Cloth diapers or Disposable?

Rachel - posted on 10/28/2009 ( 27 moms have responded )

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What are your opinions on cloth vs. disposable? I'm a new mom due in April and thinking about cloth.

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[deleted account]

I used disposables for the first 6 weeks then switched to my Bum Genuis. They're VERY easy to use especially if you're baby is breastfed--every thing is just tossed in the wash. Once the baby starts solids it does get a little trickier but I use a biodegradable liner to help dump the mess (and there is a sprayer you can get). All it is is another load of wash everyother day with an extra rinse or two. Some people make it sound like you have to hand wash them! With all the laundry that I do, I haven't found one more load in the washer anymore trying. My experience with cloth has been great and easy--even while out and about. And not one diaper rash in 9 months!

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Leeanne - posted on 11/29/2009

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I have three kids. I used disposables for the first one and cloth for the second and third. I wouldnt go back to disposables. For our second had to use cloth as he had an infected umbilicus and the disposables rubbed but we used disposables at night (from when the infection cleared ) but with the third we used cloth 24/7 from birth. It is a bit harder - washing etc (but there is much less guilt about throwing away disposables) but when you have your first it all seems hard at first. If you plan to have more than 1 child they are certainly cheaper (providing you don't go crazy and buy too many)

Dea - posted on 11/02/2009

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I used both, cloth at home and disposable when we were out. Now that we are done with diapers they make great rags around the house and I gave all of my wraps to LLL friends who will pass them on when they are done with them. Cloth is great!

Joan - posted on 11/02/2009

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I'm a first-time mom with a 3-month old, and we've been using cloth diapers since she was a few days old. We used disposables for the first few days until the meconium cleared, since it will stain the diapers and is hard to wash out. We started with prefolds and velcro-closure covers since that was cheapest. They work fine, but are not babysitter or daycare friendly, so we also got a few diapers with velcro closures, too. The BumGenius Bamboo Fitteds fit really well on our itty-bitty girl. But my husband was REALLY bad about fastening all the velcro tabs down on the laundry tabs before tossing them in the pail, and it was tearing up both the diapers and the covers when they went through the laundry. So we bought the organic BumGenius One-Size diapers with snap closures, which also have the advantage of being All-in-One diapers, since they don't require stuffing, either. We absolutely LOVE them! They were expensive up front, but they'll expand as she grows, so we won't need to buy any other diapers. It's a huge cost savings over disposables for a couple years, even after factoring in the laundry costs. And they're just as easy as disposables, so babysitters or day cares should be fine with them. My Mother-in-Law babysits all day every Wednesday - we just send a "wet bag" big enough to accommodate all the diapers she'll change, and bring 'em home to wash at the end of the day. Easy! Although we like the BG Organic One-Size diapers with snaps the best, we were very impressed with the quality, fit, and effectiveness of all the BumGenius diapers we tried, including the Bamboo Fitteds, the All-in-One, and the regular (non-organic) One-Size with microfiber insert. If you do decide to do prefolds, definitely don't bother with pins! You can use a plastic Snappi that hooks on each side of the diaper as well as over the crotch to keep it all together - much easier & safer!



We also bought lots of cloth wipes, as well as a wipe warmer and wipe solution to dip them in. But we have trouble finding time to "prep" the wipes into pre-made wet wipes for the warmer. Instead, we tend to use a bottom spray with a dry cloth wipe, and we also have a stash of disposable wipes for the really messy poopy diapers. I feel bad about the disposable wipes, and I also worry a little that the chemicals may be harsh on her skin over time, but we were going through 3 or 4 cloth wipes with a messy diaper, and changing enough of those each day that we were going through all the cloth wipes well before it was time to do diaper laundry again.



Sorry for the long reply, but hope this helps. A great resource for cloth diapering products and other "natural" baby gear is www.cottonbabies.com - they're the creator of the BumGenius brand, and will sometimes offer "seconds" at reduced prices. But the "seconds" are still high quality, they might just have an uneven stitch or gotten a pen mark or something on them. All our BG Organics are "seconds" and they still look & work great!

