Dirty Diaper Duty

Before I got pregnant, I always thought that I’d cloth diaper my babes. We try to be a little greenie household, from our one car policy to our urban living footprint, we’ve always had mother earth as part of our equation when we make our big decisions in life.

But y’all, maybe it’s the fact that I am still firmly planted in my first trimester and I have all sorts of aversions, but cloth diapering is sounding less and less appealing.

Since I know lots of my readers have done the whole mamma thing before, I’m curious if you guys have insight into the whole shabang. Even if you haven’t had kids – I’m curious, do you lean toward one option or the other? If you’re all like – ummm – that’s why I’m NOT having kids, I totally get that, too! 😉 lol

Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers

Here’s the list I’ve formulated so far:

Cloth Diapers


  1. Eco-Friendly
  2. Cheaper (after the initial investment)
  3. Cuter (IMO)
  4. Possibility of being able to use for future monkeys
  5. Softer for the babies bum
  6. Not disposable


  1. Poop in yo face (the whole cleaning component)
  2. Less convenient
  3. Lots of laundry

Disposable Diapers


  1. Easier
  2. Daycare … it might be tricky to find one that would mess w/ cloth
  3. Less poop in yo face


  1. More expensive
  2. Premium for eco-friendly options (and really, when you’re tossing it into a landfill, what does that mean anyway)
  3. Tons of trash – quite wasteful

So – any thoughts? Speak to me, bestow your knowledge!

30 thoughts on “Dirty Diaper Duty

  1. It is indeed trickier to find a daycare provider that is willing to do cloth diapering. Ours actually is willing, but we chose to go with disposables because we just don’t have the time/energy to be washing cloth diapers.

    A good friend of mine has done cloth diapers – while she admits she’s not in love with them, they do save a ton of $$$ and reduce our carbon footprint. Here’s a post she did awhile back on the subject that may be helpful: http://sherahgphotography.blogspot.com/2011/10/cloth-diapers-insiders-guide.html

    Also, I’m not sure if you’ve already seen this, but Sherry from YHL uses cloth diapers. Here’s a post about it that is quite informative and may be helpful in your decision-making process: http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/08/the-much-requested-cloth-diaper-post/

    I honestly wish I had more time/energy to do cloth, but if you’re considering disposables I’m a big fan of Pampers. If you decide to go with disposables, to cut down on price maybe try registering for diapers sizes N-3. Or, Diapers.com and Target have decent deals.

    Okay, that was a bit long-winded. Hopefully at least some of it was helpful!

  2. Disposable, and the first time your little bundle of joy has diaper rash you will see why. Cloth gets soaked immediately and all that just sits on the baby’s skin until changed. Disposable stays dryer and to me are much more healthy for the baby’s skin and hygiene. With the washing, drying etc. that comes with cloth diapers, I am just not buying the eco-friendly argument. Just my humble opinion. Good luck and congrats. 🙂

  3. We finally decided to cloth diaper with baby #4 and am totally kicking myself that we didn’t do it from the start. Though the whole diaper spraying experience isn’t the most fun, it’s not necessary until your baby starts solids. With a breast fed baby, you simply throw the diaper in the pail and throw them in the wash with all other diapers. Easy peasy. And honestly, no poopy diaper change ever goes smoothly; disposable or cloth. We have found cloth diapering just as easy as disposable. However, we do use disposables from time to time.

    You will be running baby laundry frequently anyway, running one additional load every other day hasn’t been too overwhelming for us. I definitely recommend giving it a try! Finding the best cloth diaper for you is the most important step though. In our experience, we had preferred an all-in-one vs. a pocket diaper. Stuffing and un-stuffing can be a pain. We have loved BumGenius FreeTimes and Elementals.

    It was a hefty investment upfront, but it has been a huge savings for our family already. And it’s really nice not having to worry about running off to the store at inconvenient times because you’ve realized that you are almost out of diapers!

    There are definitely good pros and cons to either side. Good luck!

      1. We do wash the diapers in their own load. It might seem silly to only wash 12 diapers in a load by themselves, but with an HE washer, you’re using less water and can further control the amount of water by adjusting the load size. We always try to hang them up in the sun to dry, even indoors, which removes any stains.

        I also forgot to mention that our little one has never had a diaper rash. It was a common problem that we had with our other kids, but we’ve never had that issue while using cloth.

