Cloth Diapers Pro & Cons and Brands to Use

Updated on February 27, 2010
V.G. asks from Fort Worth, TX
18 answers

I am thinking about using cloth diapers I have no experience using them I will lie to get some fed back on mothers who have used them or are using them. What are the Pro and Cons with cloth diaper? Also what type do you recommand and what brand? Does that even matter? Thanks in advance for all your help in advanced.
V.

3 moms found this helpful

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H.R.

answers from Abilene on

It looks like you've gotten a lot of good responses. However, I have a few things to add.

-Get a "try-it" kit. You don't know what you'll like and not like (or what will work and not work!), especially if you plan to opt for something more than just prefolds and covers. (see below for a few sites I recommend--there are hundreds more!)
-Give it a few weeks to really sink in and ask for help (from me or anyone else!) if you need it.
-Diaperswappers.com can be helpful, but also overwhelming. But, you can find good deals on used diapers there too
-Remember that there are way more options out there than you'll probably use, but whatever you choose to use will work just fine.
-One last thing....cloth diapers are addicting!!! :-)

Sites to visit:
http://www.momsmilkboutique.com/index.php?PARTNER=hmt90a
http://www.kellyscloset.com/?AffId=196
http://www.diapermybaby.com/
http://nickisdiapers.com/

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B.W.

answers from Dallas on

I used cloth diapers with my daughter because the other ones gave her diaper rash. Cloth diapers are more of a hassle you have to keep up with them, wash them,etc. But at the time I had no choice. every brand of disposable I tryed gave her a rash. But they have come a long way with them. When I used them was 32 yrs. ago. Good Luck

More Answers

D.R.

answers from Roanoke on

I read the answer from Allison H. and wondered how long ago was her brother in diapers? Diapers that need to be changed smell like stinky diapers whether cloth or disposables. A lot of people find the artificial perfumes and plastic odor of disposables to be unpleasant, and even have trouble walking through the disposable diaper aisle in a grocery store. Many children have sensitivities to the chemicals and synthetic components of disposables. And for some reason, a bag full of dirty disposables in the trash has a sour, rancid odor far worse than a bag full of cloth diapers waiting to be washed.

Some things to consider before getting started with cloth diapering are
1. reasons to cloth diaper:
A. It makes sense to choose a way of diapering that helps keep our world clean and beautiful. From Wikipedia: "An estimated 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the US, resulting in a possible 3.4 million tons of used diapers adding to landfills each year."
B. Cloth diapers are healthy for baby: cloth lets your baby's skin breathe, keeping it healthy and rash-free.
C. Cloth diapers are more versatile than disposables and MUCH cuter! Diaper covers can often do double duty as swim diapers. Cloth diapers are made to show off and come in a range of beautiful colors and prints..
D. Cloth diapers are easy to use--often just as easy as disposables to put on and take off, and simple to wash and care for. You don't have to worry about running out of them in the middle of the night, loading bulky boxes of them into your car at the store, and keeping smelly mounds of them in your trash cans.
E. Cloth diapers can save you money, sometimes a LOT of money. The Diaper Pin cloth diaper forum has made a calculator that allows you to compare the cost of different kinds of cloth diapers vs. disposables: http://www.diaperpin.com/calculator/calculator.asp
F. Individual reasons too numerous to list: here is a link to over 340 testimonials from moms about why they cloth diaper their babies: http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/directory/testimonia...

2. You will need to decide what kinds of cloth diapers to use. Here is a link that compares 4 general types of cloth diapers: prefolds, pockets, AIOs and AI2s, and fitted diapers: http://www.diaperjungle.com/cloth-diaper-types.html

3. You will need to decide how many to buy. It's always best to buy just a few before you invest a lot of money in one brand or type of diaper. Your diapering style and personal preferences will emerge after a few months of trial and error. Here are some suggestions for how many diapers are needed http://www.diaperpin.com/howto.asp#gettingstarted

4. If your baby will be in daycare, you will need to approach the daycare about working with you to keep your baby in cloth. Here is a printable PDF with cloth diapering tips for daycares: http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/daycare/Daycare-tip-...

5. You will need to figure out a method for washing your diapers. This is not hard, but it is important to use detergents that are safe for your baby's skin and for the diapers, to rinse properly and to avoid things like bleach and fabric softeners which can reduce the effectiveness of the diapers. Here is a link to a "detergent determinator" that helps you choose the best detergent for your washing needs: http://detergent.realdiaperindustry.org/ and also a link to general cloth diaper washing instructions: http://realdiaperindustry.org/guide-to-washing-cloth-diapers

6. There are literally hundreds of brands of cloth diapers. My advice is to spend a couple hours on the internet looking at cloth diaper product reviews. Many mommy bloggers have done cloth diaper reviews which are helpful to someone trying to decide which diapers will work well for them. http://mamadweeb.com/2010/02/otter-babies-review-and-give... Often the most heavily marketed and biggest name diapers are NOT their favorites. Is your baby a heavy wetter? Does he or she have fabric sensitivities? Some brands and types of diapers work better for individual babies than others.