Tammy - posted on 10/30/2009

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I use both cloth diapers and disposables. I use cloth during the day and disposables at bedtime and when we go out. Its alot cheaper and doesn't take much more extra time at all compared to disposables

Mari - posted on 10/29/2009

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I used both, I wanted to keep with the cloth ones but the woman at kuddly kreations just took my money and never gave the 17 diapers I bought... a cheater (sigh)

so I hadn't have enough cloth ones to keep up with my baby needs and I didn't want to be scammed again so I went back to disposable at the last year. the bad news were that my boy started potty training after 3 years old and we spent more than we expected in diapers all the way =(

[deleted account]

I use both right now but I am slowly getting more and more cloth diapers. Not only is it good for the environment, it saves your around 2500-3000 per child from birth to potty training.

Alana - posted on 10/29/2009

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Cloth all the way. We do the odd disposable, but cloth is 99% of the time. We use the BumGenius One-Size, Happy Heiny one-size, and Nana's Bottom's fitted. By far, my husband is a big fan of the Nana's Bottoms (they are an all-in-one: no stuffing required!) The BumGenius is our night time diaper, with lots of success!!



Wash in a non-residue soap and your diapers will stay absorbant (i.e wonder wash, nellie's, country save).



Diaper cream that we use if we need it (they advocate no diaper cream with cloth - and really you don't need it unless there is a rash) is Grandma El's - it works wonders for our girl and has cleared up things that Aveeno has not.



We use cloth wipes too, but I will admit to using disposable wipes with the poopy diapers - it is so much quicker when you open the diaper to discover a surprise!

Charlene - posted on 10/29/2009

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I've been using a diaper service and love the convenience of it. I personally feel better using cloth, it is better for the environment and according to the diaper service better at preventing diaper rash. You do change diapers more frequently because baby feels when they are wet. When we travel we use disposables.

[deleted account]

I dont understand how cloth diapers take up any more time than a disposable diaper? We use cloth diapers 99% of the time and instead of throwing the diaper in the trash, I just throw it in the pail, it doesnt take any extra time. Plus the savings really are a huge plus- depending on how far from the store you live could save you even more. And I dont do a load of diapers everyday either, that would get old fast I'd think.

I've also heard about children being potty trained faster- how awesome is that?!

Barbara - posted on 10/29/2009

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We have used the same cloth diapers we got as a gift before our son was born for his entire life so far, (he's 20 months) except in the very beginning when we were just getting used to the whole baby thing. We also put him in a disposable at night ( just one a night) because he doesn't wake up when he goes, therefore we don't know he's gone and might not change him right away. The paper ones pull the moisture away from his skin better if he ends up wearing it for a while.
We loved the cloth diapers so much we decided to use cloth wipes as well. I got tired of running out of wipes at inopportune times and having to go to the store. To me, keeping on top of the laundry is easier than going to the store at 10:00 at night, not to mention much cheaper. We must've saved thousands of dollars at this point.
I also read that potty training tends to go better with cloth diapered babies, because they can feel when they are wet more than with disposables. I can tell you that our son is doing great using the potty of his own accord and he's not even two yet! If I have the cloth diapers to thank for this I am forever grateful to them!

Joanna - posted on 10/29/2009

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cloth is a great way to go if you are willing to wash them or, you can do the washing services that collect them and wash them for you. They are much better for the environment!

however I use disposable... I tried cloth and it just wasn't for me/my daughter. I feel aweful sometimes, contributing to the waste, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

Jennifer - posted on 10/29/2009

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I apologize in advance for the long response...but try to bear with me, hopefully it will be helpful info:


I am using cloth (ATD AIOs - All Together Diaper Co.: All In Ones - now called OsoCozy) and I love it! They are so easy to take care of (no crazy pampering/laundering rituals like some cloth diapers require) and because they are "all-in-one" they are as simple as disposables to use (husband, grandparents, babysitters, etc have had no problems using them).


We used disposables for the first couple of weeks just because the small sized cloth diapers we had didn't quite fit yet. Plus, you are so frantically busy and there are so many diapers in those first couple of weeks - it's probably easier to use some disposables.


That being said, now that I have used AIO cloth diapers, there is NO WAY I would ever go back to disposables, ever! I do keep a few sposies around just in case, but I almost never use them because they just don't work as well and I feel bad making that much trash. I can't even imagine not using cloth now. Even when out and about I use my AIOs – it’s so easy – you just buy a “wet-bag”, toss the used dipeys in, seal it up, put it back in the diaper bag, and throw in the diaper pail when you get home.


