So, you’re debating cloth diapers. You’ve probably heard how eco-friendly they are, and you’ve probably heard they’re more cost-efficient too. But what about all the yuck? And all the inconvenience? Are cloth diapers really worth the trouble?
Well, in short, yes! As a mother with a year and a half of cloth diapering experience, let me dispel some of your fears and hesitancies with a bit of myth-busting.
Cloth diapers are inconvenient.
Are you picturing wrestling your baby with a sharp diaper pin in one hand, large swath of cloth in the other with the end goal of a well-fitted diaper? Well, while you still could diaper this way (you could also hand wash all your baby’s diapers and hang them out to dry like Grandma did), you don’t have to. In fact, most cloth diapering parents don’t. Modern diapers have come a long way since Grandma’s time with a plethora of options that make cloth diapering just as simple as a disposable diapering. Many parents prefer All-in-One diapers, while others prefer a simple pocket diaper in which there’s a shell component and a prefold or insert. But there are also sleeve diapers, hybrids, all-in-twos, flats, and fitted. I suggest trying several different types to figure out which is best for your family.
Cloth diapers stink and are gross.
Hate to break it to you, but poop is gross no matter what kind of diaper you use. Whether you choose disposables or cloth, you’ll still find yourself wiping your baby’s butt more often than you’d probably like. Did you know in most states it’s actually illegal to dispose your baby’s waste in the trash? Yep, you’re reading this right. Even disposables are supposed to have their contents dumped in a toilet before you throw them away.
*Pro tip: To keep cloth diapers smelling fresh and clean, drop a cup of distilled white vinegar into the wash with them once a week. This is called stripping and will keep ammonia from building up and smelling.
It’s sooo much laundry.
Okay, this myth is partially true. Cloth diapering does add more laundry to your life, but maybe not as much as you think. I wash one load of diapers every day, but that’s just my personal preference. Some parents wash every few days, and some on a weekly basis. It just depends on how large of a load you want to wash and how many diapers you keep in your stash. And I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather start a load of laundry than run out to the store in a fluster for more diapers.
*Side note: Make sure you use an unscented, hypoallergenic detergent or a detergent made specifically for diapers. Many detergents contain chemicals that will strip your diaper shells of their water-proofing properties and can cause irritations to your little one’s skin. Dreft detergent is a great high-quality, affordable option that won’t hurt your diapers or more importantly, your baby.
They leak constantly.
If your cloth diapers are leaking, you’re either not getting the right fit or not using an appropriate amount of padding. Check the weight recommendations on a product before you buy it and play around with the thickness of the cloth diaper or diaper insert you use. Some babies may do better with a higher absorbency diaper such as this one, while some may do better with a lighter weight birdseye diaper. If you’re using a diaper with snaps, make sure you utilize all of the snaps to get a snug, yet comfortable fit.
Side note: My daughter has never had a blow out in a cloth diaper. Not once. Has she had them while wearing disposable diapers? You bet. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.
Daycares won’t accept cloth diapers.
Every daycare has their own policies. Some daycares will not allow cloth diapers, but many will. In fact, some (though I admit not many in the US) even encourage cloth diapering. Talk to your daycare about their policies and be sure to provide them with everything they need if they agree to go along with you. If they’re on the fence about it, remember a little education can go a long way.
Cloth diapering is all or nothing.
Although many parents, like myself, are hard-core converts and only use cloth diapers (Yes, even when traveling. I promise it can be done.), you don’t have to be. Many parents choose to cloth diaper at home and use disposables when taking their baby out or to daycare. Maybe Grandma or Grandpa just can’t seem to get on board? Pack disposables for when they’re sitting. Even using cloth diapers part of the time will save you a little cash, and every time you choose cloth that’s one less disposable in the landfill.
What’s most important is that you do what works best for your own family. Maybe that’s total cloth diapering, but maybe it’s not, and that’s perfectly okay.
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