Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To diaper or not to diaper: The cloth diaper debate

I admit it. I haven't been that Super Mom who touts cloth diapers, weilds environmentally sustainable snacks, snubs disposable training pants, and is committed to a 100% eco-friendly lifestyle. Actually, until just last month I hadn't even considered trying cloth diapers.

Now those who know me understand that I do care about the environment-- quite a bit actually-- but the concept of washing and caring for alternative diapers was well... intimidating. Then I read Beth's post "My Experience with Cloth Diapers." She had a realistic view of diapering this way with helpful links and basic care instructions.

Wow! I thought. You mean it's okay to commit to using cloth only part of the time?? Like after the morning poopy diaper is deposited?? Now that sounded more do-able. And one doesn't have to feel tied to cloth diapering even if say, you're planning a long outing that day and don't want to drag around soppy diapers as they're changed. (Not that parents can't bring a plastic bag, but that takes preparation and I'm not always that prepared.)

I tentatively ordered my first three cloth diapers. I chose a brand that made snap diapers for easy on and off with a waterproof outer coating and padded inserts.

The last few weeks we've been trying them out and with great results. I love not filling the diaper geenie so quickly, knowing those diapers are going to landfills and not decomposing any time soon. I love that I feel one step closer to putting my son in real underwear. Even the process of soaking and washing his cloth diapers is no big deal. I just whisk them downstairs to soak and when all three are ready, I toss them in the rinse cycle and then wash.

Now I do agree that cloth diapers don't hold as much liquid as disposables. But if you know your child's natural drinking and urinating habits (which you learn faster with cloth diapers) it's not hard to keep them dry.

I'm still not a complete convert, but am happy enough that I ordered several additional cloth diapers so we can use them more often. We all have to start somewhere and our family is taking baby steps towards the environmentally-friendly diapering approach. And who knows? Maybe by the second go-round I'll be ready for a complete conversion.

Have you ever considered or used cloth diapers? I'd love to hear your own experiences and tips.


  1. Hey Lauren. I've used cloth (the old-fashioned vinyl pants and pins kind)with all the kids. Well, Elaine not quite as much, I confess! It is easier than it sounds. And, like you said, I don't usually use cloth when we go out or at night. And, contrary to what some people say about the cost of water and detergent, we haven't found that to be anywhere close to the cost of disposables! Also, I've been able to re-use the diapers with each kid. Certainly can't do that with disposables! :)Those velcro/snap kinds they have now are super easy. Happy diapering!(by the way, I didn't start the cloth with the newborns until they were about 6 weeks old and they aren't going quite so much.)Rachel

  2. Thanks for the input! I imagine with newborns you have to feel it out. I remember those explosive diapers happened quite often for us and the "wet" and "soiled" diapers weren't such separate events.