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Real Moms Spill All: The Truth About Cloth Diapers

Photograph by Twenty20

Moms decide to use cloth diapers for a ton of different reasons—they're good for Baby, they're better for the environment, they cost less over the long run and they're super cute—but the question remains: what is it actually like using a cloth diaper, and what are the real challenges moms have faced?

For me, personally, I really enjoyed our cloth diaper experience. My baby had solid poops once she started solids and it wasn't much extra work for me to wash and fold an extra load of laundry every few days. She also had the unusual habit of staying dry all night once she was a couple months old, and I never had to strategize around torrents of nighttime urine.

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Of course, not everyone has the same experience. So I asked some of my mom pals what the hardest thing was about using cloth diapers, and what was the easiest. So here's the whole truth—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Hard Parts

One of the more common problems moms ran into was finding a good nighttime solution for their heavy wetters, or getting started cloth diapering in general—there are a lot of options.

It's not a surprise, though, that other challenges moms faced dealt with their washing routine. For example, Heather, mom of four, relates, "The hardest part has been learning that not all washing machines are equal and having to learn new washing routines after going from standard to HE."

And laundry has a few other specific challenges too. "Definitely the extra laundry," says Terri, "and figuring out detergent."

Jenna concedes, having had to struggle to find the time to do that extra load of wash.

Megan, expecting Baby #2, agrees. "Hardest part was, and still is, finding the correct amount of soap to use without clogging them," she says.

Other challenges were less complicated but still annoying. "The hardest part is the volume they take up when travelling or out for a long day," says Jana, a mom of two. And I can certainly relate—when we went on a long road trip, I considered packing up the cloth diapers and transporting our stash, but not only would space have been an issue, our cabin had no running water—so we had to deal with disposables for a week each time, and they were weird and she got a rash.

Robyn, mom of three, had a unique challenge herself. "The hardest thing was watching my partner sleep beside me while I stuffed cloth diapers for the twins," she quips. "I wanted to smother her with those cloth diapers—the dirty ones!"

Moms overwhelmingly said that the easiest part of cloth diapering was having diapers on hand all the time.

The Easy Parts

Don't despair! There are plenty of awesome things about cloth diapering . Moms overwhelmingly said that the easiest part of cloth diapering was having diapers on hand all the time. They never had to run out to the store at midnight and they didn't have to make sure they bought enough disposables to keep their kids' butts covered over the weekend. Just pop the diapers in the wash and a few hours later it's like you have brand-new diapers all over again.

Every single one of the 20 moms I queried mentioned this, and here are a few examples:

"Never have to worry about running to the store for diapers." — Kelly

"Not having to run to the store." — Amy

"It was also nice to always have diapers on hand and save money." — Ashley

"I'd say not having to go to the store to get more all the time or taking dirty diaper trash out." — Christine

That's not all, though!

"The easiest was never having diaper rash and easy toilet training!" shares Jana.

And Megan has her own high points to share. "The savings!" she explains. "Especially since most of our diapers were hand-me-downs from cherished friends."

What about sleeping? "My little one sleeps all night in cloth," says Cassandra, mom of one. "Put a disposable on her and she is up twice a night to be changed."

Christine also raves, "They are so cute and we've never had diaper rash!"

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The "bottom" line

Yes, cloth diapers do have a learning curve. In my case, it wasn't very steep and I loved (nearly) every minute of cute fluffy baby bum. Other moms run into severe challenges and throw in the towel after giving it a shot. But there are super easy parts for nearly everyone (hello, savings!) Cloth isn't for all moms, but for those who can conquer these challenges, it can be pretty awesome.

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