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This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. During this carnival our participants have focused on the many different forms and shapes Natural Parenting can take in our community.

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Continuum Family side snap training pants

Cloth diapers. Cute. Eco-friendly. The frugal choice.

I love cloth diapers. Like baby slings, I can see how easy it is to slip into addiction, wanting to collect a wide range of prints, brands and styles. Modern cloth diapers are both stylish and functional; gone are the days of pins and plastic pants, we now have PUL and Velcro.

Everyone chooses cloth for different reasons. I committed myself to cloth diapering when my first was born because it seemed to make sense health-wise, for the child and the planet. I found myself doing hours of research online, weighing all of my choices. Should I go for natural fibers or synthetics? Prefolds, pockets or all-in-ones? Snaps or Velcro or Snappis? How well does a one-size diaper really fit? I embraced all the choices available for me with joy.

I tried a number of cloth diaper companies, getting a few of various styles. As my daughter grew and changed, so did our diapering needs. Continuum Family had the smallest diapers with snaps I could find (had a tiny first child and wanted to practice EC–elimination communication), and I fell in love with them for a long while. The Little Beetle wool covers from Better for Babies (who have now closed up shop) were a great nighttime choice for a time. By then we were really getting somewhere with EC, so we got a couple of Ecapants training pants through EC Wear. We even had her in prefolds with a prefold belt at one point. The longest lasting favorite, aside from the Continuum Family in the pictures, were the Imse Vimse wool covers.

Over time, I learned firsthand the stinky side of cloth diapers:

  • Continuum Family: Side snap training pants — Fave for EC!

    Cloth diapers are picky about what they want to be washed in.

  • Cloth diapers are like toddlers in that they will smell louder and louder till they get their way.
  • Cloth diapers prefer to take up a lot of room in a bag rather than share space with snacks, wipes, and spare clothes — it’s called a diaper bag for a reason.
  • Cloth diapers don’t wash themselves.
  • Cloth diapers flatter (or pinch!) each baby differently.

Still, I travelled happily along cloth diapering journey for well over a year, knowing I made the right choice, thinking there would never be a day…

Fast forward to the present.

Goodbye Better for Babies….

After months of battling ammonia diapers and irritated skin, I caved and got disposables for my daughter. They ended up not causing her the rashes that folks worry about with disposables. It was in this way that I found myself staring at the last diapers in the package wondering if I should get more. I ended up getting her some basic prefolds and Flip diaper covers, thinking I could use them with the second baby.

I found myself learning all over again with my son who is shaped completely differently from my daughter. My cutest of cute cloth diaper covers with prefolds leaked every time because he is too small yet and the prefolds would scootch down and scrunch up. I went to the all-in-one cloth diapers my daughter had used, but then we got hit with thrush and the wet fabric on his skin seemed to be on the side of the yeast. When my washer broke for a week and a half, to top it all off, I turned to disposables.

It was during this time that I realized that disposables have advantages I hadn’t considered.

  • Disposables don’t need to be washed.
  • Disposables are compact.
  • Disposables give a trim bum line.
  • Disposables come in a wider range of sizes for a more accurate fit.

Some parents use disposables to handle the sticky, staining meconium in the earliest newborn days before switching to cloth diapers. Some parents use disposables at night and cloth diaper during the day. Many parents find disposables more convenient during travel. Alternate caregivers might find disposables easier or more familiar. Thankfully, there are some brands that leave out the chemicals, dyes, perfumes and other unhealthy stuff.

Continuum Family pull up training pants

Honestly, I can now understand the allure of disposables.

In the end, though, cloth diapers are worth any special thought and care required. Perhaps the struggle is precisely what creates loyal cloth diaper users. What piece of plastic could accomplish that?

Despite any inconvenience, I persist in my cloth diapering. I have got my son back in plain prefolds (size up, big guy!) and a Snappi — simplest and best yet. I’m working on my daughter’s skin health so we’re mostly diaper and pants free (less accidents now!) with disposables at night. Trying to figure out what would be a good move for her to pull down on her own. The search for the next cloth diaper solution continues….

Yes, I may have strayed to disposables, but I remain committed to cloth.

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I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that “natural parenting” means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/CoolBreezeValley Joe Valley

    Fun!

  • misty

    ahh…i had a similar experience recently. i was 100 percent commited to cloth and then…i hit a wall. the laundry, the screaming child, the care giver with arthritis. and why does she always leak while at the baby sitter but never at home?…..but in the end…still committed!

    • http://www.sheilapai.com/ Sheila Pai

      Feels like relief hearing someone else have this issue. It continues to be a laundry issue, but I keep wanting to go back to cloth…

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