Cloth Diapering: Why I Ditched Cloth Diapers

Yeah, dumped ’em.  No pun intended.  Stopped the madness of leaks and rashes.  Went cold turkey on the whole cloth diaper grind.  I still had them tucked away in my emergency preparedness boxes, but I was done using them!  Then…I took them up again.  Baby girl got older, I slept more and the whole thing didn’t seem like such a mess.  We started figuring out the kinks and I tried different systems.  And then, I quit again.  So, more for me than you, here are a few things I learned about cloth diapering. Cloth Diapering l Why I quit and why I kept going l Troubleshooting and realities l Hometead Lady

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The Truth about Cloth Diapering

Cloth diapers stink.

Yeah, but you’re a mom, and you get used to stuff being rank.

The thing I discovered about cloth diapering with a newborn is that I didn’t have enough time to deal with the cloth diapers and the baby and the other four kids and everything else.

I’d change the baby (you do a lot of diaper changing with a newborn), and then go to rinse out the poop and take out the inserts and put everything into a wet bag to hold for laundering.  However, on the way another kiddo would have a cut.  Or there’d be a fight.  Or a math problem that needed tending.  Or a goat that got out.  Or insert a scene from the life of any mother of young children.

The diapers would end up in piles, waiting to be sorted and cleaned.  And the dog would sometimes find those piles….And it stank on many levels.

Cloth diapering gave my baby rashes.

I’m savvy with salves, and can handle most problems, but these rashes had a hard time healing because the diaper wasn’t wicking the moisture away from the baby’s bum the way paper diapers do.  A lot of people say they don’t struggle with diaper rash once they switch to cloth diapers, and that’s wonderful!  We had the opposite experience.

It took me awhile to realize that my sweet baby just has really sensitive skin.  Her similarly sensitive brother struggled with body rashes as a baby, too.  Back then we were still going to doctors, and ours prescribed some nasty concoction in a tube that did very little for my son.  With baby girl, I just couldn’t get a handle on treating and stopping the cause of the diaper rash.

Cloth diapering adds to the laundry piles.

Whatever.  I’m used to laundry but cloth diapers have a lot of parts, and there’s a high volume of them.  How can a human that’s so small poop so much?!

Plus, cloth diapers have special washing requirements.  Regardless of your cloth diapering system, the part that gets the brunt of the contact with the poop will need to be washed pretty vigorously.

We started with a cloth system called “pocket diapers” where absorbent material gets placed inside the pocket of a special diaper.  The diaper  has a cotton/poly section against baby’s tushie, and a waterproof fabric on the back.  The water proof fabric, called PUL, has to be taken care of so as not to become un-water-proofed.  It really can’t stand up to the rigorous, hot-water washing to remove poop from the cotton/poly side.  Ask me how I know.

Also, we were using an HE washer when baby was first born, and that thing was constantly foul – everything we washed came out smelling like a dirty gym sock.  This was not because of the diapers, but just because that brand of HE washer was always stinky.  I discovered that if I used my citrus vinegar cleaner in every load I washed, the nasty mildewed smell disappeared.  Well, turns out PUL fabric doesn’t like constant doses of vinegar – it makes them porous.

At least, I think the vinegar is what was causing the diapers to leak through all the time.  And that’s another thing…

Cloth diapers leak.

All diapers leak – there isn’t one on the market that doesn’t but, nearly every time?  Really?!  At least, the cloth diapering system I tried first (the pocket diaper) leaked out the sides, where the diaper wraps around the leg.  The elastic failed on several, and the diaper would no longer seal around the baby’s leg.  When that happened I was constantly changing a soggy baby, and soggy bedding, and thinking I’d really like a different hobby.

If you have this problem, sometimes the cloth diaper design is just bad, but perhaps you just haven’t figured out the best way to fit it to baby.  We had better luck with “pre-fold” diapers where fitting and leaking was concerned.  (But more on that in the next article on trouble shooting cloth diaper problems.)

