me the laundry time to sleep. My son never did nurse, and we eventually made peace with pumping and bottle feeding. I kept him on breast milk for a year. Again, it became a choice about what went into him as opposed to the delivery method of his nutrition. And giving up the attempts to feed him and pump saved me some time that both my husband (who was working full time) and I desperately needed to sleep. My oldest son will be 11 years old this summer. He still has a sleep disorder, though it is now treated and managed. He still has SPD, though we’ve done a lot of OT and he manages is beautifully. He’s a smart, funny, great kid. His 1st year was one of the most exhausting and difficult times of our lives, but totally worth it. Looking back I feel just fine about our choices to give up cloth diapering and to accept that bottle fed breast milk was going to have to do.

  • Monica says:

    I cloth diapered my first until he was about 2, but it got more difficult with daycare and working full-time so we had to switch to disposables. We used newborn disposables when he was just born and he had a consistent diaper rash that cleared up in cloth. Thankfully now that he’s older, a natural diaper cream and a good moisturizer keeps his tushy in good condition. I look forward to using cloth on our eventual 2nd child though, they were a definite wallet saver! Thanks for the great, honest article. Sometimes things just don’t work the way we wish they would but thankfully we live in a time where we have options.

  • Patti says:

    Cloth diapers saved my second son from diaper rash. He was allergic to every brand of disposable diaper. I found cloth to be wonderful and now I live with the guilt of my naïveté in using disposable diapers with my first son and contributing to the waste problem in such a way.

  • Deborah Burkhardt says:

    I seet his is an older article but it just popped up in my Newsfeed. My second child and I are extremely sensitive to disposable products and we are now a cloth only family. Disposables are full of toxic chemicals, many of them banned in other countries and known hormone disrupters. I feel guilty for using didisposables on my first when my husband wasn’t supportive of cloth, but I’m so glad we are in cloth now.

  • Melissa says:

    I have 4 kids (youngest now 8) we were seriously struggling financially when 3 was born. One day I was at the store and needed diapers, I literally had $10 and that’s it to last me 3 weeks. Thankfully I’m a crazy person who keeps plenty of food in home at all times. But with 2 in diapers and both different sizes I just couldn’t buy disposables. I grabbed a pack of diaper pins. I went home put my boys in the last of the disposables I had on hand and searched DIY no sew cloth diapers. Guess what. Hubs ridiculous amount of stained white work tees finally got some good use as more then cleaning rags. And the several 100% polyester fleece throws (you know those cute ones everyone and their mother gifts your kid) got cut up into covers. I had an empty cat litter bucket with the flap lid I used as a diaper pail. So essentially I got my original stash for $1.00 the cost of the pins. I used a gallon ziploc in my diaper bag as a wet bag and rinsed every diaper after the change (yes even in public restrooms) and kept sudsy water in the bucket to soak them (I keep it under the sink with a child lock on the cabinet), tossed the load into the washer at the end of the night and into the dryer before I went to bed. In the morning I’d dump them into a small basket and grab as I needed them. We only had a thrush issue once and it was due to a babysitting family member. I just bleached the stash and ran them through a regular cycle with an extra rinse after and never had the problem reoccur. One of my boys is actually allergic to perfumey detergents so I use super cheap unscented ones (whatever I can find cheapest) or if I get froggey I’ll make my own with borax, washing soda and grated fels naptha (6 bars, 3 boxes each and mix well in a HUGE bucket lasts FOREVER 1 table spoon per small load in any kind of washer). When boys we older and baby #4 came I still did cloth, I got a few AIO from a friend and some thirsties covers (which I loved) and about a dozen bamboo prefolds. I still have them even though I have no intention of having another kid. The bamboo have been used to scrub floors and as cleaning rags for the last 5 years. A couple are starting to wear out. So I’d say those are worth the investment if you plan to have multiple kids!

  • Callie says:

    I am currently pregnant with my first all all the problem some of you ladies have talked about were my concern.Until I found out my city has a diaper service that is very highly rated. My husband and I did the math and while its maybe $50/year more than disposable, we decided that was worth it. Also because we can pay for the first year up front and not worry about diapers

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