I love cloth diapers. I have used them successfully with my two daughters for almost four years now, and never looked back. However, I don’t use cloth diapers exclusively: I often mix them with disposable diapers.
Now, don’t tell that to people on a Facebook group on cloth diapers. They’ll probably kick me off the group!
I find it strange how some parents that use cloth diapers are so incredibly against using disposables. And also a bit annoying. I feel like it puts so much unnecessary pressure on new moms that want to give it a go.
Cloth diapers can be great in so many ways, but they also come with their disadvantages. There are situations where I find using disposable is way more convenient and less stressful.
Here’s what I think all the pros and cons of cloth diapers compared to disposables are, and why I think using a combination of both is sometimes the best thing to do.
ENVIRONMENT & FINANCES
Let’s start with the two most well-known advantages of cloth diapers: they help reduce waste and save parents some money.
I won’t argue with the fact that they are good for the environment. This is the main reason I use them as much as I can. I love seeing how empty my rubbish bin is at the end of the week, without hundreds of disposable diapers in it.
But I will make a point of saying that cloth diapers are not always that cheap compared to disposables. Some cloth diaper types can be pretty expensive!. Plus, I find you have to be very careful about what to buy at the beginning. Some moms just buy them in bulk without any knowledge about what will work for them or for their baby, to then realize that they bought the totally wrong type and need to replace their stash. I made this exact mistake with my first daughter.
Disposable diapers are so much easier when traveling: they take up less space in the diaper bag and can just be disposed of in a bin. Cloth diapers, on the other hand, are bulkier and you need to take a waterproof bag with you all the time to store all the dirty diapers.
I find they are okay when going out for a few hours. I can deal with taking one or two changes of cloth diapers with me. But, if I am going away for the weekend or for longer periods, there’s no way I am going to take cloth diapers with me!
Too much to pack, too much to think about with regards to where to store them, how to wash and dry them, etc.
Mama, the first few months with a newborn are tough! Particularly if it’s your first baby. So many things to figure out already. Do you really want the added stress of figuring out how to use cloth diapers?
With my first baby, I waited until she was about two months old and ready to fit in one-size diapers before I started using them.
Don’t get me wrong, some super moms get it right with cloth diapers from day one. You will find them all on the Facebook groups! But if you get a bit overwhelmed even at the idea, I suggest you wait a little bit longer before giving it a go.
Now, have you ever experienced a diaper blowout? You know, when the poop ends up all over baby’s clothes and you need to hose them down to get it off them? Yes, they are real and are not that fun to deal with!
They seem to be particularly bad when your baby is small and breastfeeding…like a big explosion. We call it a poonami at home!
Well, you’ll be surprised to hear that cloth diapers are usually better than disposables at dealing with them, and one of the tips to prevent diaper blowouts is actually to use a reusable cover over a disposable diaper.
Cloth diaper covers tend to have elastics all the way around the baby’s legs and back (and sometimes the front too), and these are more effective than disposable diapers at holding the solid waste in.
So, if you are afraid of having to deal with poonamis, then cloth diapers (particularly covers) can come in quite handy. Though be mindful that having to clean poop off cloth diapers can be a bit more complicated than just disposing of a dirty disposable diaper.
LEAKS & SMELL
I think diapers leaking is the number one concern for moms using cloth diapers. And I get why: understanding cloth diapers with their different types and materials takes time, and it requires a lot of trial and error.
There is a lot of information, including online, that can put you in the right direction of course. But I bet every mom who’s been using cloth had to try at least a few different diapers before finding the perfect fit that doesn’t leak.
Cloth diapers at night can be particularly challenging because it’s not easy to find diapers that will last 12 hours or more through the night. And, if you do, those cloth diapers stink!
There have been nights when my second daughter was sleeping in bed with me and the smell of urine coming from the diaper in the morning was almost unbearable.
So, if you want to switch to disposables at night, I totally get that!
In conclusion, both cloth diapers and disposables have their pros and cons, and it doesn’t always have to be all or nothing with cloth diapers! There are so many situations when disposables are way more convenient, and no mom should be feeling guilty about using a mix of both.
So, stop comparing yourself to some random supermom on social media and stop stressing about using some disposable diapers sometimes. Motherhood is already hard as it is, this is definitely something you should not be worrying about!