We Use Them Interchangeably
Stephanie Butler, who was concerned about disposable diapers' environmental impact, attributes her success with cloth to flexibility. She doesn't beat herself up about using disposables from time to time, either overnight, on a trip or outing, or even when she just hasn't had time to do a load of laundry.
When her son was a newborn, he had trouble eating and Butler used disposables until the situation resolved. "There were more pressing issues for us than the environment at that time," she says.
As for my family, we have grown to love cloth diapers, but our transition was not seamless. I was thrown by the initial start-up costs and decisions. The choice of diapers is vast and all our purchases had to be done online because there were no nearby stores with a real selection of cloth diapers. It felt like a big investment for products that might not solve our problem.
Once I had a sampling of diapers, it took a great deal of trial and error to find the ones that worked for my daughter. I had to invest in additional accessories, including cloth wipes and a washablediaper bag. Then I experimented until I found detergent that worked: Some detergents contain oils, which actually repel moisture, causing diapers to leak. Despite a few successful months, my diapers began retaining a smell. I am still working to resolve this stinky matter.
My daughter loves her "soft-y" diapers (as she calls them). She enjoys picking and choosing which she wants to wear. Most importantly, that four-month-long rash on her bottom disappeared just two weeks after we made the switch.
I'll admit though, my husband and I both have aversions to changing soiled cloth diapers on the go. Unless my daughter has already er… pooped, we use disposables when running errands. We don't use cloth diapers at daycare, and we found it impractical to use them on vacation given our limited access to laundry.
Still, gone are the days of panicked runs for wipes or diapers—we just do a load of laundry. We know that cloth diapers don't contain chemicals that could harm the world or our daughter, and we're lessening our contribution to landfill.
Moms are realizing that cloth diapers don't have to be all or nothing, says Tereson Thomas, founder of Fuzzi Buns diapers. "They can do it at home or at times when it's easier for them—and then use disposables on the road or at daycares. [It's] an easy way to save money, do the right thing for the world, and it's nothing like cloth diapering of yesteryear."