Oh, cloth diapers. You bring so much joy and so much despair, all at once. Joy, because we are helping the environment and saving the world, one diaper at a time. Joy, because we know exactly what’s up against our babies’ bottoms. Despair, because nobody said it was easy being an environmental superhero. As much as I knew it wouldn't be perfect, I just wasn't prepared for all the problems with cloth diapers I ran into.
I’m not going to lie: I lasted for five whole months using cloth diapers. I walked into it thinking I was prepared. I had done all sorts of research, I had purchased all my diaper covers in my brand of choice, I had my giant wet bin and a highly regarded diaper service booked. And, well, I learned a lot.
I learned that it was far tougher than I thought it would be. I learned that while I very much respected and admired those families who dove whole-heartedly into cloth diapering, I tried to get on board and could not stay on board. So if you're deep in the throes of cloth diapering and it's not working for you (or, if it's working fantastically for you and you have a great sense of humor) then read on and commiserate.
Feeling Like A Failure When You Have To Use A Disposable
Seriously, the guilt, you guys. It feels like you are letting Mother Earth down when you run out of cloth diapers. I remember getting ready to go visit family out of town, and asking my husband, “But what if we run out of cloth diapers while we’re there?” and he looked at me strangely. “We’ll buy disposables, Glynis.” Oh. Right.
Getting The "Pre-Fold" Right
It took me several days, practicing multiple times each day with all the leaks that kept happening, before I got the fold working for my daughter’s body shape and within the diaper covers we had purchased. It was totally not as easy as the YouTube video suggested. And then my husband started trying, and we had leaks all over again.
The Bathroom Is Filled With Rinsed-Off Diaper Covers
Kudos to you, if you are able to get them out of the bathroom and down into the laundry room! For us, they were lined up in a row, hanging over the edge of the tub. Sometimes there were 6-8 of them. Not exactly the time you want an unexpected visitor over.
The Rush To Rinse Out A Diaper Cover Before It Stains
There’s that window of time you have, when you can rinse that brilliant mustard yellow poop out of the diaper cover before it’s irrevocably stained. If you get distracted and lose that window of opportunity, your cute-as-pie, cherry-patterned diaper cover quickly turns into a sad and ugly old piece of baby wear. Tragic.
Having A Child Who Doesn't Like To Be Wet
You don’t want to know how often I was changing my daughter’s diapers, near the end of my cloth diaper experience. OK, I’ll tell you anyway: Sometimes it was five times in one hour. Five times. That’s once every 12 minutes. Do you know how much you can get done at that rate? Nothing.
Fitting Pants Over Those Bulky Bottoms
OK, the apple bottoms are adorable...until you put them in little leggings. Or try and fit skinny jeans over them. Then they look weird or just don’t fit. And if (god forbid) you have to use a disposable, your baby’s normal pants will swim on them.
Poop Explosions Take On A Whole New Meaning
I don’t know, maybe this was just because my daughter was so damn skinny, but the poop explosions we experienced (and by “we” I mean she pooped, we cleaned up) were unlike anything my son, whom we put in disposables, put us through. So much poop up the back.