Good luck and have fun! Cloth diapering is fun and it's even more fun when you join an online cloth diapering community like Diaper Pin http://www.diaperpin.com/home.asp or find cloth diapering friends and support online (search #clothdiaper if you are on Twitter).

4 moms found this helpful

B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

The only answers you will get that are 'bad' are the ones that never used cloth or are going on very old information from their mothers about cloth diapers. Like the first answer you got. :)

We used cloth for both our boys. We spent around $150 for our stash of 15 diapers with our oldest. It seemed like a big expense at first, but when we didn't have to spend any money for diapers for our youngest, well the savings was astronaumical. Not having to spend $50 a week on disposables, less waste in the trash, no chemicals against your babies skin... these are all pro's that are very important!

We used mostly Fuzzi Bunz. Since my oldest is 7, we had to buy two different sizes, small to start with and then the medium, which both my boys were able to use through potty training (we used elimination communicaiton and both were out of diapers by 18mos old). Now the Fuzzi Bunz are one size, so you don't have ot purchase different sizes.

I will break the diapers down for you-
The cheapest option is prefolds and covers like Bummis whisper wraps. Prefolds resemble old fashioed diapers, but are made much better. Chinese or indian prefolds are super absorbant, soft, and last for a long time. You can get a dozen prefolds for under $20, and the Bummis covers are made of PUL (polyurethene laminate) and are around $10 each. You can reuse the covers until they get poop on them or get smelly. I had a couple I traded out, let one dry out and use another, then change them out at the next diaper change.

Next are fitteds and contours. Kissaluvs is the most popular brand of fitteds and prefolds. Fitteds work excellent forn ewborn poops. They do require a cover and are usually more bulky than other cloth diapers. THey are easy to use though. They run $10-$15 per diaper.

Pocket diapers are currently the most popular diaper being used. They are PUL on the outside, and fleece or microfiber on the inside to wick moisture from the baby, and then a pocket in teh back to stuff the absorbancy into. Terrycloth, hemp, or bamboo are common inserts used with pocket diapers. Fuzzi Bunz, Happy Heiny's, and bumGenius! are the most popular. THese run $15-$20- per diaper. But they are easy to wash ,dry fast, super convenient and easy to use.

Last are all in one diapers (AIO). These are exactly what they are named, the cover, inserts, and liner are all in one. they can be hard to wash and take a long time to dry, and expensive ($20+ per diaper) but they are super convenient for sitters or going out all day. Bumkins are popular AIO diapers.

We never used a wets bag. I had a small trash can with a lid in our sons bedroom and we just dropped wet diapers in there. No soaking or dipping in the toilet required. I had a diaper sprayer on our toilet, adn you just shake the poop into the toilet and spray the rest off. Again you don't soak cloth diapers or dip them in the toilet anymore. Then on wash day dump the whole thing into hte wash, do a warm or hot rinse, warm or hot wash, and then if necessary a second rinse, and then hang anything PUL to dry and dryer dry all inserts or prefolds.

We used Charlies Soap (www.charliesoap.com) for our cloth. It washes clean with no scent and makes the diapers so clean! You NEVER want to use regular detergent on cloth diapers, no fabric softener and no dryer sheets. These things build up on cloth diaper and they make them repel water. DIapers need their own wash, you shouldn't wash them with your regular laundry.

www.diaperpin.com has reviews of all cloth diapers.
www.greenmountaindiapers.com is an awesome resource.

don't negate mom made cloth diapers either. www.etsy.com has TONS of cloth diapers that are well priced and made by moms who use them too, so you know they are well made and work well. WIth our youngest son I bought alot of WAHM diapers and was always happy with them.

Good for you for choosing cloth. Washing cloth diapers doens't take any more water or energy than another potty trained individual in the house. Plus it saves landfills from 2-3yrs worth of nasty disposable diapers that don't break down and are usually full of feces, which is a health threat to everyone around. Cloth diapers are easy to wash, easy to use, and are so much better for not only the environment, but your baby, as disposables are made from so many chemicals and are so ultra absorbant they actually pull moisture out of your childs private parts.

