Life lessons while cloth diapering

by Leigh Ann Dutton

If you have never cloth diapered a baby, then you may wonder what cloth diapering is really like. We have been cloth diapering for about six months. Not long in the grand scheme of things, but long enough to have learned a few things and to live to tell about it.

Here are five real-life lessons from a first time cloth diapering mommy:

Beware: These lessons aren’t for the faint of heart. This is life – my life – unveiled. My secret cloth diapering struggles might surprise you.

1. Cloth diapering tests your problem solving skills

Cloth diapers have evolved tremendously over the years. There are so many types of cloth diapering systems out there that you must be willing to experiment in order to know what works best for you and your baby.

Leigh Ann Dutton lines up her cloth diapers to dry as her son plays.

Some diapers you try you will hate, but others you will love. In other words, you have to be willing to endure a season of trial and error to get the results you desire.

2. Cloth diapering tests your baseball skills.

Once your baby starts eating solid foods, the poops become more solid as well. This means that great care has to be taken as you walk your soiled diaper from changing table to toilet.

 Unfortunately, on a few occasions, I have arrived at my destination only to discover that I dropped the main ingredient somewhere along the way.

My childhood baseball coach would be disappointed.  All those times I was told to use both hands to catch a fly ball. It’s the classic hole-in-the-glove syndrome.  I now see why using both hands to catch a ball was so important. Fundamentals are important when cloth diapering our babies as well.

3. Cloth diapering eliminates the need for new toys.

Dutton's son Samuel sleeps soundly. Babies often take off their diapers to leave "gifts" for mom or dad

We must ensure that the legs of the diaper are pulled tightly, especially during naptime. Otherwise, the diaper will not do its job, and your baby will enjoy his brand new, never before seen, toy until you come in to retrieve him from his nap.

These toys are probably not safe for children; though they are kid-tested, I’m not sure they are parent approved.

4. Cloth diapering tests your cat like reflexes.

While your baby is crawling around like a mad man getting into everything that he shouldn’t, the hook and loop system for securing the diaper to your baby could come loose. As a result, the hook portion of the diaper attaches to the carpet and your baby crawls immediately out of the diaper.

You are forced to react with your cat-like reflexes to ensure that your child does not drench your carpet (or worse, I suppose). Meow.

5. Cloth diapering helps with your under water skills.

On occasion, the smell that is emitted during the transfer between the diaper pail and washer can knock you over. Laundry detergent build up in the diaper can make the diapers smell terrible and singe your nose hairs as you inhale within a 5 foot radius of your child – ammonia anyone?

 In order to keep your nose hairs intact, hold your breath as though you are swimming the length of an Olympic pool underwater when emptying the contents into the washer. This too shall pass.

Little Samuel crawls on the floor and out of his cloth diaper.

Sometimes real-life cloth diapering is just hard. In the trenches, I want to give up. I want to throw in the towel, and I, most certainly, want to throw away a diaper or two instead of deal with its contents. However, I don’t, and I keep plunging forward. I fight laziness like it’s the plague, and run the washing machine another round. Another round.

Other times, cloth diapering is downright hilarious. I’ve learned to laugh at myself, my son … and on occasion, my husband (he has funny stories too). We’ve had some pretty absurd moments and some embarrassing ones. But they are memories. Our memories.

Overall, I think the lessons of a cloth diapering mommy are no different than mommies who use disposable diapers. If you think about it, we all deal with poop, diapers coming loose, and stinky diaper pails. It’s really all in how you look at it.

The life of mom is the same whether you choose to use cloth diapers or not. We choose cloth because it works for us. You choose disposable because it works for you. Either way, we have our memories and our moments when we just want to- throw away a diaper or two.

 Cloth Diaper Websites and Resources:

Cotton Babies

Cloth Diaper Clearance 

Diaper Pin

All About Cloth Diapers

Nurtured Baby

Diaper Junction

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  1. […] needed a chuckle this morning. Maybe you do too. Here’s an excerpt from Life lessons while cloth diapering: Once your baby starts eating solid foods, the poops become more solid as well. This means that […]