  4. Cloth diapers are way way way bulkier than disposable, so if you’re a mom who’s going to get a big kick out of dressing your babe fashionably, you might have to rule out the skinny jeans if you’re usining cloth diapers. 😉

  5. I still have a baby-in-waiting, so my input isn’t experienced, but my friend who cloth-diapers gave me the following advice:

    There are disposable, flushable paper liners for cloth diapers. Apparently these are a lifesaver when the baby starts solids: all the poo lifts right out on the liner and gets flushed and you just have to deal with the wet.

    Don’t worry about trying to cloth diaper while you’re out for more than a couple of hours or visiting. It’s a pain and then you have to lug around dirty diapers with you. You’ll still save loads of money by cloth diapering only when you’re at home.

    She actually started with disposable diapers (because they’d been given so many at baby showers) and only started cloth diapers full-time when they hit about six months. She was surprised to find she actually got less diaper rash with the cloth diapers; while they cloth diapers do get wet faster, they get changed a bit more often, and unlike plastic disposables, the cotton fabrics breathe instead of sealing that all in with the baby!

  6. No reason you can’t do both/try both! Many of my friends have switched back & forth for various reasons. A couple friends have said they cloth diaper in the daytime & use a disposable at night to help prevent leakage. I also have a friend with an extremely sensitive baby who couldn’t use disposables at all because her little one had allergic reactions to the disposable diaper materials & the chemicals inside them that “lock in” the wetness away from baby’s bum (no matter the brand, unfortunately).

    You’ll end up settling on what works best for you, your hubs & your little monkey. Whatever that is, it’s the right decision. 🙂

  7. I just couldn’t get my hubby on board for cloth diapers (total bummer) so we’ve gone the disposable route. We’ve tried go as eco friendly as possible with Seventh Generation (very rough), Babyganics (2nd favorite so far) & have settled on Honest diapers & wipes. Honest brand is great, wipes are soft & you can set up delivery to your front door how ever often you’d like.

  8. We tried both with our nine-month-old. She was tiny, so we waited until she was round three months or so before trying the cloth diapers. We had mostly BumGenius Freetimes (all-in-ones) and BumGenius 4.0s (pocket diapers). The Freetimes were nice because you didn’t have to stuff them, but they take awhile to dry (air dry), getting the flaps to lay right can be a pain (especially when you’re trying to hold a wiggly baby), and they’re a harder to rinse out before washing. For those reasons, I liked the 4.0s better. We also had a diaper sprayer that we hooked up to our toilet to spray out dirty diapers. It’s not necessary if your baby is breastfeeding because the poop is water soluble, but it’s useful later, or so I’ve heard. Putting stained diapers out in the sun to dry will also bleach them white again, which is cool! In the end, we went with disposables, and I sold my stash of adorable cloth diapers. It was just one more thing for me to have to get ready in the morning and take to daycare, one more thing to worry about when we were out, and one more thing to deal with when we got home. Plus, we didn’t have a good place to air dry the diapers, so they were always in the way. For whatever reason, I had a hard time snapping our diapers too. Maybe it was because they were so new, but I can’t imagine trying to do it now because my baby rolls all over during diaper changes. If I were to do it again, I would get the aplix/velcro ones. If you’re going to work from home or stay at home most of the time with your baby, cloth is awesome. It just became something I didn’t want to deal with after awhile. My recommendations if you want to try cloth: 1) get a couple different styles to try out 2) check CraigsList or other places for gently used diapers 3) visit SweetBottoms boutique in Cary for lots of great advice. You can also see a million different diapers and other natural supplies there.

  9. Mary – what an exciting time and exciting decisions ahead! I love posts like this 🙂 We decided to cloth diaper with our son, Wilder, but not exclusively. We were really glad we went this route due to the savings and reduction in land-fill waste. None of our friends cloth diapered, but here are the suggestions I’d give them if they had…
    1. Wait until the baby is 9+ pounds and can fit in “one-size” diapers until introducing cloth (we used Buttons Covers available on Amazon and were really happy with them) . This will cut down on the number of clothed diapers you have to buy plus you avoid the belly-button-still-attached and meconium phase.
    2. Don’t feel like you have to use cloth 100% of the time. It needs to work for you guys so if you’re traveling, out for the day, or just don’t want to deal with laundry for a week, feel free to use disposables.
    3. We went the cover and insert route and I wouldn’t do it any other way (Button Covers and unbleached prefolds). It cuts down on laundry because you can often reuse the cover and I felt like it was less gross to deal with the inserts since you didn’t have to reach into a pouch or touch the soiled parts of the diaper. The Button Covers adjust so we saved a ton of money by only buying one set of diapers.
    4. Get organized. Make sure you have a good method for storing dirty diapers and getting them washed. We bought a couple of waterproof laundry bags and put them inside a covered trashcan in our bathroom. After rinsing the diapers off (with the toilet sprayer – a must have) we simply put them in the container and shut the lid. We washed the diapers usually twice a week and when the inserts got a little extra “muddy” we’d lay them in the sun to naturally bleach them or throw in some bleach with the laundry and than run them through another cycle or two to make sure all the chemicals rinsed out.
    All in all our cloth diapering experience has been great and we definitely plan to do it again when we go for baby #2. Good luck!!!