We loved using cloth diapers, and will for any future children as well. Once you get in the groove, its so simple, and NOTHING like the cloth your mom used. My mom was so against us using cloth, but once she checked out our stash she was amazed and totally for it. She gives out htei nfo now about the cloth diapers!

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J.V.

answers from Chicago on

I'm using cloth with my second child, so I've been using cloth for two solid years. I love my one-size, all in one Bum Genius. I tried a few other all -in-ones, and I always grab my Bum Genius. I do want to try the new Fuzzi Bunz one-size, all-in-one.

Sposies, Pros:
1. Space savers: cloth diapering takes up loads of space so you can't just slip a diaper into a small purse and run out the door.
2. Great nighttime diaper
3. No wash
4. Requires less storage space in the house

Cons Sposies:
1. All the garbage! Not only the diaper but the bags to put them in the garbage, etc.
2. Have contributed to making average potty training time excessively old in America. It use to be that 90% were trained by 18 months, now most aren't trained till 3, or even 4.
3. Have to run to the store to buy them if you are running out
4. Expensive! Expensive! Expensive!
5. Just cannot contain newborn poop!

Cloth Pros:
1. You don't produce all the trash, especially if you use cloth wipes.
2. Since you can just wash them, you don't have to fight odor issues either in the house or in the garbage.
3. Less diaper rash
4. Cheap ( spent about 500 on my stash and it will work for both of my kids, and I'm planning on giving a friend my newborn stash, so the upfront money goes a long, long way!)
5. Early potty training. My daughter was in trainers at 18 months, and fully trained, including night time at 23 months.
6. Promote cleanliness: You don't have the chemical smell of the sposies, so you can smell when they go pee. I see this as a positive because I like to change them immediately.
7. Contain newborn poop wonderfully and prevent blow outs --so less wash of dirty clothes, and I've never had to change a sheet.
8. As easy as sposies, especially if you buy all-in-ones -they are just like sposies.
9. More comfortable for the little one's

Cons of Cloth:
1. Lots of wash
2. More stuff to carry around
3. Many aren't worthy of nighttime use
4. Bulk: issues with jeans and other pants not being designed for the bulk of cloth diapers

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D.W.

answers from Gainesville on

To touch on what Alison H. said-if the diapers smell or leak it's usually a problem that you have a cheaper quality prefold, they are not being washed the way cloth should be washed(you don't wash them like you wash your other clothes), baby isn't being changed often enough (you change more often than when using super absorbent chemical filled disposables) or the fit of the diaper or cover is not correct. I only had 2 exclusively breastfed baby blow-outs when using cloth. Can't tell you how many I had using disposables with my son!

You've been given lots of the pros for using cloth so I'll skip that but I will say that I started when my daughter was 4 months old and we are still using the same diapers now at 20 months old. And she started potty training at 17 months! We rarely use diapers around the house any more! It is amazing.

I'll touch on brands. It's a good idea to do some research and read reviews on diapers that you like. By reading reviews you can see if they would fit/work for your particular baby. My lo has a very round cute buddha belly so an adjustable rise is key for me.

I am partial to BumGenius one-size pockets and all in one organics, Thristies now makes an adjustable size diaper that just using 2 sizes would carry you from newborn to potty learning. I have a couple of the thirsties aios and they worked really well. If they'd had the adjustable size when I first bought they would def. be part of my stash.

If I had it to do over I would invest in one-size diapers because they are just much easier and more convenient than prefolds and covers. The upfront cost is a bit more but I really think it's worth it.

Also, using cloth wipes is a real money saver and they work so much better than disposable wipes.

Invest in flushable liners once baby starts on solids. makes cleaning up a poopy diaper a breeze.

Hemp liners help make nighttime diapering much easier as they are highly absorbent and very slim.

A good wet bag is essential for day trips. PlanetWise makes great bags.

The savings are enormous with cloth and if you plan on more kids the savings increase because baby 2 can use the same diappies as baby 1!

pinstripesandpolkadots.com is an excellent resource and the owner is very helpful and offers great customer service.

There is a learning curve but it is so worth it in saving money, never having to run out to the store because you are out of diapers, and having the cutest baby butt around too!