I did a ton of research while I was pregnant on all of the different types of cloth diapering and it seemed so overwhelming at the time: Prefolds, Pockets, Wraps, AI2, AIO...cotton, fleece, microfiber, wool...everyone had their preferences. Finally I just decided to go simple. ATD AIOs are white, cotton, soft waterproof outer (not plasticky)...simple. (I hear they come in colors now too – they didn’t until just recently.) But they are workhorse diapers – they do the job and they hold up (I heard one woman say that she used them for all 5 of her kids and they still were in good shape after that. Many diaper services also use these diapers – so you know they hold up to tough laundering and a lot of usage!) I've been using them for 5 months and they are still looking good (no pilling etc. like fleece or microfiber can). They also sun-bleach easily (meaning stains come out when left in the sunshine).


Diaperswappers.com is a wonderful resource for chatting with other moms about cloth diapering and to buy used diapers, if you are so inclined. I spent hours every week reading their forums - trying to make sure I invested my money the best way for my diapers. They are expensive, so it seems risky to go all-in and buy them.


I ended up spending about $650 (yeah, little sticker shock!) on the package deal that clothdiaper.com offers in their "All the diapers you'll ever need" package, plus I spent some extra money (~$70?) and bought an accessory package with wipes, diaper pail, doublers, deodorizing rings, etc.. That has worked out great for me – and I just wash a load of diapers every 2-3 days. It's kind of a lot of money upfront, but considering that you get 78 diapers - that's only $8.33 a diaper for diaper-service quality diapers. Most quality AIOs (Very Basic, Bum Genius, Fuzzibunz, etc.) cost $16-20 each. Beware of the cheapies on eBay...I've heard terrible things about them leaking, falling apart, etc. – plus most of them are made in China.


However, I have heard wonderful things from friends about Bum Genius and Fuzzibunz one-size AIOs (they grow with your kid) - so those could be pretty cost-efficient too (if you need 30 of them and they are $20/pc – that would be $600). Prefolds and wraps are a cheaper option, and prefolds dry faster, but they area a little more work when diapering than AIOs. There are lots of options and you’ll have to do some research to find out what’s best for you…but my opinion, as a first time mom, is keep it simple…and AIOs are about as simple as it comes when it comes to cloth.


An average cost expectation for disposables for two years is about $1600. So you can save a lot of money by going with cloth, plus you can continue to use the diapers on future children, should you have any. Or you can resell them when you are done (assuming they are in decent condition) and regain half or more of your costs.


Word to the wise - if you do decide to go cloth - make sure you get a good detergent, like Country Save (available pretty cheap on Amazon) - so that you don't get buildup on the diapers - they'll stop absorbing and you'll have to strip them. That’s a lot of time and hassle that can easily be avoided by using a good detergent.


The laundry is not a big deal - when you take a diaper off just throw it in a bag lining a diaper pail (no soaking or anything required). When it's time for laundry (usually when I have 6-7 diapers left) I just shake my diaper pail bag into the washer and throw the bag right in with the diapers (I have two washable/reusable pail liner bags). Put in the soap and turn it on...simple - not messy or dirty as one might expect. I do run an extra rinse cycle.


Other benefits: environmentally friendlier, no harsh chemicals against baby's skin, and fewer diaper rashes. And ATD, should you choose to go with them, are made in the USA by stay at home moms – I like supporting that kind of business, personally.


Hope that helps! Sorry for the really long response...hope it helps, anyways…and saves you some research time. I tried to keep it brief (yeah right! LOL) and sum up the most important stuff – it took me months to compile all of this information to make a decision.

Janet - posted on 10/29/2009

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I have three children, a singleton and a set of twins. I used a diaper service for all three children and found it extremely convenient and cost effective. With my oldest child I used plastic pants but with my twins I used these convenient waterproof diaper covers that had velcro closures. It was great because I wasn't putting used diapers in the landfill nor was I having to wash and dry my own diapers. The diaper covers definitely make cloth diapers very easy to use. Also if your child is prone to diaper rash the cloth diapers are much better for their skin.

Anna - posted on 10/29/2009

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We use a combination of cloth and disposable; slowly moving to all cloth. The upfront cost for cloth can be kind of overwhelming, but will absolutely save money over time, especially since you can use them for more than one child. Even if you go all plastic, it's a good idea to have some cloth on hand for when baby blows out your last diaper at 3 am!

