Cloth vs Disposable

October 2, 2002 – 3:43 pm by Aaron

Jen decided way before Liam was born, possibly before he was even conceived, that she wanted to use cloth diapers. I think the reasoning was threefold. First she wanted to be environmentally conscious: disposable diapers amount to a huge amount of trash. Second she wanted to be cost conscious: buying cloth diapers and reusing them is substantially less expensive than buying disposables over the course of a baby’s diaper-wearing life. Third, she wanted to do something old-fashioned: she likes tradition and antiques, and something being new and popular doesn’t make it smarter or better. While writing I thought of another reason: she discovered a large undergound cloth diaper society and she wanted to be a part of it.

Those were her original reasons. After telling friends and family her plans for using cloth diapers, 90% of them laughed or scoffed and told her she would never last using cloth. After hearing of the third or fourth person to say this to her I knew what was going to happen: she was going to use cloth just to prove to those people that she could. It was obvious to me that the people telling her that she wouldn’t be able to do it didn’t know her very well. Just in telling her she wouldn’t be able to handle it, those naysayers strenghened her resolve to the point I think Liam could have explosive toxic nuclear poop and she would still use cloth diapers. I’m not kidding.

To this point we haven’t really had to clean any diapers. We have been using a service called Tidee Didee. They come every Monday morning, pick up the bag of “soiled” diapers and leave us a bag of clean ones. The cost is about $15/week. For the first 2 1/2 months it was paid for through gift certificates and a gift from Jennifer’s parents (thank you!). Our paid-through date is, I believe, October 15th. After that we, meaning she, get to start cleaning poopy diapers in the toilet. I’m all for continuing the service and canceling cable TV, and, if need be, going on a diet or fasting once or twice a week. If we’d have thought about it, we would have cleaned the diapers for the first 6 months or so when the poop is runny and doesn’t even really stink and then used Tidee Didee for as long as we could after that. At 6 months Liam will start eating solid food and with solid food comes solid poops. Solid stinky poops all mashed into the diaper. Nasty. I’m not looking forward to it. Jen said the other day that when Liam had solid poop all you had to do was shake the poop into the toilet. I mentioned to her the fact that it would still be soft, not really hard, and would be all mashed into the diaper and smeared all over his little bottom. She said, and I quote, “Oh.”

We’ll see how it goes. I’m in the process of scaling down the TV shows I just can’t do without. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night screaming “Not the cable modem, PLEASE! Not the cable modem!!” As long as Jen is happy to clean poopy diapers, I’m happy to let her. And no, I’m so foolish as to think I’ll never have to clean any. I can feel myself getting dragged into her stinky little poop-filled underground already.

  1. 6 Responses to “Cloth vs Disposable”

  2. FYI – WE used both…..we had diaper service for a while (nice treat) but we worked out a “system” for handling cloth diapers – which included a bucket in the bathroom full of water and a little bleach for odor and disinfecting…… Unfortunately this bucket was like a magnet for little crawling daughters ….who’d crawl to it and pull it over…..on the bathroom rug! I don’t know how many times I whipped that rug up and tossed it in the tub with the shower running to try to beat the action of the bleach! We got really creative at diaper folding as the babies grew bigger and the diapers had gotten thinner and thinner after all the washings….I don’t think I’d even consider cloth diapers while I was out of the house – definitely time for disposables (but please don’t dump the smelly ones in some unsuspecting person’s wastebastet by their desk ).

    By Ma on Oct 2, 2002

  3. Hmm..I don’t know if “Oh” is a truly honest interpretation of my reaction. :-) I realize that rinsing poopy diapers is not a fun event and I certainly don’t “look forward to it” but the thought of it doesn’t bother me..really! (I already told Aaron that I could do poopy diapers..he’s in charge of vomit…that I cannot handle, and I don’t mean little baby vomit!).
    I do have to agree that a big part of me just wants to continue using cloth diapers just because so many people have said I won’t make it. It is wonderful having the diaper service so things definitely may change when that ends, but I didn’t go into cloth diapering with the idea of using a service the entire time so I knew somewhat what I was getting my self into.
    There is plenty of support for cloth diapering moms (and dads) out there, especially with the internet now. There are lists you can join for support as well as very helpful advice, and lots of online companies created by stay-at-home moms that make their own style of diapers and provide diaper supplies and support. (That’s the “diaper underground” Aaron spoke of) :-) Cloth diapering nowadays is quite different than it was years ago. Of course you can still use the folded cloth pinned at the hips and covered with plastic pants, but there are now wonderful, breathable covers to go over the cloth, you don’t need to pin as the covers can velcro or snap on, and there are also fitted cloth diapers that are shaped like disposables..some with a seperate cover and others that have the cover attached (called “all-in-ones”). Cloth diapering can be very simple, good for the environment, no nasty chemicals near your precious baby’s bottom, instead soft comfortable cotton. (Would you like to wear plastic pants??!!) We choose comfy cotton undies for ourselves why wouldn’t we want that for our little ones?!
    Well anyway..I’ll go change Liam’s cute little cotton-covered bottom and continue the lecture another time. :-)
    Jen (Aaron’s other half)

