Why I hate cloth diapers.

When I was pregnant with BiP I contemplated cloth diapering … then I thought about it and decided that if we were going to practice Elimination Communication then maybe we’d be better off just skipping the whole cloth diapering thing. In all honesty I am not sure how much more environmentally friendly they are – ok shoot me … yes, disposable diapers clog landfills but cloth diapers use gallons of water and electricity – in many cases, the jury is out on what is better for your baby’s butt.


Flip cloth diapers

My fluff stash

But do you wear paper panties?
No, I don’t wear paper panties but, quite frankly, BiP knows the difference which is why she now prefers to pee in the toilet at 13m. I am not a hardcore ECer – I practice it when I can and the fact of the matter is, cloth diapers are more of a hindrance than a help.

The guilt
I feel guilty on so many levels.

1 – that I didn’t start cloth diapering sooner (we started at 9months)
2 – at the financial investment that I made in the whole system
3 – that I hate using them so much that I force myself to use them

The love affair that never happened is over.
Forget the laundry – that’s not an issue … I actually LOVE doing laundry (I just hate putting it away) I just find them too bulky and too hard to take off. I did try to love them but the love affair never happened.

Yes, I guess I am an eco-terrorist but cut me some slack – BiP looks like she will be diaper free in a few months and at the moment our diaper consumption is enough to make Pampers cry.

They ARE super cute, they are adorable – but I don’t plan to traditionally potty train so I know I won’t make the best use out of them!

Long story short they are boxed up and ready to be shipped to a new home to someone who will most likely have a lot more fun with them than I did!

Anyone else failed at cloth diapering?



32 thoughts on “Why I hate cloth diapers.

  1. Janine

    I wonder if Flip diapers just suck? We love our cloth. The main reason we love it for EC is that you can easily put diapers back on after using the potty – Can you reuse a disposable many times if they stay dry? Also, I love that he can really feel it when he is wet with cloth.

    No judgement though – When we started with cloth, using disposables (for on the road and other special circumstances) sometimes felt like a luxury but now that we’re adjusted to cloth I can’t imagine using one ‘sposie. I also think the chemicals make dirty ‘sposies smell extra bad!

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      I think it is me Janine – really. I researched and researched, asked a million people – agonized over my decision before investing in them … everyone else loves them – given the number of mama’s who were interested in my stash, within minutes of tweeting that it was for sale, to top up their own stash of the same diapers I am sure they are very popular … it’s just me.

      BTW – ‘sposies here don’t smell ANYTHING like the ones in the US. When we were there on holiday I bought some for BiP and the smell made me gag – what ON EARTH do they put in them? I would be forced to use cloth if they smelled that bad here. But they don’t.

  2. MLMom

    Well, I actually failed at even TRYING to cloth diaper. I never bought any so that means I failed before I even started!

    Guilty? Yep. We don’t do EC and I hate knowing I pollute.

    I think I wish I could have tried like 10 different kinds to see which ones stink, are too bulky, take forever to dry, etc… but it wasn’t the case. How come? Oh I can think of a million excuses. Not reasons… excuses. Never had the budget just laying around to buy a bunch, etc.

    On another note (and if anyone is still reading and has forgiven me for not CDing 🙁 ) I do think they are more eco-friendly. The amount of water it takes to make a pack of disposable diapers is ridiculous compared to the water a CD uses throughout its use/wash.

    I guess another reason that comes to mind for not CDing is that I would HAVE to go organic cotton and the price goes up a little more. I have a hard time with the non organic cotton and the fertilizers for the cotton to produce in high quantities. :/ (But of course ‘sposies are def not better with all the chemicals either). I think I’m just going to let LilO out and about without a diaper today after thinking abuot all this.

    Bravo to those of you who EC. We plan on starting (or basically potty train) at 12 months… an age where a lot of babies around the world start being potty trained (if not ECd waaaay before) but that here in France I’ll get weird looks for. Oh well!

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      I had the same debate between which was better for the environment … it’s a tough call.
      If you need any support with potty training your princess (it’s still EC btw until 18m) give me a shout. I am also here to support you when you get your weird “she’s obviously NOT French” looks!
      I found that people here are fascinated by EC … 🙂

  3. Lorrie No

    I tried cloth for the first 3 months. I liked the idea of it and saying I did it, but I had to supplement with formula at 3 weeks, which meant I had to rinse the poops. I absolutely hated rinsing poopy cloths out. Its like I was being scolded for not being able to produce enough milk for my baby. I had always wanted to breastfeed full time, yet nothing worked. I have several different kinds of cloth diapers and they are sitting in drawers taking up space. I’ve been wanting to sell them online, just need to find time and energy. I told my husband I will not even try doing cloth for our future baby. Sorry earth. It’s just not my thing. I didn’t mind the extra laundry either.

