Looking back from the other side of the potty training chasm I suddenly feel qualified to really write about our experience using cloth diapers. Yes, Captain Chaos is fully daytime potty trained. Nights are another matter altogether that I just don’t stress about and we still have a few accidents, but still.
I started researching cloth diapers when I was pregnant back in 2007. It was the first time I had really considered cloth, mainly because it was the first time I would be home full-time from the beginning. I read and read and read about the details of cloth and how they work and upkeep and all that. I posed the idea to Party Boy who thought it was a marvelous idea because it would save money. I wanted to save money as well, but I was also attracted to environmental aspect as well as the health claims.
I was honest with myself from the get-go that we wouldn’t be full-time cloth diaperers. I know myself well enough to know that dirty/wet diapers would likely get forgotten in the diaper bag for too long after a change away from home. So, we decided to use cloth at home (90% of the time) and disposable away from home.
Bringing Baby Home
We didn’t start with cloth at the beginning for a couple of reasons. The hospital sent us home with a bunch of newborn diapers and we had a couple of packages from the baby shower as well. I knew they wouldn’t last long before he’d outgrow them! And because newborn cloth diapers were an expense that I didn’t want. It would have been fine if I knew that they would be used again, but they wouldn’t so I skipped them and started out with disposables.
This worked out well for us. We didn’t immediately add to our already large laundry load with an additional load of diapers in the early days when recovering, nursing, and trying to sleep were primary concerns. He was also a smallish baby, so the newborn disposables were perfect and we used up every one of them. Just as he was outgrowing those we finished up our last package and were ready for the new cloth diapers.
Cloth Diapers In Practice
I cannot say enough about using cloth diapers on an infant. I think we only had one major blowout, which has to be a record. The pre-folds were easy to use and we just threw a load of diapers into the wash at the end of the day and then into the dryer at bedtime. By the next morning we had a load of fresh, dry diapers ready to go.
We didn’t struggle as much with diaper rash either. It was, all-around a great experience. Not to mention a huge money saver. We bought two boxes of diapers between birth and 6 months to be used when we were out and about. That’s opposed to a box a week with the girls!
Six Months and Beyond
At right about six months Chaos graduated into the next size of pre-folds (we used Green Mountain brown trim), so I ordered more diapers and covers and we retired the infant size. I washed them and bleached them and they are now cleaning cloths.
Our routine stayed much the same – cloth at home and disposable out and about. Still just throwing an extra load into the wash at the end of the day. Our only experience with diaper rash came with disposables. Very sad.
Now, after 2-1/2 years of use, we are saying good-bye to our pre-folds. That’s right. We’ve been using the same diapers for 2-1/2 years. They’ve held up extremely well! The covers are looking a little worn, but still keep everything dry, so they’ve served their purpose as well.
Why we are saying good-bye is because of potty training. Chaos fully understands that babies wear diapers. He struggles with the idea that he still wears a diaper at night. Doesn’t like it one little bit. He still needs them though. So, I decided that we will move to pull-ups for overnights so he can still feel like he is wearing underpants, but we won’t have accidents to deal with overnight.
The Final Analysis
I am very glad we used cloth diapers this go-round. Our plan worked out well and cloth diapers saved us a ton of money. I think I would have happily invested more in diapers and covers if we had started with the girls, knowing that there would be more kids to use the diapers. As for now, I think we’ll wash and bleach the diapers and throw them in with the others for cleaning. They will move on and be use for many more years to come I am sure.