Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cloth diapers

While we prepare for the arrival of a new little one, one of the considerations we have to make is whether we are going to use disposable diapers, or cloth. Because of personal experience, information we have read, and other considerations, right now my husband and I are strongly inclined towards the cloth diapers direction. I know many of the ladies who read this are experienced cloth diapering moms, so I'm not sure I have much to add to your extensive knowledge, but I'm still going to share a few thoughts about why we think cloth diapers are a good option...

For the baby's bottom

Just for the record, I was cloth-diapered as a baby, as was my husband and his 4 siblings. None of us ever had diaper rash. My mother used cloth diapers because that was the only option available. Once, a generous relative sent her a pack of disposables, and diaper rash started immediately, after which she went right back to using cloth. Now, I can imagine disposable diapers have evolved during the last 20+ years, and maybe now they cause less diaper rash, however they still contain a whole array of chemicals that can be absorbed through the baby's delicate skin. When you use plain old cloth you don't even have to wonder whether this or that chemical might be unsafe for the baby - cloth is 100% safe and allergen-free.

For the environment

As an environment-conscious couple, we cannot ignore the fact that disposable diapers make a disproportionally large percent of overall waste in the area where we live. Of course, energy is still needed to make and clean cloth diapers as well, but it's much less of an overload. After all, all that is involved in cleaning a cloth diaper is water, and detergent which can even be organic.

For the budget

We made some calculations and saw that using cloth diapers can save us a bunch of money which otherwise would be literally thrown away. Investing in a stack of cloth diapers will pay off soon, even if we go for the handy-dandy, all-in-one diapers available today, as we plan to handle them carefully and use them with more than one child. By the way my mother used simple square pieces of fabric which she folded herself, and it still worked just fine. So we won't necessarily go for the most convenient option after all. We will make the pros and cons of what's available in our area, and might decide that a bit of extra work might be worth the effort.

Cloth diapers are an option for us because we intend for me to stay home with the baby. A daycare facility couldn't be reasonably expected to bother with cloth diapers, especially if we don't use the all-in-one variety. I realize it will probably mean more work for me, but the one and only reason I see in the favor of disposables so far is quick convenience, and that's not enough in my eyes to outweigh the benefits of cloth.

I would love to hear the experience of cloth-diapering moms, and any tips you might want to share are most welcome!

Picture taken from an Israeli website that sells cloth diapers


margaretha said...

I couldn't have said it better myself!

Anonymous said...

Cool idea. I never went the cloth diaper route, so I'd be interested to see what others say. It actually never entered my mind, and I know of no one who did it (besides my MIL, who believes she deserves a hero's medal for it. Of course, she also washed by hand...)

I see one cloth diaper there costs slightly more than a pack of good diapers here in Israel (Huggies or Pampers go for 60-70 NIS). So I guess it would pay off quickly. Although you'd need LOTS of diapers. I changed the baby every 3-4 hrs those first few months, sometimes much more often. They wet a lot when they're so small, and there's often an unexpected surprise right after you put on a clean diaper.

[My kids very rarely had diaper rash. I personally think the 'diaper creams' like Penaten give - not prevent - rashes].

Are those diapers for all sizes? Or would you have to buy a new stash as baby grows? Babies use diapers till age 2.5 usually; that could get expensive.

Also, can you boil those? Logistically, I'm curious to how this works. Would you put each dirty diaper to soak somewhere till you had a load? And then put it on a long boil cycle?

Amanda said...

I love cloth diapering my son!

I wanted to say, though, that a baby will still get diaper rash even with cloth. My son gets diaper rash from teething and from occasional diarrhea (too much fruit! ;) ) in which the fruity acids cause his little bottom to break out a bit in a rash.

My son still has to wear sposies every once in a while (church nursery). It's weird, but now I really don't like the smell of disposables!

Anonymous said...

Just another thought...
I think maybe the old-fashioned white cloth diapers are best. The link you included shows colourful diapers with velcro strips. Wouldn't the velcro get ruined by intensive hot water laundry cycles? And wouldn't the material get stained? You can bleach a white cloth diaper as often as you need.

Anonymous said...

I used cloth diapers for a while, the old-fashioned white squares with plastic pants. The only issue I found is one of, um, shall we say containment? They work pretty well during the first four months or so, but once my son started eating cereal and other pureed foods, the cloth diapers got really, really (really) messy, to the extent that using them added easily an extra load of laundry each day. Weighed against the fact that disposables offer better containment, and are much more absorbant, at that point I switched - we only need four or five disposables in a day, but we'd go through probably 10-14 cloth ones at this point, as well as multiple outfits, plastic pants, changing table covers, etc. I do recommend Ebay as a good place to get whatever kind you decide you want, perhaps more affordably than you might otherwise. Good luck!

Erin said...

Wonderful points! I have used both cloth and disposables. Cloth is great! My biggest tip would be to stay simple - don't get caught up in trying every new fangled thing out there, no matter how cute it looks. That breaks the budget point quickly! And ultimately, you'll more than likely return to the simple and easy route, anyway. Enjoy your blessed pregnancy and preparing for your little one's arrival!

Mrs. Anna T said...


Now people are so used to disposable diapers that they don't know what to do with cloth. But consider all the generations of women who used cloth diapers and had NO washing machines!

