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Cloth Diapering

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by Mary Mary 5 years, 4 months ago.

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    What are your thoughts on cloth diapering vs. disposable diapering? I’m expecting and trying to decide which road to take! I have friends on both sides of the debate with pretty passionate opinions. I would love to do the responsible thing and try cloth diapering, but I’m hearing from some that the amount of work it entails is pretty overwhelming…

    Has anyone tried this and been successful? Or, is this not a route worth taking? I’d love to hear thoughts on this.


    I wore cloth diapers as a baby and a few stories from my mom scared me away from this.  The biggest issue is the poop.  You need to change the baby, clean the baby and then dump the poop in the toilet.  Trust me, sometimes I was lucky if I got my kids changed without breaking a sweet!  They are wiggly little buggers and I can’t imagine also having to run to the potty to dump a poop (while making sure my baby/toddler is safely planted on the floor all sparkly clean).  Also, as a mom currently potty training my son, I can say from experience (since he has had 2 poop accidents in the past 12 days in cloth undies) – I am SO glad I went disposable!  Wow – poop in cloth undies in nasty to clean up!!

    In my opinion, there are HUNDREDS of other ways you can take care of the environment (like reusable containers instead of ziplock bags).  Cloth diapers is just one that in my opinion isn’t worth losing your sanity over!


    We use BumGenius cloth diapers for our youngest and also used them for the 3 year old…sometimes it is a little gross, but it saves tons of cash and the environment and really isn’t all that bad.  We use disposables at night to make midnight changes quicker and easier, but with BumGenius it is use diaper that can be adjusted to fit from birth through potty training (unless they are really late learners) and the daycare loves them too because they just fold them up and stick them in a bag for us to take care of.  They are velcro closures so no pins.  You do need to switch to disposables when there is diaper rash (our older got them a lot, none so far for the younger) because diaper cream can reduce the absorbancy of the cloth.  I highly recommend them to everyone who bothers to ask my opinion.  Diaper services are also nice (no cleaning the diapers yourself) but a lot more expensive.  We did that for the first few months with the older one before we found the Bum Geniuses.


    Hi Brand New Mommy!

    I had the same dilemma (see here). I ultimately chose disposable diapers (Seventh Generation), but regretted that decision. I feel like I didn’t give myself or my center enough of a chance. Make sure to read the comments as there are some from cloth diaper users.

    Regarding the environmental impact, I saw this great documentary a while back about making environmental decisions. It was hosted by the CEO of Seventh Generation and included a segment on cloth diapers. Basically the environmental impact is based on where you live. If you live in drought area, then using the water to wash the diapers is actually worse than creating the waste. However, if you live in an area that had landfill problems (they are filling up), then creating the waste is worse. It’s really 6 of one, half dozen of the other.  Ultimately it’s what works best for your family…and making sure both you and your partner are on board. Good luck!

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    HI BrandNewMommy-

    I REALLY struggled with this one too. I am now doing both. The first few weeks – (IMO) don’t even bother with cloth. For sanity sake, disposable is the way to go. We moved to a cloth diaper service when my daughter was about 3 months, which has been amazing! No shopping for diapers, cleaning them out etc. But I know this might not be feasalbe or available to you. If not, I would be wary of washing and drying cloth diapers on your own. My personal feelings was it’s a lot of work that you really have to keep on top of. Probably uses tons of water and electricity to wash and dry and I felt would be a lot of wear and tear on my washer and dryer (not to mention, me!)

    Our center does not allow cloth so we do disposable on the days she goes to B.H. and when travelling and cloth at home. Oh and disposable at night – at one year old, there’s a lot of pee happening in the middle of the night! Def. more than a cloth can handle. It probably sounds more complicated than it is but you get used to it. Basically if we are home or close to home that I will be back to throw the cloth diaper in the bin, then she’s in cloth.

    I love the Seventh Generation diapers – if you go with them, shop around, as I’ve found BRUs to be the most expensive.

    I have also heard great things about the Bumgenius – I wish I had tried it. It probably is the best of both, if you can’t do a diaper service.

    Hope this helps…. I know it’s hard to know and everyone has an opinion.

    Best of luck 🙂


    We also use BumGenius dipes & love them.  Our Bright Horizons teachers use them on our babe with no problem. We chose cloth diapering for the health benefits, the cost savings, and because I think they’re really cute:) There are many blogs and websites that you can peruse for advice. I recommend trying a site like ?, which allows you to try cloth diapers for $10.  In our experience, the pros are: low overall cost; cute tushies; fewer diaper rashes; no harsh chemicals against baby’s skin.  But the cons are: laundry! lots of it! and our new HE washer requires we do 4 short cycles, which is a pain; when baby starts solids, poop must be removed (which I don’t mind, but some may find this gross); you need to use additive-free laundry soap– but this works out to be pretty inexpensive because you use mere tablespoons at a time; there is a bit of an initial financial outlay required since pocket diapers like BumGenius cost $17+ each & you ideally have 12 to start (however, we recouped our investment by the time our kid was 4 months).