As an aside, cloth diapering makes your baby’s butt so big.  The cushion comes in handy when they’re learning to walk, and I think the padded hiney is actually pretty cute, but baby clothes manufacturers don’t design their clothing with cloth diaper bulk in mind.  Some things baby girl just couldn’t wear because her butt was too big.  Not a problem normally encountered by a six month old.

The Result of Cloth Diapering?

The result was that, for the sake of my sanity, I ditched cloth diapering.  I kept them, hoping I’d come to a time where I was getting more rest, and the homeschool schedule evened out, and the homestead could chill a bit while I figured out how to make cloth diapers work for my baby and myself.  Plus, they’re a great preparedness item.

The truth was, I really loved the idea of cloth diapers, and wanted so much to have them be something I could do on a regular basis.  But, I just couldn’t.  And that’s ok.

To all the mothers of young children I say, do what ya gotta do.

You have THE hardest job in the entire world.  Forget about trial lawyers and brain surgeons – I’m completely serious.  Being a mother is more difficult, and sucks more marrow out of your bones than anything else to which you could possibly give your life and love.  (Incidentally, you don’t have to  have your own, biological children to be a mother – you just have to constantly serve children to know what I mean.)


If it comes down to cloth diapers or your sanity, ditch the cloth diapers.  At least, for a time.  Don’t hold onto any system that just isn’t working because you feel like you have to – that’s not a good enough reason to embrace failure in any endeavor. Sometimes we have to step back and learn more.

I will say, that I did just that with cloth diapers.  I set them aside until I was ready to take them up again.  So, you cloth diaper people, re-sheath your knives ;).  I invite everyone to go read this article on troubleshooting some of the cloth diaper problems I ran into – especially how “pre-folds” solved my washing problem.  There are ways to fix the problems you run into, for the most part.  I promise.

And, in case your wondering about all the other stuff regarding cloth diapers, the stuff that isn’t included in most cloth diapers posts, just visit my friend, Jess, at The 104 Homestead and her very useful post.

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55 thoughts on “Cloth Diapering: Why I Ditched Cloth Diapers

  1. I just started using cloth diapers again on Saturday on my newborn and toddler. We’ve been using disposables since the newborn was born. First day back, both children have huge blowouts. They didn’t come out of the diapers, but it sure would be have been nicer to NOT have to deal with that much poop on day one. I can’t wait to read what you’re doing next! My son constantly gets rashes from the cloth diapers too, the only way for me to avoid it is to put him in a disposable at night. Speaking of diapers, I need to go change a couple!

    1. Ah, yes, the poop conspiracy – I swear they plan that sort of thing while you’re sleeping! If the next post doesn’t help at all, just let me know and we can chat on Facebook or email. Maybe we can give each other ideas!

  2. I love this! Ya try to be all crunchy in every way possible, and then you can’t come to terms with something basic like cloth diapering?? lol, glad I’m not alone! I still have all the stuff, so maybe this go-round will work out!

    1. You never know, Tami – you might decide you like it later. That’s what I did. Now we do this funky cloth/commercial thing. My husband, God love him, just hates the cloth diapers. He doesn’t complain, but he also doesn’t use them. We’re all just doing our best with these babies!

  3. It has been a very long time since I had to deal with this, but my first child had cloth diapers pretty much all the time. We didn’t have any kind of systems other than cloth diapers and plastic pants. The only choices you had were flat or prefolded. Disposables were just coming on the market (1974). Not really much of a problem. My second, ten years later, I did what I had done before. My doctor said to just forget it. A pale, blue eyed redheaded child has sensitive skin and there was no way she would ever get over diaper rash if we kept on using cloth diapers. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I had betrayed my environmental beliefs. Well, I got over that, and she got over diaper rash, and we moved on. In the big scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. You are lucky to have so many choices. Just do the best that you can and keep moving forward.

