Why I Cloth Diapered My First Baby, But Not My Last

When I was pregnant with Reagan, I was determined to do everything just right. I know, such a first time mom. I read, I researched, I joined group boards, I talked to other moms. Not long into my pregnancy I learned that many moms today are choosing (yes CHOOSING) to use cloth diapers. I was confused by this apparent step backward, but intrigued nonetheless. I discovered that using cloth diapers can:

  1. Save you a lot of money over time.
  2. Be more comfortable for the baby.
  3. Reduce diaper rash.
  4. Reduce diaper waste.
  5. Be super cute.
  6. Stink LESS.

Plus, new cloth diapers are awesome! My favorites eventually were Velcro close all-in-ones which are basically JUST like changing a disposable.

Ok, so it started to make sense. The kicker for me was the money. I found out I could get 24 diapers, which everyone said was the right amount for $120. AND they would last until potty training! Amazing.That’s about a 3 month supply of disposables. You can save even more money by using them on multiple children or selling them when you’re done.

As soon as I found out Reagan was a girl, I started buying cloth diapers – super cute girly prints and some neutral prints too. I wasn’t exactly sure what I would like, so I bought a variety: pockets, all-in-ones, hybrids, and prefolds with covers. I’ll admit that despite all of my research, I didn’t quite understand everything I was buying.

Well, it did not take long after I began using them that everything started to make sense. Wash routines, diaper changes and the different types of diapers became second nature to me. It made so much sense to use them! It really was hardly any more work, saved so much money, and was so much softer and cuter than disposable diapers. Why would anyone choose gross, stinky disposables? I soon became a cloth diaper evangelist. I wrote all kinds of reviews and explanations on how to use them. I had strong opinions on which diaper types were the best and helped other moms troubleshoot their cloth diaper problems, encouraging them to keep going. I took all our diapers, and wetbags on vacation because I refused to compromise. I was that mom that if someone in a pregnancy forum asked if pampers or huggies was better, I would answer “cloth” with a smiley face. Yeah, sorry about that.

The truth was that I did love using cloth diapers. I bought cute prints in different styles. When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I started cloth diaper shopping the minute I found out it was a boy. By the time Noah arrived, I think I had somewhere around 60 cloth diapers, and I probably bought 10-15 more in the first 6 months of his life.

There was a problem though.

Around 6 months, Noah started getting a rash. A really really bad rash that would not clear up with any cloth diaper safe cream, butter, or coconut oil concoction. So, I used disposables and Desitin, and the rash would go away. And we would go back to cloth, and the rash would return. This went on for a few weeks until I finally accepted that I could not keep Noah in cloth diapers. This was a much harder decision than it should have been because I was fully entrenched in the cloth diaper world. I felt like such a hypocrite switching to disposables, but that was what my baby needed.

Three years later, Harrison arrived. There was no discussion about it this time around. I had sold most of the old cloth diapers and had no interest in rebuilding a stash. Yes, I could save a little bit of money using cloth, but really only about $300 over the course of two years. I’m also a working mom of 3 kids. While a couple loads of laundry a week is not that big of a deal when you have 1 baby, a family of five is a whole different story. There is ALWAYS laundry that needs to be done and tying up the washing machine every 3 days with diaper laundry isn’t really an option anymore.

The other truth of cloth diapers is that they are a little more work than disposables. They do require washing and folding, which takes more of my time each week than unpacking a box of disposables that was automatically shipped to me through amazon prime. They take some more care and can have issues of holding smell, staining, or stretched out elastics. These problems are manageable and not difficult to deal with.

However, this time around, every extra minute counts for something. Trying to divide my time between 3 kids, work, marriage, grad school and everything else in my life at this time, I don’t wish to spend those free minutes stuffing inserts into pocket diapers. I’ve also made enough parenting mistakes by now to know that I’m not going to do it right. Perfection isn’t a real thing and the real perfect parenting is doing what’s best for your family at the time. I loved cloth diapering my first two kids and I celebrate any mom that wants to take that on. I will also celebrate the mom that just opens up a pack of disposables and puts a fresh new diaper on every time.

Also, my disposable diapered baby . . . gets to wear his pants more. While I have dozens of pictures of Reagan in her diapers, this is the only one I could find of Harrison. Isn’t he cute? (And yes, he got a bath and a fresh diaper right after this picture!)

10 thoughts on “Why I Cloth Diapered My First Baby, But Not My Last”

  • I totally get it!! We used CDs with my first two kiddos, but then fell off the wagon for kiddo number 3. Now with our 4th, the time commitment is a struggle, so we are doing both CD and disposables. Keeping a somewhat sane and chaos free family is the goal for now!! 🙂

  • As long as we keep having babies, there will always be a debate about which way/method/product is best. I say go with what works for you. I would have liked to use cloth diapers, but it’s more work than I wanted to have.

  • I love this post! What a great way to showcase that no one thing is always going to work for all babies. Each child is different and each family is different, we are all just trying our best and hoping we do something right along the way!

  • When our baby was little I was gonna use clothe but I decided to just stick in the diapers. My husband wasn’t against it but I didn’t want to use clothes that way there is no hassle. Back when I was growing up, I babysit and there were no diapers. All they use is clothes and it was definitely a money saver.

  • Aaaand you just resolved my months long dilemma. No kidding my washing machine is always tied up. Between my sports loving husband and 2 big kids, I am never done washing cruddy clothes. Where in the world would I find time for diaper laundry too? Baby number 3 will be disposable diapered (with eco disposables of course). Thanks for an experienced mommy perspective!

  • I’m so with you on this one. All of my kids started getting rashes as toddlers that would clear as soon as we had them in a disposable. With my current fifth baby, I just don’t have the time or patience to do one more load of laundry. I tried. I really did, but disposables are best for us right now. And this little guy has NEVER had a diaper rash in his 2 years. Is that crazy or what?

  • I love this post! I didnt CD with my first but did with my second. It was a huge headache. If I would have realized the actual care that went into CD and continual money you have to spend for inserts that’ll work, I never would’ve done it. My baby always looked like he was bottom heavy from all the inserts. We’re now expecting baby #3 and I thought about CD then remembered all the nightmare that came with them. I’m good. With that said though, yay, for all the parents that can make them work and have the time to do so.

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