Cloth Diaper Confessions

October 23, 2013

For a year, we used cloth diapers and loved them. Honestly. The Bum Genius Freetimes were our diaper of choice, and the OsoCozy liners made disposing of solids very easy.

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Are you picking up that I am using the past tense here? Have you noticed Mazen wearing disposables in my Instagram photos? Sadly, for the moment, we are off of cloth diapers.

Up until 12 months things were humming along just fine. And then all of a sudden, the solids were no longer solids. What used to be easy to drop into a diaper pail via a liner was now a disgusting mess. The poop went beyond our liner’s edges, and I found myself cleaning it off the diapers with wipes, dunking them in the toilet (I will never do that again) and trying to figure out the best way to clean the edges before putting them in our wet bag.

I asked my friends if this change in poop style was normal. They said yes. I cried.

They weren’t entirely right. We switched to disposables for a week and then one day – the poop was back to normal. I happily chalked it up to teething or a new food and we went back on cloth. Two days later, I found myself with more messes. The cloth were just not working.

It’s been about a month now and we’re still on disposables. While M’s poop is back to the “good kind” (ha), we haven’t gone back to cloth. I’m just too afraid that the next diaper will be the gross kind again. And after a month in disposables, I’ve been spoiled. I’d also like to add that I’m never talking about one poop a day. Nope, my child is a poop machine.

I’m glad that I can change his disposable while holding him down with one hand (something I can’t do with all the snaps on the cloth).

I’m relieved not to have to do 3 extra loads of laundry each week, even though they were never that much of a pain.

And honestly, most of all, I’m so glad his 12-18 month pants fit properly.

On the one hand, I feel like a failure because I am just not brave enough to continue with the cloth.

On the other hand, I’m proud of the fact that we kept approximately 2,500 diapers out of the landfills by using cloth for the time that we did.

I definitely want to cloth diaper our second baby, if and when we have one. Pre-solid food poop was no big deal, and the solids for the first 6 months were simple to clean up. We may not be done with cloth with Mazen. Maybe we will use them again during potty training, for example. I just don’t know. But for now, we’ve put them on hold.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emily October 23, 2013 at 10:10 am

With my son, who just turned one, we were using the liners for 6 months. It was gross and seemed to make more of a mess. I found the liners made the poop stick to his bum and make such a giant, disgusting mess I almost gave up on cloths too. Then we ditched the liners and bought a diaper sprayer. Best decision ever. He still usually has poops 90% of the time that can plop into the toilet untouched, but when he has messy ones we can spray them off without touching or any mess. I figured for the price of the liners, the diaper sprayed would pay for itself very quickly.

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2 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries October 23, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Emily, which diaper sprayer do you use?

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3 Emily October 25, 2013 at 11:25 am

BumGenius. It’s wonderful and super easy to install!

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4 Stephanie October 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm

We use a diaper sprayer, too. My husband just installed a kitchen sink sprayer to our toilet water line. It cost $17 and took him like 30 minutes. There are tons of tutorials online to do this. You just hold the diaper over the toilet, 2 squirts, and you’re done.
Liners are not the best option for most babies. They cause more mess than they’re worth, in my opinion.

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5 Lauren November 2, 2013 at 10:24 am

We use a diaper sprayer and the spray pal. You can pin the diaper to the spray pal and just spray downward into the toilet. It prevents water and poop from spraying all over the bathroom. We love it!

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6 Nicole October 23, 2013 at 10:21 am

OMG, I thought it was just me! Lucy (who will be 13 months this Friday) has had “gross” poop for the last 2.5 weeks. At first I thought it was the introduction of cow milk or maybe too many grapes, but she hasn’t had either for a week and a half and we still have issues. We weren’t too worried since she’s still very active and eats/drinks fine, but I’ve been annoyed that her poop is no longer “ploppable.” We’ve also switched sitters, and that lovely woman rinses Lucy’s diapers, lol. I told her she didn’t have to since we have the wet bag, but she thinks it’s gross to put them in there if they’re dirty.