  4. I used cloth for my last daughter. And I loved it. We had virtually no problems, she never leaked/had blow outs like my boys in disposables. We moved when she was 1 and our new place has spring water with a lot of mineral deposits. That is when we had trouble. I couldn’t get build up out if my life depended on it. The moment she peed the diapers SMELLED. We managed until she was 20 months old and potty trained. I am not sure I would purchase CD again….if they were given or gifted I would use them (we sold all the pockets, kept the prefolds which are cloths for us now)

    1. I’m wondering now if that might be part of my problem, too, Sarah. We go through batches of washed cloth diapers that do that – baby girl pees and you can immediately smell it. Funny though, I can’t smell her poop as easily in the cloth (probably because they’re thicker than disposable) and so she ends up walking around in poopy diapers for longer than she would in a disposable just because I don’t realize she’s pooped. A more detail oriented person would simply make a habit of checking regularly – uh, she’s almost two and I still haven’t managed to do that. More power to the detail oriented, I say!

  5. Thanks for that post. I fully intended to cloth diaper my kids, but when I began researching it, the whole thing was so overwhelming just trying to choose a style, that I gave up. I thought about it again when my kids got older, but again, just didn’t really have the time or inclination. I still feel *a little* guilty about it from time to time (but only a little!). I wish there was really a disposable out there that was better for the environment, but let’s face it – the Target brand works and it’s cheap. So yeah, sigh. That’s what I use. At some point, I think you are right – we just can’t do it all, and we have to think about what’s TRULY best for our kids, and not just our crunchy selves!

    1. If I had it to do over again, I’d get one or two of each kind that looked doable to me and then try them out while using disposables until I found a cloth one I liked. I didn’t have the time for that or the patience, quite frankly, but that’s my one regret. There are ways to make cloth work but I’m not going to waste energy on feeling guilty that I don’t do it 100% of the time. Believe me, my kids will have soooooooo many other things to complain about by the time they’re adults! 😉

  6. Found this interesting. I am an older mom who used the old-fashioned cloth diapers that you pin on, along with plastic pants. Or sometimes I got really crunchy and made wool diaper soakers out of old shrunk-up sweaters. But I never found it so hard to use cloth. I think those fancy pocket diapers are part of the problem. That would have to be awful hard to rinse the poop out of those! Hope you can work out the bugs in your system some day. I don’t judge–just hate to think of the landfills all full of disposable diapers.

    1. Ease of dealing with the poop seems to be the goal of every cloth diaper mom! 🙂 I have a friend who does that potty training with her infant – you know, watches for cues and then takes her to the toilet. She’s been doing it since she was born and, last I heard, was doing well with it. I remember when I lived in Russia, watching the moms do basically the same thing. Now, that is attention to detail!

      I know what you mean about the landfill. Whenever we go there to get mulch and wood chips, I’m always shocked at the number of items I see thrown away that could totally be upcycled or refurbished. I hate waste. Our family of seven generates about a bag of garbage a week or every week and a half because I just don’t see why we can’t recycle or upcycle most of that stuff!

    2. I use the “fancy pocket diapers” and haven’t any trouble. It’s been three years, still using the originals with no leaks or problems. I used the lady that makes them directions to the letter and I don’t find them hard to use at all. I’ve never used vinegar but do use an HE washer. When things get smelly, I run some cheap old Sunlight dish liquid through it. I’m sorry that the homestead lady had so much trouble, but I want to put this out there as well, because a lot of people are never going to give cloth diapers a try after reading this post and that’s a lot more diapers in the landfill now.

      1. Don’t worry, Jennifer, plenty of people will try cloth diapers whether they read this post or not. If you’ll continue on with the reading, you’ll discover that I still use cloth diapers; you’ll also discover how we solved the problems we were encountering. I’m so glad you’ve had no problems and have enjoyed them! It would be great if everyone’s experience could be like yours but, since that’s not the reality, moms need to know that they’re not the only ones struggling. They also need to know what they can do to fix potential cloth diaper problems, which is why this series of posts was written – there are three in all. Cloth diapering seems to be one of the those hot button, emotional topics for some moms and its healthy to step back and say to one’s self, “Self, this is really not that big a deal. We’ll work out the kinks but it may take time. Everything is going to be just fine and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks I should or should not be doing – I’m a great mom!” Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience!

