Cloth Diapering Isn’t The Poop-Filled Disaster You Think It Is

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Of course, all of this was the theory: once you’ve got your supplies on hand, it’s time to use them on an actual baby. I gave myself a few weeks of newborn-induced haze before I started using cloth. The first time I put a prefold on my son, it was a gong show – cloth flying everywhere as I struggled to get the clip on properly and the cover, well, covering. Then it was time for some hysterical laughter as I realized just how huge a three-week-old baby’s butt looks when it’s in a prefold diaper.


There’s a bit of a learning curve with cloth. It takes a while for diaper changes to get easy, especially if you’re holding a cloth prefold together and trying to clip it as your baby struggles, and it takes a while before you get good at timing the laundry so that you never run out of clean ones. You have to make sure the edges of the prefold are tucked under the waterproof cover, or you’ve just created a very handy wick to get your kid’s sleeper soaking wet. It can also be startling the first time your baby wets in a cloth diaper – both of my kids screamed bloody murder the first few times, because they felt so much wetter than they did in disposables.


However, I noticed one benefit immediately: no more blow-outs. Cloth diaper covers fit pretty snugly around the legs and the waist, unlike disposables, which always seemed to gape a bit at the back on my kids. I have had more blow-outs than I care to remember when my kids were wearing disposables; blow-outs in cloth I can count on one hand for both of them.


Yes, my kids still used disposables plenty. Many people assume that cloth-diapering is an all-or-nothing choice, but most cloth diapering families I know mix in disposables some of the time. Sitters and daycares often won’t take kids in cloth diapers, so that’s one common reason to switch back and forth. So is travel – it only took one attempt visiting my parents, four hours’ drive away, and lugging a giant duffel bag of diaper supplies for me to decide that was royally stupid and get disposables for overnight trips. And the day I realized that my son was waking up at night ONLY because he felt wet in his cloth diaper was the day I switched to disposables at night forever.

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