Even “Crappy Mama’s” Cloth Diaper

If you are not reading Parenting, Illustrated with Crappy Pictures you absolutely have to start, right now… click the link and come back!!

Cloth diapers are diapers made of cloth. You put them on a baby and the baby poops and pees on them. And then you wash them. And then you put them back on the baby. And then the baby poops and pees on them. And then you wash them again. And then you keep doing this.

Over the five years that I’ve kept doing this, I’ve come to know the good things and the crappy things.

And this is what they are…

The Good Things About Cloth Diapers

Now you might think I’m about to get on my grass-fed, sustainably raised, antibiotic-free high horse about environmental stuff but I don’t really like riding horses. Especially high ones.

Nah. Let’s be real here.

I cloth diaper because they look cool and come in pretty colors.

Clothdiapers2 I can’t even tell you how excited I am when the mail carrier brings me a box of colorful diapers.

They are pretty! And soft! And come in fruity colors and patterns!

And my baby will poop on them and be so happy!


I’m lazy.

Slap a diaper on him and he is all dressed:

Clothdiapers10 Insta-outfit. Minimalist.

A similar outfit in a disposable diaper would never work on him.

Because of this:

Clothdiapers9 They come off too easily.

Snaps on cloth diapers are awesome. Like tiny padlocks that keep the poop locked up.

But cloth diapers aren’t just good at poop containment!

They are also good at making friends.

I can use cloth diapers in the same way that a single guy uses a puppy. To get noticed:

Clothdiapers7 I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hit on by other moms because of diapers. <–That is a very creepy sentence if taken out of context.

But they aren’t just a homing beacon to like-minded mamas, they also protect my baby.

I’m serious.

Cloth diapers are like little padded helmets for his butt:

Clothdiapers1 His big smooshy butt is pretty cute too.

And after my baby outgrows them:

I sell them. Cloth diapers retain their resale value better than cars do.

Buying a car? Skip it. Buy cloth diapers.

And did I mention they come in fruity colors?

The Crappy Things About Cloth Diapers

It goes without saying that the worst part about cloth diapering is that it means more laundry. I hate laundry. Laundry can go and die.

But diaper laundry doesn’t bother me any more than regular laundry does.

No, what bothers me is something else.

It is that putting the diapers in the washing machine causes him to poop:


This means that I’m stuck with a poopy diaper and no wet bag to put it in. It sits on my bathroom counter on top of a plastic bag. This makes for some bad potpourri.

After the laundry is done? This diaper goes in the clean bag, festering at the bottom until I do the wash again.


And you know how I mentioned those fruity colors?

Yeah. He likes those too.

Clothdiapers3 But only orange.

This is yet another example of my own parenting tricks backfiring on me. I used to convince him to let me change his diaper by saying, “Come on! You can pick the color!” Bad idea.

But perhaps the worst part about cloth diapering is dealing with poopy diapers.

We have a diaper sprayer attached to our toilet.

Clothdiapers4 I love this thing because you simply spray the poop off into the toilet.

But actually I hate this thing.

I hate it because sometimes I turn the valve just a teeny tiny bit too high.

Which transforms it into a water laser:


The water laser blasts the poop into a million miniscule pieces, carried by water droplets all over the toilet, floor and my barefeet.

And that is the crappiest thing about cloth diapers.


I mention some diaper brands we use in my FAQs. I’ve always used either DiaperSwappers or DiaperPin for selling outgrown diapers.

Also, I know that some of you don’t use cloth diapers. That is okay. I don’t care.

I’m not a diaperist. Some of my best friends use disposables.


7 tips for Cloth Diapering

7 Tips For the Cloth Diapering Newbie

1. Speak the language – the first few days you may be a little overwhelmed with all of the new terms and phrases but with a little practice and guidance you’ll grasp this new language quite quickly.  To help you learn the language here are some of my favorite cloth diaper dictionaries:  Cloth Diaper Terminology, Cloth Diaper Terms and Definitions, and Cloth Diaper Slang.  If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask what an acronym or word means.

2. Start simple, start small – many parents start our their cloth diapering journey by trying to pick one brand and style that they feel will be perfect from birth to potty training.  While there is no wrong or right way to start, it is less stressful to start with a sampling of different styles and types to find out which diaper is right for your baby and your lifestyle.  What works for the mom who stays at home with their baby might not work for the mom who has to leave their baby with a caregiver.

