Cloth Diaper Myth or Truth #1:
Cloth Diapers Are Difficult to Use and Maintain
It’s not uncommon to get pushback from others when you mention you are looking at cloth diapering. Your mom, aunt, or grandma may share stories from when they cloth diapered over 30 years ago and how hard it was to do. They’ll tell you that the diapers were more work than they are worth nowadays, with the convenience of disposables at your fingertips. Or perhaps you’ll get stories from well-meaning friends that made the choice to not cloth diaper because of how difficult they understood it to be.
In this article, I’ll let you know why this Myth or Truth is definitely a MYTH! Cloth diapers have come a long way in 30 years and definitely are not difficult to use and maintain. In fact, they’ve continued to improve immensely over the last 5-10 years! I have successfully cloth diapered all seven of my children (the oldest was born in 2006) from birth to potty training. I’ve cloth diapered while living out of the country for a year and a half. I’ve cloth diapered while being a stay at home mom. I’ve cloth diapered while working full time, homeschooling and running a company. I’ve cloth diapered while traveling. I’ve cloth diapered without hot water hooked up to my washing machine and without a dryer. Trust me, they aren’t difficult; you can do this!
Here are 4 key points I’ve discovered over the years to keep cloth diapering easy:
1. Stick to one diaper system. If you are new to the cloth diaper world, I would encourage you to stick with one style of diaper. I’ve seen new-to-cloth parents struggle when they have lots of options and pieces and parts that they are working with. Start simple and expand as you begin to really get a handle on how different styles overlap and coordinate (or don’t) with each other.
2. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. What I mean by this is you don’t have to make a decision to “exclusively” cloth diaper. You can find a happy mix of cloth and disposables that works for you! Perhaps you’ll find it easier to use disposables when you leave the house or at night time. Maybe you plan on working and having your child in daycare and would rather just cloth diaper when your child is at home in the evenings and weekends. Maybe you plan on using cloth diapers once your baby is past the newborn stage. Personally, I’ve had some kids that I decided to use disposables at night with. We’ve made some trips where we chose to just travel with disposables. Sometimes I stock the diaper bag with disposables instead of cloth when we are out and about. It’s ok! Be open to finding a happy “in-between” that you are comfortable with.
3. Keep diaper laundry simple. Washing diapers does not have to be a complicated “science project”. Just keep it simple. I like to pose this question to parents that are new to cloth diapering: How do you wash “really dirty laundry” currently? For example, your dog throws up on your bed sheets, what would you do differently from a regular load? I often hear answers like: I’d rinse off the vomit first, I’d use more detergent, I’d use hot water (when I normally use cold), I’d do a heavier wash cycle, I’d treat the stain, and so on. I’m not looking for a “right” answer here, but rather trying to get the parents to think about how they handle dirtier than normal laundry - that’s all diapers are. It doesn’t have to be rocket science, and that’s a good thing!
4. Have fair expectations. There is a learning curve to diapering, whether it’s cloth or disposable. Both options come with their own share of nuances, and that is ok! When it comes to disposables, parents may find that they have to try several disposables until they find one that agrees with their baby’s skin best while also fitting best. They often deal with far more “blowouts” than cloth diaper users. When it comes to cloth, parents may find it takes several changes before they really get a handle on a proper fit of a cloth diaper. When using one size diapers (most cloth are), there will be a small learning curve to understand when to adjust the size due to growth. Whether you go with cloth, disposables or a mixture of the two, give yourself some time to learn and get comfortable with diapering your baby, this is a new adventure! I welcome you, with the warmest of welcomes, to parenthood!
That's it for now. Look out for more in our Cloth Diaper Myth or Truth series!