Thoughts on Cloth Diapering

Even before we had a baby on the way, I knew we would use cloth diapers. My reasons were (and are):


The prefolds and accessories that we have priced are about $500 for the diapering years. And we can use them again for another child. Disposables would run us upwards of $2000 per child. Cost was probably the biggest factor in our decision. For me, any convenience that disposables might offer are not worth $1500.


Cloth babies have less diaper rash. I’m wary about the chemicals in diapers that make them more absorbent. I’d rather change a baby more often than have a mystery gel against a baby’s nether regions.


I have the time to wash and dry diapers. Our baby won’t be going to daycare, so I’m not concerned about finding a spot that would take a cloth baby. And I don’t anticipate grandparents or others being called to babysit very often. My husband and I will change the baby 99% of the time so I’m not concerned about making diaper changes effortless for all.


To be honest, this wasn’t part of my decision. I see compelling arguments for both sides of the issues. I wasn’t too eager to hold onto two weeks of dirty diapers for garbage pickup (which costs more), though.


Everyone I know who has used cloth diapers raves about it. The online enthusiasm and support for cloth diapering is overwhelming. Advice and help abounds.

Considering we are paying for and doing the actual diapering, naively I believed that no one would say boo about our choice. How wrong I was.

The Grandparent Controversy

Did not see that coming. My mother weighed in first with “No one uses cloth diapers anymore!”

I beg to differ:

The Diaper Jungle

The Diaper Hyena

Diaper Pin

Baby Centre Cloth Diaper Message Board

Etc. etc. Cloth diapering is back, baby.

My mother-in-law had a different approach, assuming my reasons were environmental. She told me about hybrid diapers she had seen in a health food store. First of all, $$$. And second, our ancient plumbing has difficulty with the most basic eliminations – “flushable” liners would have us backed up on baby’s first day.

These were the opening arguments and the protests continue. I’m trying to be understanding and I have a few theories. Cloth diapering isn’t what it used to be but unless you have done some research, you might assume that cloth diapers haven’t changed in 30 or 40 years. My mother had a wringer washer when her eldest child was born. I, too, would have second thoughts about cloth diapers or any additional laundry, if this were my situation. Prefolds, wraps, all-in-ones – these things weren’t available and weren’t so darn as adorable as functional in 1970.

Also, the old “we didn’t have this in MY day”. My mother-in-law thinks the Diaper Genie is the best thing EVER. No smell, it wraps itself, it is a MIRACLE of engineering. Crib sets, strollers with cup holders, pre-mixed formula – having a baby has never been so easy, stylish and fun! A generation apart, my husband and I are less likely to be delighted with “improvements” to child-rearing. Frankly, diapers that use tape to close are a relatively new innovation. New doesn’t mean better and we are not people who are keeping up with the Jones. I am not my $900 Bugaboo stroller.

And we cannot forget the pitfall that is shopping. I’ll let you in on a little secret: grandparents love to shop. Oh my, do they. I think the shopping feeds on “we didn’t have this in MY day” and as new parents, this is a lost cause. Thriftiness and simplicity is no match for tidal wave of Grandparent Shopping.

Grandparent Shopping Disorder (tell-tale symptoms include You Need This and This Is So Cute) is a pandemic and we will see more about the aggravating effects in Strollers: Is That For a Baby or Is That a Small SUV?


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