You’re so lucky that you’re friends said it was normal! I’ve only had one tell me her little boy is the same. I can’t imagine that the cloth is the issue, but I totally understand your hesitation to switch back. Lucy also has super sensitive skin, so all this weird poop makes her rashy.

We don’t use liners, but I wonder if using them would help. I feel like the liquidy stuff is still going to soak through and stain.

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7 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries October 23, 2013 at 10:26 am

Interesting! Any idea as to why all of a sudden his poop got so messy? We’re doing cloth, and since we just started solids, his poop is a whole lot different. I have to be honest, it’s not nearly as easy as it was when he was exclusively on breastmilk! I am appreciative of your tip on the liners though – those have helped a lot.

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8 KERF October 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I am guessing teething. .?

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9 Alexa October 23, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I was just about to comment that we have the “bad poops” too when teething acts up. We’re in the middle of it right now. We’ve always used disposable, but I can say that I feel for you when those pop up, they are a very unpleasant surprise!

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10 Erika October 23, 2013 at 11:24 am

We started with cloth too and I really did love them. When we started going to daycare though she wouldn’t allow them – she said the smell made her gag and I can kinda understand but was disappointed. We had a super hard time finding (good) daycare so we agreed to switch to disposable. While I do miss the cloth I have to admit how handy the disposable are. I guess it’s nice that we have options at least.

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11 Erin October 23, 2013 at 11:44 am

Thank you for your honesty, Kath! We’re planning to cloth diaper (our first is due in January), and have found your previous posts on the topic indispensable–and it’s wonderful to have your honest feedback now that things have changed for you, too.

Thanks, also, for your recent post on the nursery one year later–you REALLY helped me make some decisions about some of our nursery items, including the rug and the nightstand.

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12 Sarah October 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm

You should definitely be proud that you did it for a year! We use cloth but we’re still in the pre-solids stage and have liners ready for when that time comes. I never even thought about changes they could go through beyond that. Yikes!

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13 Emily October 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm

I can totally relate to your experience! We used a cloth diaper service until my daughter was 16 months old (she’s now 2.5) when suddenly the diapers were leaking a lot and we were changing her clothes too often during the day. We switched to disposable diapers and I felt bad we couldn’t continue with the cloth diapers, but like you, we were glad we had at least avoided disposable diapers for that long.

We’re expected our 2nd child in April and plan to use the diaper service again for the baby, so we haven’t totally converted over to disposable diapers :)

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14 Kristi October 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Hmm, not looking forward to “bad” poop! My LO also poops multiple times a day (3-5) and a few days ago I put him on the toilet when it seemed he needed to go…and he went! So I’ve been putting him on the toilet after meals and right before bedtime. We’ve had 2-3 successes per day so far! Mine is 11mos and hasn’t done any signs yet so it might be even easier with M if you teach him some potty signs?

This is kinda gross but I’ve also heard of CD moms who use a hard rubber spatula to help scrape off poo.

And, if your bright, happy colored diapers need a new home, I know a good one :)

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15 KERF October 23, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Nice job! I need to try that soon too

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16 Laura October 23, 2013 at 8:11 pm

My son is 11.5 months old, and we’ve put him on the potty (we have a $15 Graco version) first thing in the morning since he was 6-7 months old. We previously had a bouncy chair in the bathroom that I would put him in while I was getting dressed, but he outgrew it. The potty chair was a shot in the dark, and he has loved it. He’ll use it first thing in the morning and before his bath at night. If we are home, we will also put him on it after naps. And his poop changed 2-3 weeks ago, no signs of reverting to normal yet.

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17 Julia October 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Good for you!

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18 Ashley October 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm

The diaper sprayer has been really great, for me. Dunking and swishing in the toilet is SO gross, I don’t know how mamas do that. But the sprayer has been great, I just set the dirty one aside and spray it after the fresh diaper is on, and then keep a wetbag in the bathroom so I don’t have to transport a drippy mess of a diaper back to the nursery.

