When I had my first 3 kids, I never even thought about cloth diapering. It wasn't something I really knew existed and, even if I had, I'd probably have put it in the category of " too crunchy" for me (I only consider myself half crunchy).
But when my daughter began wetting the bed at 4 years old, and I got tired of washing sheets and buying pull-ups, I looked into cloth. Since it was just pee, I invested in a few covers and some pre-folds and we began our cloth diapering journey.
It was so easy, and saved so much money, that when baby number 4 was on the way, I decided to go for it full-force. My baby is now nearly a year old and, while I only committed to cloth diapering while his poo was of the glorious exclusive breastfed kind, we are still going strong even after starting solids.
And I have no intention of going back because cloth diapering is seriously awesome.
It's easy to look at cloth diapers and get overwhelmed with the upfront expenses. Twenty dollars for a single diaper that my child is just going to poop all over. Really? But there are less expensive options like using pre-folds, or cotton towels with basic covers, that can be reused multiple times between washes.
But remember, even the more expensive ones will get used dozens of times between birth and potty training. And they can be used for multiple children or resold when you're done with them.
When my first son was in diapers, I had boxes stacked nearly to the ceiling in his room and it looked more like a warehouse store aisle than the cute little baby nursery I'd imagined.
I'd started buying diapers on clearance when he was still a tiny little peanut in my tummy. I'd collect coupons, obsessively watch the ads to find the best deals, and buy in bulk. Our diaper expenses stayed as low as possible, but it was a lot of work and required a lot of storage.
With cloth, you don't have to constantly obsess over sales, and the space you set aside for your stash is all you'll ever need. (Unless you can't stop buying them, it can become a real addiction!)
I've yet to make a last minute or late night run to Target for diapers (which saves me even more money) or paid full price for a pack because there hasn't been a good sale lately. With cloth, as long as you stay on top of the laundry or keep some emergency disposables around, you'll never run out.
Diaper rashes can and do occur in cloth, but they seem to occur less often and, in my experience, are usually less severe. Cloth diapers are not only more breathable, but there are fewer chemicals that will irritate sensitive skin. You can also choose to stick to natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, hemp and wool.
There's a cloth diapering option and style for every parent. From the all-in-one styles that go on and off just like a disposable diaper, to the popular pocket style that have to be stuffed and unstuffed, to the classic pre-fold and cover option, cloth diapers are what you make them.
With the use of liners, you don't have to spend any time with your hands or diapers in the toilet. Poopy cloth diapers from babies who are exclusively breastfed can go straight in the wash, no rinsing required.
We all know diapers create a massive amount of trash but with cloth, that amount of trash can be cut down to zero. With the exclusive use of cloth diapers and cloth wipes, there is nothing to throw away. And even if you choose to use disposable liners and/or wipes like I do (simply to cut down on my time rinsing diapers in the toilet), the amount of waste for an entire day is less than the size of one full disposable diaper.
No matter what your parenting style or choices, babies are tiny little mess-making machines and no matter how many bibs you own or how you diaper, you’ll be doing a crap ton of laundry (pun intended).
I’ve found that cloth diapering has actually helped me stay on top of the rest of my laundry because I can throw the baby and kids’ clothes in with the main wash of the diapers (after the pre-wash).
After potty training 3 kids, I know all about washing poopy things and I wasn't sure I was up for cloth diapering with real poop, but it's been surprisingly easy.
The baby clean-up is no worse than using disposables and the diaper cleanup is as complicated as you make it. I personally use cotton-like paper towels as liners between baby and diaper and simply peel it off and toss it. I rarely have to spray, dunk, swish, scrape or any of those other yucky cloth diapering terms that scared me in the beginning.
I'll admit that there's a learning curve to cloth diapering, and my little guy peed through pretty much every diaper the first few days. But now that I've got the hang of it, and stay on top of how often he needs to be changed, we hardly ever have leaks. We've only ever had one poop-explosion that escaped the cloth diaper.
Ok so, diapering isn't ever really fun, but cloth diapering is a lot more exciting than disposables. With so many styles and cute prints to choose from, there's something for every parent and baby. You can match to baby’s outfits and choose your favorite prints (we have a pretty cool airplane collection going) to create a stash that is uniquely your own.
Give it a try. You might just fall in love with cloth diapering!