When I announced to my husband and friends that I was going to start cloth diapering our second child, you could hear a diaper pin drop. I smugly put disposables on our firstborn because I didn’t want to deal with the perceived mess and smell and work of cloth diapers. I poked fun at my friends that did use cloth diapers because I didn’t understand why they would do so much extra work when disposable diapers seemed simpler and more convenient. But our move from the city to the country inspired me to ditch disposables to help improve the health of our environment and to save money by avoiding the ongoing cost of disposables. Credit card in hand, I started cloth diapering before we moved from the city, with $300 of pink BumGenius 3.0s.
(At this point my husband wondered when the money saving part would kick in. It was at the six month point where my cloth diapers started paying for themselves).
Cloth and I had a wonderful relationship for the first five months. Breastmilk poop was easy to wash and our treated city water made washing easy. But once we moved to the country, my wash routine problems started. Our water was full of iron and stained my diapers beyond recognition. I couldn’t get the ammonia stink out. Solid food poop for the most part was rinsed out easily, but a few diapers were collateral damage when Gillian had both beets and blueberries in the same meal. But I battled on with the help of a local diaper service who provided washing tips, new soaps to try and even stripped my diapers to help me with stains and smells. But then Gillian started getting horrible diaper rashes and she was so sore that some nights she’d cry herself to sleep. Once the diaper rash cleared up (with disposables and a heavy duty prescription) I tried cloth again. And the rash came back. And with that, I broke up with cloth diapers. I packed them away, promising myself that I’d give them another shot. One day.
That was five months ago. At that point, I blogged about my cloth diaper fatigue and the comments that poured in were so supportive that I kept my dirty disposable habit a secret.
Recently, a girlfriend asked to borrow a few cloth diapers so she could see what cloth diapering was like — I handed my whole stash over. Not without some remorse, but after so many months of being in disposables, and for the most part, diaper rash free, I knew it was time to really quit cloth. My friend needed the money savings more than I did and knowing that my cloth diapers were in good hands alleviated some of the guilt for having given up.
There are so many things that I loved about cloth diapers: Their smaller environmental footprint, the long term cost savings and how adorable my daughter looked in them. But I was so burned out from the laundry, the smell and the constant diaper rashes. I know many families who had success with cloth diapers from birth to potty training and I’m 100% behind anyone who gives cloth a chance because cloth diapering is great choice for our planet.
Your turn: Did you start out in cloth and switch to disposable (or the other way around)? What prompted the change?
Photo by bmkinz via Flickr