Cloth Diapering 202: The Final Hurdle

We made it to day four and the final part of my four part series on cloth diapers.  There was lots of information if you missed it on the cloth diapers themselves, use and care, and the detergents you can use when you cloth diaper.  Now that you have that all straight in your mind (I hope) it’s time to talk about some unexpected hurdles along the way to cloth diapering.  A few of these I have had myself and a few I have heard from other people.

Cloth diapering isn’t for everyone and don’t feel bad if you can’t overcome some of these hurdles.  Parenting is all about choice and diapers are a small part of your child’s life so don’t get hung up on it all.  I promise you they will become productive members of society even if you use disposable diapers on them.  But if you are really interested in cloth diapering, then hopefully I can help you with some of the hurdles of life.

Family And Friends

Everyone has an opinion and no one likes to give it more than when you have a brand new baby.  Cloth diapers conjure up all sorts of terrible memories for our parents generation I think.  When I was a baby my parents started out cloth diapering me actually, but I got a rash so they switched to disposable.  Even back in 1978 there wasn’t a lot to choose from with diapers.  It was Pampers and they were big and bulky and not like they are today.  But for many the invention of disposable diapers was a huge weight lifted off their shoulders of less laundry.  So many times our parents and even our grandparents can’t really understand why we would want to go back to the inconvenience of cloth.

This is really just their lack of knowledge on cloth diapers today though.  Some of your friends might even be like ewww cloth why?  So take the time to educate them.  I showed my parents the different diapers.  Explained to them how they are used.  They listened and seemed to find it all interesting and we shared stories about diapers.  My mom remembers having to hang her little brother’s diapers on the clothes line when she was younger.  Bonding over cloth diapers.  I don’t know that they get it and why I want to do it, but they aren’t changing them so it’s not their choice.

What if they are changing them?

Perhaps your family or friends are your childcare when you go back to work.  In that case you do have to get them comfortable with cloth diapering.  Talk it up a lot.  Have them help you pick out the diapers.  Show them how cute they are.  Not just plain rubber pants anymore.  There are colors and designs.  Grandma might be especially interested in coordinating outfits and diapers.  Make sure they know that you don’t expect them to be washing the diapers at all.  Because really, that’s the biggest issue people have with cloth is the washing.  Well, that and the leaks.

It has been my experience though that there are less leaks with cloth.  Right before we switched my youngest to cloth she had a blow out disposable diaper that went straight up her back.  In the past year since I started with cloth I haven’t had a single shoot up the back or down the legs diaper.  And there have been opportunities for that kind of mess.  So get people to share their stories about blow outs with cloth with your family member who is apprehensive about being the caretaker of your child in cloth.  No diaper can contain everything, not even disposable.  Sure you’ll have to change more frequently with cloth, but that’s only because you don’t want to leave that dirty diaper on a baby’s delicate skin for any length of time.  So appeal to your family members love of your child and her delicate skin if you have to.  Help them to see it’s healthier to not be sitting in wet pants for an extended amount of time.  Who wants to sit in wet pants?

Another option you have is using biosoakers.  This might not really make cloth diapering a money saver for you.  So maybe if you only need Grandma for an hour or two a day or it’s just on occasion that someone else will be caring for her you can use this.  For my oldest daughter’s 13th birthday we had taken her and a few friends to the movies.  I had asked my neighbor to watch the 3 younger children while we took her.  This was the first time we had left the baby (who was 14 months old at the time) with anyone else.  My neighbor has been great about the cloth diapers and always thinks they are so cute, but she wasn’t changing them until that night.  So rather than having to make her learn how to fold flats or deal with poop inside a cloth diaper I gave her some biosoakers that she could just toss.  I think either way she would have done what had to be done especially since this isn’t a regular thing, but it just seemed to make the most sense to me that she do it that way.

The Husband Hurdle

I actually don’t like considering the husband a hurdle.  He’s a partner in raising your child so you shouldn’t really be trying to overcome him, but rather working with him.  When I was pregnant with my youngest I was looking into cloth.  I was looking for ways to minimize our waste in save us some money.  We were becoming a family of 6 in a small 1500 square foot apartment.  I was all about being a minimalist.  No stroller, no baby carrier car seat thing, no baby swing.  Less was more.

So when I told my husband that I was thinking of using cloth he flat out said no and I respected that.  I was throwing a lot at him and it wasn’t a battle I wanted to have.  Plus we didn’t have the funds for the start up with cloth.  No one was throwing me a baby shower for my 4th child and we hadn’t kept a whole lot from the other children.  So we were strapped and that was one more expense we just couldn’t handle.