My MIL also washed cloth diapers by hand. I don't think I will. :-)

I also believe that the old-fashioned, white, simple diapers are better. I put the link not because I intend to buy specifically from there - I don't think colored diapers would be very practical since they need to be boiled - but simply because I loved the cute cloth-diapered baby bottom picture. :-)

I think size depends on the type of diaper. The old-fashioned "primitive" diapers my mom used served her all the way of course.

By the way, I was potty trained at the age of 1-1.5. I think the reason why little ones are potty trained so late these days is precisely because disposable diapers are *too* convenient - it's so easy to just delay potty training and let it be, if you don't have to wash diapers. Who wins? The diaper companies who get our hard-earned money, of course!

I think dirty diapers can be stored in a large plastic container lined with a plastic bag until you get enough for a load, but I welcome any ideas.

Mrs. Amy Brigham said...

I cloth diaper with the "old fashioned" prefolds like my grandma used and have loved it. To date, I've spent $150 on diapers, which is easily what 'sposies for one month would have least. Not only has Peapod not experienced any diaper rashes, but she's began potty training early and has been having a very easy go with it. The first night we brought home the potty chair, she knew exactly what to do and has been very enthused to work towards her diaper free goal ever since. :o)

If you haven't run across them already, do check out Snappi diaper clips. They are much easier to use than pins and will not poke you or baby when putting them on.

H and S said...

I have done both cloth and disposable.

I don't think that the type of nappy has to do with nappy rash. It is generally not a chemical but a physical mechanism that causes rash - friction on baby's skin from cellulose rather than cotton fibres.

Rash happens from time to time with acidic foods, too much fruit, teething, sickness (as one person has already written here). Also avoid disposable wipes like the plague!!!! They definitely cause nappy rash. Use flannels (cloths - facewashers - whatever you want to call them) even when you go out.

My main difficulty with cloth was problems finding baby clothes that fit over them. Baby clothes are made for disposables, no question about that.

Good luck with your decision!

Sammybunny said...

Though I am not yet married and definitely have no children yet, I hope one day to be able to do cloth, since I have read so much about it and have had so many positive "reviews" about them from relatives and blogfriends. :o) Good luck on your journey!

Anonymous said...

Anna, Yes they do contain chemicals AND those chemicals mimic hormones when absorbed into the skin. Not cool. I wish I had know that when Isa was a baby.

Gina Marie said...

Although we're not expecting, this is something my husband and I have decided to look into. And I have so many questions: how do you clean them, are diaper covers really necessary for prefolds, how many do you use a day for newborns, how to do you fold diaper, etc. It seems like the best option for the wallet and the environment, but my MIL has discouraged me by saying the cleaning takes a lot of time and is nasty. But I have a strong stomach and I think I could take it.

Sorry to load your blog with questions, Anna, but this seems like as good a place as any to find the answers for someone who is just now learning what it takes to be a homemaker and will hopefully discover what it takes to be a mother.

Anonymous said...

I am expecting in Jan. and I have researched cloth diapering to death. I decided pretty quickly that I wanted to do cloth, but which system to choose was the big question. As you probably have noticed, there are a lot of options out there! After getting familiar with what is available and thinking about cost, I then went to the "Help, I'm having trouble" forums to read what kind of complaints moms are having about their CD's. I found that the fancier the diaper, the more issues there were. Synthetic fabrics hold odors, elastic wears out, snaps fall off, velcro gets stuck on things in the washer. What amazed me was all of the intricate advice given to solve these issues, especially stubborn smells. Some of these women had tried a long list of remedies. The baffling thing to me is that the reason that they chose the fancy diapers in the first place was because they were supposed to be "modern" and "convienient". How many times have I read "These are NOT your grandma's diapers"? People really seem to scorn the simple flat diapers, stating "No more folding!" As if folding is so laborious.

Well, I began to think that maybe grandma knew what she was doing. I have a toddler who only needs diapers at night, so I bought a few things to try on her. After all the research and my own experience, I have decided that for my new baby I will be buying flat diapers and wool wraps. I had thought about prefolds, but because they have several layers sewn together they don't wash as easily and take longer to dry. I don't mind folding the flat myself. So I will be folding the flat into a rectangle and laying it into a wool (velcro) wrap. The reason I don't mind velcro on my wool wraps is because they will be hand washed, so I will not have the washer wearing on them and causing velcro issues. I even made some wool wraps myself out of thrift store sweaters.

If you aren't familiar with wool as an option, check out this link:

I'll be buying my unbleached flats from Little Lions:

I'm also going to buy a pail liner that can be washed along with the diapers, and I'll use baby washcloths for wipes. I have used a Snappi and I think it's great if you need to fasten. And Dappi nylon pull-on pants get my vote for best "in a pinch" cover, for $2.00 each.

The best advice I can give you is to read some of those "help me" forums, they are really eye opening.


Carrie said...

I've used cloth and disposable too, and would go for cloth every time given the choice. I've used many different products, but in terms of budget and adaptability, you can't beat old fashioned terry squares. There are many folds you can use, depending on where you need the absorbency, for example, and depending on the size of your baby/toddler. They are quick to dry too. And you may even find (I did!) that you find great satisfaction in the task of folding.

I would add that regardless of what covers you go for, make sure they are breathable. Wool and fleece are great (you could knit your own!), but polyurethane laminate is practical too. Using non-breathable covers increases the risk of nappy rash. Fortunately, the vast majority of covers are breathable these days.

