You may have noticed from some of the photos here on the blog or on Instagram. I haven't been hiding it, but I haven't necessarily made a public proclamation of the state of how my son's bum is covered either. Since I've written quite a bit about cloth diapering here on the blog, I figure I should tell you all about this decision as well. I have to be honest, as I was researching cloth diapers, I didn't find a lot of negative feedback about them. And while I wasn't necessarily looking for it, I also didn't find anyone who had quit them either. (Although I'm sure they are out there.)
Often, blog posts about the hows and whys of cloth diapering are from moms who are SOLD OUT, LOVE THEM FOR LIFE, CLOTH DIAPERING QUEENS OF THE UNIVERSE. It's a crazy world and I know a lot of wonderful, wonderful people who are cloth diapering champs, almost viewing it as a hobby - and I say, more power to them! But for me, I was never "sold out" on cloth diapers. I wanted to try them out on my firstborn. And I did like them. I liked how they looked. How they were good for the environment. And most of all, how much money they saved.
And I'm happy to say, I have absolutely no regrets with them.
But today, I have sold every last one, and I now identify with the disposable-diaper-momma camp.
So here's what happened.
Around a year old, Eli really struggled to adjust from formula to cow's milk. He started having around 12-14 dirty diapers a day and they were horribleterribleawful. Like, the worst things you've ever smelled or seen. It took a while for me to figure out that it was the cow's milk proteins that were causing it, so this went on for about 3-4 weeks. During that time, I switched over to disposables. It was just easier to be able to roll up a diaper and throw it away, then spray it off - and because he was going through so many diapers, do laundry every. single. day. Plus, my husband sorta insisted if he was going to participate in the diaper changes.
And really, that's what started me down the path to become a cloth diaper dropout. When I became pregnant with my second later that month and Eli's "digestive issues" cleared up, I knew it was time for me to go big or go home with cloth diapers because I'd be having two in cloth in just nine short months - which meant I would need to nearly double my stash to accommodate them both.
I chose to go home.
So, from someone who really liked cloth diapering, but was never crazy-sold out for them, here's my honest take on them and why I quit.
Cloth diapers definitely have a lot of pros - and most all the reasons I chose to do them in the first place still stand today: less environmental impact, a huge cost savings, looked adorable on Eli (when not covered in clothing), he never once had a diaper rash in cloth, and they were honestly fairly easy to do, both at home and on-the-go. I know the main barrier to entry with cloth diapers is the cleaning/dealing with poop, and here's what I'll say. Everything before one year, was really, really easy. Breastmilk washes out easily without even needing to spray, so really it wasn't much different from disposables when he was exclusively breastfed.
Around 10 months I began introducing more solid foods with Baby Led Weaning, and that's when I started noticing it becoming a bit - well - not fun. Not counting those three or four weeks where Eli was "abnormal" for a bit, there were still definitely days when it was pretty nasty to spray off a cloth diaper as he transitioned more and more to solid foods. Doable? Totally. Enjoyable? Definitely not. It wasn't every time, but every once in a while, there's this "moment," you know? Where you're just wondering what in the heck you were thinking. But they're not that often.
A few unexpected things also happened that I wasn't prepared for. First off: I was surprised by how much brain power it took to cloth diaper. Disposables are pretty brainless. Choose your brand, put them on and see how they fare. With cloth, there are a million things to consider, ways to stuff/line/size/wash/dry/strip them. If you're having issues, like repelling, or have a heavy wetter, etc. It can take a lot of research and trial and error to figure it out. Eli was a heavy wetter and slept through the night at 13 weeks. He was waking up soaked, even with two hemp inserts. Everything online said to, "Buy this!" or "Buy that!" then test them out to see how they worked. But my main reason for using cloth was to save money - so "testing out" three or four $20 inserts that I couldn't return, didn't sound like a good plan to me. I felt like at times, it was just one problem after another and while I came into it with gusto to figure it all out, it started wearing on me and eventually, I just wanted a stupid thing like diapers to take up less room in my brain. Is that bad?
The other thing was the cloth diaper bubble butt. I knew it would be big, I really did. But I didn't realize how big my son would be. Then add a double stuffed cloth diaper for a heavy wetter, and it made dressing him and his chubby thighs nearly impossible. I had purchased lots of cute clothes ahead of time for him and he couldn't wear them. I'll be honest and say even with a disposable, things were tight, but adding a cloth diaper made it out of the question. And even when I did find clothing that fit, I didn't love the look. It's vain and a very small thing that wasn't the deal breaker for me, but I want to be completely honest and say, that's something that did end up bugging me and eventually played (a small part) in my decision to quit.
When I started toying with the idea of stopping, I asked my husband what he thought - if he cared what we did going forward. And he didn't care at all. He was never that big a fan of cloth, a good sport, but not a fan - and I knew he had only agreed to do it because it was something that I wanted to try. Plus, I let him know that we wouldn't be out any additional money either. I knew I could sell our cloth stash for what I purchased them for since I got them all on super sale, which was one of my selling-points to him in the beginning.
So since it wasn't priority to him, and we had room in our budget to use disposables exclusively, that's what we did.
And I have to say, it's so great to not have to think about diapers any more. I don't have to think about laundry, or stuffing, or sizing or anything else. Diapers are just diapers, ordered with a click of a button on Amazon and disposed of in one quick walk to the trashcan out back.
So there it is, all laid out. I know I don't have one super-good-awesome, that-totally-makes-sense reason. But all together, that's ultimately what made my decision to switch.
I can't tell you how many times people told me I was crazy for cloth diapering, who looked at me with big, sorrowful, shocked eyes and told me I was nuts and would regret my decision. But the thing is, even though it may look like they were right - they're still wrong. I don't regret it at all and I'm so happy I did it for a year. It really wasn't bad and I would still recommend cloth diapering to someone who's interested in them - but also be very open and honest about our reasons for stopping.
So if you're considering them, don't let this post completely sway you against them. I think it's important to look at both sides of the cloth diapering camp - not those that do them and those that don't. But those that do them and those that no longer do.
People who've never done them will say a lot of negative things about them, but they really don't know anything except that they think poop is gross. (Annnnnd they're right about that at least.) I know plenty of mommas that truly do love cloth and have awesome experiences with them - so there's truth there, and you may be one of them! For me, I could definitely see myself continuing to cloth diaper if I needed to, no problem. But because I don't have to, I'm not going to. I wouldn't say I had a bad experience with cloth at all, but, I also wouldn't say I had a great experience either. I'm not hot or cold to cloth diapers - I guess I'm just lukewarm.
I'm a proud supporter of both cloth and disposables - and proud to have been in both camps.