What I Wish I Had Known About Cloth Diapers

This week we’ve discussed the baby questions that pop up in my inbox most often such as what you need when you don’t want so much baby stuff and if you should save things for the next baby. The final post in this series is about cloth diapering and my own experience.

What I really think about cloth diapers is:

I like cloth diapers. I think they are worth using. Much of the time I felt like they were working for us. Sometimes I felt like I was working a lot to make them work for us.

I think there’s so much rah-rah-rah about cloth diapers and why you should use them that it makes it hard to talk honestly about the challenges too, so this post is about my full experience.

I really liked it when I didn’t need to put a giant box of diapers in my shopping cart, and I loved not producing all the trash.

I used disposables with my first child. I started cloth diapering my second child from the earliest newborn days, and I usually felt really good about using cloth diapers. There were times however that we had to take an extended break from cloth diapers, and it was hard to buy disposables when I had a lovely basket of cloth diapers waiting right there.

After you’ve used cloth diapers for a while, you typically have so much time, expense, and effort invested into it that it can feel like a personal failure when you have to admit that something’s not working.

One reason we had to stop using them for a while was because my son was sensitive to food and had sensitive skin as well. He got an eczema-type rash that would not go away until we used disposables exclusively for several weeks. Some babies have rashes that don’t go away until they start using cloth diapers, and that shows how experiences are different. Hours of Google searches and several different “Did you try…” experiments caused frustration especially when it affects your baby’s skin.

We also took a break when we traveled and stayed at other people’s houses, and then again when we had plumbing problems that made it likely for the washing machine to flood the garage. There were some months that we felt like we had too much else on our plate to deal with it.

I still like cloth diapers, and I’m glad we’re back to using them full time.

What I wish I had known when I started using cloth diapers:

Spend less time researching. I don’t want to know how many hours I spent reading about cloth diapering. There are so many thoughts and opinions that at some point you need to stop and make a decision without second-guessing if you bought the right kind or if someone else’s cloth diaper purchase was better. I noticed that Jillian’s Drawers has a cloth diaper trial program so you don’t have to spend time staring at pictures and guessing. Make a decision and go with it.

Skip the newborn sizes. I heard this advice, and I should have listened. Newborns grow quickly. My son fit into a regular bumGenius diaper at two weeks old. Use disposables for the first couple of weeks.

The extra laundry is not that hard. The washing machine does all the work, I just had to the push the buttons, and I didn’t mind the domestic ritual of hanging up the diapers on the line to dry. I actually had fewer stains on my baby clothes because cloth diapers help prevent blowouts, and the sun whitens diaper stains. The cost for washing diapers is minimal because I have an efficient washing machine, the amount of detergent is insignificant, and I air dried them on a drying rack instead of the dryer.

It became part of my routine to wash diapers on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If I worked outside the home though, I don’t think I could do it. I tried to picture myself coming home at the end of the day to more laundry, and I don’t think I would add that work unless I had a diaper service.

It does get easier. Newborns go through as many as 12 diapers a day, and every single one of them is messy, but an older baby only needs about 7 diapers a day (in my experience). A sprayer is a helpful addition.

I am glad I did not get the cheapest-possible option. I bought great-quality diapers that work and more than the minimum amount so that I wouldn’t worry about running out before I could wash them. My goal was to save money and be responsible to the environment, but because of how much time is spent daily changing diapers, I wanted to like them too. Since cloth diapering is such a savings compared to disposables, I chose to spend a little more to make it easier.

What type of cloth diapers I use

My selection was the not the simplest, nor the cheapest, but it worked for me. I chose a combination of bumGenius pocket diapers and prefolds with covers.


The prefolds with wool covers are by far my favorite. I can’t even describe how cuddly soft it is to be holding a baby wearing a soft wool cover with no velcro or snaps. (He’s only about a week old in this picture, so the cover doesn’t normally look so big.) The wool covers are surprisingly low maintenance (they just need airing out usually). Some wool covers are quite expensive, but I chose Disana wool covers which are a little more affordable, and we had two in rotation.

We also had a couple of inexpensive PUL covers (Thirsties brand) to help extend our supply until laundry day during the first few months when we were going through so many diapers every day.