If you want to use nappies and covers for more than one child (and I know you will hope to, from reading your blog), then I'd avoid velcro if machine washing, as it does tend to lose its grip after a while. Snaps are far more durable.

It's interesting that one poster commented that she found disposables were better for containment. I found exactly the opposite. Disposables seemed always ill-fitting (and therefore prone to leaking) to me. Perhaps it depends to some extent on the shape of one's babies.

Have fun choosing!

Suzanne said...

I use mostly cloth. I do use disposables for things like traveling out of town (day trip) and the church nursery, mostly for convenience. I switched because of diaper rash. DD gets diaper rash whenever I use disposables more than usual. We'll go back to exclusively cloth and it'll be gone.

I just want to encourage you to go the cloth diaper route! I thought it was crazy at first to use them, but now I *like* using them. They're not harder; it's just different. I use a combination of all-in-ones and the old-fashioned kind with pins, etc.

I don't know about the potty training, though! In theory, I thought it would make it easier, but I think I just have a kid who doesn't care! She'd stay in a wet or dirty diaper all day if I'd let her. She's almost 2 and has started telling me when she's got a dirty diaper, but she can't quite figure out the potty yet! LOL.

Suzanne said...

I forgot to mention cloth wipes. These are really easy to make. You don't even have to sew. I sewed some and I also just cut up some of DH's old, soft T-shirts. You can keep a spray bottle of plain water and just wet the wipes before use. Then just toss them in with the cloth diapers to wash.

Anonymous said...

Interesting concept, Anna.
I'm fascinated to know: Cloth diapering moms, how old were your kids when they became fully toilet-trained?

My own kids started at about 2 and became fully trained a month to 5 months later, depending on child. With most of my kids, it was a long and messy process, with much cleaning up of messes left on the living room floor or elsewhere. I did discover that the later I started, the more ready the child usually was, and the faster it went.

I never cloth-diapered. Those of you who do, did your kids stop using diapers before the age of 2?

Exspectantes said...

We are expecting our first little one anyday, and we also researched cloth diapers during this pregnancy and talked with friends who CD. Some websites I also checked out were:
Cotton Babies, Cloth Diaper and Diaper Pin.
I would first suggest learning about the types of diapers you like (ie: prefolds, pockets, all in ones, etc.) and then look at styles of that kind. I read a lot of reviews as I want to know what diapers are consistently mentioned as the top ones and how long they last. That is really where you can save money. One friend spent about $350 for her initial diaper package and she has diapered 3 children with those diapers!! So they've lasted a good 4-5 years. Many prayers:)

Melian said...

This comment will probably be way too long, but I'm very enthusiastic about this subject! I, too, believe in cloth diapers!

We have used Fuzzi bunz pocket diapers, with great success. While I would have gladly considered regular folded cloth diapers, my husband preferred something that he deemed easier, and I was happy to comply. They are more expensive to buy initially, but they, too, will be cheaper than disposables in the long run. Plus, they can be resold for close to the "new" cost online, meaning that you can effectively "rent" them for a time if need be. We plan to have several children, and heard wonderful things from other moms about how well these held up for years. They are also designed to "release" solids easily into the toilet, meaning less to clean! And they do not require a separate outside cover.

Our baby was naturally quite thin, and has stayed that way. Before we ordered fuzzi bunz, we struggled with flats and prefolds when she was quite small, since they all seemed far too large for narrow waist and hips. We hesitated to cut them, making them too small to use in the future. They would have worked, but she clearly found it frustrating to be bound in something so large and unwieldy. I'm sure that would have improved with practice and growth.

And now, some comments about other things mentioned here. Please understand that this is all from my experience, and I don't pretend to be an expert.

Most diapers do not use velcro. They use Aplix, which is similar but much more hardy. When fastened prior to washing, this material holds up quite well through repeated washings. We still had concerns, and chose diapers with snaps. We have had only one snap problem, which the company gladly fixes for free within a reasonable time.

Diapers do not necessarily have to be boiled. Most modern washing machines have water that gets quite hot enough to destroy any germs, and diapers can be considered just as clean as if they are boiled. We have not experienced any staining problems, but simply putting diapers in the sun usually will remove any stains, and the sun also can kill harmful bacteria. In fact, several moms and internet sites I have found recommend doing this for regular flats and prefolds as well.

While we wash a load of diapers every other day, our diapers have been excellent in the "containment" area. In fact, after talking with several other moms, we find that we do LESS laundry than they do because of all of the "blowouts" they experience. And we have less stained, ruined clothing as well. The costs once again favor cloth! (This is with fuzzi bunz. Several moms I know who use flats or prefolds do report more blowouts than we have had.)

If you choose traditional cloth diapers, you can save even more by doing things like crocheting or knitting your own wool soakers. Free patterns are readily available online.

I second the use of snappis! My husband absolutely refused to use pins, since he was so afraid of sticking the baby. (It's not that hard, but I respect that he feels that way!) Our snappis were wonderful during the short time that we used flats, and if we use flats again with future babies, I'll definitely use snappis. You only need one or two, since you don't need to have more than one on the child at a time! And they don't have the same dangers as pins if little hands find them.