  7. it sounds like all those issues could be solved with stripping the diapers. Smells, rashes and not wicking are not normal things that occur with cloth diapers. Probably need to be stripped a few times.

    1. Thanks, Shannon! I actually stripped several times – in fact, I think I over stripped my liners! We finally discovered a way to stop most of the rashes, but it’s not very eco-friendly. All that will be in the post next week. There are certainly ways to make cloth work – our ancestors did it, right?

    2. Shannon, I wish stripping would’ve worked for my daughter but sadly it wasn’t so. I scoured CD sites and only one mentioned something that seemed most likely to be my daughter’s problem, and that was when they start eating solids their urine is more acidic and coupled with a BM makes a volatile combination. This combined with the fact she doesn’t drink much breastmilk from her bottles when I’m at work further concentrated her urine and resulted in a rash that never ended in cloth. Her butt is so healthy now in a disposable. I landed on this site because I desired validation that it was OK to put her in disposables for the health of her skin and my own sanity..

      1. So glad it was of help to you, Jen! You don’t need me to give you validation, though – you’re a great mom who did what was necessary to keep her baby healthy and happy so you already knew you’d done the right thing for her. These kids don’t come with instruction manuals, so we do the best we can to figure it out for each one – and each one of them is so different! There are many ways to achieve a healthy end (no pun intended) and everyone gets there at their own pace and in their own way. The things I thought and felt so strongly about as a first and even second time parent have changed so much since baby number five. She has matured me as a parent in ways that are hard to quantify, but one lesson I’ve learned is this – LOVE is the only right way to raise a child. If you’ve got that – the true love, hard work kind of deep charity for your children – you are doing fantastically well.

  8. Agreed! I got into cloth diapering with my first and had the same problem…LOTS of laundry, and leaky diapers! The diapers leaked around her legs, and it seemed to only be at night. But like you said, I wasn’t willing to continue doing something that wasn’t working, so I switched to regular disposable diapers. I did feel a bit guilty at first, but the amount of time saved on not having to launder so many items was worth it! Plus, I found out I was bringing home another bundle of joy when my oldest was just 9.5 months old!! I didn’t go back to cloth, even for my second. I do still have them I guess for just in case reasons, but need to sell them! My youngest is 4 now, and not planning on anymore!!

    1. Wow – go you! You haven’t lived until you’ve changed poopy diapers while you have morning sickness with another baby. I think surviving that is worth some kind of medal.

      Cloth diapers are a great emergency prep item to keep or selling them is an awesome option!

  9. I felt like such a failure as a mom for ditching cloth diapers. By the time my daughter turned two I couldn’t take it anymore- all the problems you mentioned. By then I was 8 months prego and decided if we were to survive Baby Two, then cloth diapers were the first to go. I felt horrible for ruining Mother Earth, but since I was on that path anyhow I went further and switched to paper plates, cups, etc. for six months as well.

    But we did survive and I planted a tree after to feel better about it.

    Thanks for being honest about it, it feels better to know I wasn’t the only one.

    1. Failure as a mom for that?! No way! You have two children that you love and care for; that sounds like success to me! Sometimes we moms can feel so isolated with our little ones but you, definitely, are not the only one to feel any way you may feel as you raise those babies.

      We did paper plates after this last baby so I totally get what you mean. We burned all of the used ones in the outdoor fire pit – does that help? Water to clean real dishes, pulp to make paper plates. Oi.

  10. You’re in Utah, right? Our hard water here eats through PUL. I did customer service for a cloth diaper company in Utah and I’ve seen utah water eat through fitted diapers, too. I love cloth diapers but I quit until I get a water softener. I’m not saving money replacing my cloth diapers every 4-6 months.

    1. That’s something I hadn’t thought about, Rebecca – thank you! We do have a water softener but sometimes we forget to check and it runs out of salt. I’ll make sure we stay on that – thank you, again! I’ll add your point to the follow up post for next week!

  11. i did cloth off and on with 3 of my 4 kids. I had the best luck with flats and cut up 100% polyester fleece blankets for covers and real diaper pins. I was able to get them to fit better and not be so bulky.
    There were more than enough times cloth wasn’t worth my sanity though!