    Ultimately, I think it’s best if you can try it and make the best decision for you & your fam.  It’s not worth it if it causes extra stress and lessens the time you get to spend with them:)

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    Don’t stress; you can always change your mind and switch!

    We chose cloth, but didn’t start until a couple weeks after birth — there were just too many other things to learn. But cloth is much, much easier than it used to be, so if you hear bad things about cloth from older generations, know that it’s not the same now is it was for them. No pins. Much better covers. As newcarsmelly says, it might be worth holding off of cloth at the beginning — they grow so fast and change cloth sizes quickly then, plus if you’re a first-time mom, there’s so much to learn…

    That being said, we use the Thirsties diaper covers (but there are several brands including the BumGenius that others mentioned that are all raved about). And we use a diaper service. In Minneapolis, our diaper service didn’t even ask that we dump or scrape our diapers — they just went into a bin and the service picked them up every week and left us new clean ones. When we needed a new size, they brought us a new size. This is a bit more expensive than buying and washing your own, but it saves us *tons* of time, and it’s still cheaper than disposables. Now we live in Austin and the diaper service we have here does ask that we dump BMs into the toilet, but they don’t require that of breast-fed poop, which washes really easily. Dumping solid BM’s is really easy — walk to toilet, open diaper, tilt diaper — maybe shake it a little if it’s been sat on, BM rolls into toilet. (And you can switch temporarily to disposables if your kid gets sick and has loose BMs for a while.)

    Clother diapering is really not bad — not any messier or any stinkier than disposables. And while it takes a little more time to do the diaper change, it’s only a tiny bit more. Once you get good at it, it’s quite quick. If you do choose cloth, you’ll also have to choose styles of diaper and styles of covers. And you’ll have to choose whether to wash your own (more time) or hire a service (more money).

    Environmentally, cloth is better. Yes, cloth takes water to wash, but it takes a lot of water to process petroleum into plastic which is what is used to make the disposables. That rarely gets factored into the environmental analysis of cloth vs. disposables. (Guess which lobby makes sure that misinformation about the environmental impacts of cloth and disposables gets spread?)

    Anyway, like I said, you can try one and then switch, or you can do a hybrid like cloth during the day, disposables at night. We use cloth both day and night, but disposables when we travel, as it would be super annoying to have to carry lots of clean and dirty cloth diapers around. I personally hate the cloying smell of disposable diapers, though, and am glad to go back to cloth when we get home from vacations.

    Our BH has been very cooperative in using cloth, even though our boy has been the only one in both his infant and now toddler room to use them.

    I’d vote: try out cloth for a bit. Maybe start with disposables and pick a time you want to try cloth. If you’re not sure, a lot of diaper services will have a trial package, so you don’t have to invest in lots of new covers. You can even do, say, cloth on weekends when maybe you have some extra help around the house, and disposables on weekdays. Learn how to do it — give yourself a few weeks — and if it doesn’t seem too burdensome, then switch over. And if it does, then know you gave it a good try and don’t feel bad about using disposables.


    We used a diaper service with our first (10 years ago), and I loved it.  We bought the wraps and just used their diapers, set the pail out on our front step every week, and the diaper fairy would come and take the gross ones away and leave us clean ones.

    The diaper service we used went out of business by the time our second was born.  We didn’t like the chemicals in regular commercial diapers, but I didn’t want to wash the cloth myself.  We compromised with Seventh Generation diapers.  We absolutely LOVED them and would do it all over again.  We tried a couple other "green" brands, but the Seventh Generation diapers were the best – no leaks, seriously.

    We used the subscription service, which worked out really well for us (can you tell I hate to shop?).  You sign up for so many deliveries and they send them to you at your intervals.  They give you a discount if you subscribe, too.


    We use Fuzzi Bunz.

    They are snap pocket folds, so there are no additional fasteners to buy or extra pieces to worry about at 3AM when you’re a little sleep deprived. 😉

    We use them exclusively during the week. When we travel we use disposables so we don’t have a backlog of diapers over a two-three day period. I sort of felt bad about this at first, but hey…I’m doing my part to the best of my ability.  :shrug:  During the week we put dirty diapers into our Planet Wise Wet/Dry bags

    As for poo, we just throw the diapers directly from their cloth diaper bag into the wash. One cold cycle and one hot cycle gets everything clean.  We use Charlie’s Soap so there is no residue build up.

    Once our kid gets older, and starts solids we have biodegradeable diaper liners. You just hold the diaper over the toliet and flush or you can hold the diaper over the trash and let it fall in there. There are so many options today. So if you want to use cloth, go for it!

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    Sunny Day

    We use cloth diapers and I don’t find it to be any big deal.  We have a hose installed next to the toilet that we use to spray off the poops into the toilet.  That gets most of it off.  Then you just put the dirty diaper in the diaper bucket (and bucket that has a lid will do).  We have enough diapers to get us through 2 or 3 days and then you just put it all in the washing machine.   The only extra time is the 3 seconds to hose off each poopy diaper (what is that, about 30 seconds a day?) and then the extra load of laundry every 2 or 3 days?  Its not that big of a deal.

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