    By Jen on Oct 2, 2002

  4. I just want to go on record as NOT being one of the ones that said you couldn’t do it!!! I did it with Tyler and it really is no big deal. Even the poopy diapers with the really great “diaper liners” (that closely resemble large drier sheets)were not that bad, the poopy liners went in the trash taking most of the mess with them and the wet ones made it through about two washings and reusings (is that a word?) before having to throw them out. You just had one load of diapers and liners a day. Hang in there Jen I have faith in ya!!! Besides he is my nephew so I am sure his poop doesn’t stink anyway!

    By Auntie Jill on Oct 2, 2002

  5. I used cloth diapers (exclusively)with both Aaron and his sister. It involved folding diapers (which I liked doing) and using pins and plastic pants. There were disposables then, but they were quite expensive and just didn’t seem cozy. I was given a box of them and used them on Aaron when we went on a vacation. They burned his bottom so I never used them again. When I had Wesley (Aaron’s brother who is nearly 17 years younger) I bought 6 dozen diapers and intended to use cloth. Those disposable things just didn’t seem soft and cozy enough for my babies. That lasted from July to September when I went back to work part time. Disposables have improved alot and I used them. However, I did use cloth too and I also am not one of those that discouraged Jen from using cloth. I admire her. If I had had the time and energy I would’ve continued to use them with Wes. I have never minded rinsing the doodies out of the diapers and still like the maternal feeling I get when I fold diapers. I must admit, I prefer pinning them to using the fancy dancy diaper holders but I can get used to it. And I know those pins scare some daddies so if that helps get them involved I am all for it. And Liam’s poop doesn’t stink at all. Grandma loves watching him regardless of what is covering his butt!!!

    By Mom (Aaron's) on Oct 3, 2002

  6. I was never lucky enough to get to use a diaper service. I chose to be a stay at home mom, and back in the 70′s, disposable diapers were just in their infancy…pardon the pun. They weren’t very good. Some of the “better” disposables had perfume in them that my first-born was alergic to. I used cloth diapers for both my children. I had never diapered a baby in my life before I had my own. It wasn’t brain surgery to learn how to do it. I used prefolded diapers and pins and the side snap rubber pants…unfortunately, they don’t seem to make the side snaps any longer; darned! They worked really good! I used the disposable diaper liners which were WONDERFUL. That made cloth diapers almost as easy as diaposable as far as mess was concerned. I used a pail of diaper-sweet to soak them in, and thank heavens I did have a washer and dryer at the house. I found that as long as the diapers were in the dryer, we were home free. I also found that that they made great spit rags and were very handy to have around. I’m encouraging my daughter to use the cloth diapers; I found they weren’t that tough to deal with….when we go out, that’s what empty bread bags are for….dirty diapers. Besides, it frustrates me when people treat diaposable diapers as disposable ANYWHERE they happen to be. That’s not what disposable means. Even my husband found that it wasn’t that bad. He only stuck the kids once or twice; he didn’t mean to. I found the diaper pins worked really good if I ran the end of the pin against my scalp as I was diapering. That way, the pins always went in easily…its the oil from the scalp that does it. I would say for moms that have to work, it would be tough to do cloth. If mom can stay home, and has access to washer and dryer, cloth is the way to go. Diaper service is even nicer…we got that for our daughter’s little one. One parting shot: yes, there is life out there after diapers. It won’t last forever…it goes by quick, believe it or not. signed: Grandma Taylor

    By grandma Taylor on Jul 10, 2003

  7. I am a sahm/wahm mommy of 3, soon to be 4. I used disposables with my first two, and clothies with my son. I am so mad that I spent so much money on disposables with my first two! Cloth diapering is EASY, once you find a good diaper that fits your style. I like to use chinese prefolds inside of ProRaps classic covers. They work great, no leaks, no rashes, and not too bulky if you use the right size for your baby. I also used Fuzzibunz brand pocket diapers. They were okay, but needed too much special care. Anyways. I am going to use a diaper service with this little one (on her way) because now I run a daycare from my home and won’t have as much time for laundry. (I don’t use a wet pail, either, it’s a drowning risk.) Diaper services are STILL cheaper than using disposables! Anyways. I just wanted to share my experience, I think that more mom’s should give it a try!

    By Jody on May 17, 2004

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