What I Wish I Had Known About Cloth Diapering


cloth diapering

Last April, when the great toilet paper debacle of 2020 was happening, people were also scrambling to buy diapers. At 38 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby, I had wrongly assumed that I could wait until the last minute to buy diapers for him. I started scrambling to build up a disposable diaper stash in fear that I would have nothing to diaper, my baby, in except-gasp- cloth diapers.

After a couple of months of disposables, I started noticing that a cloth diapering mom friend made it look so easy. With some suggestions from her, I was ready to dive in! My apprehensive husband, on the other hand, was not quite sure. I calculated the upfront cost of my cloth diaper stash to equal about 3 months of disposable diapers. He agreed that we could try- with the condition that I had to use cloth for at least 3 months, to get our money’s worth (note: this number varies greatly based on the type, brand, and amount of diapers that you own).

I am not going to post any how-to’s because there are so many people that have more knowledge about cloth diapers than I could ever hope to have. But, I will give you some pointers that I wish I would have known.

1. Know your “why”.

This is important to help you determine how much you want to spend. If your reason is cute fluffy butts, you may be spending significantly more on diapers. If your reason is environmental consciousness, you may not want to go overboard on price, but you may feel comfortable purchasing nicer diapers. If your reason is cost (like mine), you’ll want to really delve into what type of diapers you’ll use and how many you’ll need. It was also appealing to me that I would never “run out of diapers”.

2. Do your research.

There are a million different “types” of cloth diapers- enough to make your head spin. Each type ranks differently in terms of cost, absorbency, and ease-of-laundering, so it’s nice to decide what’s important to you. I personally prefer pocket diapers and “flats” with covers. Pockets are very user-friendly and are easy to wash and dry. Flats have a bit of a learning curve in terms of use, but the absorbency is very customizable and they are very cheap and easy to launder.

2a.  Do your research… again.

Cloth diapers catch and absorb human waste- and then we wash them in our washing machine. It should go without saying that it’s super important that your diapers are clean. Like, CLEAN, clean. A solid wash routine is key to success in cloth diapering, so do some research about your washing machine (and maybe even water hardness).

3. Be prepared to troubleshoot.

Cloth is easy, but it’s not as easy as disposables. Between detergent build-up, leaks, and fit issues, there are things that could go wrong. Find a cloth diaper community or Facebook group and know that little hiccups along the way do not equal failure. A lot of fit and absorbency issues require some good old fashioned troubleshooting, so use those resources!

4. Be prepared for laundry.

Cloth diapering adds about 2-3 extra loads of loads of laundry per week to my life. It doesn’t sound awful, I know. Factor in two washes/load and hang drying or sunning to dry and you have a little more work. If laundry isn’t your thing, cloth diapers may not be, either. In my opinion, the laundry is the hardest part… but it’s completely manageable.

5. It’s okay to take breaks.

Cloth diapering is rewarding, great for the environment, and super budget-friendly. But sometimes, it’s a lot. Give yourself grace and know that there’s nothing wrong with using disposable diapers overnight, on weekends, or even when life gets a little crazy. There is no rule that says you have to do all or nothing.

While I’m still no cloth diaper expert, I’m glad to have learned what works and doesn’t work for my family. I’m so thankful for the friend that convinced me to dive in! If you’ve been considering cloth diapering and haven’t taken the leap, what’s holding you back?

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Coastal Bend Mom Collective is a locally focused parenting website written BY Coastal Bend area moms FOR Coastal Bendi area moms. Founded in November 2015 by a Corpus Christi mom, Coastal Bend Mom Collective is quickly becoming the area’s largest parenting resource. Our team of moms and social media influencers are extremely passionate about connecting Coastal Bend moms to products and resources that will make life easier. We also firmly believe that there is no one “right” way to be a mom in the Corpus Christi area and love hearing our readers’ differing perspectives on everything from diapering to discipline. We publish new content 6 days a week, which you can have delivered to your email weekly. On CBMC, you’ll find relevant, timely, and fun information within a positive parenting community. Soon, we’ll be planning regular events and playdates in the greater Corpus Christi area to connect moms and families, so we hope to meet you in person very, very soon!