Lindsay - posted on 10/29/2009

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I wanted to use cloth diapers, but when my daughter was born 12 weeks early and we were NOT prepared, we ended up using disposable. I LOVE how convenient they are, but might still try cloth with this next baby (maybe a combination of them...haven't decided yet.

Lynne - posted on 10/29/2009

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I agree with "both", but don't mess with pins! There are these great plastic wraps that you put the cloth diaper into and then you just velcro it on the baby. Makes disposables less tempting when its that easy! Also - if there's a diaper service in town, USE IT!! I used cloth diapers for over a year on both of my kids because of the ease of the service. Suggest to friends & family that a month of the service would be a great baby gift. Those little petroleum-based b.b.s that come out of disposables always scared me a little, and the cloth is so soft.

Kitty - posted on 10/29/2009

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I am a grandmother. When my first granddaughter was born, I thought cloth diapers were the only way to go. My daughter thought disposable diapers were best. After using the disposable ones I agreed with her.

KIMBERLY - posted on 10/29/2009

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I think cloth diapers are cool but when you a first time mother your going to be having alot on your hands to start with and more laundry probably isnt on your mind. i know we should prevent waste etc but if you want to get more important things done than washing out dypers and laundry like SLEEP then i sujest disposable. hope i was of some help

[deleted account]

I recently switched to cloth Bum Genius diapers. I absolutely love them!! My son has yet to leak in them. If you buy a sprayer to attach to your toilet (Home Depot appx $8) it makes it much easier to dispose of the solid waste. They are a little expensive to start, but the kind I got will grow with my son as he gets bigger. So I won't have to buy different sizes. I did a bit of research on this, and I found the Bum Genius to be the best. You can order them online at Target.com. Hope this helps!

Jean - posted on 10/29/2009

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cloth in the long run is cheeper but do use linners it will save a lot of work they are also better for the enviroment as disposables are conveneant and easy to use not very good for enviroment why not conbine the both the best of both worlds .

[deleted account]

I personally like cloth for many reasons, but here are the main ones. 1. It is a chemical free diaper (so long as you are careful with your detergents). I was planning on using cloth anyways and disposable for long outings but I found my little girl was very sensitive to the chlorine found in some disposable diapers and can only wear certain brands of disposables for very short periods of time.2. Great for the environment! 3. Extremely cost effective! The laundry isn't that bad either. I use oxyclean and vinegar to get out stains and I make sure I do several rinses after the main wash cycle so that the detergents are all rinsed out. My mom made my daughter's fitted diapers (online pattern) and I made her diaper covers; fitted tend to be a little easier than prefold. Whatever you choose, it will be what is best for you and your baby!

[deleted account]

Both! With a brand new baby, disposables are a blessing. Plus, if your baby is small, fitting a cloth one can be awkward. Learning how to fold and pin diapers was a real challenge for me; and babies wriggle! That said, I think that the benefits to the ecology are much greater with cloth. If your baby gets a rash, a change usually works wonders

Christi - posted on 10/29/2009

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i use cloth diapers as burp rags. i think it just depends on how much laundry you want to be doing. i tried cloth diapers for two month and it was hell trying to keep up with them all. and if you let them set too long they stain and they were just much better as burp rags for me. and in the end, disposable diapers and cloth end up costing just about the same. i think there is like a forty dollar difference over a year.

Lisa - posted on 10/28/2009

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cloth is a lovely idea but i tried it for the first two weeks with my first daughter and gave up. yes they are better for the environment but they are a real pain in the bum. with the amount bubs poops and wees in the first few weeks especially you end up washing nappies constantly to try and keep on top of them. disposables are quick and easy and you just chuck them in the bin. my mother in law thinks i'm lazy for using disposables but when it comes down to it people have enough on their plate let alone sanatizing and washing nappies.

[deleted account]

I used disposable with my first two babies and just swiched to cloth with my third and LOVE them!! Yes there is a little more laundry but it totally eliminated the waste and garbage that was leaving the house. I find them very easy to clean. I'm a huge fan of my Bum Genius Diapers.

[deleted account]

I use both. My son is at daycare during the day - where they use disposable only - but I usually use cloth at home. I went with a simple all-in-one brand, since I had no interest in pins, and I wasn't sure my husband would go for cloth if it wasn't easy! If I weren't working full time, I'd probably do all cloth. I haven't had any problems with it - they're easy to clean, almost as absorbant, and more cost-effective in the long run.

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