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Cloth Diapers or Disposables?

Advice on baby diapers

Cloth diapers are back in style! And they are not your grandmother’s diapers.

There are lots of different styles, sizes, brands, cute patterns and accessories to explore. Some families are totally dedicated to cloth diapering and others do a combination of both cloth and disposables. There are special wet bags to put your wet cloth diapers in when you are out and about and diaper bins made just for cloth diapers too.

If you are planning to use cloth, you may wish to try different styles and types to find what works best for you. Be sure to have some tiny newborn cloth diapers if you want to start right away. If you are feeling overwhelmed by it all, consider going to a cloth diapering 101 class. There are also diapering services or rentals you can look into to try diapers out before buying a large quantity of any one style. Babies also respond differently to different things. So be patient while exploring what works best for your baby too.

On a personal note, I used both cloth and disposables at various stages of our diapering days.

My baby didn’t have rashes or reactions to either cloth or disposables. I tried a lot of different brands. In the end our favorite cloth diapers were the Bum Genius all-in-one style. They fit my baby well and they were convenient for our lifestyle. I could easily toss them in the washer and dryer. There were no inserts or additional pieces needed and they kept all the pee and poo contained nicely. I liked the simplicity of these. Ask any cloth diapering mother and she’ll probably have her favorite… which might be totally different than mine.

We eventually discovered that we needed to use disposables at night, especially once baby began sleeping for longer stretches. Some families are able to double up with extra cloth inserts and make it through the night with no problem. For us, there were lots of annoying leaks and we accepted the fact that using disposables at night worked.

Eventually the days of inoffensive breastmilk poop came to an end.

Once my son was eating lots of solid foods and making super stinky, yucky, giant poops, we did not last much longer in the cloth diapering camp. Scraping, rinsing and spraying poop off diapers into the toilet before tossing them into the diaper bin was a job that quickly lost its appeal. We began to use our cloth diapers less and less and eventually we were only using disposables. But not without putting in a very valiant effort! I truly commend the parents that cloth diaper for their entire diapering journey. Many of them really do have an easy time and it’s no big deal! There are some great diapering groups and resources available to those who choose to do so.

As far as disposables go, with baby #1 we were all about Pampers. They were just our favorite brand for keeping baby dry and we never felt satisfied with any other brand. When baby #2 came around (five years later) and now as Costco shoppers, we tried using the Kirkland brand of diapers. I was happily surprised to find that they measured up to Pampers in my experience.

Obviously you are going to go through A LOT of diapers so shopping in bulk worked well for us.

Ultimately my advice is to do what works for you.

Don’t feel pressured to make a certain decision because you think you should.

Be easy on yourself and enjoy the journey with whatever diapers make you and your baby happy.

Cloth diaper pros:

  • financial savings on buying less diapers long term
  • soft, comfortable cloth fabric on your baby’s’ little tush
  • no funky ingredients or substances on your baby’s bum
  • cute adorable prints and styles are available (even Star Wars)
  • better for the environment, less waste
  • reuse diapers for more than one baby

Cloth diaper cons:

  • Bigger start up costs to invest in the diapers
  • Learning curve to find the styles, sizes and brands that work best for you
  • More laundry
  • More stuff needed when out and about (wet bags, travel bags, carrying dirty diapers until you get home, etc.)
  • Cloth diapers need regular stripping (a deep cleaning process) after a lot of use and build up occurs
  • Special soaps and detergents required

Disposable pros:

  • Convenience of change, toss and go
  • You can buy them everywhere
  • Your parents, grandparents and most caregivers already know how to use them
  • No mess or laundry to clean up after
  • Lots of brands available including organic, chemical-free, and not harmful to the environment types

Disposable cons:

  • Long term you will spend a lot more money on diapers
  • Plastic, paper (non-cloth) surface on your baby’s bum
  • funky ingredients and chemicals in most brands
  • lots of waste and potential harm to the environment

About Christie Collbran

Christie Collbran is the owner and founder of Buddha Belly. Christie believes in helping women recognize their own inner wisdom, strength and power and has more than ten years of experience serving families as a doula.

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