Cloth Diapers Are Not All Sunshine and Lollipops

Diapers - not just for butts anymore

I’ve been cloth diapering for just about a year now and I love it, I do. I love that we are saving money and keeping a bunch of diapers out of the landfill, folding the diapers is pretty soothing, buying diapers is pretty fun because they are adorable and and using them is making the earth a little bit greener for my little guy. I do, however, hate it when my diapers stink, the obligation of the extra laundry and most of all I hate it when they leak at night.

My initial investment in cloth diapers was about $250 which is about average for using pockets and all-in-ones. I was lucky and I got a few diapers for gifts. We were set for a few months and then Spencer became something of a heavy night wetter and our night time struggles began. I tried wool. I tried specialty night diapers. I tried triple-stuffed pockets. I tried hemp. I tried bamboo. We still had leaks.

Wool worked the best, but after about 2 days post wash, Spencer would have red marks on his legs from ammonia in the elastic. Wool takes too long to dry to make washing it every other day a viable option. I easily spent over $100 trying to solve the night time leak dilemma. And then we went on vacation and we used disposables (for shame!) and what do you know – no leaks. So now we are a cloth diaper by day only family and I am fine with it. As an added bonus, my laundry stinks a lot less now too, with out the super-ammonia night time diapers in there.

Speaking of laundry, I’ve had soap struggles, build-up struggles, ammonia struggles and stink struggles. I used a very popular, almost cult-like, soap for quite awhile with some success – no smells and no stains. Then there were some formula changes with the soap and then a recall and it just doesn’t seem to work as well. I am using up what I have left and then will try something else. The nice thing is that the soap works pretty well on my husband’s work clothes, so it is not a total loss.

As far as diaper brands go, my all time favorites are SmartiPants. They make up the majority of my stash and are my go-to diaper, especially for naps or when we are going out. I also love my sized Bum Genius all-in-one and my Thirsties all-in-one. I haven’t tried the new Bum Genius 4.0, but I am interested. My just ok diapers are Happy Hineys, mostly because Spencer always seems to be between snap settings, Tot-Bots because they leak a little and are really hard to clean poop off of and my Bum Genius 3.0 one size. My least  favorite diapers, by far are my Fuzzi Buns one size. I know people LOVE these diapers, but they just don’t work for us. The PUL melted and when we tried them for nights, the elastic left huge ammonia welts on his legs. Incidentaly, I think these are the only diapers I own that are made in china. Perhaps it is a coincidence.

It is funny, when I first started buying and using cloth diapers, I got swept up in the online cloth diapering community. And boy do they love a new convert. It can be overwhelming, with the choices and care and twitter parties and blog giveaways. There is a lot going on with cloth diapering on the internet. I have back away a bit. I stopped entering giveaways and reading diaper based blogs and unfollowed a lot of diaper companies on twitter and facebook and I feel a lot better. The internet can be so relentlessly positive about the awesomeness of cloth diapers and you know what, sometimes they suck.

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5 Responses to “Cloth Diapers Are Not All Sunshine and Lollipops”

  1. I only cloth diapered for the first 6 months (and I used some disposables then too) and I got kind of tired of the poopsplosions going everywhere. Thanks for being completely honest about it that it’s not all Rainbows and Lollipops :)


  2. The Boy is also a heavy wetter at night. We’ve had success with Rumparooz, but the smell is horrible. We use Country Save and they don’t smell when they are washed and dryed, but as soon as he’s wet you can tell because the smell is overwhelming. I’m not sure what it is.


  3. Suzanne says:

    We’ve always used disposables at night. Especially recently, when even those are practically exploding with pee by morning.

    I have a Bum Genius 4.0 along with several Bum Genius Organics and a Bum Genius 3.0 that a friend converted from velcro to snaps and really…they all work about the same. Maybe I just don’t know enough about cloth diapers to care about the difference between microfiber and cotton and suedecloth and magical wool hand spun by blind nuns but all my diapers seem to hold in mess equally. The only ones I don’t love are the Original Swaddlebees, because they snap backwards from all my other diapers and don’t need an insert so they take FOREVER to dry. But as far as poopsplosions go they work fine.

    I have no advice on the smell. Vinegar definitely works but I hear it can break down the PUL faster. I guess it depends on how much you dislike the stink.


  4. RedMango says:

    Very nice post!


  5. What detergent have you tired?

    I’ve used Bambino Mio oxy-bleach additive and recently started using Rock-N-Green detergent. Also looking for suggestions.

    We also use disposables at night and cloth in day. Whatever works, right :)


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