(When I’m talking about prefolds I mean good ones such as the Cloth-eez from Green Mountain Diapers, not the Gerber prefolds that you can buy in a package from Target. Those are not the same.)

Why I like using cotton prefolds:

  • The prefolds with wool covers can go overnight without leaks.
  • I generally prefer cotton and wool natural fibers in clothes and diapers instead of synthetics because of the way they feel.
  • It’s easier to tell when a prefold is wet compared to a pocket diaper.
  • Prefolds last longer if you want to use them for the next kid. Pocket diapers will probably need to have the elastic and velcro fasteners replaced at the least (easier now than it used to be).
  • Prefolds are really easy to launder since they’re just cotton and less likely to hold odors.
  • Prefolds also work as burp cloths and a diaper changing pad.

Why I like using pocket diapers:

I use bumGenius pocket diapers. I like them a lot, and here’s why.

  • They have a more trim fit than prefolds, so clothes will fit, and there is less stuffing between the legs when your child starts to toddle.
  • The adjustable fit and inserts let the same diaper fit a two week old or a two year old, and that’s amazing.
  • The elastic around the legs holds in messes well.
  • They are easy for babysitters to use.
  • They dry quickly after laundry.

It would have been more simple (and less money) to choose one style or the other. I’m not sure if I would go with prefolds or pocket diapers because I liked them for different reasons. Both are a good value. If I had to choose just one, I would probably select bumGenius pocket diapers because of the ease and one size.

You can’t delay changes with cloth diapers like you can wait with disposables, and I could never get the pocket diapers to go overnight without leaks no matter how many extra inserts I added. If I didn’t have wool covers and prefolds, I would decide to compromise and use a disposable for overnights.

So that’s the story of my cloth diaper experience. If you ever want to know what a mom who uses cloth diapers thinks about it, just ask her, because she’ll tell you everything you want to know.

Feel free to share your thoughts and advice about cloth diapering in the comments.

For those who don’t have babies, thanks for putting up with all the baby talk, and now back to our usual program.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Omg that picture of your baby in the wool soaker is wonderful! At the moment I am 11 days overdue and not much is making me smile but this did the trick :)
    carrie´s last post…Nutritional Brainwashing

    • My first baby was 11 days overdue and I remember how it felt to think I would be pregnant forever. Not much longer, I think!

  2. I love this post because we had such different experiences with our two children and it can really feel like failing when you decide to do disposables, either temporarily or permanently. For my first, I did cloth until it got too gross, maybe around 9 months. I am not willing to spray or scrape anything and using a liner, prefold, and cover, just seemed like so much work. It was a really great experience for us, though I felt fine switching to disposables when we did.

    Then my daughter came and has had huge rash issues her entire life. Cloth makes it much worse so we have never been able to use them with her and she has been in disposables. It didn’t solve the rash problem exactly, but it certainly made it much better. People swear rashes are less bad with cloth, maybe try another detergent, etc. And it just made me feel like I was doing it wrong, when I think for her, she just needed something that wicked that moisture away immediately. I hope to use cloth again for baby number three, but I think it really does depend on the kid as to what works.

    I will say that for me, my son did not need newborn diapers as he was fine in a normal prefold after a couple weeks, but my daughter was the size of a premie at birth and is still very small at 9 months and they would have lasted her 4-6 months for sure. When we tried to make cloth diapers work for her, we had to use newborn as the others were just much too large, even at a month old. So if you have a tiny baby, they may be a necessary. For an average or large baby, then I agree they will be outgrown so fast.

  3. i’m a mama who works and cloth diapers my DD (now 2.) i gave myself “permission” to throw the prefolds into the dryer instead of trying to hang them in the sun (though i did try if diaper-day fell on a weekend. there is something magical *and FREE* about that sun-bleaching!) like you said – the washer does all the work.

    prefolds and flips covers have worked wonderfully 99% of the time from the day we brought DD home until today, and getting to a good online diapering group (‘the mommy playbook’ is a great community) helped with the inevitable issues.

    to each their own, i’m learning to say (and believe… haha) – but cloth diapering *can* be so very easy.

    and did i mention the never-having-poop-up-my-daughter’s-back-or-down-her-legs-ever-EVER wonderfulness? :)