    1. Cutting up blankets – now that’s resourceful and I applaud you!! I love the Snappis, I must admit – I’m such a spazz with pins – but there have been a few times when I haven’t secured the Snappi well enough and it slipped. Once, it slipped onto baby girl’s skin and was hurting, poor dear. She’s so good about telling me when something is off with her diaper, we were able to fix it fast – “Momma, bum, ow. Bum, yuck.” 🙂

  12. Hi I was wondering since you stopped cloth diapers what kind of diapers did you use? Generic? Or natural/organic? I have 4 kids and sometimes I do cloth but night time and when times get crazy I use organic. My issue is I love the organic diapers but they are sooo expensive! But I feel completely guilty and the worst mom ever if i buy generic Bc I know all the crap they put in those diapers!

    1. I use Huggies because they are the least likely, in my experience, to leak and because Costco carries them. I prefer to spend my precious dollars on the healthiest food I can buy. I don’t know if you’re a praying/positive energy sort of person but when I bring my groceries into my home, I immediately say a prayer and ask for all negative elements to be removed from what I’ve just purchased. That’s the gist of it, anyway.

      I still use the cloth because I simply can’t afford to buy disposable diapers to cover each month. I figure, with the amount I end up using, she gets a goodly amount of clean product next to her bum. It’s the best I can do for now. Dratted money!! I wish we could still barter for stuff.

  13. I’m glad you found a solution that works for you. After some epensive trial and error we’ve found cloth that works for us. Sadly the most expensive diapers we used (BumGenius) were the worst as far as longevity. I think half the elastics were shot after 3 months of use and we had constant leaks! We switched to nicki’s diapers for pockets and covers with prefolds & hemp for night and it’s been awesome. My daughter gets rashes from being in a disposable for more than a few hours. Luckily some of out BGs still have some resale value so I was able to make back some of the money we lost.

    1. The elastic problem was a big one for us with the pocket diapers and cause a lot of frustration. Of course, I could go in a fix it with some new elastic, needle and thread but will I ever get around to that?! I have the rash problem from disposable sanitary napkins and that’s why I use personal cloth so I feel for your daughter and am glad you found a brand that works. I think that’s the thing – you need to try several and see which one works for you. That, however, requires time and capital and moms are usually short on both. We’re pretty clever and unfailing, though, as a group and I’m sure everyone will find their groove.
      When you were 16, did you ever imagine how much of your future life would be taken up with other peoples’ bodily functions? Just something I think about sometimes…and laugh!

