Don’t Be Afraid of the Cloth Diaper Monster: Conquering the Fear of the Unknown

Don't be afraid of the cloth diaper monster

Don't be afraid of the cloth diaper monster

Most parents are afraid of the “cloth diaper monster” that represents the unknowns ahead.  Will they succeed?  Will the diapers leak?  What will I do with the poop?  WIll my husband help me change the diapers?  What about the laundry, will I be buried in it?  Don’t let the cloth diaper “monster” intimidate you into using disposable diapers.  Knowledge is power!  Be aware of the bumps that may be ahead on your cloth diaper journey and know that there are many resources available to you for your questions.    Take a look at the most common fears parents express before starting cloth and let me ease your mind a little bit.


[highlight]”I’m afraid the cloth diapers will leak.”


Sometimes cloth users will experience more leaks than with disposable diapers.  There are many reasons for this but the most common include user error and repelling (when detergent residue builds up in the diapers making them less absorbent).  Because cloth diapers come in sizes and the one size variety it can be confusing to know what size to start using and when the one size diapers will start fitting.  For newborns it is important to keep in mind that one size cloth diapers do not always fit a newborn!  Many won’t start fitting well until 10 pounds or later!  The good news is that babies grow incredibly fast and will soon be fitting your one size diapers.  Repelling is a result of either using a detergent with softeners (a no-no), too much detergent, not rinsing well enough, or other less common reasons I won’t go into here.  Once you have diagnosed your diapers as having a repelling issue you will want to strip them.  Hopefully this will put you back on track.  If you are reading this article then you already have a leg-up because you know not to do the things that cause repelling in the first place.  Having leaks now?   Troubleshoot them!

[highlight]”That the diapers will stink.”[/highlight]

Typically cloth diapers smell less than their disposable counterpart.  Yes, you read that right.  When washed correctly cloth diapers should smell like clean laundry or have no odor at all after they have been laundered.  More often than not they will lack any smell because most cloth safe detergents use little to no perfumes, unlike commercial clothing detergent.  If they do stink when clean or after urine hits the diapers then it is time to re-evaluate the wash routine or detergent.

[highlight]”That I won’t like them and will quit.”[/highlight]

This fear is probably cause by your mother-in-law or Aunt Agnes who insists that your desire to cloth diaper will be short lived after you realize how hard they are or how badly they stink.  Well poo on you Aunt Agnes!  No one likes to be a quitter and we all have a fear of allowing others to say “I told you so.”  My advice for anyone serious about using cloth diapers full-time is this:  “Don’t buy all of one type of diaper (in case you end up not liking that brand) and try a few out before buying your entire stash.”  I also urge you to commit 100% by not continuing to buy disposable diapers “just in case.” because in your weakest moments you will grab one, then another, and another.  I’ve seen it happen many times.  Again, this is advice for people who truly want to make this work.  It is also important to do your research so that you can recognize common problems as they arise or know how to find the answers.

[highlight]”The poop.”[/highlight]

Oh the poop.  Everyone is afraid of the poop.  I have a whole post about what to do with the poop in cloth diapers so you can consult that handy guide.  Trust me though, it isn’t THAT bad and there are various ways of lessening how much you have to deal with it.  There are diaper sprayers, flushable liners, devices to aid while spraying the diapers, and so on.  As a parent you are going to be dealing with gross stuff  I hate to break it to you.  Poop in cloth diapers is the least of your worries.

[highlight]”The cost.”[/highlight]

You saw a cloth diaper that cost $30.00 and you freaked out.  Or maybe you did the research and learned that you are looking at a few hundred dollars to get started?  The upfront cost of cloth diapers is high but the long term savings are enormous.  You will save $1,000-$1,500 if you full time cloth diaper instead of using disposables.  There are ways to drastically reduce how much you spend on your own stash including choosing a lower priced system like prefolds/flats and covers, make your own diapers, use an All-in-Two system, or buy used.  If you are pregnant also consider setting up a registry at a cloth diaper store, ask for friends/family to buy you gift cards to places that sell cloth diapers like, or just ask for cash that you can use to buy your diapers.  No matter which way you look at it you WILL save money.

[highlight]”I’ll be overwhelmed by laundry.”[/highlight]

Look at it this way: you are already overwhelmed by laundry with a baby.  What are 2-3 more loads per week?  Loads that can sit in the washer/dryer for hours, days even without you worrying about getting sour or wrinkling?  Pshhh…. cloth diaper laundry is my favorite kind.

[highlight]”My husband will never change diapers.”[/highlight]

I’m not saying your husband sucks… what I am saying is that there is little difference between changing a disposables and cloth diapers in the grand scheme of things.  Chances are if your husband is saying he won’t change the diapers if you use cloth he is just taking advantage of the situation and sees a loop hole in the diaper changing duties.  In my case my husband claimed the same thing but I went with it and he does change diapers.  In case you need to convince him to use cloth diapers I have some tips in a previous article.

[highlight]”I don’t want to deal with pins and plastic pants.”[/highlight]

You aren’t from the Internet are you?  What are you even doing here?  Modern cloth diapers are far from pins and plastic pants!  Hello!


For more information about cloth diapers you can find everything you need to know on my “New to Cloth Diapers” page which contains links to my best articles from the past 4 years.  There are links to my “Introduction to Cloth Diapers Series” that will explain each type of diaper in detail, “Cloth Diaper Terms and Definitions“, “What to do with the Poop-” an article all about how to handle poop with cloth diapers- and much more.

There is everything to gain and nothing to lose when it comes to using cloth diapers.  You will save money, waste less, expose your baby to only CLOTH and not chemicals, and your baby will have the best looking butt on the block.  I’ve never once questioned my decision to use cloth diapers over the past 4 years.  I’ve had my fair share of laundry battles and leaks but I’ve always bounced back victorious.

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