As I am still working full-time outside the home, we were indeed able to find a daycare who would use our diapers. (They don't wash them, of course. We take the used ones home at the end of each day to take care of that.) It took a bit more work to find a place that would use them, but it was well worth it. For anyone else who finds themselves in that situation, I encourage you to check out your local health laws. Several daycares told us that the health department wouldn't allow them to use anything but disposables, and we were armed with information directly from the health department to show them that wasn't true. They still have the right to refuse to use them, but I didn't want to be lied to about their reasons, and I hope that knowing it's an option might cause them to reconsider! Plus, knowing that cloth diapers were not "outlawed" gave us hope that we could find someone who would use them, and we were right!

Good luck as you make all of these fun (but sometimes overwhelming!) decisions about your new baby!

Andrea said...

Anna, a couple of my mum-friends cloth diaper and they have some very different stories to tell! I have gathered from listening to them discuss this topic that the proper fit of a diaper is largely dependant on the shape of your baby- one friend's little girl is nine months, has been through a variety of cloth, disposable and evnvironmentally-friendly partially-disposable diapers (the latter is the kind that most appeals to me as a prospect when my own children come along, but they are so very expensive!) and she fits poorly into just about everything, with the disposable diapers being the best fit for her, where another friend's boy is two (cloth diapered exclusively) and seems to be a more "standard" shape.

People have mentioned containment of waste being an issue, and my friends have also said this on different occasions. The mum of the little boy sews her own covers for her son's diapers in order to ensure better containment, but it's still not a catch-all solution. They have also mentioned that velcro is not a favourite choice of fastener for them because in the wash it quickly picks up lint and threads and loses its "staying power" so you might want to try pins (mum-of-son uses old fashioned diaper pins with no problems now, though she says there's no way she could have done so when he was younger and more wiggly) or, as Amy suggested, diaper clips.

Lastly, diaper rash will still happen with cloth diapers, but I suspect it simply happens for different reasons, as Amanda mentioned above. I wouldn't bank on cloth diapers being a guarantee of early toilet training, either; going purely by the stories of many helpful talktative mum-friends, it seems that some children, regardless of how they are diapered, are simply ready to potty earlier than others- and some parents are ready to have them potty earlier, too! One friend's son woke up one day, started using the potty and hasn't stopped doing so since. He just decided it was his time, I guess! I have heard from several mothers, too, that their later children potty trained easier simply because they want to be like the "big kids" in the house, so there's something for you to really look forward to with subsequent babies! :P

It must be so exciting for you to take the time to sit down and make all these plans; I know that for me, planning is what starts to make things seem more real, and I imagine that it must be this way for you as well, when you look ahead and consider that very soon, you will have your own baby to put in those diapers :)

Kelly said...

Hi Anna! We are planning on using cloth for our little one too (due this Sunday!) Another good website to check out for tips is Also, While you may not be able to make purchases from Green Mountain, the information there is really helpful in making product decisions. We are going with prefolds and covers for the newborn/infant stage, and I am so far committed to natural fibers only as opposed to synthetics. The cloth diapering world is huge - I'm sure you'll find it fun as well as practical! : )

Kacie said...

I really really wanted to use cloth diapers for our baby, but because we don't have a washing machine in our apartment, my husband and I decided it would be too difficult for us this time around. :(

Anonymous said...

I chose cloth diapers mostly because of the savings I knew I would see over time. Some people argue that any savings is eaten up in addtional detergent, hot water costs, & so forth. I didn't believe it then, & I don't now. Yes, you do have to wash them in hot water, & yes, you have to buy detergent for them (Dreft is nice, BTW). But that seemed like a small tradeoff to me. I never ran out of diapers, for one thing....I would hear stories of people going out, in the middle of a winter night with snow many feet deep, & I would be so glad I had a nice, neat stack of freshly laundered diapers available. When I had two children in diapers, I didn't need to worry about having the right size disposable, because cloth diapers can be folded to fit any size baby.

The only thing that frustrated me, & somebody else mentioned this, is that ready-to-wear clothing is definitely cut for the slimmer line of disposable diapers. If you can sew a bit, you could remedy that problem. Otherwise, just buy a size bigger, & turn up the legs.

Best of luck, Anna. I know you'll find a rhythm once you start. It really isn't that hard. :o)


Mrs. Anna T said...

Melian: when I said boiling, I didn't mean actually throwing the diapers into a pot with boiling water. :-) I meant what you meant: washing at the hottest temperature available. It's as good as boiling.

Jennifer said...

Hello Anna.
I've used cloth and disposables for all of my 5 children. Before my eldest was born, my husband did much research on cloth diapers and we decided upon Mother Ease ( diapers. They are the all-in-one diaper, going from newborn to potty trained. You can choose the package that is right for you. I'll warn you, they will seem quite expensive at first. We bought the "convenience package" in one-size, unbleached diapers and they have all lasted 7 /12 years and 5 children!! And they are still going strong! That's a pretty good return for your money, if you ask me!

You will have to buy the larger sizes for the covers as your baby grows, but that's it. I haven't used any other kind of cloth diaper, so I don't know how long they'd last. Go check out Mother Ease diapers. I think you'll like what you see.