  4. That is excellent advice to make it easy on yourself and get enough diapers to make it through the wash. We have just barely enough, and sometimes have to throw on a disposable while things are air drying. I am also intrigued by the woolen cover for nighttime diapering. Yes, she leaks almost every night. Sounds like I’ll be sending some money GMD’s way…

    As for diaper rash, I didn’t notice a difference at first when we switched to cloth. I also ruined a few good diapers because I didn’t know that the zinc oxide in most diaper rash cream is harmful to the cloth. Oops! What made a difference was when we started using cloth wipes with a homemade lavender wipes solution. Besides overpowering the dirty diaper stench, lavender essential oil is antibacterial and cleared the rash right up! She was rash free for almost seven months until she started teething. If you’re going to do cloth diapers, DEFINITELY go for the cloth wipes too.

  5. We had our first major poo-splosion the other day with cloth — at 14 mo. We had two big time poo-splosions in sposies while on a car trip at 6 mo, both within 2 days of each other.

    I suspect the easy/hard has lots of variables. I’ve been distinctly unsuccessful with sposies the few times I’ve used, likely because I’ve used them so few times, and I just don’t know what I’m doing. Cloth has gotten much, much easier (of course, the gross-factor is pretty minimal for me).

    I have slowly built my stash, and have a wide variety. A few All-in-ones, several pockets (mostly for when we go out or to the nursery at church, or Daddy is on diaper duty), lots of pre-folds, some flats and a slew of fitted pockets of my own creation.

    I’ve blogged a fair bit about my cloth experience, and its time for an update!
    Rachael´s last post…I have not fallen off the face of the earth

  6. I appreciate the advice! I’ve thought a lot about this and I appreciate real experiences over sales pitches. Thanks!!
    Jennie´s last post…Buy For the Life You Have (Not the Life You May Have…)

  7. I’ve cloth diapered with all eight of my babies – it was a very good, frugal, simple option for us. I used to use the pin-type cloth with vinyl covers. These days, I use snap-on covers with cloth liners. Both types were easy and saved us so much money through the years!
    Mooberry Farmwife´s last post…Smoke and Rain

  8. We used cloth diapers for the first year or so. After which my daughter had some extended problems with rashes and we had to switch to disposables. We never ended up switching back but we had prefolds so we can use them for babies to (hopefully) come.
    Steph´s last post…Weekend Links

  9. Mamabearjd says:

    Best cloth diaper post ever! Women get inexplicably emotional about cloth diapers. I wish that I had used them for all of my kids. We use disposables at night. My experience is almost the same as yours. Great post. That picture with the wool cover makes me want another baby!
    Mamabearjd´s last post…Ora Et Labora

  10. Oh my goodness Rachel, that’s a funny coincidence..maybe it’s an omen. This baby has to come soon…all my others were early so I’m just flummoxed!

  11. We cloth diapered both girls. Prefolds until 15 pounds, then fuzzibunz and Wonderoos (my fave!). We didn’t love the one BumGenius we had, but the Wonderoos were the same idea.

    I can’t imagine NOT cloth diapering (for us). I worked, but it did help that my kids stayed home (with grandmothers caring for them). No rashes for us, and I felt good about not adding mountains to the trash. We did have to use disposables at night for our 2nd – she wouldn’t let me change her (even at a few months old) and I couldn’t keep her from soaking through with cloth. We went on vacation when our first was 17 months old, and I had no idea how to buy/use disposables. I thought that was a very “different” problem to have!

    I would recommend anyone to try it. Buy a few diapers (or borrow some if you have a friend who uses them) and see how it goes. (Try it….you’ll like it….)
    Hilarie´s last post…Printed Photo Book Reviews – Part 4 (including wrap-up)

  12. I couldn’t get my pocket diapers to go without leaking at night too, until he was a little bigger. When they’re little, they just drink and pee so much! I think it wasn’t long after he started solids that her could wouldn’t be soaked in the morning with double inserts in a pocket. So moral of my story would be just try again later to see if they’ve outgrown that problem :)

    And ps I love the domestic ritual of hanging up the diapers :). Makes me feel connected to the women of the past as well as the earth :) nerdy? Probably :)

  13. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I am a total newbie! I’m pregnant and seriously considering cloth for my second child (I only did disposables with my son). What is a sprayer? Is it something you somehow attach to your toilet to hose off the cloth? It’s okay to laugh if that’s ridiculous. :)

    • That’s right! Many cloth diapering women swear by a sprayer. Don’t feel dumb asking questions- the cloth diaper world has so many acronyms and systems that work for different people that there are always more questions to ask.

