And Then I Used Disposables

Posted 07-24-2014 at 02:54 PM by Banana Cat

I’m a huge advocate of cloth diapers. Really, I think they’re one of the Most Amazing Things Ever, Plus Our Ancestors Used Them, and yadda yadda. They’re cute and seem comfy and it’s kind of nice seeing them all lined up on a shelf.

Sure, I would say things like, “Of course everyone must use the diaper system that fits into their lifestyle,” but I won’t lie, when a family member discovered he had run out of disposable diapers for his son and refused my offer of a loaned cloth diaper with a, “Well, thanks, but we’re not into cloth, that’s kind of icky,” I felt VASTLY superior for a while. I mean, *I* got over the ick factor! There you are, polluting landfills with your son’s waste for the next several hundred years while I am responsibly using eco-friendly cloth…and accidentally clogging the toilets with disposable wipes, but never mind that!


Cloth vs disposable: One catches poop. So does the other.


While I was pregnant with my second child, we went camping with family. I dragged along a tote of cloth diapers because I simply refused to buy disposables for a three day trip. To be fair, my daughter often broke out in rashes when she was in synthetic diapers, so I liked putting her in 100% cotton. She was comfortable and rash-free that way—that was what worked for us.

Then, my son was born. You know how they say every kid is different. Well, I knew that. But I didn’t know that until I had my second child. While my daughter would happily sit in an overflowing diaper without making a peep, my son seemed highly distressed if he felt even a drop of liquid in his diaper. We quickly learned that when he cried, it usually wasn’t because he was hungry (like my daughter), it was because he wanted his diaper changed. The moment we changed him he went from loudly shrieking monster to sweet, cooing, baby-commercial baby.

For the first several months after our son was born, we didn’t do any travelling. This was more because of being tied down to our city for various reasons, and less because travelling with a baby seemed like a bad idea. Still, eventually the time came to visit some relatives a state over and I looked at our shelves of cloth diapers while packing. Every other time we’d travelled with just our older child, I’d packed up the cloth diapers without hesitation, but was amazed at how much prime luggage space they took up. I wouldn’t buy disposable liners to use with PUL covers either because, “I’m not buying more diapers when we have dozens already sitting here!” A fair argument, but this time, we were cramming luggage for four people in our tiny Honda Fit trunk. Cloth diapers would take up valuable cargo space that could instead be used for food, toys, or several bottles of Asti Spumante (to consume at our destination, not while driving, of course).

I thought about it. Yes, I dragged cloth diapers along while camping last year, in the heat, while I was five months pregnant. But at this point we’d been cloth diapering exclusively for two and a half years straight. I had long passed “being tired of doing diaper laundry,” and entered the “automatically do diaper laundry while spacing out and pretending I’m on a beach drinking Asti Spumante,” but still, a break from diaper laundry—especially on vacation—was appealing.



Switching up your system of keeping baby’s bodily excretions off your carpet? There’s a Target run for that.


A few days later I headed to Target loaded up with coupons, and left with a package of disposables. I mean, he liked stay-dry cloth diapers the best and disposables are basically all stay-dry, so I hoped they’d work.  When we got home, I put one on my son to be sure it fit properly. He promptly pooped. The disposable didn’t implode, or explode, or give him smallpox or anything. It was just a diaper, except instead of having to wash it I could just chuck it in the trash.

So I did. Then I tossed the rest of the disposable diapers into my suitcase, because, hey, a week-long break from cloth sounded, really, really nice. Especially when I’d really be on a beach drinking sparkling wine instead of just daydreaming about it.


7 Responses to “And Then I Used Disposables”

  1. nicolehmom on July 24th, 2014 5:06 pm

    Good for you! I used cloth diapers EXCLUSIVELY for four years, but once the second baby hit about 18 months, he’d get disposables now and then. And once my DH realized he could keep a secret stash of pampers in the closet…. well, yeah, once in a while it’s really nice not to do that extra load of laundry. So give yourself a vacation, and have fun!

  2. indigosmama on July 25th, 2014 7:03 am

    We had to switch to disposables for my eldest after trying multiple cloth training options. He has been lightweight potty learning for about 6 months, and his poops are intensely grown-up like. I just couldn’t scrape, dunk and swish man poops anymore. He wears disposable pull-ups now, and though I do feel guilt over throwing each one in the trash (aka landfill), I also am having waaaaay less anxiety and I cut my diaper laundry in half, which is a big deal when diapering 2 boys, especially since my second son is like yours, and hates to be in a dirty or wet diaper for even a moment.

  3. ReadingRenee on July 25th, 2014 11:28 am

    Hah! I like your writing style and I can definitely relate. I was the exact same way in the beginning. 5 plus years later… well lets just say my 2 year old is wearing a disposable right now because Im behind on diaper laundry and I don’t feel like folding up a diaper to put on her. (The only kind that is clean now) And we use disposables at night because Im soooo tired of trying to get the ammonia out. And I have dragged acres of cloth across the country on every vacation we ever took (including camping) but this last one, I used disposables all the way. They really can be a nice convenience and yes a nice break from diaper laundry. :)

  4. Buffalobarb on July 27th, 2014 7:35 am

    I think it’s good not to get too rigid and allow yourself a break from cloth if you need to. I just went on vacation and was proud that I even brought all my cloth diaper stuff with me but ended up using mostly disposable. I was single parenting (hubbie had to work) and baby was put of sorts at times. Let’s feel good out the what we ARE doing and not be hard on ourselves when we need a break.

  5. SillyEllie on July 28th, 2014 5:31 pm

    I love your honesty and how you keep it real lol. I’ve been cloth diapering on and off for 6 years. Exclusively with my oldest but my younger 2 it’s been on and off. Life happens. Some kids do better in cloth then others while some moments in life, a sposie is just needed or honestly, sometimes you just don’t want the extra laundry. Like you said, it’s just a diaper and if you are on this site, we’ve done our share with saving the world

  6. LGrover on July 31st, 2014 9:25 am

    I had to take disposables on vacation to the beach for my 2 boys b/c we were sharing a condo with my mother in law and sister in law and they get annoyed with the cloth diapering thing. I admit it was nice to not have to do all the cloth business for 2 days but I have to admit, disposables, especially cheap ones, are leaky and they have a weird smell that gives me a headache.

  7. Kikky on July 31st, 2014 2:18 pm

    I’m really glad I’m not the only one feeling this way! When I do occasionally have to use a disposable I would feel so bad like ” I’m doing something wrong” but every now & then mostly when I’m doing diaper laundry & don’t have anything clean my LO wears a disposable. I just hate the guilt that comes with it. Ie landfills & the comfort for my child.

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