All my children have very acidic urine ~ even cutting out the juices and most fruit doesn't help much ~ and I've found that by putting them in disposables at night, they don't get the diaper rash (and by "rash", I mean open, bleeding sores. It was awful!). I also use disposables when we are away from home long enough and a diaper change will be needed. With our 1st and 2nd child, I did the cloth only thing, never disposables. But since then, I've found that using disposables a little and using cloth for the majority, works really well for us (plus theres no lugging around those heavy, wet, smelly diapers in the diaper bag. Trust me, there is no bag or material on this Earth that will contain that smell!).

I use a trash can with no liner right by the changing station to put the soiled diapers in. I have used the "wet" method and it works fine. But I don't see any advantage over the "dry" method (except if you use the "wet" method, it doesn't smell as bad). A trash can even half full of wet diapers and water gets mighty heavy!

Don't ever bleach your diapers. 1st, it's not good for baby's skin. 2nd, it will break down the fibers of the material. White vinegar helps to whiten, but nothing works better than good old fashioned sunshine!

Hope all this helps!
Jennifer D

Melian said...

I'm glad you weren't talking about actually boiling the diapers! I know that some people do, and I've read some interesting tips on how to get a load's worth of diapers into a stove-top kettle. Sounds like way too much work and danger for me! :)

Jennifer said...

I forgot ~

None of my children were fully potty trained before age 2 1/2. And it's not because of disposable diaper use, it was because they weren't ready. I started with my eldest when she just turned 2 and because I was a first-time mother, I took the advice "once you start, don't quite until the are trained" to heart. And it took a whole year for her to be done! Never again!

With my 2nd, I waited until she was about 32-33 months and she was all done in 3 weeks. With my 3rd, I waited until he was 34 months, and he was done in 2 weeks! My 4th is 25 months and my 5th is only 7 months, so nothing is happening with them yet.

The key is this: you know your child. Wait until s/he is ready. Don't listen to those who swear you can train them by what-ever age. Maybe for some children, that is true. But I don't think that's the case for most. And yes, you'll be ready before they are, but don't push it. Getting your child trained before 2 doesn't really improve their life or yours. You may have some bragging rights, but I don't think having an unhappy child and a frustrated mother is worth it.

A friend of mine, who is a mother of 7, told me a story once about what a doctor told her mother. My friends' mother told the doctor that her daughter (my friend) was potty trained at 6 months. The doctor looked at her and said, "She's not potty trained. You are!"

Jennifer D

Michelle said...

Awwww! I LOVE the ladybug-butt look!
I tried Fuzzibunz cloth diapers for my last baby. Hate to say, it didn't work out for me. He got a staph infection and then after that, I couldn't use the diapers anymore - he continued getting rashes. I can only assume he couldn't tolerate them any more. I'll try them again with this baby and see if it goes any better.

Mrs. Anna T said...

While it's true that each child will sit, stand, walk, talk, and potty train when THEY are ready, I do believe there's a link between disposable diapers and late potty training. Babies tend to naturally feel uncomfortable in a wet diaper, which helps them to potty train. Disposables contain chemicals that turn liquid into gel, thus eliminating the "wet" feeling. This is done to make the baby feel comfortable in diapers... thus potty training is delayed, and diaper companies get our money. :)

Neuropoet said...

I have used both and found that I liked the cloth diapers much better - for many different reasons. Plus, they were familiar to me because my "baby"
sister (who's 16 now) wore cloth diapers, and I used to change her all the time. My mom always used the "old-fashioned" fold 'em kind - which I never could see the difficulty of, even as a 13-year-old. They were great for "nursing rags", "spit-up" cloths, and "drool-catchers" too! :) I did find, that even with my sons' sensory issues due to autism and SPD, they still potty-trained "on time", and without much hassle. My autistic son was over two, but my younger son trained around his second birthday. I have no doubt that they would have trained earlier if they were "neurotypical" as the "experts" would say. It's easier to train the little ones can feel that they are wet.

Cloth diapers are a bit more "work", but they save a lot of money, and they don't smell nearly as bad. On a side note, if you end up with two little ones in diapers at a time and you use disposables, chances are you'll have to have an extra garbage can - one for your regular garbage, and one for the diapers. (We had to do this when we were fostering a young toddler and his baby sister for awhile - until I convinced the state to let me use cloth diapers.) I felt so bad knowing that all those diapers were going right into a land-fill somewhere! Plus, they smelled awful while we waited for "garbage-pick-up" day. Cloth diapers are rinsed after each use, so they don't have a smell at all while they wait for a full load. I usually ran one load every evening - even when I was diapering two at a time...


Anonymous said...

I love cloth diapers. I used the old school flannel flats with great ease - an exrta load of laundry in the long run is really not that much work. I cut my own nweborn size and finished them myself. Remember if you do this it is so important to have a flat seam at the edges. Otherwise can leave uncomfortable marks on your little baby's new bottom. I bought the larger size, just plain old kushies, and the covers, and I love them. I'm getting ready to use them on my second child in a few months here and they are still going strong.
Cloth wipes are best too - especially for saving money. I tried the disposable ones on my son when he was brand new - the chemicals in them almost seemed to scald his little bottom. I've used flannel and plain water ever since.
I added up how much dispoables would cost here in my country. Upwards of $3000.00 CAD for one child! I've spent a total of $140 CAD for everything for my cloth diapers, right down to notions, and will use them for all of my children.
Good luck with your cloth diapering adventure!


Bethany Hudson said...