      I totally get that “ugh” feeling when I have to buy a big box of disposables. My husband has had to remind me that it is just fine to do that every once in a while when I need to keep things that much easier.

      That being said, I agree that there’s not that much work involved with cloth diapers. Extra laundry, but it is not the same as your regular clothing laundry, so that’s not a one to one comparison. (I think most people think “laundry” and equate that with the longer process of sorting, pretreating, and folding. None of that with diapers!).
      Katherine@YeOldCollegeTry´s last post…Advice for a New Mom

    • That’s exactly what it is. Another option as an alternative to spraying is flushable liners.

    • Hi Jessica,
      Sorry to self-promote here, but my husband wrote up a tutorial on my blog for how to make your own diaper sprayer. It should save you about a third to half the cost of buying one.
      They are really invaluable for once the baby starts eating solids and has real (non-water-soluble) poop.
      Nicole´s last post…10 on 10~ August 2012

    • One thing that deterred us from the sprayer is that it attaches where the water turns off, so if there is a problem with the connection, you could end up with a serious flood. So, if you go this route, be sure to check it regularly for leaks. We didn’t need it at all until we started solids (breastmilk poop just washes off in the machine). After solids we took a break for a while because shaking it off in the toilet got messy and gross. Then we found flushable liners! What a relief . . . now if only we could get our son to stop pulling them out of his diaper we would be golden :)
      Also, I work full time. We cloth diaper on the days we are home with him, which is Saturday and Sunday for me and Tuesday and Wednesday for my husband. Our daycare isn’t set up to use cloth diapers. We each do the laundry at the end of our cloth shift. We haven’t been able to make overnight cloth work for us though.
      We have all sorts of brands and types because I wanted to try them all. My favorites are the Flips and Econobums because you can change out the inserts and reuse the covers if there’s no mess.

  14. Women love to talk cloth diapers! :)

    I got Fuzzibunz (perfect size and one size) for my gifts, since I told my family that’s what I *really* wanted. Made diapering virtually free! :) (They got some in great condition at a steep discount from Craigslist)

    Then a reader on my blog suggested I try prefolds – Cottonbabies offers a $35 < try-it kit with a few covers and prefolds. I was hooked! So now I used both.

    My only advice for moms considering cloth – don’t get velcro if you plan to use them on multiple kids! Some of mine is already shot after just 2 years of cloth diapering. Snaps are where it’s at! :)
    Ashley // Our Little Apartment´s last post…Five Things I Have Learned from Watching the Olympics and Reality Competition TV.

    • That’s funny, because I can’t abide the snaps. I have velcro for my covers and it is holding up just tokens DD#1 Potty trained at 20 months (used cloth from birth) and DD#2 is 5 mo. I love the velcro because I always get a perfect fit at the waist. With snaps it always seems too tight or too loose.

      • Velcro is definitely easier for getting a perfect fit! My husband definitely prefers it. But my son has also had a few occasions where he’s TAKEN OFF his velcro diaper…which wasn’t pretty. Eeep! Thankfully he hasn’t figured out the snaps yet. *fingers crossed*
        Ashley // Our Little Apartment´s last post…Five Things I Have Learned from Watching the Olympics and Reality Competition TV.

      • Ha! We also love our velcro BumGenius that we got used for about $2 per cover with the expectation that we’d have to do a lot of repairs… 20 months later we’ve not repaired a single one and they are still working fine; they don’t look chic and new, but the velcro holds the diaper on and the diaper holds the poop in! We also liked snaps when we used Econobum with our first son from about 9 months to 2.5ish, but he twisted and turned like an angry baby alligator when we changed him, and we didn’t want to deal with that with our second son, so we “splurged” for new (used) covers, and haven’t looked back :)

  15. Rachel, do you use cloth wipes, too? Since you wrote such a nice, balanced post on cloth diapers some reader might like to hear cloth wipe advice coming from the same point of view :)

    Also, do wool covers REALLY not leak? I’m thinking of switch from PUL covers to wool with this next baby, I’ve read the science behind why/how they work, but can’t wrap my head head around the fact that it REALLY won’t just let potty drip everywhere :)

    • I couldn’t fully comprehend it either, but the wool is absorbent on its own, and the lanolin acts as a barrier. If you start to feel some wetness on the outside of the wool cover, that’s a sign that it needs more lanolin, so you give it another lanolin soak with the wool wash and a dab of Lansinoh. The prefold would be sopping wet, but the cover would only be slightly damp on the inside, and once it airs out it’s fine. I usually make sure to get extra lanolin around the leg holes. Crazy but it works, and I am very sensitive about things smelling fresh and clean.