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      I am so glad I am not alone. I felt so bad for admitting defeat. I’m sorry your experience was made worse by your breastfeeding challenges … Do sell them – honestly, it will make you feel better and it will mean you can buy your baby something else … a potty?

      1. Lorrie No

        I just need time and energy to post all the diapers online to sell them. I finally decided this past month that I’m not game for cloth anymore. I really wanted to do it and I tried. Oh well, it’s not the end of the world because I have a beautiful daughter, right? I bought the Potette Plus Potty. I should have gotten it a long time ago, but I just got it a couple weeks ago. We started putting Luci on the toilet, but she wiggles and doesn’t really know to sit on it. She is 10 months old now. I really want to get her used to the toilet, but I’m not sure how. I catch her pushing and by the time I get her to the toilet she has already gone in the diaper.

        1. mummyinprovence Post author

          You might want to try a potty first – the toilet can seem a bit high. One way to get her used to the toilet is to keep a potty in the bathroom and when you go to the toilet put her on her potty at the same time. She will then want to copy you. If she objects try again at a later time. Do you have an insert for the toilet seat? Check out my posts on Elimination Communication for tips on how to get started http://www.mummyinprovence.com/elimination-communication/potty-power-my-favourite-ecing-tools

    2. Marcy

      Have you thought about trying flushable liners? My husband was TOTALLY against cloth for a LONG time, I think mainly bc of the poop factor. I finally convinced him to try it, and I think the only reason he conceded was that we used Kushies liners (it;’s like a strip of thick toilet paper that you lay over the diaper, which means that poop can be easily lifted off the diaper and flushed down the toilet, with hardly any actually getting on the diaper itself).

      You should be able to sell them fairly easily (try diaperswappers.com) but if rinsing poop off diapers is what turned you off, try the liners. Makes a huge difference! ; )

      1. Lorrie No

        We’ve used flushable liners with our cloth diapers from the very beginning, it only helped us a little. My daughter has very loose messy BMs and it always gets around the liner so I would always have to rinse no matter what if I didn’t want stains. I have no stains!

        1. mummyinprovence Post author

          I looked at the flushable liners but they just looked like EVEN more work …

      2. mummyinprovence Post author

        BiP didn’t poop in the diapers so that wasn’t the issue – I just couldn’t put my finger on what made me hate them so much. They are gone now – that relationship is over and now I want to see if I can get BiP diaper free by September … (no pressure!)

  4. Veronica

    I was all about the CDs with my son and used them until he briefly attended a daycare that did not accept them. My daughter would STTN in a disposable diaper so I quit CDing. I care about the environment and all but as a mother of 2 under 2 – 1 a newborn and a full time demanding job – I needed all the sleep I could get. I miss how cute they were but I love sleeping all night. : )

  5. Polish Mama on the Prairie

    I love ours BUT with the temperatures being as cold as they are here and as long as the unending hell, errr, I mean, winter is here, ECing is really difficult for us compared to when we lived on the East Coast in a warmer area.

    I was using disposables and cheap cloth diapers there with EC very successfully. In fact, my older daughter was potty trained at 15 months.

    It looks as though potty training my younger daughter is not going to be as easy. And I blame it on the weather. lol

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      Oh wow! What was your trick to getting your daughter potty trained at 15m? I’d love that … BiP is so close!

      1. Polish Mama on the Prairie

        Well, we lived in a warmer climate for one 🙂 But I always always changed her diapers as soon as she peed even if I couldn’t “catch” it which wasn’t exactly often since we were always running. And I had her hang out in the bathroom when I went and got her a potty on her first birthday. While I would run a bath, I would set her on the potty and the noise worked.

        I also made a “cuing” noise whenever she went in her diaper or whatever. Starting at 6 months old.

        And the biggest thing was she was very vocal and had a great vocabulary from a young age. We took her camping and she saw us women “go” behind a tree (middle of West Virginia, no bathrooms but maybe a hour hike and at least 1/2 hour-1 hour drive) and decided to try. The grass tickled her butt and she thought it was hilarious. From that moment, she refused to go in her diaper.

        I think it has to be an “aha!” moment for them when they realize it. But we can help them get there.

        I don’t know if that helps but it’s what worked for us. Good luck! And wish me luck with baby #2 going potty.