  14. Hi, this article caught my eye 🙂 Just wanted to share that there are some positives which are a bit more subtle. My oldest was out of cloth & using her potty quite early because cloth diapers are more labour intensive I was more conscious of trying to show her where her 1’s and 2’s go 😉 She just monkey see monkey do and was proudly using her own potty by 1 (walked early at 9 months). I didn’t have problems with rashes because I was changing her often and giving her diaper free time after she did a #2 and if the weather was warm. Fresh air is a godsend to rashes. I wasn’t planning anymore kids necessarily but I liked the concept I read in this book I flipped through at a bookstore one day, it was on sale, I bought it. It seemed to be the most environmental practice to try to follow the principals of “Natural infant hygiene” – because its basically NO DIAPERS?!? It was about giving your baby sound cues to go potty from the young age of birth onwards! I never read it entirely but when I bumped into my friends who had a newborn & mentioned the book, they were interested in taking a look at it. To my great surprise, Carmen found the time to actually read/glance through the entire book in a few days (Superwoman?!) & when I went to visit them & their 9 day old son, her husband was casually cuing their son to pee in his little baby potty.. and the baby went! I was shocked. Fast forward several years, I let Carmen know I’m pregnant, she writes “Sorry for the coffee stains” on a card that accompanied my book sent back to me in the mail. I read it before my son is born and hubby & I are open to trying out the concepts… this practice is used in dozens of entire countries. Two quotes I’ve read that I like, “Every mammal instinctively does not like to deficate in its sleeping quarters so why do we assume baby’s are unable to try and avoid doing this..” that made sense to me? why not? and second, “if we can teach a puppy where to go, why not a baby?” and sure, made sense to me as well. So with no actual experience just a feeling of being open to try this, I fed my one day old, & we were hanging out. I knew that he was due to go as he was making straining faces, I made a cue sound (made it up on the spot) and he did his merconium in a wash cloth (I had stitches & could not get to washroom easily) vs. using the hospital issued diaper. I was hooked. I used maybe one box of disposable diapers for his entire pre 100% potty trained toddler years because of using the cues, learning his patterns and looking for the signs that he had to go, even finding different potty seats that work better than others (Bumbo potty seat is great for little ones) and learning that he liked to go in one bathroom vs the other, etc. Basically, we found our stride. I was too tired to do nighttime potty visits with my son under age 8 months, so I used cloth. As he became older he would go before going to bed as part of his nighttime routine and than would go once again first thing in the am. Major diapers saved and not nearly as much work as one would think, especially since changing stinky diapers up until 3+ would seem to me to be alot more work. I’ve heard concepts that this might damage children’s development as they aren’t emotionally ready to be potty trained until after 2 or so. Just from my only experience, I can honestly say that my kids (I did this with my daughter who is now 18 months as well) kind of have this confident attitude when people are amazed that they were going to the potty at 4 months, 8 months etc. they genuinely seemed to revel in it and were happy. It seemed to boost their confidence rather than lessen it. Anyhow, the terms are “Diaper free” babies or EC short for Elimination Communication. A great blog is Just felt like sharing this, sorry for length of the post.

  15. If you’re having stink with cloth, your wash routine is way off! If you’re having rashes, it’s also way off. Not sure how old this post is, but you should check out the Facebook group fluff live & cd science. It’s a laundry page for cloth! It’s helped over 40,000 members. It might help you love cloth again 🙂

    1. If you read all the post connected with this one, you’ll learn about the cloth diaper journey we enjoyed – they’re all linked in this post. I’m glad there’s a resource that’s helped so many cloth diaperers. Funny isn’t it, that something our grandmothers did as a matter of course is so tricky for some of us – shows how our culture has changed.
      We found a routine that’s worked for us which includes an extra wash and line drying – again, that’s all outlined in the links in this post. This post was mostly meant to encourage those who struggle with cloth diapers – to let them know that they’re not bad moms and their child isn’t going to perish if they choose to do something else. To each his own. 🙂

  16. I used to have ALL these problems until I discovered and fluff love on facebook. I told them all the problems I was having and they worked with me to try to establish a good routine. I did a good effective method to strip, switched y to mainstream detergent, and got a good laundry going and I love cloth now! Did you know you could thrown in clothes in the main wash with your diapers after a quick wash? That’s usually when I throw in all my sons dirty clothes from that week and towels. It’s like a 2 in 1. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. But there is still hope for everyone else who still wants to make it work.

    1. So glad you found a method that worked for you! Combining loads in and out with different washes is a great habit to get into, I agree. I usually put the cloth in it’s own hot wash and then throw in other stuff on a warm wash afterwards. Mainstream detergent wasn’t an option for us but we did find a green option that worked well enough. Line drying has made the biggest difference in our cloth diaper success. There’s just nothing better than the sun!

  17. Sounds like you have a bad case of mineral build up. What did you use to strip your diapers? Some people use dishwashing soap, and that is not effective. You might also have detergent build up if you are using homemade or another inappropriate detergent on the diapers. Both of these things lead to the problems you describe.

    1. I used vinegar with citrus peel to strip. For the cloths diapers, I have used homemade detergent but I went through a bunch of different ones trying to find one that would work. Line drying helped more than anything, I think.