      We did use cloth wipes that I sewed from old receiving blankets. I’m not actually sure where they are right now after we moved. We’re just using regular wipes.

  16. I use cloth nappies and I love them. My husband prefers them too, which is nice. I find prefolds fantastic, and they’re what we use at home. We use pockets when we’re out, as they’re easier. I use a pocket for night time with a bamboo trifold and 2 microfibre inserts, rarely have night leaks like we did with prefolds. We tend to use velcro fasteners as my husband prefers it (he would refuse to change her as he found snaps so hard) and it’s simpler with a wriggling bublet. I do have to clean the velcro every few weeks however.

  17. I have used cloth with my three. I forgo the sprayer (who needs one more step?) and just shake off what I can (when poop gets a little more solid) and what doesn’t shake off, goes right into the pail/wet bag. If it’s really gross I take a little toilet paper and get some off. No, it doesn’t get smelly and yes it all washes off. :) Easy peasy!

  18. Mother-ease one size with covers are my favorite. They fit newborn to toddler, never leak, and have snaps instead of velcro to last for at least two kids. I can’t recommend them enough!

  19. We love our cloth dipes. I use prefolds and Wonderwraps covers. No pins, no snappies, no fuss. We do use disposables at night and some days for convenience (like the day of my sister’s wedding). I have not found a configuration that kept my babies dry all night and let them sleep without bum sticking high in the air from all the layers. After putting 3! prefolds in one night and still having her wake up at 3 am soaking wet, peaking everywhere, I switched to a disposable for overnight.

    • Wool cover would prevent the leaking. We used a wool soaker on top of an all-in-one diaper. In fact, we have used a wool cover (the same one as in the picture) on top of a disposable diaper during the night! We called them “panties” :D
      Vappu´s last post…Give What You Cannot Keep

  20. We have loved our experience with cloth, and my greatest advice for moms who are interested or in the thick of using cloth diapers, is to be gentle with yourself if you feel that you need a break. We’ve taken a few guilt-free breaks from cloth for holidays, traveling, just to have a little break from laundry, etc. It is OK! You are doing a good thing for the environment, even if you do send a few boxes of diapers to the landfill in your lifetime.

    My husband does the majority of the diaper duty at our house (something about having hyperemesis during both pregnancies turned diapering into his job for at least 9 months per child and then the discomfort of nursing scored another 9 months each… HA!) The diaper sprayer is the best invention EVER.
    Renee´s last post…On Being a 50s Housewife

  21. With our third child we decided to give cloth diapering a chance. We are using Softbums, which has inserts and covers. We use disposables at night, over the weekend when we’re seldom home and when I need a little break. I mostly enjoy cloth diapering now that I kind of have the hang of it, but I’ve been surprised at how often I change my baby. Is it normal to need to change cloth diapers every 2 hours?

    • I think that’s pretty normal especially for a young baby. I would need to change a diaper after every feeding and a couple extra. It gets better and less often as the baby grows.

    • I would ask, is it normal to not change a baby at least every 2 hours? Most child care facilities in the USA require a check for wetness at least that often. I can’t bear the thought of my little ones sitting in their own waste for that long. Maybe my girls are heavy wetters, but I need to change even their disposables about every 1.5 hours, cloth every hour. At least with cloth if it’s “only a little wet” you don’t feel like you’re wasting the diaper.

      • Monique, of course I wouldn’t allow my baby to sit in her own waste, which is why I am changing her every 2 hours. I don’t consider it a waste of my time or a waste of diapers. I was simply curious. My 13-month-old has been a heavy-wetter from the start. Her older sister and brother were not.