Try pockets, all-in-ones, flats, and even prefolds.  Don’t be scared to try something that looks difficult, it might just become your favorite system.  You can always continue to build your stash as you find out what you like.

3. Start at any age – that’s right, with cloth diapering you can start at any age.  Most newborn parents are completely overwhelmed with all of the choices to be made that diapering choices might not even be considered until you experience your first diaper rash or until you meet your first cloth diapering parent.  Newborns go through a ton of diapers in the first few weeks and while it would be nice to save all of those disposables from the landfill new parents may just be too tired to manage one more load of laundry.

Don’t be afraid to give cloth diapering a try as you become more accustomed to your routine as a parent.  I have friends who have openly accepted cloth diapering (and loved it) once their child turned one, two, and even three once they’ve entered potty training..

4. Embrace the poop – because all babies do it!  Regardless of if your baby is in cloth diapers or disposable diapers your baby is going to poop.  You’re going to have to grab a baby wipe and clean that babies bottom.  How you handle the poop from there is what matters most.

Poop can take the form of a solid, liquid, and even a gas!  Be thankful for those solid poops which will easily dump into the toilet and flush way.  Liquid poops (especially those exclusively breast fed poops) aren’t as difficult to deal with as you think.  Most breastfed poops will rinse right out in the wash and don’t even need a pre-rinse (although a pre-rinse is a good idea since stains can happen as your babies are introduced to solids).  Parents find that investing in a diaper sprayer that attaches to your toilet helps handle any type of poop – especially the peanut butter sticky poop!

5. Going out isn’t challenging – don’t be afraid to take cloth diapers on day trips or even on vacation.  The only difference is that instead of leaving that diaper behind (no pun intended) in the changing room you now dump the poop and store the dirty diaper safely within a sealed wet bag.  Wet bags will keep your diaper bag dry and keep the smells (yes – even those poop-plosions) hidden safely inside and no one will know what’s inside.

And be honest…how many of us try NOT to change our babies until we’re ready to leave the mall (or destination of choice) so you’ll only be carrying the dirty diaper for a few minutes until you get back to your car.  You may enjoy these Tips for Traveling with Cloth Diapers for longer trips and vacations.

6. Try cloth wipes – because traditional wipes are full of chemicals that can dry and irritate your babies skin.  I know disposable wipes are nice to have for those extremely nasty messes and I admit that I keep a pack on hand for my husband when dealing with the poopy messes.  Don’t rule out cloth wipes though because that rash that popped up on your babies bum might be caused from the alcohol and added ingredients in the package of wipes you just opened.

Cloth wipes are easy to use and can be thrown in with the load of cloth diaper laundry you already do.  Grab a spray bottle of wipes solution (you can even make your own) and spray your babies bum before gently wiping away with a velour, cotton, hemp, or fleece wipe.  With 8-12 diaper changes a day your baby will thank you for giving their bum some extra gentle love.  Toss the wipe in your wet bag and wash just like you do your diapers.

7. If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again!  Accidents happen whether you choose disposable or cloth diapers.  In your struggle to wrestle your wriggly little baby (usually while you are half asleep) you might not have put the diaper on incorrectly and the pee has found a place to escape.  While that place is normally on your babies bed, car seat or your favorite outfit, don’t let it get you down.

Leaks can happen but you will quickly learn the tricks of the trade!  Before long you will become a pro and you’ll know all the secrets.  Don’t forget though that cloth diapers aren’t filled with those little gel crystals that absorb 10 times their weight in liquid – once cloth is full it will leak!  To be safe remember to change your baby every 2-3 hours (or more frequent as needed) and remember that what goes in your baby eventually has to come out!

Bonus tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for help!  There are forums, blogs, Facebook pages, manufacturers and retailers out there ready to help you with your cloth diaper questions and problems.

via Calley Pate of The Eco Chic

Diapers: Cloth v Disposable (via Slate.com)

It’s pretty clear that disposable diapers require more resources to manufacture than cloth diapers, even when you take into account the vast amounts of water and energy involved in cotton farming. A 1992 study from Franklin Associates estimated that producing a year’s supply of disposables, which are composed largely of plastic, consumes roughly 6,900 megajoules of energy, vs. around 1,400 megajoules for a year’s supply of cloth diapers. Yet the study concluded that cloth ended up being 39 percent more energy-intensive overall, given the electricity needed to wash load after load of dirty diapers.