We chose to switch to cloth (at 11 months with our first) for many of the same reasons you mention here, Anna. The one thing I would say, though, is that my daughter inheritted my ultra-sensitive skin. Now, with disposables, we had to put diaper cream on at every change. She does still need it with cloth but only once a day or once every other day (with the final diaper which she will wear through the night). I'm so glad with our decision to change. One more load of laundry a weak is nothing!

Julia said...

I used the same Chinese prefolds through two children. Many of them are still in my closet being used for cleaning. They look pretty ratty now, but they do a great job.

One thing I rarely hear, but experienced as a great benefit of cloth diapering: no blowouts! I started my son on disposables and ended up with runny breastfed baby poop shooting up his back, sometimes all the way to his neck. As soon as I switched the cloth that never happened again.

As long as you have a washing machine, it's really not that big of a deal to wash one or two extra loads per week. I don't know that I could stomach doing it by hand. I guess you do what you have to do. I'm just glad I didn't have to.

I was looking forward to the benefit of children who potty learn earlier, but never experienced it for myself. My son liked to sit in his dirty diapers. He would often run when I wanted to change him. He didn't train until he was about 3 1/2. My daughter was about 2 1/2, and more in the range of normal.

Jennifer said...

michelle, that is very interesting what you are saying about the staph infections while using your fuzzi bunz. about 3-4 months ago my son was having really bad sores and open wounds on his booty..long story short he is allergic to microfleece. it is very possible that's what was wrong with your son since fuzzi bunz has microfleece for the inner. but i have now change all my sons diaper to either suede cloth or cotton inners and he is fine now....just a thought

for us we have found cloth diapers to be way more convinient and easier for our family. it's much easier to throw a load of diapers in to wash than to stop school, pack all three kids up and go to the store. i wouldn't use bleach on my diapers either... it's not good for them. i keep my dirty dipes in a garbage can lined with a large "wet bag". you don't have to have a large wet bag. i got one so when we traveled i would have a large place to keep them.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried Fuzzi Bunz? I've heard great things about them online and in articles in magazines, but never met anyone who tried them. Fiance and I are both committed to the environment and believe cloth is the best way to go.

lady jane said...

We used regular cloth diapers and had a good routine down:

Rocky set up a pail (w/lid) and put bleach/water in. For added effect a "hazmat" sticker was affixed to the front. ;o)

Throughout the day and night, #1 diapers would go immediately into the pail. #2 diapers would be cleaned in the toilet (rubber gloves used for this task) then added to the pail.

Each morning Rocky would carry the pail downstairs and dump the contents into the washer and begin the wash with the necessary soap, etc.

Then he'd clean the pail and refill it with a bleach/water mixture and put it back in the upstairs bathroom. Then he'd go to work.

Once the load was washed I'd put it in the dryer (we didn't use a line at that time) then fold the diapers while baby was next to me.

This routine worked very well for us. :o)

Samara said...

This may not apply Anna as you will be home with your baby full-time, but many daycares here in the US will do cloth diapers if you ask. We visited a few when I was planning to go back to work (I ended up working mostly from home and taking baby in to the office with me most of the time when I had to go in). All of the daycares that we visited were staffed primarily by first-generation immigrant women who were familiar with the use of cloth diapers AND understanding of the fact that if/when we used daycare, I'd be dropping in several times a day to breastfeed my son.

The kicker for me using cloth diapers are the flushable paper liners that one can buy online- no scraping, rinsing or scrubbing poop off cloth for me! We use a variety of diaper types, all of which I got used (from our local diaper service's store) or as gifts. Honestly, it's only as complicated as you make it. I tell people: do you hate doing laundry? If no, use cloth. If yes, pay a diaper service to deliver & pick up the diapers. Cloth is nicer all around.

More Elinor than Marianne said...

We used cloth with our 2 youngest. Having 2 in diapers at the same time became grossly expensive with disposables. Not only that, but our son was a very large baby--he outgrew disposable diapers before his 1st birthday. Therefore, we had to find an alternative, especially, like I said, with his baby sister next to him.

Cloth diapers saved us so much money, and I never was bothered by the odor or the dampness. My babies never had a diaper rash, and they weren't sweaty during the humid summer months.

BellaMama said...

I have enjoyed almost every post I've read & I see by the comments that you may have a few hundred people reading. (most come out to wish you well after baby is born, just wait and see!!) There are few women that have, not only having entered marriage, but even before children, had this knowledge and wisdom from God!

Diapers: you can read at my blog (bellamamashomelife (dot) blogspot (dot) com) the little I've written about my experience with cloth and disposible diapers. Cloth is indispensible and SO much cheaper, even if you only have one child!
Blessings to you!

ROSIE said...

Hello Anna,

I cloth diapered from my very first child. Of course, environmental concerns were part of my decision. Minimizing exposure to chemicals was another. But the cost analysis was what finally clinched my decision.

On average, a baby goes through 8 diapers a day--at least 10 per day as a newborn, and sometimes only 6 as an older baby. On average, a baby is in diapers for 2 1/2 years. 8 x 365 = 2920 diapers per year, x 2.5 = 7300 diapers over the course of infancy. Using American prices and an average of 30 diapers per package at an average $10.00 per package, that works out to a cost of .33 per diaper. .33 x 7300 = $2,433.00 to use disposables over the course of infancy. This conservative estimate doesn't include the cost of wipes, rash prevention or treatment creams, etc.