  18. I had some similar problems, but also found that I needed to strip my diapers with rlr and then do a bleach soak. I have hard water which didn’t help. Also, I ditched the “cloth diaper approved” detergents and use Tide. They just weren’t strong enough… I mean it’s poop we’re dealing with, not dirt. Since then, no problems! I would most definitely advise anyone who is having issues to reach out for help. It can be so frustrating for a mommy who is trying so hard to have these issues with cloth. It should be easy! If it’s not you may be doing something wrong!

    1. Not to argue the point too heavily but cloth diapers are easy only in the same way that any laundry is easy – but it’s all work. I think we should just stop washing clothes altogether – it only encourages them. 😉

      I’m glad you found a way that worked for you! We aren’t able to use Tide-type detergents because of some bad allergies but Ecos seems to work well for us. Plus, I learned to wash the diapers twice and use line drying as often as possible. The sun works wonders on those cloth diapers. The other links in this post will take you to a Cloth Diapering 101 post where we share the various things we learned to do that worked.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  19. LOL! I should probably write a post like this myself one day soon. I stopped initially when I got pregnant with my 2nd and it coincided with my baby starting to eat solid food…I just couldn’t take it. After the first trimester I tried again but with the solid food, it just wasn’t gonna happen. I’ve tried a few other times since then, on baby #3 now and those diapers are about to get sold! I wanted them to work so badly, but for the all the reasons you listed and a few more it just didn’t work for us. I’m glad I’m not alone!

    1. That was my hope in writing the series – to let moms know they weren’t alone if they were struggling with cloth diapers. Especially when there are so many little ones at the same time, moms can feel like they’re drowning. Thank you for taking time to comment and I totally sympathize!

  20. Lol! I probably should write a post like this myself pretty soon! For all these reasons and more I gave up using cloth diapers. I wanted them to work so badly but it just didn’t work for us. The first time I quit was when I got pregnant with my 2nd and it coincided with my baby eating solid foods…so yeah, as you can imagine it wasn’t fun. I don’t even have a goat and couldn’t make it work, don’t know how you did it! Glad I’m not alone!

  21. HI Tessa, my kids are way past the diapering stage, but I looked up your post because I was just given the 3rd degree for not using them by a self righteous cloth diaper enthusiast. I’ll admit that I never considered them and would not now consider using them. The reason is that I value my time and happiness, and the convenience of disposable diapers allowed me more time to pursue my interests. And those interests included, when my kids were little, volunteer work in environmental ed and wildlife conservation. Would it have been better for the environment to ditch those activities and spend my time “messing” with cloth diapers? Not sure, but I enjoyed those other activities far more than I enjoy poopy smelly diapers.

    Also, in reading some of the studies, it’s not entirely clear that cloth is environmentally superior to disposable, because the laundering of cloth diapers is high impact. Impact is hard to quantify, and one thing I haven’t even seen factored in to the equation is the environmental impact of working forests (where we get the paper for disp. diapers) vs. cotton plantations (where we get the cotton for the cloth). Working forests can actually be excellent wildlife habitat and little to no pesticides are used to grow the “crop”. A lot of pesticides are usually used to grow cotton, but even if you use organic cotton cloth, a cotton plantation is still a monocrop and a waste land in terms of wildlife habitat. Wildlife value of our agricultural systems impact biodiversity, a critical factor in sustainability.

    Just thought I’d throw this into the pot, for people at their wits end with cloth diapers. Doo what you must doo, and don’t worry – what you think is worse might be better!

    1. Janet – that is aaaaaaaawesome! Thank you for that perspective; I’ve never thought about the cotton growing before and you’re absolutely right! Although I’m never a fan of using the land by extortion, I’ve always admired ethical timber management as something that can be completely renewable when done right. People get hot under the collar about it but there are good stewards and bad stewards in every industry. Cotton is so hard on the land and is, indeed, grown as a monocrop. Bet that self-righteous cloth diaper enthusiast is sorry she crossed blades with you! 😉 Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  22. I’ll throw this in there too – I live next to cotton fields, and I can personally attest to the amount of chemicals they spray on the plants to keep everything weed free and to get the plants to produce.