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19 Renee October 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Oh Kath, don’t feel like a failure. The looser stools can be from many things, I will list some that I know of.

Teething, eating lots of fiber, or drinking lots of water. Some things that can make it more firm are lots of cheeses, milk, and yogurt.

I know that lots of moms are worried about the environment. The honest company makes disposable diapers in all kinds of fun patterns. The best part is that they are biodegradable and free of harsh chemicals. So they are actually good for baby. You can also send off to get free samples.

I think that some of the things about cloth diapering I don’t like is the clean up, the bulkiness, and the worry of leaks.

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20 KERF October 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm

I tried their diapers – with little anchors on them – and loved them.

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21 Renee October 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm

yeah I am glad, I have heard great things about them. Are they really expensive do you know? I think that since I know nothing about cloth diapering when we have kids I will use them

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22 KERF October 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Yeah, relative to other brands they are. But so cute!

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23 Laura October 23, 2013 at 8:27 pm

I did cloth with disposables at night for two years with my oldest. My second is two weeks younger than Mazen, and hasn’t been in a cloth diaper in months. I get annoyed with myself for spending all the money on disposables now! I totally know what you mean about the poops, and the scraping with the wipes. I would have to do it at the end of the day after picking up everything from daycare, or worse sometimes we wouldn’t get to it for several days and it would be all half dried on. I got tired of them not doing the cloth diapers right half the time, so it would leak, or they’d forget a liner which was so gross… And then I fell out of the habit when we were home too. I felt like she was quickly getting a rash in cloth so I think i need to strip them but I just never got around to it… So we have fallen off the wagon too!

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24 Cat October 24, 2013 at 10:44 am

My guy just turned 11 months, & we’ve been doing cloth since he was 3 weeks. The past couple of weeks, though, his poop has been sticking to his diapers. I’ve never had a problem with scraping into the toilet but this is on another level. He ended up getting a yeast rash so per his dermatologist we’re off cloth diapers until it heals because we have to use heavy duty diaper cream. Part of me is actually really relieved that I don’t have to deal with these poopy diapers right now. Hopefully once his rash clears up, he’ll be back to “normal” poop & we can use the cloth diapers again. I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone!

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25 Janna Lauver October 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm

You did great Kath,
You are always doing the very best you can and that is good parenting.
Celebrate what you have accomplished and enjoy little Mazen. Those teeth are always causing problems that don’t seem directly related to teeth. Diaper rash, runny diapers, runny nose, runny eyes, phantom “earaches”… I can’t tell you how many times I took Peyton to the pediatrician because she was touching her eyes or having super runny diapers.
Chock it up to experience and think how prepared you are for another baby… you know someday!

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26 Janna Lauver October 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Oops. I meant “touching her ears” although she does try and touch her eyes too… :)

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27 Hannah @ Eat, Drink and Save Money October 24, 2013 at 12:29 pm

We just started solids this week and the poop has already changed! I was shocked by how fast it changed. We are going to have to try liners on our cloth diapers. Thanks for the tips!

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28 Katie October 24, 2013 at 1:40 pm

No need to feel like a failure! My daughter is 2 months older than Mazen and is also a poop machine- usually 3-4 times a day. We do cloth diaper, also love the Freetimes and find our diaper sprayer indispensable now that she’s older..if you catch my drift. Though I will freely admit that some days when I’m spraying off a diaper I think “this is so disgusting, I don’t get paid enough for this..” ;) It’s my uber cheap side that keeps us in the cloth (and my hubby’s support).

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29 Brenda October 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm

We made it 22 months on cloth diapers! Yes, the sticky poop was gross, but our guy’s was ploppable 95% of the time. We just started potty training last week mostly because I am tired of diaper laundry. When I was working, my husband and I had a great system for washing and drying. We would wash at night, stuff in the morning before work, take a night off, then repeat te following night. Then we moved to a different house (with laundry in the basement) and seemed to be dealing with diaper laundry EVERY day. Maybe because I SAH and was doing it all myself? Ugh- it was too much.