  10. I thought I’d do cloth, but once I got pregnant there were so many other things to research and that were more important to me, so we decided to do disposables. And, I don’t regret the decision. I could focus on my baby and breastfeeding him when he was born. I couldn’t help with the wash the first month, so it would’ve been more stress on my hubby! Eventually, I found The Honest Company bundle of diapers and wipes and it’s been so great. I only wish we used them from the start! The diapers are supposed to break down and have no yucky chemicals to affect my guy. I have a friend who did cloth to begin with, but has been doing disposables since about 18 months old because they get difficult to change once they start having opinions about things and you have to change much more frequently with cloth, I’ve heard. Also, one of our friends compared the effects on the environment of washing all those diapers vs throwing out disposables and said it’s pretty much a wash (no pun intended). I didn’t personally do the comparison, but he’s a professor in environmental engineering, so we thought that was interesting!

  11. We used cloth on both of our kids, using a diaper service. We used wraps which are so cute now! Eventually (don’t remember exactly when) we put them in disposables at night. Everyone slept longer and better. There are so many options and definitely pros and cons for each. Thinking about landfill though, I recommend cloth. Both of my kids potty trained early and our thinking was that they actually feel wet in a cloth diaper and that’s incentive to use the potty!

  12. Okie doke. So I did cloth with my son for about a year and a half. We still use them as swim diapers (the bum genius 2.0). But for the first 6 months or so I used a service, and that was the way to go. Never had to buy new diapers, never had to mess with poop (just went right into the wetbag and they took care of it on the other side). It was heaven. I would have done cloth for a lot longer if we had a service close by, or if our service had washed bum genius full time and not just occasionally. At the eightish month mark, they just get so wiggly that dealing with the tri clip and l that became too much and I switched to bum genius, and quit the service. Washing them myself was not too big a deal, but my husband hated it. If I had my child in full time daycare, I would go with disposable. You have to wash your diapers at least every two or three days and if that is only going to be maybe four diapers, it doesn’t seem worth it. If you’re only using day care twice a week, or so, then just supplement with disposables. I supplemented with disposables whenever I needed to, and just promised myself that I would keep picking back up with cloth. It’s not necessarily one or the other. Some babies are really sensitive to one or the other- they will get hot pink bottoms with some diapers but not others, some creams but not others… I recommend Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion- it’s just lavender and witch hazel. A light spray of that at every change and you won’t need Desitin. Good luck and if you ever have questions shoot me an email I’m happy to help! Young House Love also uses cloth and has written about it a few times.

    PS. Everything is more intimidating when it’s new. And don’t make plans about poop while you’re still giving up your breakfast every day.

  13. I really think that what it comes down to is the value of your time, and if you are going to have to be back at a 9 to 5 job after maternity leave, or if you will be able to be at home. I used disposables with all 3 of my kids (14, 8, and 4) but cloth wasn’t so readily available then. Invest your time in nursing, holding and reading to that little bug: they are only little for such a short time. 🙂

  14. Cloth all the way! So much less expensive in the longrun. My son is now 18 (yes it seems like just yesterday he was my baby). I only used cloth diapers on him. He NEVER had a rash, if he did start to get red, I would use Calendula Cream on his bottom. Even when he was teething miserably he never had a rash. I was good about keeping him changed, and it’s really no more than one diaper pail of diapers a week washed with a gentle detergent and borax. It also helped when it came time to potty train him at 2.5 with his little (not so little now) brother on the way. He hated being wet in his cotton training pants and he pretty much trained himself in about 3 weeks. Good luck whichever you choose

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