A 2005 study (PDF) by Britain’s Environment Agency took into account technological advances. In making their calculations regarding cloth diapers, the study’s authors used average energy-consumption figures for machines made in 1997. They concluded that there was “no significant difference” between the environmental impact of cloth and disposable diapers. Keeping a child clad in home-laundered cloth diapers for 2.5 years emitted 1,232 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent, vs. 1,380 pounds for disposable diapers.

Critics of the study—and there were many—pointed out that cloth diapers would have enjoyed a more notable triumph had the authors taken into account the latest washing machines’ technical specs. The critics also contended that the study underestimated the resilience of cloth diapers and didn’t properly stress the waste-management consequences of disposables. Indeed, there’s no question that single-use disposables require more landfill space than multiple-use cloth diapers. (In the United States, disposable diapers make up about 2 percent of all garbage.)

The bottom line is that cloth diapers are greener than run-of-the-mill Pampers and Huggies, as long as you’re committed to an energy-efficient laundry regimen. But that commitment takes more than just an EnergyStar washing machine and a clothing line for air drying. It also takes time, a commodity which will be in startlingly short supply once your offspring drops.

Check out the whole article here.

Diapers: Cloth v Disposable (via Mama Natural)

1. Cloth Diapers are cheaper
Disposable diapers will set you back at least $2,000 before your child is potty trained. And if you buy premium or biodegradable options, that number will look more like $3,000. Whereas twenty of the most expensive cloth diapers will set you back less than $400. Factor in detergent and water bills, and you’re still looking at half the cost of disposables.
Sources: Consumer Reports (July 8, 2009). “Cloth vs. disposable diapers: Getting started”. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1702357,00.html#ixzz1MLGLaVco

2. Cloth diapers are way better for the environment
An average child will go through anywhere from four to eight thousand diapers in his or her life.
Nationwide, parents in the USA use an estimated 27.4 billion disposable diapers each year. That’s around 3.4 million tons of diapers that end up in landfills each year. The environmental footprint of disposable diapers is staggering.
And when you compare all that to using the same twenty cloth diapers over and over, washing them with minimal and safe detergent (method) in a high efficiency washer, there’s just no contest.
Sources: The number of diapers a child uses comes from the conservative estimate of six per day x 365 x 2 years = 5475 diapers used. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1702357,00.html

3. Cloth diapers are more absorbent
I speak here from experience. With a cloth diaper, I don’t have to change my baby in the middle of the night. With disposables, I do.
Then there’s the blowout factor. Cloth diapers are generous, and they contain. Disposables, not so much.

4. Disposable diapers are loaded with nasty chemicals
Many parents don’t realize that disposable diapers contain some nasty chemicals.
Most disposables are bleached with Dioxin, which, in animal studies, caused nerve damage, birth defects, increased rates of miscarriages and changes to the immune system. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified dioxins as a probable human carcinogen.
Then there are AGMs – linked to an increase in childhood asthma and a decrease in sperm count among boys. Now, big diaper manufacturers point out that these chemicals exist in very small doses in the diapers, and so don’t post a risk. And, sure, more studies need to be done. But Mama Natural says, why risk it?
http://allaboutclothdiapers.com/are-disposable-diapers-really-that-bad/ Source: Illinois Dept of Public health http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/factsheets/dioxin.htm http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2004/04/63182

5. Cloth diapers may help protect your baby boy’s jewels
German scientists found that the skin temperature around baby boy’s genitals was significantly higher when they wore disposable diapers as opposed to cloth. While the scientists called for more research, they suggested that prolonged use of disposable diapers in infants could be an important factor contributing to the decline of sperm production in adult males.

6. Cloth diapers are cuter than disposables 🙂
Colors, patterns, textures. Especially when your kid’s dressed in a diaper only. Cloth are way cuter.

1 Reason Why Cloth Diapers Ain’t Better
1. Tyranno-poops
Occasionally, all babies will produce humungous and, frankly, baffling poops. The last thing you want to do is get all hands-on with that diaper, rinse it, store it, etc. Throwing the stinking thing out would be so much easier….
BUT, that’s an infrequent and short-term bummer. In the long term, and by just about every single measure, cloth diapers are better for you, your baby, and the world.