I will say that I think being in cloth contributed to my son being ready for ‘early’ potty training. So that’s a definite positive!

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30 Becky October 24, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Way back when I had one in diapers, we went disposable from the get-go. I did my research and discovered the environmental impact was pretty much the same for either cloth or disposable. What sealed the deal for us was the having to clean the poop out of the cloth – just no.

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31 Melissa October 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm

You know what? You tried, you learned, and now, you’re doing what’s best for your family. That’s all that matters :)

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32 jen October 24, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Gross poop, I hear ya! My girl only ever had giant mooshy, messy poop diapers. She mostly still does now at 2, but there usually in the potty, thank god! I asked her ped about it and he called ut “toddlers diarrhea” and said no big deal. And yeah, she’s still a poop machine.

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33 Tara October 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Awe that’s so awesome that you did cloth diapering for so long! No need to beat yourself up about doing disposables. Heck, I own a cloth diaper information website (paddedtushstats.com) and even I dip into my disposable stash frequently. In fact, just this weekend we decided to put my son in disposables because he had diarrhea and I was tending to him and wanted to stay on top of laundry.
It’s all about what works best for you and your baby at that time — or at least that’s my theory!

Some tips–I love to use my diaper sprayer to help spray out poop. I use the bumGenius sprayer and it works great. Another option are diaper liners, which look like dryer sheets, but they catch all that runny poop and then you just dump the liner int he toilet and it is gone! Here is one of our reviews that breaks things down: http://paddedtushstats.com/2013/07/04/rearz-bamboo-flushable-diaper-liners-review/

Anyway, no need to “confess” or apologize. You are a good mama who is choosing what she thinks is best at the moment! Another note: I think the freetimes are the worst diaper to clean (just because it gets stuck in between the layers). Here is a video cotton babies did showing how to do it that is less messy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDHEQkjyyiQ

( also, just wanted you to know if you have any questions or can think of ways I can troubleshoot, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You have certainly helped me a ton, I’d gladly return the favor!)

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34 Chris October 25, 2013 at 9:55 am

I echo Tara’s thoughts! There is never any need to feel bad about using disposables, not nursing for a full 6-8- or 12 months or whatever. There is no politically correct parenting force out there, all the pressure I see new parents putting on themselves is totally unnecessary. Relax and listen to your baby, you know him better than anyone. J was wanting Caroline to drink milk out of a sippy cup, and she just wasn’t having it. It’s OK, it will happen when she’s ready.

Full disclosure, they’ve been using disposables when they travel and so I bought some of these “pull-up” diapers for toddlers on the go. Never again. Soon as I got her all dressed and was about to strap her into the car seat, I smelled poop. Just try pulling a dirty diaper off over shoes and socks, it wasn’t pretty. and ps…have you thought about going a little red? Chris

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35 jen October 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Just wanted to mention that most pullup style disposables can be torn open down the sides pretty easily and then taken off just like a regular diaper, same as a swim diaper. We like them now that our girl often wants to try public restrooms because they’re easy up and down.

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36 Chris October 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Thanks Jen! I kept thinking there had to be a way :-)

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37 Amelia November 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm

We switched to disposables at 17 months, because I found the diapers in general (both pee and poop) to be smellier and harder to get clean. I felt a little guilty about the cost/environment but overall it made my life much easier! Plus we switched to Honest Company and the diapers are just so cute :)

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38 Lindsay @ Health Foragers November 16, 2013 at 11:24 am

I don’t have time to go and read all of the comments but do you have the toilet sprayer? In my opinion, the toilet sprayer makes it all much easier. I have had to dunk it in the toilet before when we were in the middle of a move and I would def. not wish that upon anyone but the sprayer makes it much easier.

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