Fast forward to our daughter being four months old and me being the stay at home mom who did just about all of the diaper changes; things were different.  We revisited the idea.  Again my husband said no, but we talked it out.  No fighting, just calmly and rationally I gave my case for cloth diapering and then asked him what his concerns were.  I addressed all of his concerns and we made a deal.  He wouldn’t change ANY diapers and I would stay on top of the laundry.  I know, it sounds like I got the raw end of the stick, but it was a compromise I was willing to make.  I couldn’t be apart from my daughter for any length of time at that point anyways because she was exclusively breastfed and I didn’t pump.  And I was doing the majority of the diaper changes as it was.  Not much was changing in my mind except I was going to be using the diapers I wanted and saving us money in the long run.

I don’t think my husband believed that I would last this long.  He has for the most part stayed true to his word when it came to changing diapers.  I did leave her overnight a few months ago and then my husband had no choice, but to change her.  I set him up with biosoakers so all he had to do was toss them in the trash and not deal with anything else.  If he had run out of those I gave him my two pocket diapers and told him if he needed he could use those and just put them in a shopping bag if she pooped and I would take care of it when I got home.  He did fine.  He didn’t need the pocket diapers.  He was spared the poop even.  It was just one night.

If your husband is not up for cloth diapering, then I would really just talk to him about his concerns.  Maybe he has some valid points of why it just won’t work.  My daughter’s therapist was telling me that she wanted to cloth diaper, but they have a well and a septic tank.  Her husband was concerned that using cloth diapers would cost them more money in the long run.  The use of extra water for washing the diapers could have caused the well to run dry.  And if they ended up with a septic back up, then they would be paying thousands and thousands of dollars to dig up the back yard and repair that problem.  I don’t know that you can really argue with that one.  She was really stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Maybe a diaper service would have been an option for her.  I didn’t ask.  Her mother is her childcare provider and didn’t want to change cloth diapers so she just let it go.  And like I said that’s fine.  Sometimes it’s just not worth it to battle everyone over something like diapers.


Many daycare’s will not allow cloth diapers.  You might have better luck with a home daycare person.  If it’s a friend you might be able to help convince her that it’s not going to be added work for her.  Some are apprehensive, but once you show them what it’s all about they might be willing to give it a try.  Of course first and foremost when choosing the care for our children we want to base it on who’s going to provide the safest environment for our child not if they are willing to use cloth diapers.  And then we need to take into consideration cost.  The daycare’s that will take cloth diapers might charge you extra.  I don’t really know, I never had to find a daycare for my child let alone find one that was okay with cloth diapers.  This is just something I have heard that some daycare’s will do.

If you are really interested in using cloth and you have to have your child in daycare then you might just have to really shop around.  Talk to the providers.  Bring some of the diapers if you have them.  Bring pictures of them if you don’t.  Explain the process of cloth.  Just like your family and friends might not be aware of how much cloth has changed daycare providers might be unaware of it too.  Explain to them that they don’t have to do any soaking of the diapers.  You will take care of all of that.  You might luck out and find someone who’s willing to try.  And in the process you also might get other parents interested in cloth diapering.

Unfortunately sometimes this is just a hurdle you cannot overcome no matter how much education you give people.  That is okay though.  Your child is not going to end up in therapy as an adult because you couldn’t find a daycare who would allow you to cloth diaper.  No one expects you to do both disposable and cloth either, that’s just silly and pointless.

No Washing Machine

Okay, I must admit I would be lost without a washing machine.  When my old one was giving us problems and we didn’t have the money to replace it I was going crazy.  We did the no washing machine thing for a few years, but that was back when we were just a family of 3.  Looking back I seriously don’t know how we managed.  I had to wait for my husband to have a day off from work to go wash laundry because I couldn’t carry the bags of laundry and a baby into the laundromat all by myself.  So we would go there with 2 weeks worth of laundry usually.  My family is double the size now, even without cloth diapers to wash I would never make it out alive if I could only wash our laundry once or twice a week.

But anyways, I have washed all of my diapers in my bathtub before.  We had a freak October snowstorm last year that left us with no power for 3 1/2 days.  I got to the point where I was running low on diapers though and since most places around us were also without power I didn’t even think I could find an open laundromat.  So I put them in the tub.  Luckily we still had hot water because we have a gas hot water heater.  I made our bathroom a steam room washing those diapers.  With some dish gloves on my hands I sat over the tub and scrubbed those diapers clean.  Then I hung them to dry.  Drying took a while because it was around 47 degrees in our apartment if I recall correctly.

Diapers can be washed by hand though.  I wouldn’t really recommend it.  But if you really want to cloth diaper and you don’t have a washing machine and don’t see yourself getting one, then you can hand wash if you so desire.  You can go to the laundromat with them too if you will get there more often than I use to.  And with their industrial strength washing machines you just might have no problem getting your diapers clean.  Be careful though, I am not sure if some laundromats might prohibit you from putting cloth diapers in their machines.  You’ll have to check with your laundromat about that.

