I really wanted to like cloth diapers. I know there are some moms out there who swear by cloth diapering (yes, only moms are crazy enough to put themselves through the hassle of cleaning their child’s shit rather than throwing it away). I know this because I read their blogs religiously before my little poop machine was born. I looked at the pictures of their smiling cuties in adorable diaper designs and dreamed of the day when my little one would be crawling around with some googley-eyed animal printed on his tush. I planned to use cloth diapers knowing they are better for the environment than disposable diapers and can be easier on the wallet, especially when using with multiple children. Plus, the designs are just so darn cute!
However, as with many aspects of raising children, these aspirations faded as reality set in and I realized that cloth diapering was a load of crap. So here are my five biggest complaints about cloth diapers:
- The mess shoots right up the back instead of being absorbed. Newborns have the amazing ability of emptying themselves with the force of an erupting volcano. This was quite a surprise, especially when the cloth diaper did not contain the mess! We tried all-in-ones, inserts, and prefolds, but none of them had what it took. The waste would always shoot right up the back, soaking his onsie and anything else in its path.
- They need to be changed frequently. On top of being storm poopers, newborns leak a lot. In order to keep the moisture under control, I was having to change his cloth diaper every 1-2 hours religiously. Not doing this would result in the contamination of my own clothes and the threat of a diaper rash (for the baby, not me). They just were not able to absorb and wick away the moisture the way a disposable diaper does. With some disposable brands, I even found that I was able to let my son go all night without a change and just air him out in the morning. Call me lazy, but my goodness, this is so much easier!
- The smell gets old real fast. I’ll admit, I have no desire to do laundry more than once per week. The smell of urine and waste piled in a hamper for even a few days is enough to make the flies flee. Sure, you can soak the diapers in a bucket of solution instead. However, after a few times of splattering the walls, washer, and myself with that dirty solution, I decided I’d rather inhale the dirty diaper scent.
- They are incredibly bulky. I can always spot a cloth diaper kid from a mile away. Sure, the prints are adorable, but not so much once you’ve squished them into pants or stretched a pair of leggings over them. Jeans were just impossible for us when wearing cloth.
- They impact the infant’s range of movement. No, he hasn’t been riding his rocking horse all day; that’s just his cloth diaper! The cloth diapers are bulkier than disposable diapers, making it more difficult for the child to pull their legs together. While wearing the cloth diaper, my son would often just lay on his back with his legs spread out. Once the diaper was off, he would begin to play with his feet, roll over, and become more active in reaching for toys.
Here’s what I love:
What I love about the cloth diapers is the shell/cover. We would put just the cover over my son’s disposable diapers, especially when he was really young, and this prevented blowouts 99% of the time. I have also used the cover as a swim diaper at times. The cover acts just as any disposable swim diaper by allowing liquid to pass through while holding in solids.
I also love cloth wipes. We have been using these right along and find that they actually work better than disposable wipes. We just use them with water so there are absolutely no chemicals to worry about and the amount is so little that it hardly creates a smell in the hamper.
So maybe you are reading this and shaking your head saying, “she just doesn’t get it!” If there is some magical answer (that does not require taking up cleaning and preparing cloth diapers as a hobby) then by all means, please share! But as I write this post, I hold out very little hope of joining the cloth diaper advocates in their attempts to rid the landfills of disposable diapers one laundry cycle at a time.