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S.D.

answers from Tampa on

We LOVE cloth diapering. We started when our son was 10mo old and he's now just over 2 1/2yr - working on potty training now. When we first started we used prefolds with covers, they were the cheapest way to get started. Eventually I bought some pocket diapers-Fuzzi Bunz at first then went to BumGenius3.0 Onesize. All my FuzziBunz were used (bought off Craigslist) and almost all my BG were bought new. I really like the BG. I started a wash routine a long time ago of washing every 3 days, unless for whatever reason it had to be sooner. As he got older, we could go 4 days if needed (like for vacations) and now I could prob get by with once a week since we only use them for naps, but I still do every 3 days.
It does save you money in the long run and also saves the landfills. I will admit we always used disposables at night and on long road trips, but that was really it.There's lots of websites you can check out and some companies will let you try some and return them if you don't like them for a small fee. Just do a google search cause there are too many to name. I would see if you have a local store. We had one when we first started which ended up being a lifesaver. We had alot of leakage issues in the beginning with the prefolds and by taking him in and showing her how we were putting them on, found out the folds we used didn't work because of our sons skinny legs.
Also, on the con side, you just have to be careful about creams and ointments and detergents, cause several of them can cause your diapers to not work as well. Good luck and hopefully some other cloth diapering mommies can give you more advice! Feel free to PM me with anymore questions!

2 moms found this helpful

T.B.

answers from Chicago on

Good for you, V., for considering using cloth diapers! We used them from the start with my son. I find that every person likes different diapers for different reasons. If money is an issue, the cheapest way to start is to get some Chinese or Indian prefolds (look like "burp" cloths), and fold them inside a diaper cover. We use these with newborns, just because they are so economical, and because they just go through SO many diapers! I highly recommend Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers. They are great, and don't really leak.
If you can/ want to spend a little more, I would try a pocket diaper. There are many out there. I like Bum Genius one-size because you don't need to buy different sizes as they get bigger, which saves you more $$. You can always buy some used diapers at www.diaperswappers.com to try different styles before buying a bunch of any one kind. Trying different types of diapers is part of the fun for many of us. :)
I'm not a huge fan of AIO's (all in one's). They take FOREVER to dry, and I just feel like you never quite get them totally clean. A great place to learn about diapers is www.diaperpin.com.
A few reasons I love cloth diapering:
- I feel like I am doing my part to keep diapers (and human waste) out of our landfills
- I am pregnant, and my 2nd child will be diapered for free! :)
- You can sell your used diapers after you are done with them, so that further helps you save money and recoup some of your investment!
- Many cloth diapering mamas know that CD'd toddlers potty train sooner because they can FEEL when they are wet and get uncomfortable. My own son was completely potty trained (naps AND night time too!) a few weeks after his 2nd birthday! Beats having to pay for Pull-Ups (a.k.a. diapers) for a long time! :)

So, good for you. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message, I'm happy to help!

T.
Barefoot Books Ambassador
www.ReadandGrow.com

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J.P.

answers from Dallas on

Hi V.. I have been cloth diapering my son for almost a year now. It has been great! I never thought that I would like it but I actually really enjoy it! There are a TON of different options out there... like kinds and brands.... it's all up to what's important to you. The Pros are WAY more than the cons. I can't type them all out right now but a few of the Pro's are less WAY less leaks or blowouts. ( I can't remember a time where it got on his cloths in the last year), it can save you at least $1000 depending on the kind you get, your baby's butt wont be up against harsh and toxic chemicals all day, plus they are so much more comfortable for them. Another one is that you can add or take away absorbency to match what your kid needs. My son will leak out of a Pampers baby dry in 3-4 hours. I can stuff a pocket diaper and it will last him 12 + hours. So that's really nice. Plus... it's much better for the environment. Those diapers actually don't decompose or they take 500 years or something like that.

The first thing is to ask yourself WHY you are wanting to cloth diaper. For the fun of it? (there are a TON of super cute prints out there and it's fun to dress your baby up in a cute little diaper). :) To save money? For the environment? To avoid all the chemicals? Do you need something super easy or would you mind an extra step? There are different kinds for different needs if you know what I mean.

There is a cloth diaper trial kit here. It just costs $10. You can try them out and return them. Here is the link: http://www.jilliansdrawers.com/products/clothdiapers/tryc...

The cons can be a rinse or two more in the washer. We haven't noticed a change in our water bill though. It's a little more work than disposables but we really love it. :)

If you figure out what was important to you... I can help direct you from there.

Good luck!

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G.C.

answers from New York on

We used cloth diapers for six months, until my son entered daycare, which made it impractical. (Day care would only use disposables, so we only used the cloth on weekends.) I was happy with cloth diapers. No leakage, and I felt good about not producing waste for landfills. Yes, you have to wash them, but you also don't have to worry about running out to get diapers. I agree with the every 3 to 4 day washing system. We used a variety of types, including prefolds with velcro covers, fitted diapers, and all in one systems. They are much different than the cloth diapers many of us think of from when we were kids. My son rarely had diaper rash. I also remember using some fuzzy/nappy textured diaper -- the poo really seemed to adhere to the diaper and not my son's bottom. There's a market for used cloth diapers, so you can get some economically that way. Also, there is something called g diapers that are kind of a cross between cloth and disposable. You buy cloth covers and use flushable inserts with them. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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K.A.

answers from Seattle on

I occasionally use Fuzzi Buns, out of all the ones I bought those are the softest and nicest!