        • I have to apologize, Monique. I was feeling a little defensive after reading your comment. You were writing of your experience, while I was writing of mine. I realize now that you weren’t saying that I was valuing the number of diapers I go through over my child. I’m sorry about the snippy comment, that’s not like me. Funny (or not so funny) how the mama bear comes out of me when my children are concerned. Again, I apologize.

          • Nicole, no offense taken. I came back to apologize for phrasing my comments in a way that let them be so easily misread. I’m glad you have found a system that let’s you go 2 hours between changes in a cloth diaper!

      • Monique, for some reason I couldn’t reply to your last post so I’ll do it here. Thank you for your last comment, as I really was worried that I’d hurt your feelings.

        Considering your girls are heavy wetters, have you tried the wool covers others have mentioned at night? I haven’t but was curious if it worked for heavy wetters.

        If there’s any consolation, I’ve heard that heavy wetters=early potty trainers! Maybe we’ll both be lucky in that area.

        • I haven’t tried a wool cover. Honestly, I’m hesitant to put down $30+ for a cover that might not meet our needs, especially since it looks as if I would need to buy different sizes as baby grows. I use onesize covers with great success. I can’t imagine paying over and over again for bigger covers. Our decision to cloth diaper was purely economical. We knew we could not spend $ every week on sposos.

          And, yes, my older daughter was potty trained by her 2nd birthday.

  22. We loved the wool covers too, in fact we have had the exact same Disana cover and even though DD now wears a diaper only during a night, and it’s a disposable “eco” diaper made of corn, the wool pants keep working to prevent leaks while sleeping.

    The combination we used and liked the best was an all-in-one diaper made with organic fair trade cotton(un-dyed white and tan colors only) with velcro fasteners. I loved those because they were all soft and cuddly and still had the PUL fabric INSIDE. But we still wore wool pants on top, DD didn’t care at all about being wet, and she had great skin always, so we didn’t change her very often and the wool pants always kept her warm and without leaks. She wore wool pants and a top almost exclusively when we cloth diapered- and we went as far as to do it when visiting family too. The reason we changed into the corn disposables, was that we noticed her starting to really move a lot more once when we ran out of cloth diapers and she was wearing a disposable. It was just so much less bulk interfering with her moving… The first year it made a lot of sense to cloth diaper, preventing a couple of thousand disposable diapers from going into the landfill..
    Vappu´s last post…Give What You Cannot Keep

  23. Thanks for posting this! I’m five months into my cloth diaper adventure, and while I found a routine that works for me, I’m always interested in what others are doing. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to try a wool cover over a prefold this winter!
    I’m also glad that you wrote realistically about the challenges of cloth diapering and gave yourself (and all of us), permission to take breaks from it. The cloth diaper community can be very intense sometimes, and it’s not always healthy. It is ok to talk about the downsides, and use a disposable sometimes!
    Please keep the baby posts coming-I love them!

  24. This post is so informative! I have been reading your e-book and leraning quite a bit. I am a fairly new blogger (started out last November) and I have gotten some great tips on how to make it grow without becoming a slave to it…
    Anyway, my little girl is now 4 and out of diapers. But, we used regular disposable diapers when she was a baby, as I was afraid to use the cloth ones because I am in no way simplified yet! I have to actually admit that I am a bit of a disorganized mess…
    I guess I can definitely use your blog for some tips and ideas!
    Anna at Mama Writes´s last post…Dyson “The Ball” DC24 Vacuum Cleaner Giveaway

  25. I used cloth diapers ( a different type each time) for all 3 kids. My first was in them until about 18 months when she grew out of the one size fits all. With the next two (who are only 18 months apart) I had both of them in cloth nappies at the same time. I ended up switching to having them both in disposables instead after about 6 months of it. It helped reduce my stress levels a lot! I reckon go with cloth if you want to or enjoy the convenience of disposables if you don’t.
    Gorgeous photo of bub!

  26. Much agreed on the beauty and ease of the wool soaker. We mostly used them with fitteds overnight and used Bum Genius or Fuzzi Bunz pockets during the day.

    We, sadly, didn’t get past 19 months with cloth diapers on our first because we moved overseas and had a terrible washer.