You can always look into a diaper service for this too.  But compare prices carefully.  If your main goal in cloth diapering is to save you money, then this might not be the best route.  You’re basically renting diapers on a weekly basis.  And they are most likely going to be pre-folds.  No pocket diapers or AIOs.  So if that was what you were hoping to use you might not be able to with a diaper service.

A weeks worth of cloth diapering a newborn could mean you will need about 84 diapers (12 changes a day).  It can cost you $20 or more a week to get that many diapers from a diaper service.  Disposable diapers, depending on the brand you go with, could be a few dollars cheaper than that a week.  So make sure you do your homework.

If you have a washer but no dryer, then you’ll be just fine.  As long as you have a good place to hang them to dry.  All of my covers/shells are hung anyways.  I did find that when I hung my flats to dry that one time they were a little stiff.  It didn’t seem to bother my daughter any though.

So there you have it, the hurdles to cloth diapering.  If you are having every single one of these hurdles, then cloth diapering likely is not something your family is quite ready for.  And that’s just fine.  Just do the best you can.  Cloth isn’t best for everyone and every situation.

Can you think of any other hurdles to cloth diapering and how to overcome them?

This concludes my Cloth Diaper Guide.  If you missed any of the other parts I urge you to go back and read them.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Cloth Diapering 101: The Diapers

Cloth Diapering 102: Use And Care

Cloth Diapering 201: Detergents

By the way, come back tomorrow for a review and a giveaway of a product that you can use with cloth diapers.

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  1. Great post I love cloth diapers!

  2. Becca - the ABC kidZ says:

    We love cloth diapers too – even my husband (thankfully!) This is a great post for people who are still considering the “Big” switch though – thanks for posting!

    • I had hoped by now that my husband would have come around more. I don’t think he hates the cloth though. When we first started he was afraid to hold her because he thought the diaper would leak on him or something. Now he sees it’s not so bad though, but he definitely will not change her even if I’m really busy with something else. But it doesn’t bother me because that was our deal. With all of the other kids it would bother me to no end that he would leave a child sitting in a dirty diaper for me to change instead of just doing it himself. Now, it’s what I expect so I just do it.

      • Nicolas says:

        I have used one-size and I liked them; however, I didn’t start using them until my kids were older. I don’t know, auonrd 3 months probably? Until then, you almost have to use something smaller. The one-size aren’t really going to work the whole time. They will work a whole lot of the time, but not the whole time. You’ll have difficulty getting them to fit a newborn. Now you never know, because it really depends on baby’s shape, not just weight, so you may be fine with them. But chances are you’ll need something smaller at first. You might want to consider disposables for the first few days, just because those first few poops are so gooey and nasty and just yuck. If you want something cheap to get you until the one-size fit, then just prefolds and covers are the way to go.

  3. What a useful series–great job!

    • I use them on both of my sons(2 1/2 years and 11 months) and I love them!!! I have a liltte bit of each system; , , , , , All in Twos, and All in Ones. I think they all have pros and cons, but the advantages FAR outweigh using disposable(IMHO). I would recommend looking into purchasing at least one of each system, to see what works best for you and your babies.People here are going to give you crappy answers, but they will be the ones that think it is gross . It is extremely easy, and not messy at all .at least no more than the blowouts that I’ve had to deal with using disposables. I have NEVER had an explosion that cloth couldn’t contain.

  4. I loved reading this series and will reference back to it in the future. Thanks!!

    • there are wonderful mrdoen cloth diapers on the market that will fit your toddlers AND your newborns all at the same time it will save you A TON of money, stress and hassle of worrying about diapers!i simply cannot imagine how daunting it is thinking about buying sposies for 4 kids these diapers are called one size fits all many different types and brands exist can do a search engine on cloth diapers and dive into the world of cute clothyou can email me to talk some more too I run a cloth diaper company, and I design and sew hemp cloth diapers i make all types ranging from classic prefolds to the all in the one one sizei haven’t used disposable diapers in years, so i cannot give you any price ranges on those

    • My close friend uses cloth diraeps on her son. She uses the ones with the pockets, and I saw her change him and it was so easy! Realize that today’s cloth diraeps are not like they used to be. They resemble disposables and are very easy to use. If I had my own washer and dryer, I’d use them for my son. However, research all the cloth diraeps available. There are many different types (AIO, prefolds, pockets, etc). You might invest in a that will contain several different types from several different companies. We don’t have a diaper service in our area so I can’t comment on that.

  5. Hi, I use the same diaper pail in each of our 2 bartohoms, and I have a tall, silver garbage can with a pull out bucket-type insert and a step-to-open lid. I use a Bummis washable liner in each of the pails. Multiple pails means it’s faster to get dirty dipes where they need to go. Odor is fine as long as the lids are all the way closed and it’s even better if there are a few drops of tea tree oil or lavendar in there.Good luck! And congrats on sticking with cloth!

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