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C.H.

answers from Flagstaff on

I use cloth diapers cause I simply can't afford to spend the money for disposibles. I use indian prefolds with a Thirsties diaper wrap or wool cover. They work very well for me. I have one BumGenius which I like well, but can't afford to buy some more. Don't use the Gerber diapers, they leak so bad. Invest in some good quality diapers and you most likely won't be disappointed. I've made my own pocket diapers with a pattern I got online. I use these for my nighttime diaper since they hold a lot.

The washing isn't too much trouble since I do wash every day anyhow. I figured that since I was washing so many clothes after my older son's potty training accidents, that I might as well get over my phobias about poo and go with the cheap cloth diaper option.

We recently too a trip across country so decided to use sposies. I found the fragrance used in the disposible was nearly intolerable and the baby didn't like it either.

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L.R.

answers from Dallas on

I am expecting my third baby in a less than a month and I'm so excited to start using cloth diapers! My best friend recently had her baby and convinced me to give it a try. She bought about 3 or 4 brands and gave me all her reviews. She loves FLIP and FuzziBunzz. I decided to go exclusively with FLIP because they are the most economical. They grow with your baby, so there is no buying small, medium, and large. I bought hemp inserts for overnight--my friend has had no leaks at night using these. There are special instructions for washing--but the thought of not having to buy disposables for the next several years (I hope) will make the extra work of washing worth it. I found what I needed on www.cottonbabies.com. Good Luck!

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J.R.

answers from Dallas on

I agree with one of the other comments below. When your baby starts solids and are no longer just breastfed their poop changes and you can't just throw it in the wash. A GREAT alternative to scraping or spaying off poop into the toilet is to get flushable liners. MUCH less mess to deal with!

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E.L.

answers from Dallas on

Hi V.,

My name is E. and I run Babies Bottoms and More in Farmers Branch. We're the biggest cloth diaper store anywhere in Dallas/fort Worth. I've also cloth diapered all 3 of my kids and I personally test all the products we sell. I would be happy to answer any questions you have and talk to you honestly mom-to-mom about what has worked for us and what hasn't.

You can call me at ###-###-#### or email [email protected]____.com're open Saturdays from 1-4 and Tu/Th by appointment. Also check out our website at www.babiesbottomsandmore.com!

E.

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A.H.

answers from New York on

my mom used them with my brother.. they get really smelly and they leak.. i hated them. i was glad when she finally tried pampers.. also when she had the cloth.. she had a diaper service.. so you give them the dirty ones.. and they give you clean ones back.. but you get ones that are not yours.. they may have been used by others.. i think that's kind of gross.. like sharing underwear... pampers and huggies work great.. i like huggies the best..

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

Good for you! You've gotten some good advice so far. As far as brand recommendations, I use BumGenius and love them. They are great at holding in the breastfed baby poop because of the elastic around the back. I do use Pampers sometimes too, but we end up with blow outs. It seems I end up having to change the baby's clothes every time I use a disposable. They also do a nice job of keeping most of the moisture away from baby's skin.
The biggest downside for me is dealing with poopy diapers in an older baby/toddler. It can get pretty nasty. Exclusively breastfed babies' poop can go right into a dry pail and get washed out in the washer. For babies over 6 months, I'd definitely get a toilet sprayer so you can spray the poop into the toilet.
There are so many choices in cloth diapers that it can be overwhelming. I got mine from a website called Jillian's Drawers. There is a lot of helpful info on using cloth on the site. They have a great program where you can try several types of cloth diapers for a few weeks and return what you don't want. If you return everything, it only costs $10. I found this to be a life saver (and a money saver, too). I didn't want to buy a ton of diapers only to find I didn't like using them.
http://jilliansdrawers.com/products/clothdiapers
Best of luck and let us know what you decide to do!

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B.L.

answers from Dallas on

I know lots of moms that cd and the general consensus is "Dream eze" (I think that is how you spell it) are the best. You can put them in the dryer, the fabric doesn't pill up. They don't leak with crawlers, they are easily adjustable, they are not synthetic so they do not smell weird, easy on and off, the list goes on and on! The brand definitely matters because some just leak and don't fit right or only fit one size so you need more in your supply. You cna purchase them from simplebaby.com and if you request one she will usually give you a coupon code. She recently did a vendor booth and if you use teh coupon code "betweenfriends" you will receive $10 off your first $50 purchase.

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