    Luckily our new flat has a great washer and I will use cloth from the start with our new little one due in January.
    Rachel´s last post…Preparing for a New Baby: 17 weeks

  27. I love using cloth diapers! We use the gDiaper cloth diapers, which are the fleece pad in pocket with Velcro tabs. We just got done using disposables for the weekend after a stomach bug, and I’m happy to get back to the cute bloomer-looking diapers. Full disclosure: part of me loves cloth diapers because they’re just cuter. But we use disposables at night, and when certain people babysit my daughter. We have to use coin-operated washers and dryers at our apartment (because drying clothes on your balcony is not allowed) for our cloth diapers–most of which I bought new last year–and it’s still usually cheaper and easier for us. I definitely agree with what you said about not going crazy with research–it’s just a diaper. Even though we’re basically ‘poser cloth diaperers’ I still like doing what we’re doing.
    Jen´s last post…A (very small) anniversary post for Mom and Dad

  28. I’ll stick up for the good old-fashioned Gerber prefolds! =) That’s all I’ve used for my three kids, and I love them! I bought the 6-ply, non-birdseye prefolds (I think they also call them nighttime diapers), and I couldn’t be happier. Perhaps I don’t know what I’m missing, but if we’re happy, that’s okay! I actually made my own covers using PUL fabric, and the only time I have ever had a leak is when I’ve let them go waaay too long between changes. I know some people think they can’t do cloth because of the bigger up-front cost, but I’m here to say you can do cloth and you can enjoy it even if you can’t afford the more expensive options! =)

    • We gradually bought our cloth diaper stash as we used the disposable diapers we had been given at a baby shower. The money we would have used to buy throw-aways instead slowly bought cloth.

  29. My word, but young mothers have it easy these days! When my babies were born I had never heard of disposable diapers. Yeah, well we live in darkest Africa. I used terry cloth squares and safety pins covered by “waterproof” pants. Soiled ones were soaked overnight in Nappisan, then hand washed with a pure soap. They needed to be very thoroughly rinsed then hung out to dry in the sun. But once dry they were not yet ready for use. Each one had to be carefully ironed, as maggot flies abounded and would lay their eggs in any thing outside. These nasty little things would hatch and burrow their way into the baby’s skin causing horrible boil-like bumps from which fat maggots would emerge,and of course cause the poor child great discomfort besides making the exhausted new mother feel guiltier than a murderer. Eventually these dreadful diapers would dry as stiff as boards (no fabric softeners there) and my poor kids had nappy rash more often as they got older. We potty-trained them early – I reckon the babes figured out it was the more comfortable option!

  30. “I think there’s so much rah-rah-rah about cloth diapers and why you should use them that it makes it hard to talk honestly about the challenges too…” Exactly! I get lots of questions from friends and acquaintances about cloth diapering and I try to be as candid as possible. It’s super easy…and it’s not. All of my thoughts can be found here: http://simplyparkers.blogspot.com/search/label/cloth%20diapering One of the most helpful things that has gotten me to stick with cloth diapering are Bummis Bio-Soft biodegradable liners. Total lifesaver for a child who rarely has solid poo!
    Elisabeth@SimplyParkers´s last post…An Organized Nursery

  31. So happy to read this post! I have 9 weeks left of my pregnancy and I am still trying to figure this whole cloth diapering thing out. I think we are going to go with disposables for the newborn phase then buy a small amount of different cloth diapers to try out. Seems like thats the best route. Thanks for posting!
    Melissa´s last post…The Hen and the Rooster

  32. I couldn’t get pockets to work overnight either, the double stuffing caused gaps at the legs. My overnight solution is a Flip cover (which I have never had a leak from!) with a Flip stay dry insert on top of a hemp doubler from Swaddlebees. It withstands twelve hours of my heavy wetter, which is amazing. We exclusively use Flips during the day, too, though just with a stay dry insert.

    One big tip I have– don’t get white/very light diaper covers. I machine dry the inserts and hang covers, and when I had a white one in the rotation it drove me crazy finding it among the white inserts. It’s easy to find all the colorful covers.

    Also, get lots and lots of cloth wipes. They’re cheap, and awesome for high chair cleanup, handkerchiefs, etc.

  33. We also cloth diaper with out 13mo old. We are also taking a break from them :) The issue we are having is that they are starting to stink even after washing. We have had them professionally cleaned, used Funk Rock, tea tree oil and Allen’s. I am wondering what we are doing wrong. Do you have any ideas?