For my initial investment for cloth diapers, I spent roughly $400.00. Big difference! I bought fabric diaper covers that closed with snaps (preventing problems with velcro that occur during laundering) and which were adjustable to more than one size. These covers were a breathable but leak-resistant nylon type material. I also made the investment of a type of cover called a "soaker", made of wool, which breathes but provides much more waterproofing for overnight. There are also patterns on the internet to knit or crochet wool soakers, which are adorable and very functional!

For the liners, I did a little more than the old rectangular folded diapers our mothers used, which I found to be very thin; I invested in some hourglass-shaped ones that fit more easily into the liners and did not cause so much bulk due to folding. Although I tried a sampler of different types of cloth diaper, the ones I loved best were a thick cotton flannel that had a very absorbent, thick terrycloth and fleece panel sewn into the center but covered by the soft flannel. They were comfortable on my daughter's bottom, very absorbent (good job, because she was one of those babies that is known as a "heavy wetter"!), and the bowel movements did not stick as badly as to the other fabrics.

Even factoring in the cost of laundry (electricity, water, soap etc.), cloth was far less expensive and really not such a bother to deal with! I did a load of diapers in the laundry every day, which prevented the problem of the smelly pail. Quite often, the cover was clean/dry and only the liner needed changing, so I had five covers and of course many more diapers.

I would definitely advise that you have a heavy-duty washing machine if you intend to launder diapers. Daily diaper washes take a toll on a machine. Also, some smaller or lighter machines cannot generate sufficient agitation to get them clean the first time, and you have to do a second full wash cycle.

The life of the covers and diapers are extended if you hang them up outside to dry, instead of using the dryer. The covers retain their leak resistance longer, and the liners get whitened and sanitized by the sunlight! :) Of course, bleach can be used to whiten the diapers, but I always put them through an extra rinse cycle to make sure no bleach residue got on baby's bottom.

Another laundry trick is to use white vinegar in the rinse cycle, about 1/2 cup of it. It makes the diapers super soft and clean smelling (no vinegar smell at all)!
It also helps to remove any soap residue.

In my diaper bag (always kept packed for outings), I carried a waterproof nylon bag into which I could put wet things, so they would not soil the other contents of the bag or stink.

I did make one concession to using disposables: when I had to take my children on long trips to visit someone, it wasn't practical to travel with as much cloth as I needed, and I couldn't count on daily laundry facilities. On those occasions I used organic disposable diapers to minimize chemical exposure.

Hopefully all of this is helpful! :)

If baby does ever get a rash, a cream made with calendula extract, comfrey extract, beeswax and a natural oil is very effective at soothing and healing the skin. It can also be used as an added moisture barrier at night.

Blessings to you!


Misty said...

I am on my second cloth diapered baby. I have spent a lot of money on cloth diapers trying to find the best all around option. I have used all in ones but never really liked them. I have tried all the top name covers and was never very pleased. I tried basic diaper squares that had to be folded. These were also not great. I promise you that you cannot go wrong with Motherease Diapers. I don't recommend velcro covers, but there snapped covers are amazing and virtually leak proof if you have it on properly. The one size fits all diapers are wonderful. They fit from newborn to potty training....assuming your baby isn't too chunky :) You just fold and snap. Please check them out. If you go with Motherease, you will never need another diaper. I have referred others who have been very happy.

Jordin said...


I had no idea you were expecting! I guess that's what I get for not visiting in a few weeks!

CONGRATULATIONS to you and your husband! What a blessing! I became pregnant with Johnathan just 3 months after we got married. God's timing is perfect. While being newlyweds *and* new parents is challenging, it brings tremendous joys--and it's LOTS of fun! :)

We are beginning cloth diapering next week, when we predict our "baby shower diapers" will run out. I got a lot of good diapering advice from Amy Brigham's blog. :)

50s Housewife said...

I used both cloth and disposable with my babies. I started with the flat cloth kind that you fold yourself and old-fashioned diaper pins. I liked these because you could fold them to fit the baby no matter what size, plus I didn't have a dryer at the time and they would dry on the line in a flash. The first would be dry by the time I got the last one pinned up! :) I later got some of the pre-folded kind and they were more absorbent as the babies got older. Disposables were nice for trips and errands. They don't have to be changed quite as often and are easier to deal with when you aren't at home. I also used disposables for night time when they got old enough to sleep through the night.

Heather said...

My husband and I have just had our first baby (a girl named Emma) on May 12th, and we decided to use cloth diapers. We are using the plain old pre-fold diapers (just a rectangle that we fold around her and put a diaper cover on that holds with velcro). I LOVE THEM! Yes, I do a lot more laundry, but let's be honest, you do a lot more laundry with a little one :-) We used the disposables that were given to us in the hospital and my baby girl started to get a rash right away, same thing with the disposable wipes. So now we use cloth wipes and make our own wipe solution. Dry them outside on the line and they don't even stain. I would highly recommend using them. We bought a diapering system for about $300 which will take us through her potty training days, and have already recouped the cost of the diapers in the past 12 weeks. You do change them more frequently, because the cloth diapers don't wick away the moisture, but really, do you want your baby to be sitting in a messy diaper? Good luck making your decision! Just thought I would throw in my two cents!

Julie said...


I'm obviously in the minority here (wouldn't touch a cloth diaper with a 10 foot pole!). I could always smell my cloth-diapering friends' babies... not a nice baby-smell either.

