Photo by: Paula Kathlyn

Is Cloth Diapering For You?

by Marisa of "Lady Expat"
Photo by: Paula Kathlyn

If you would have asked me before I had a baby if I would be a cloth diapering mama I would have told you no. It wasn’t until after having a baby and watching my child cope with severe diaper rashes and learning that disposable diapers stay in landfills for around 500 years that convinced me to switch to cloth diapers.

Overall cloth diapering is easy to do. It’s not as overwhelming or time consuming as it may seem. If you’re hesitant to switch to cloth, try easy to use all-in-one diapers with Velcro. They go on just like disposables and you don’t have to fold or stuff anything. Of course there are lots of different kinds of cloth diapers and you might find you prefer pocket diapers or hybrid diapers more.

Cloth diapering is not for the faint of heart. It is dirty work. Some would simply say changing any diaper is dirty work, but with cloth there is a little more effort that goes into diaper changing. However, most of the effort happens after the diaper has been changed. If you use diapers designed like disposables then changing a cloth diaper is very simple. If you use pre-folds it’s a little more work. Dealing with poop is nasty but it’s nasty no matter what. The difference between cloth and disposables is with cloth you dump the poop in the toilet, with disposables many people simply fold the poop in the diaper and throw it away. Which, by the way, is not the recommended method. Even with disposables you are supposed to put the poop in the toilet, not the trash.

Most cloth diapers today are designed to be kept in a dry pail. This means when a child pees in a cloth diaper, you simply put the diaper in a dry lined trash can until the next wash. With a poop diaper simply dump the poop in the toilet and rinse the the diaper. I have a bidet which I use only for cloth diapers. If you don’t have a bidet then you can buy a sprayer attachment that attaches to your toilet and spray the diaper that way. If you don’t want to do either of those options then you can rinse the diaper the old fashioned way which involves dipping the cloth diaper in the toilet. Once you’re done rinsing the poop off the diaper, simply place the diaper in your dry pail. It is that simple.

Washing cloth diapers is easy too. In your washing machine, simply do a cold rinse (no detergent) then a hot wash with detergent, followed by a double rinse. Make sure your laundry detergent doesn’t have additives and don’t use fabric softeners. Using a water softener is fine if you have hard water. Most cloth diapers you can tumble dry. Once a month or so you’ll want to strip your cloth diapers.

Since we have been using cloth diapers my son has not experienced severe diaper rashes. For the most part he is rash free. Cloth diapers don’t have all the additives that disposable diapers have. If your child has a sensitive bum like mine, then you might give cloth diapers a try. You will also be helping the environment. Diapers take up a lot of space in landfills and in your home trash can. Another perk to cloth diapers, in the long run you save money.

Marisa is a Texan, writer, and photographer. She is currently living in Germany with her husband and son. You can read about her expat life on her blog

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I prefer all in ones that have snaps instead of velcro, also we've used coth diapers for almost 15 months now and have only had to strip one type of our diapers once. Even so a majority of them are more absorbent in there current state than when we frist purchased them.

I am cloth diapering with my third child, something I never even considered with my first two. Why? The environment, diaper rashes with my other two, $ savings, and unbelievable cuteness and availability of hybrid cloth diapers!

Incidentally, you don't have to rinse diapers at all. That is one method. Sure, you dump the doodoo, but then I put mine in a wetbag (another version of a dry pail, a zip bag with waterproof lining that hangs from the changing table)...

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I know this is going to sound smug, but I had a total of 8 children, including four babies the natural way, and 4 I adopted at an older age who were emotionally upset and wet the bed, one of them for years. If there were disposable diapers, I didn't know about them until maybe baby 3, although some people did have diaper services, which I could not have afforded. Eventually, there was a diaper liner that was helpful...

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