    Jenna@CallHerHappy´s last post…August at CatholicMom.com!

    • Have you tried using regular bleach? The bumGenius care instructions say: Pre-wash cold. Wash hot. Extra rinse. No laundry additives. Use 1/4 cup bleach in the hot wash once per month.

      I don’t use bleach as often as once a month, but I remember it can help. Microfiber can be so tough to clean!

    • We’ve tried “stripping” them, where you use a big squirt of dish soap, then wash until the rinse water has no bubbles. It gets them cleaner, but I don’t know that it works completely. We had to quit using them because my daughter got horrible rash, which we couldn’t get rid of until we switched to disposable. Now she gets a rash as soon as we start using the cloth at all again. I might actually try bleach, to make sure all the germs are killed. I’ll rinse them extra, though, to make sure there’s no bleach residue left.

    • Have you considered running one load with a regular detergent? (I prefer Tide for this.) Sometimes stripping still doesn’t take all of the detergent out, and then the diapers stink because the dirt is sticking to the detergent. A different detergent will actually wash away your old one and still strip out pretty well because it was only washed that way once.

  34. Always fun to hear about other people’s cloth diapering experiences. We started when baby #1 was 9 months old. Baby #2 was cloth diapered until about the time Baby # 3 was born. #2 has the nastiest soft poops and I was just over and done changing those in cloth and having to launder diapers for 2. ;)

    It was encouraging to hear about your breaks, too Rachel. We are currently taking a break from cloth diapering Hallee (14 months) and while I miss my cloth so much, something just had to give. I hope to go back to cloth in a couple of months because buying so many diapers is painful but on the other hand, it might just be time to let go… time will tell.

    She has had some diaper rash problems that were actually worse with cloth too. I was as surprised as you at this because I also feel like the majority sentiment is that cloth diapers should prevent rashes. You’re right though, every experience is different!
    Nicole´s last post…10 on 10~ August 2012

  35. Just another voice here chiming in to say that (depending on one’s circumstances), it is possible to be a full time working mom and still cloth diaper. I did it for a few years. We had in-home care rather than daycare, but I was responsible for diaper laundry. I found that throwing a load in at night to wash after the kids went to bed, and then transferring them to the dryer before I went to bed (that was my shortcut – I did not line dry) worked well. Then all were clean and dry in the a.m. One thing that makes diaper laundry much better/easier than other laundry (which feels more like a chore to me): total lack of folding involved. If you want, you can even just store them all in a laundry basket and pick and choose from it when you need a new diaper. I was a bit more anal than that and did put them away in a drawer of our changing table, but you wouldn’t have to if you needed to cut corners.
    Kate´s last post…Oh, hello there!

    • Kate, I had a similar situation when my first was an infant. I don’t think our diapers made it into the drawer more than about once every 3 months. But they were clean!

  36. I love your honesty. It’s true what you said about working outside the home. I cloth diaper my 2 kids and just recently began staying home with them. While working outside the home, it was really stressful to keep up with it. I wanted to give up. Often. I would be up late doing the diaper laundry and it just got worse when the 2nd came along.
    Mel@TheDizzyMom´s last post…Tabbouleh

  37. Thanks to your post, I switched to cloth diapers, yay!! I have been cloth diapering for nearly 3 weeks and my only regret is that I didn’t start sooner. I think I have finally figured out what works for me (lots of trial and error) and am loving it.
    Just wanted to say THANK YOU! I am saving money and no longer sending 40-50 diapers to the landfill every week. :)

  38. Raquel Jackson says:

    I’m due in November and i just completed my newborn stash with 12 prefolds and 12 pocket diapers… i also have 3 thirsties cover, one additional i think bumkins cover. I’m seriously considering getting a wool cover – what size Disana cover did you use on your baby? i want it to last so i’m afraid to get the smallest size. I’d rather get a bigger size if its still going to work on the baby and then i get the benefit of it fitting longer as well. Your baby is so cute!

    • I just found them so I could look at the tags. I did use the smallest Disana size (62-68) for about the first three months or so and I think the next size (74-80) lasted until age 1, so I did get a lot of use from both sizes.

      Once the baby started sleeping longer stretches at night, that’s when I really started appreciating how absorbent wool is and it became a workhorse in the diaper stash.