  6. Marta

    I never even tried cloth diapering because the whole thing seemed way too messy and involved then I wanted to be! I commend you on even trying, I didn’t get that far!

  7. Erin

    That’s a huge part of why I chose gDiapers over other options. The covers feel like clothing vyhr colors are super cute. And the velcro is super easy for diapers to constantly be on again, off again. 😉 And I love ’em!

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      gDiapers are a lot like Flip … I even had the velcro covers because the snaps were awful … not for everyone I guess!

      1. Ita

        I have not tried many types of diapers, but I love my flip covers!
        We used disposables with the first 6, having never really realized that cloth was an option. I tried cloth on #6 shortly before the birth of #7, and I LOVE them!
        But I hated the Velcro!! Snaps take a bit longer, but they don’t wear out and you will never find your baby with his diaper off when he wakes up (yes, that has happened to us with both disposables and Velcro cloth covers, and let me tell you, it was not a pretty sight!!)

        I also don’t use the flip inserts, I use prefolds and flats (mostly). I love the flexibility to change things and adapt as necessary. Like snappi-ing on a flat to let baby run around in the backyard when I know he will get dirty and messy.

  8. Marcy

    Cloth is definitely not for everyone.. unfortunately I do think part of it may have been the Flips, as in my experience they’re one of the more annoying set-ups if you’re planning to take them on and off frequently. But still, not everyone is into cloth and that’s fine.

    I don’t know if you’d want to consider this, but you could look into cloth training pants and there are even cloth “pull-ups” which have the absorbency of a diaper for when you need it, but made like undies so they’re easy to pull on and off. Again, I don’t know if you want to invest in something else that may not work, but then again if they end up working you’d then save on disposables, right?

    http://www.cottonbabies.com/product_info.php?products_id=1713 (I have a couple of these that we’re using now and I like them a lot)

  9. Lisa

    Just wondering if anyone else has heard that it’s actually against WHO guidelines to not shake the poop out of ‘sposies into the toilet first before tossing them into the landfill? I heard that it’s written on the instructions for dipering on the packages. Also, I heard that baby poop from recently vaccinated children often contains live viruses and that these are viruses are turning up in weird places because of leeching. I don’t know if any of this is true….anyone heard the same?

    Either way, diapering just plain sucks no matter what one uses ;-). Hooray for EC!

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      I didn’t know that! Good job BiP poops in the toilet/potty! Yes, hooray for EC!

  10. Elimination Communication

    I can’t say that I “loved” diapering. I can’t say that I love cloth any more than I can say I love washing my face. 🙂

    We kept it cheap and simple.

    3 dozen Prefolds either with a crotch twist or jelly roll and flats as back up. Reusable thirsties covers. That was it. Accident management only. Super absorbancy and cuteness not factors. Very small learning curve. Takes no more time to change.

    Fast, easy laundering, cheap to launder, quick drying and efficient to put away. We had no blow out incidences and no leaks unless the wee was of epic magnitude. It was very easy to tailor the size of the prefold to fit as she grew. We used only 2 sizes and switched 100% to cloth trainers at 9 months. That was even easier (she is still wearing the same trainers a year later).

    It wasn’t that bad to put the poop in the toilet since we were doing EC also — which you are supposed to put solid poops into the toilet once they begin to eat table food anyway even with disposables. Many people don’t and they should!

    We had a small 10 gallon (?) rubbermaid bucket with a washable diaper pail liner. We tossed them in breastmilk poop and all and I washed 2-3 times a week in the newborn stage.

    The problem I find with systems like flip is that they try to mimic disposable diapers to appeal to a market instead of focusing on what cloth diapers do best: easy frequent changes and blowout prevention.

    The all in ones and hybrid systems are bulky because they try to match the absorbancy of disposables and that’s not really what you want because it makes them bulky. All you really need is sufficient absorbancy and a waterproof cover to cover one good wee to prevent leaks. That’s it. Especially if you EC.

    The more tailored the product (the more disposable-like) the more difficult it is to get the right fit for all babies. One size does NOT fit all with all-in-ones, hybrids, or pockets. Even contours can suffer from fit issues.

    It’s is like…baby food. Baby food is a marketing gimmick and is what we are used to, so when we want to go homemade the knee jerk reaction is to purchase items so we can mimic baby food (baby blenders, mashers, bowls, freezing, baby recipes etc) instead of picking up an pear and giving it as is or mashing a bit of sweat potato with a fork. Cloth diaper systems are VERY much like that. Mimicking the mimic instead of going back to the original.

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      Thanks – I think you hit the nail on the head – I was looking for something that was LIKE ‘sposies in cloth and that doesn’t really exist.