  23. Pretty sure the problem is that you are putting polyester next to baby’s bum, and that is why they got rashes. I also used to think stay-dry fabric was better for my baby, but she was also getting rashes, and then her skin cleared up amazingly after I switched to pure cotton prefolds. A lot of people also complain about stink issues with polyester. It just doesn’t get very clean. It’s sad that pockets and stay-dry material are so popular because that crap is the worst thing you can put against your baby’s privates. Even for adults it is recommended that you wear pure cotton underwear. I always wore plain cotton underwear, and at one point I had bought some fancy nylon ones, and started getting UTI’s. I had never got a UTI in my life. I learned that it was because of the nylon, so I switched back to cotton underwear and never got UTI’s again. It’s no different for baby’s bottoms. They need pure natural cotton against their skin. Wetness doesn’t hurt unless you leave them in a wet diaper for way too long, or you put tight pants on them which doesn’t allow for air circulation.

  24. I am using pockets, i rinse all my inserts and of course spray off the poopy ones. I have had a couple leaks but that was more in the beginning when I was figuring out the fit. I have 2 under 2 and i was using sooooo many disposables especially since my dd was a poop machine at the time i am glad I switched. But i did have issues along the way. I tried flats and prefolds with covers and that were cheap and free from the hospital and I hated them so much that was just to much folding for me. It’s definitely not for everyone but i don’t think alot of people even think about it.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing that, Yesenia! I think they key is just to do what you did and keep trying until you find something that works. Then be willing to do it all again with the next “poop machine.” I’m glad you are saving money with it and I’m sure your words will help another struggling mom.

      I don’t know what they’d call it if it weren’t easy, but they sure wouldn’t call it parenting!

  25. I know this post is a few years old but I am so happy I came across it. I tried the cloth diapering system with my 2nd son. It was great at first but soon it became a headache. Trying to figure out which insert would work, why he still woke up soaked, fixing the gussets, buying so so many different diapers to try and stick with it, not to mention the time it took to launder them and dry. Our HE washer was the same. What to wash them with if you have hard water. I am all for the families that are able to make cloth diapering work. Just I wish someone would have told me the reality and how much it actually costs to find a system that works. We ended up going to disposalables finally instead of still trying to figure out the CD and having to use disposables at night. I wasnt saving any money. I will be expecting my 3 child in February and I thought long and hard about trying again but I dont think I could do it again. Plus here daycares wont let you use CD instead of disposables. So once again I would be buying both.

    1. So glad you stopped by, Nichole, though I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience. I do love the idea of cloth diapers and there are times they work wonderfully, but…

      I hope you find the way that works best for you and your family. You’re a good mom!

  26. Oh my gosh, I am so glad I found this post. I’ve never read your blog before, but this is wonderful.

    Tonight, after another HORRIBLE rash caused by undetected poop that sat in her diaper for too long (we couldn’t smell it at all and she’d recently been changed!), my husband and I decided that, after a full year of cloth diapering and all of the troubleshooting/late-night Googling in entails, we have to quit cloth diapering. I was literally in tears, feeling like I’d worked so hard on this (and also simultaneously realizing I need a better hobby) and had wanted it to work so, so badly. We’d finally figured out our wash routine, finally gotten all of the right supplies, and finally figured out how to spray without hosing down the entire bathroom. Going back to disposables feels like a failure, and so I really appreciate your honesty about your daughter’s sensitive skin (we think that’s our culprit, too!) and the fact that being a mom is hard enough without having to force a system to work for you.

    So, we’re shelving the cloth diaper supply until perhaps another baby with less sensitive skin. It really helps to know that there are other moms out there who are gulping the same slice of humble pie, so thank you so, so much for this post!

    1. Oh, Lindsay, the struggle is REAL, sister! You’re not failing at all. It would be a failure to keep doing something that wasn’t working. Motherhood is all about effectively nurturing and that’s what you’re doing by making this change. It doesn’t mean you can’t try again – even with this sweet baby. We did the stop and start and back and forth. And each baby is different.

      I’m glad you found the article helpful! If you ever need permission to NOT do something, you go right ahead and leave me another message. I’m here for ya, lady! God bless!

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