When Cloth Diapering Isn’t the Easiest Choice

November 9, 2016

Confession time!

I’ve been cloth diapering babies off and on now for six years. (Sometimes I can’t believe that number!) I know lots of people don’t put much thought into diapers – you just grab one and go on with your day – but I’d call this a six year journey. I was pretty zealous about cloth diapering in the beginning. I used cloth while camping, while traveling to Cuba, and every day and night in between, with my first. I am still really proud of that fact, actually. With my second, I did use some disposables off and on, and felt horribly guilty about it every time.

Well this year, we had our third baby, and let me tell you, this baby was going to be my “cloth diapers only” baby! No disposables would ever touch him! Well I wish I could say that I have never used disposables with him, but here we are at nine months, and I have. Not constantly, just a few in the beginning, some biosoakers while camping, and then some in the last month or two. Recently I was shopping and found myself comparing two brands of “green” diapers, when I thought, “WHY? Why am I doing this? I know they smell weird and still end up in a landfill, why am I here in this aisle?” The answer that came into my head when I actually stopped to think about it was, “Because it’s so hard to change his diaper right now, the disposables are easier to get on!”

Well, that was a revelation. I realized I had only been reaching for our “easiest” diapers – pockets and all-in-ones, of which I have about six. Once those were dirty, I was reluctant to grab two-piece diapers (of which I have many) because this baby is SO hard to change. He rolls right over every second, so you literally have to pin him down with one arm and put the diaper on with the other. This makes prefolds, flats, even fitteds, a nightmare to get on. But, I can fix that! Once I realized the problem was not all cloth diapers, just the KIND of cloth diapers, I got my hands on 8 additional second-hand pocket diapers the next day (no I didn’t make them, even though I like mine better, I am not that fast! I found them via www.clothdiapertrader.com) and I am happy to say this has all but solved the problem. Well, he still rolls around like a fish out of water, but at least I can get the diapers on without tears (his or mine). I’m not going to say a disposable will never touch him again, but I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure I’m reaching for a cloth diaper first.

My point in all of this is that sometimes, no matter how much we tell ourselves and other people that cloth is easy, it’s not always the easiest option, especially if you’re working with a limited budget, or other issues that make the siren song of disposables that much more appealing. However, there are ways to make it more manageable.

One way is just not buying disposables, and not letting people with the best of intentions buy them for you. Trust me, it’s so much easier to put a diaper on that you already have in your house than go to the store and buy some, but if you’ve got them in your house “just in case”… in my experience they will get used. Another way to make it easier on yourself is to use the kind of diapers that work best for you. If you’re not enthused about using flats, don’t buy them and feel guilty about not using them, buy diapers you will actually use. I know some of them can be expensive, I do. If you can’t afford a brand new stash of the type you like, look at bargain brands, buy them second-hand, ask for them at a baby shower or for holiday gifts, or maybe ask for gift cards to retailers that carry them. I’m absolutely not suggesting you feel guilty if you have used disposables, by the way, I’m just saying if the choice to use cloth is as important to you as it is to me, finding ways to make it the easier option can help you stick to it.

Also, don’t be afraid to re-evaluate your stash! It turns out after three kids and six years, some of the diapers I loved with one particular child, or at one stage, just weren’t working for me anymore. And that’s OK! Instead of throwing in the towel or struggling through the next year or two, I’ve made some changes, and now I’m loving it again. Set yourself up for successful cloth diapering, and I guarantee you won’t miss the questionable smell and oft-leakiness of disposable diapers, no matter how “green.”

Anything to add? How do you set yourself up for success?