      Which training pants do you recommend?

  11. Elimination Communication

    I concur with Marcy.

    The liner idea is a good one! Less impact and waste than whole disposables but can help with the poo issue.

    A lot of formula supplementing moms don’t rinse formula poop if its the same consistency as bf poop which is okay thought the might do a pre-rinse in the washer first. It is just the table solids / baby food poop that is the issue.

  12. Milja Kaunisto

    My oh my, how I tried cloth diapers. I put every effort possible into it. Bio-degradable diapers are a great option – in Finland where they are affordable!- but in France they cost the same as diapers made of pure gold would. (Never seen those. Would be re-usable, though.)

    But no, Pampers prevailed. Actually tried those supermarket ‘economy’-labeled ones as well, but they were like wrapping my baby inside a plastic bag, instant rash-makers.

    Eventually, I stop trying. Until now. My daughter is 2,5 years old and I use ye olde guilt-ridden cloth diapers on her at night, ‘in case’. She will be clean in a few months anyway. Only guilt remains.

  13. Jaime

    I loved cloth at first but now I honestly hate it. We have been getting leaks galore and I hate that the diapers are so bulky they don’t fit under his normal clothes. I’ve been buying a size up and it gets annoying. But then I feel guilty for hating it because in cloth my little guy doesn’t get rashes like he does with disposables. And my husband won’t let me sell them because of how much we invested into the darn things.

  14. Stephanie

    I have been using cloth diapers since my daughter was about 3 or 4 months. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it. What I do love are the pretty diapers I bought (homemade French ones) and how they are awesome under summer dresses (but what will I do for a boy someday?) and i like having something to hold onto when my daughter is in my arms. She just fits better that way!
    But she is now in day care and the assistante maternelle is against washable diapers, and sometimes the pee leaks, and sometimes one or two of them give her a sorta rash on one leg (when it leaks). But I would hate to get rid of them because I spent so much time and effort on them. We are advancing kinda slowly for potty training, but it might just take off soon. I am looking for pull up washable training pants, that might be the best solution! I know GroVia makes some, and some mamans couseuses have made some. Check out the forum http://labourseauxcouches.clicforum.fr/index.php you’ll find info about washable training pants too. Otherwise the store brand pull ups are affordable and useful too. I like SuperU store brand, I’ve tried LeClerc it’s ok. i’ll only ever buy the name brand if it’s on sale for cheaper per unit than the SuperU or Carrefour ones!

  15. Bonnie

    I hate cloth diapers!!! Here is why. I live overseas in a third world country. There are no hot water heaters in any homes, so if you want hot water you gotta boil it yourself. So, without hot water to wash the diapers they don’t get real clean and I don’t have the time to boil gallons of hot water every day to pour into the washing machine. And yes, i wash the diapers EVERY DAY because we don’t have enough money to buy more diapers than we already have.
    I also hate them because we are constantly battling diaper rash. The diaper gets wet so quickly, its hard to tell when he is wet, and I cant use diaper rash cream with the diaper itself, so I have to put a barrier in there and that is a GINORMOUS PAIN!!! And the diaper rash cream does not come off the barrier hardly at all when I wash it.
    So I do not think the diapers are good for his skin at all! At least with disposables the wetness is not right against him all the time.
    I also hate cloth diapers because my little guy doesnot like diaper changing time and he wiggles like crazy which makes putting on the cloth diaper extremely hard. It was easy when he was a newborn but the older he got the worse it became.
    Lastly, I hate flushing poop every day. I hate that my hands get wet due to the pee.. so disgusting! And they are not better for the environment. I’ve done the research and they are equal with disposables. You have to check your sources, because most companies doing the research are associated with the diaper industry, therby making them very biased. I only found 1 or 2 organizations who were not affilated with the diaper market in any way.
    I am switching back to disposables when we get back to America and I am proud of it!! No shame here ! Thanks for letting me vent 🙂

  16. Leah

    I find your reply to the first comment funny. We also live in France and the first time we used a disposable on my baby my husband gagged at the smell from it! I think that was his biggest turning point to really appreciating the cloth diapers. Now if we need disposables for travel I’ll spend more on “sensitive” ones that don’t smell as bad.

  17. Zorica

    We mix sposies with cloth. Cloth over day and a sposie or two over night. Because I don’t want her to stay in wet all night and I’m too tired for getting up and changing. So, that’s the worst part. Everything else is bearable. And I feel guilt for those over hundred by now pieces of plastic diapers which will end up who knows where.


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