Two things...

1. With disposables you will use LESS diapers because the baby will FEEL dry much longer. When they are newborns they pee OFTEN, but the disposables can 'go' longer.

You might consider disposables at night, so the baby isn't being awakened due to being wet.

All three of my boys slept through the night at 10 to 12 WEEKS. And I mean they were sleeping an 8 to 10 hour stretch.

Just something to consider...

2. Yes, it saves money to potty train earlier (regardless of which kind of diapers you use) but... until the child can use the potty INDEPENDENTLY there's really not much advantage to you :0)

An 18 month old is unlikely to be able to go into the bathroom, remove their pants, use the toilet, wipe, and then re-dress themselves. (Not to mention washing up!) They also can't "hold it" very long, and even us stay-home moms do leave the house occasionally :0)

I have to agree with whomever commented above about the child who was potty-trained at 1 or 1.5... really it's the MOM who was trained!

That's just my two cents. Really, your baby isn't going to remember or care what kind of diapers you use. Do whatever works best for you. :0)

Bonnie S said...

I'm not a mother yet (but have looked after four siblings), but would still like to add my thoughts to this discussion :-)

You can get organic disposables that actually break down in the environment really well, as they're made of recycled and natural material. I'd say they'd be a bit expensive, but certainly a much better idea than the plastic disposables. Have a look on the internet for a supplier.

I echo someone's sentiment already posted... - don't use bleach or Nappy-san etc! It is toxic, and not much better than the chemicals in the disposable nappies you're trying to avoid!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Dear friends, thank you all for the useful tips!


We don't even have a dryer so I can't possibly consider using it :) I always line-dry. In winter when it's raining I can unfold my laundry rack inside.

CappuccinoLife said...

I use a mix of cloth and disposable. Because I cannot afford the high-quality super-absorbant cloth (I can get disposables for free or near-free with wise use of coupons and gift cards :)), I use disposables for night time and when we leave the home.

The only reason I would want the "fancy" diapers is for use overnight or long periods away from the house. Right now I just use the old fashioned flat diapers with plastic covers on them, and they work just fine. It takes me maybe ten minutes to fold up a large load of clean diapers, so it's not actually all that inconvenient after all.

Morag said...

Dear Anna, has free (!) patterns for shaped diapers to sew and wool diaper covers (soakers) to knit.

Mrs. Anna T said...


The thought of making my own didn't even cross my mind! Thanks!

Andrea said...

Anna, I didn't realise you hadn't thought of making your own- here are two links my friend (Mum of son) recommends and uses to make her own; one is a fitted pattern you can use to make diapers from recycled materials you may already have on hand, the other is a pattern for "soakers" (diaper covers).



Judy said...

I use the Indian cotton pre-folds from and they are a great, cost effective option. I also use cloth wipes (just some inexpensive washcloths) and my own wipe solution (kept in a spray bottle and sprayed on my son at changing time). In a 4 oz bottle:3 Tablespoons jojoba oil, 1 teaspoon each of lavendar and tea tree essential oils. Then I fill the rest of the bottle with witch hazel. My son has never had any sort of rash.

Persuaded said...

Even putting aside the issues of health, environmental conservancy and economy, I have a very strong preference for cloth diapers. Firstly I think they are just more hygienic for the whole family... you don't have soiled diapers full of unmentionable yucky-ness sitting around in the wastebaskets of your home. Folks think that cloth diapers smell unpleasantly, but if you deal with them appropriately there is virtually no odor. Secondly, they are so much more comfy, both for the baby and for the ones who love to hold and cuddle him! and Lastly, I find them just so much more aesthetically appealing. Now I know that may sound a bit silly, but to me there is little that is more precious than a wee one in a soft, fresh, sweet-smelling "nappy." I love vintage children's fashions and clothing and you need that little bubbly-shaped bottom to get the "proper silhouette" LOL! Also there is nothing better than hanging out a load of just washed didies, unless maybe it's gathering them from the line, folding them and bringing them back inside;)

I don't have any babies in the house right now, and honestly diapers are one of the things I miss the most..

Coffee Catholic said...

Ugh. Diapers. I'm going to potty-train my newborn right from the start. He/She will hang out bare-bottomed on a lambskin (which is machine washable!) and I'll only use diapers as a backup when away from the house.

Babies have a natural hatred of "going in their nests" and native peoples around the world never bother to diaper-train their newborns. They teach them to go without diapers and usually on command!! I think I already told you about this?? It takes work... but so does potty training later on down the road. I figure, I'll do the work now and try my best to spare myself the agony of diapers!!!! I'm going to put a little potty-chair right in the livingroom so I can put newborn over it and teach him/her to go there and not in diapers. Babies have natural rythems (is that the right spelling?) and a mom can learn those feeding/sleeping/going potty rythems and work with them. I'm going to do my best because I LOATHE diapers. Plus, having all that poo and pee against the skin... even for a short time... that's not natural or good. Ugh!

(I should have said: I'll start potty-training my newborn right from when I recover from the birth hahahahaha! I have no idea how long it takes before a new mom is up on her feet again.)

Mandi said...

Let me second Julie's comment and add that the cost of disposables quoted in this thread are unreasonably. I have an 8 month old and a 1&1/2 year old in diapers and spend about $30 a month for diapers AND wipes.