From the moment I was expecting my first child I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers, and despite MANY comments about how difficult and unnecessary it was, I am so happy we tried, as it was a perfect fit for our family. So much so that we continued to diaper our next 3 children with cloth as well. Are you curious about cloth diapering but not sure if it's for you? Here are a few of the most asked questions we were asked over the years, as well as my biggest tip to keep in mind when looking into this!
1. What do you do with the poop?!
This is HANDS DOWN the most asked question. Short answer - it's goes in the toilet where it belongs! Long answer - as much solid waste as possible is removed with toilet paper or it's simply dumped into the toilet and flushed. The soiled diaper is thrown into a wetbag or diaper pail and is washed with the other diapers. I get that even the thought of removing poop grosses people out when they aren't used to dealing with human waste, but even when we occasionally used disposable diapers, we still removed the poop into the toilet instead of packing it in plastic bags and saving it in the garbage. We also combined cloth diapers with Elimination Communication (aka Early Potty Learning or Natural Infant Hygiene) so we didn't really have a lot of poopy diapers to deal with. Poop is just something you have to deal with regardless of what diapering option you choose. You either flush it and wash a diaper (just like you would wash soiled clothing), or save it and throw it out in the trash.
2. Don't they smell?
They can, just as any other diaper can. Personally, I felt they smelled less than disposables. When you aren't used to the smell of disposable diapers, there is a very strong plastic/chemical smell, in addition to any waste from the little person. With cloth there is normally just the smell of the waste, but if they aren't washed well or have soap residue built up, this can result in a really stinky ammonia smell. How to fix it? Wash and possibly strip your diapers to remove any residue. Problem solved!
3. There is no way I am adding to that ever growing mound of laundry!
Hey, I HEAR YA! I have hated laundry for most of my life, and especially after having kids. Honestly, this was not a problem at all. I loved washing all their cute diapers and we had a system that was super easy to dry. Dryer/no dryer has never been an issue. Throwing on a load of laundry every couple of days has always been easier for me than remembering to buy anything at the store. Even though disposable diapers in Norway are VERY cheap compared to other countries, the thought of literally throwing money in the trash was incentive enough to do the wash. Especially here in Malta when laundry dries in no time at all, cloth diapering is a breeze! Cloth diaper laundry has only ever received my love and appreciation.
4. But seriously, how do you wash them?
There were actually a lot of people who honestly thought I would have to boil them in water on the stove. I can happily say that is not the case, and they are washed in the (drumroll please!!!) washing machine! Normally a would give them a rinse, then regular long wash, and another rinse. Perfume and bleach free detergent is a must and any stains disappeared after laying them in the sun. We hung them up to dry, and stacked them in a basket when they were done. The amount of time spent per week where I physically had to do something was about 20 minutes max. I took me that long to just to get the kids in the car to go to the store, let alone the gong show that unfolded when we got there!
5. Is it really better for the environment?
I would have to say YES, without a doubt. I have used mostly the same diapers, with a few additions, for 4 children. About 40 cloth diapers total. Over half of those were bought second hand. Most children in Malta use diapers for around 2.5 years (Norway is generally a year longer), but if I am being modest with only 8 diapers per day for 2.5 years, that is approx. 7300 per child. For 4 kids, that's over 29000 diapers that haven't needed to be disposed. "But what about water usage?" Please, the water I saved from never being able to shower was more than enough to clean the diapers 🤣
BONUS! I promised I'd give you my biggest tip for helping to decide whether or not cloth diapering is right for you and here it is: It doesn't have to be all or nothing!!! You can use them only at home, you can use them only during the day, you can use them only during the night, you can use them when your baby is a newborn, you can use them when your baby is older! You can use them (or not) whenever it pleases you! If you find out it's easier than you first thought and you expand to using them more often, awesome! If you find out it's not for you, awesome, and good on ya for trying. Someone else is going to buy and love your gently used cloth diapers.