Cloth Diapers

Four babies later and the youngest in her teens; would I use cloth diapers if I had it all to do again?


You might be thinking, “Oh, she used cloth diapers because she mothered her children in a different time.”

Let me tell you that I was out numbered even then.

It was very unusual to see another mother using cloth diapers. When I lived in Key West, there was a large alternative community there. I had strong support there. But when I went for a visit back home I was the only one using them. It really did not phase me because I couldn’t imagine using any thing else.

It was so easy using cloth diapers.

I loved the softness I was putting next to my child at every diaper change.

The hard plastic tape on plastic diapers (now I think some use the soft tape), would sometimes end up wiggling next to the babies hips and leave red marks.

The thought of me adding all that plastic to the landfill; I just couldn’t do it. It was a rare moment that my child had a plastic diaper on.

both in cloth, Key West. Jeremy and Simon

both in cloth, Key West. Jeremy and Simon


Jeremy 1 week old; wrong way to put on a diaper

Jeremy 1 week old; wrong way to put on a diaper

I remember the first diaper change. Bob changed all the diapers for the first two weeks. We hadn’t planned it that way and to this day I have no idea how it happened. He did the first change and I just said how well he did it and he kept doing it.

He didn’t do it the best way but it worked. I think the midwife showed him how to do it properly on the third day. The pictures are so cute.

The correct way to put on a cloth diaper

pic from wikimedia–the fastest way to put on a diaper

When our first was two months old we headed out of Key West for the long trip up North. This was a yearly pilgrimage as it was just too hot in the Keys in the summer.

We had a van fixed up and that was our home for most the summer. We had a rack welded onto the back of the van for a gas tank. Next to the gas tank was the diaper pail. I kept the diapers in a plastic bag straight from the change. Once a day I would fill a bucket with water and rinse them out then store them in the bucket next to the gas tank, no water, till we went to the public laundry mat. It only took an extra, say, 30 minutes every 3-5 days. We had to do laundry anyway so I am not including that time.

Back in the 1980’s they had already developed some great leak proof diaper covers that were either a tight soft wool or cotton. I sometimes used the plastic covers. In all ten years of using diapers I would say maybe I bought 15 plastic covers. This doesn’t even compare to the amount of plastic I would of put into the landfill had I used cloth.

It is a least 100 years to decompose a diaper, but more than how long the issue is at what cost. Diapers are around 2% of municipal solid waste. In some countries the waste is not handled properly and it leaches into the water source or animals carry toxins. An example would be the live polio vaccine can cause exposed people to contract the virus.

I used the rectangle basic diaper but now they have all sorts and shapes. I like the price of the plain diapers but I did have a few fancy diapers for outings.

Screen shot 2013-09-08 at 2.54.53 AM

I washed my diapers in Arm and Hammer soap. It’s important not to use detergent with perfume or other chemicals. I’d use Borax for whitening occasionally. The best thing I found to whiten a diaper was to just hang them out in the sun. I would wash them by hand when we lived in the bush in St John with no power or running water. Then I would hang them on the line with a little bit of staining. By the time I took them off the line after a full day of sun they would be white, white. This works better if you never let them stain on previous washings. If they are stained then a dryer will set the stain so it is harder to come out. Many people don’t know this anymore because we are often so far removed from nature.

The web site called Saf Baby has a good article on diapers. It is called “10 most frequently asked questions about cloth diapers.”

For those that really like to mull over the facts here is an interesting site. The site has an article called, ” The Diaper Decision: Not A Clear Issue


2 thoughts on “Cloth Diapers

  1. Cheers! I love our cloth diapers. It’s funny how the diaper debate has become so huge…and yet it really doesn’t seem like it should be soooo complicated. With baby #2, we did decide to try g-diapers, which are a useful combination diaper…they have a cloth cover and a biodegradable, compostable, flushable diaper insert. They’ve been helpful when we are out and about for the day so I don’t have to carry much back and forth. But otherwise, there is nothing like putting cloth on a baby. Nothing like it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I cloth diapered my first child 15 years ago when it wasn’t popular. I did it because it was economical and I was a SAHM.

    I cloth diapered my middle child 10 years ago to help save money, although she did wear disposables, as well.

    I cloth diapered my last child (she’s just now potty trained) because it was better for the environment, better for my baby, AND economical.

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