Cloth Diaper Myths–that Are Totally True!

By Katie Kimball, Kitchen Stewardship

My first child was diapered in whatever was the least expensive (and actually held in the pee).

I wanted to switch to cloth diapers when my second child was about eight months old, but I was scared to death of trying “cloth” and worried I would pay more money than disposables. I ended up holding out until my third baby was five months old before switching over and then tried 25 brands for this comprehensive cloth diaper review.

Now, after about 8 months of cloth diapering full time, I’m here to tell you that a lot of the challenges a parent might worry about when considering cloth diapering will probably happen, such as:

1. Cloth diapers will leak more: At first, I would have emphatically agreed with this one. It seemed that in every diaper, under two hours, we were changing John’s pants. It was driving me nuts! But once all our cloth diapers had been washed enough to reach maximum absorbency, we figured out which ones were the best and the leaks were less. (But disposables still hold more, if you want my opinion.)

2. You will have to touch poop.  What parent doesn’t? Yes, you do have to get the poop into the toilet after the baby starts solid food. But did you know that every box of disposable diapers I ever purchased instructed me to dispose of solid waste via the sewer system as well?

Besides, as a parent, you quickly become inoculated to bodily fluids as you get covered in them regularly.

The silver lining? Cloth diapers contain those newborn blow outs MUCH better than disposables, so you might touch poo more later, but you’ll get covered in it much less at the start.

3. You’ll have to do more laundry. It can’t be denied! Cloth diapers will add two to four loads per week to your schedule. The good part is that you don’t really have to fold the loads, and they’re small and not time-intensive. The laundry thing was a major concern for me but has turned out to be the easiest part. Thank goodness for main floor laundry! (Here’s my Cloth Diapering Rookie Information post, including my laundry routine and everything else I learned!)

4. You have to change the baby more often. Alas, this one is 100% true, and I can’t even make it sound better. Unless you have a super bulletproof diaper like the Motherease all-in-one or the fitted cloth diapers I reviewed, you really can’t go more than three hours in one diaper. And you shouldn’t, even in the heavy duty ones, because the urine touching baby’s skin isn’t very gentle for them. Disposables, on the other hand, wick that moisture away and you know you can sometimes get away with four to five hours when you’re out and about and not thinking about diaper changes. Bummer.

5. Cloth diapers are an expensive investment. It can’t be denied that there’s an initial investment in cloth diapers, but it definitely doesn’t have to be more than disposables over the long run. You can spend more on cloth than disposables if you get fancy dancy kinds and buy more than you need to, but there are frugal routes, too.

Looking back, I do

wish I would have started cloth with my middle child when I considered it at eight months old. I worried so much at that point that we would end up spending more on cloth than ‘sposies if we didn’t have a third child, but I’m pretty confident now that we would have saved money, third child or not.

The two economy diapers that I gave high reviews to when I listed my final cloth diaper recommendations really do work great, and with Econobums, you can buy your entire starter stash for only $100. That’s less than a half year of disposables, even if you’re buying generic store brand in bulk.

6. You won’t be able to figure out which diaper to buy. There are SO many kinds of cloth diapers out there these days. After I reviewed 25 different diapers, people often asked me,

“If you were starting from square one, which ones would you really buy?”

I tried my best to answer the question of the “best cloth diaper” and ultimately, even after testing out  so many different brands, there’s no perfect answer. Every family will have different needs, like quickest, least complicated, most frugal, or chunky baby/thin baby.

In the end, you just have to jump in with both feet and know that, even if there are bumps in the road, you’re making a good choice for baby and the environment.

>Katie Kimball is a mother of three who spends a ton of time in the kitchen making real food with whole ingredients and then blogs about her successes and failures at Kitchen Stewardship. She also tries to balance the green lifestyle on a single-income family budget and teaches others to do the same with weekly Monday Mission challenges. Visit KS for real food and natural living dished out in chewable, baby step portions.

Photo courtesy of Katie Kimball.

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