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Fluff Talk Thursdays: Why Cloth?

When my oldest daughter Emma was born, a couple of my friends were trying to use cloth diapers with their babies. I admired their eco-friendliness but stuck with disposables. We were living in a tiny (under 400 square feet) apartment. We had a washer but no dryer, and I couldn’t face the idea of having stacks of cloth diapers hanging to dry along with all the rest of our clothes. Seeing my friends’ diapers did clear up a couple misconceptions I had, though. I learned that cloth diapers can be adorable, and that you no longer have to rinse them out in the toilet.

When we moved back to the US and into a much larger apartment with a washer AND dryer, I started thinking about trying cloth. Emma’s disposables were always leaking, we were going through tons of disposables, and she kept getting diaper rashes. When I found a good deal on user-friendly pocket diapers we took the plunge and bought a dozen. To my surprise, they leaked less frequently than Emma’s disposables and her diaper rash disappeared. They were more bulky than disposables, but since Emma was a thin baby this was a good thing – her pants would finally stay up! Three years and two babies later, we’re still using the same cloth diapers, although I’ve added more over time and am finally learning the art of making my own cloth diapers.

I’m not a perfect cloth diapering mom. We still buy disposables, just in much smaller quantities. I use them at night (I have found a non-leaking solution with cloth diapers, but not a version that keeps my kids asleep through the night), and if we’re going to be out for long periods of time. But the rest of the time my kids wear fluffy cloth diapers. We have a big enough diaper stash that I only wash diapers 2-3 times per week, and Emma gets to practice her folding skills with our cloth baby wipes. I’d like to try my hand at making fleece soakers – anyone have a pattern they recommend?

MaryAnne at Mama Smiles
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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

17 thoughts on “Fluff Talk Thursdays: Why Cloth?”

  1. Trusting in Adonai

    I came across your blog. I just started cloth diapering my 4th child and wish I had done it much sooner!!! I cloth diapered my oldest many, many years ago when you had to pin them, dunk them, and only had rubber pants so I had no idea how much easier & better it's gotten! Anyway, all that to tell you that my son is a heavy wetter and he's been going without leaks at night (sometimes up to 11 hours!) by using Swaddlebees AIO and adding a microfleece soaker. I got them at their outlet store (swaddlebees.com). I have also used a Fuzzibunz with added soakers too. One night I ran out and rigged a diaper using a too small prefold and another prefold as a soaker with a Thirsties cover and it did not leak after 11 hours!

  2. Rachel is my only baby I've ever tried cloth diapers with. I loved it when we were using them, but she grew out of the ones we were using and we haven't had the money to replace them. Since we've been getting assistance with food and diapers because Jon's been out of work, I haven't worried too much about it, but I dread paying for the cost of diapers once he gets another job (hopefully that will be in the next week or so – things are looking up). Though he'll probably have work, it'll be for MUCH less than he was making before and I don't want to spend our money on disposables.

    So, here's my question. Cloth diapering was easy when Rachel was strictly breastfed, but she has some really sticky, gross poo now, and I'm not sure how I would clean it out of cloth diapers. What have you done with your kids to make dealing with the poo messes not such a big deal? As soon as I have a good solution to this problem, I'll probably go back to cloth during the day (though not at night for the same reason you mentioned).

  3. I think an additional benefit of cloth diapering is early toilet training!

    My 2yo only wears a diaper at night. She's a super- soaker, and we use Blueberry diapers with a BabyKicks XL hemp insert, but we often have leaks. :( I won't put her in disposables at night since she's diaper-free during the day. So if you have a better solution for a super-soaker, I'm all ears!!

    My 18mo is in a disposable at night, cloth during the day except when we plan to be out for a while.

    Another reason I prefer cloth diapers over disposable is that we use flushable liners and can just lift the poo away!

  4. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog

    This is great! I didn't use cloth diapers for Emily, but now I do for Clara and I think they are wonderful. We still occasionally use disposables too, but we don't go through them nearly as fast as we used to.

    In our household, we call disposables "landfill diapers". It always amazed me that the baby wears each diaper for only a few hours, but they take hundreds of years to decompose. Yikes!!

  5. this is so good, I don't even want to think about how many diapers we have gone through and dumped into a land fill

  6. I never used cloth diapers because I didn't have the time to do the laundry… but if I thought I could have managed it I would have given it a try.

  7. I wish I would've known earlier that you didn't have to use pins or the toilet when cloth diapering! That's all I remember from when my cousin was a baby-my aunt would come over and leave poopy diapers soaking in our toilet. Gross. And I can imagine how hard it would be to do CDing without a dryer. Ours was broken for three days and it was a struggle!

  8. I can relate with the helping keeping their pants up! My 1 year old has always be around 10% on weight and 90% on length on the growth charts. That extra fluff keeps those pants on ;-)

  9. I love AIOs so I couldn't cloth diaper if I didn't have a dryer either since they take so long to dry!
    Have you tried Blueberry one size deluxe diapers? Great for overnight with a BabyKicks hemp insert! I have a super soaker and have never had a leak going 12+ hours a night!

  10. Google Katrina's Soaker pattern, its easy to follow & even a beginner seamstress like me was able to use it! (make sure your fleece is stretchy side-width wise though!!!)

  11. Great post! I couldnt imagine going back to disposables.

    I have made 4 fleece soakers using a free pattern. I'll email you more info. =)

  12. I think it is amazing how much better cloth works than dispobables. I have YET to have a BF poo leak on me with DS but with DD….yikes!! I wish I would have cloth diapered her earlier :)

  13. MaryAnne,
    Thanks so much for participating in Fluff Talk Thursdays! :-) So glad you did.

    I'm not sure I would want to use cloth if I didn't have a dryer and lived in a apartment either.
    I don't usually use cloth when I go out either. I always forget to take the diaper out of the diaper bag to wash and find it days later. :-( I am so bad about that!

    Have you ever tried wool at night? I have never tried it , but my son isn't a heavy wetter so I have never had problems with using his regular cloth diapers at night. Also, DryBees makes a night time cloth diaper. I wonder if they work good? Just some thoughts.

  14. Jackie at 3littleones

    Thanks for stopping by today and commenting :) I have recently started to try to make my own dipes as well (not a fleece soaker though) and made my own wipes – isn't it fun to make your own and make some cool designs? My daughter loves a fitted that I made her w/ a monkey design -it's cute how the kids get excited over the cloth now too : ) I look forward to reading more of you fluff talk thursday posts!

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