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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

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    A Look Back.

Cloth Diapering: A One-Year Update.

I have been thinking about writing this post for a while, since I continue to get a lot of questions and emails about cloth diapering beyond the tiny baby months.  Funny that it’s been almost exactly a year since I wrote my introduction to cloth diapering post, back when we were just getting started. 

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I won’t repeat everything I said back then, but instead I’m going to talk about what’s changed since the beginning, and how cloth diapering has changed as Cullen has gotten older.  Here we go!

Storage and Disposal

I waited 2.5 months to start using cloth diapers with Cullen, mostly just because I was overwhelmed and trying to get a handle on parenthood in general.  Once I felt I had most other things under control, I was ready to dive in.  Back when I wrote the first post, I said we were using a hanging wet bag for diaper storage

I quickly realized that this was not the best solution for us.  The bag required two hands to unzip, and was sort of cumbersome.  As Cullen got older, he also got a lot more daring, and I really needed to have (at least) one hand on him at all times.  The cloth diapers are also pretty bulky when taken apart, and the wet bags didn’t hold very many at a time.  I kept them to use in my diaper bag for dirty diaper or wet bathing suit storage, and they are perfect for that.

I swapped out the wet bag for a regular trash can – just something cheap I got at Target with a tight-fitting lid, and easy to open with one hand.  We also have a traditional diaper pail for disposables, wipes, and solid waste – more on that in a minute.   

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Inside the cloth diaper can, I use the Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner.  These liners are gigantic and awesome.  They would fit almost any size indoor trash can, and they stay in place and have held up through many many washes.  I have two of the liner bags, so that there is always a clean one ready to replace when the dirty one goes into the wash!

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For some reason I never got into cloth wipes – just didn’t ever try.  I might reconsider this with our next baby, but for now I’m happy using these Seventh Generation wipes.  I like having them on hand in the diaper bag to clean up sticky faces and germy hands! 

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One of the biggest hesitations I know a lot of new parents have with cloth diapering is dealing with POOP.  A lot of people laughed and told me – just you wait until he starts solids.  You’ll be running from those cloth diapers!  Honestly, it is no big deal.  Cullen has been eating solid food for over nine months now, and while yes – we deal with diapers differently now – honestly, I think it’s easier now than before.

So I’m going to get a little bit gross here.  For those who don’t know, when babies are exclusively breastfed their poop is really runny and liquid.  They also have teeny tiny little bodies, so there really isn’t all that much poop.  Unless of course you are in public and they suddenly explode.  Then it is always an enormous amount of poop.

Back in those days, I just pulled the inserts out of the diapers and tossed everything into the liner bag.  Everything went into the washing machine – poop included.  I promise you, it wasn’t that gross, and it’s no different than washing muddy jeans or something.  The washing machine takes care of it.

But now that we’re onto solids, the poop has changed.  It’s…well, poop.  And I’m not going to put terds in the washing machine.  I originally bought a diaper sprayer, but our bathroom is down the hall and that sounded like a lot of extra work.  Then I discovered the Bummis diaper liners

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It’s just a thin sheet of tissue – cut perfectly to the size of the diaper – that I lay in the bottom of the clean diaper each time he gets changed.  Ninety percent of the time, all poop is captured in the liner, and it can just be lifted out and thrown away (into the regular diaper pail).  The other ten percent of the time, I take the diaper into the bathroom and remove whatever is left with toilet paper.  Problem solved.

So the regular diaper pail gets the disposables (which we use overnight – I’ll get to that), the dirty wipes, and the poopy liners.  The cloth trash can just gets the cloth diapers – nothing else.  I will add here that I think using a regular trash can only works if it is ONLY for wet diapers (no poop).  I know people who have used regular trash cans for disposables and other messy diapers, and trust me – it stinks.  Trash cans and diaper pails are not one and the same. 

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Washing the Diapers

I probably wash my diapers every 3-4 days, depending on how many I’ve used.  I just remove the wet bag from the trash can and dump the whole thing into our washing machine – easy as that.  I turn it over and make sure the diapers come out, and then I toss the bag in at the end and wash everything together.

I wash all the cloth diapers and inserts with Rockin’ Green laundry detergent.  I tried a few other brands, but this is my favorite.  I always start each load with a cold rinse.  Then I add detergent, and set it to the hot “sanitize” setting.  It takes about two hours to wash, and they always come out smelling fresh!  I have heard people complain about ammonia stink and staining, but in a year of cloth diapering we haven’t had any of these issues yet.  

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I throw all the diapers and liners into the dryer and dry them on a low/medium heat setting.  This usually dries them just enough, without over-drying them and damaging the diapers from too much heat. 

Styles and Choices

In my previous post, I talked quite a bit about the three different brands we were using, so I’ll just touch on this a little here.  There are many, many different brands to choose from, and we decided to try three to have a bit of variety, and to see what worked best for Cullen.

BumGenius 4.0 All-In-Ones (Snap Closure)


When I first started cloth diapering, these were my least favorite.  I found them to be too bulky and wide between the legs when Cullen was teeny tiny.  Now at fifteen months, they are far and away my favorite.  Which just goes to show that it’s good to have variety as things change and babies grow!

We have ten of these, and they are the ones I always use whenever we’ll be out for long outings.  They are least likely to leak, and fit well under Cullen’s clothes.  Bonus points – adorable colors.  Love the bright green!

Charlie Banana One-Size Diapers


We have eight of these.  I loved these when Cullen was really small because they seemed to fit his little body best.  I also really like that the inside is soft fleece.  These days we still use these a lot, but they tend to leak faster than the others, so I don’t usually use them for long trips out of the house.  That said, they are great for playing at home or napping in the crib.  I am seriously coveting the new bootcamp collection with crazy adorable camouflage patterns. 

Bummis Tots Bots Easy Fit One-Piece Diaper


We have six of these.  They have worked well for all ages, and for a long time we used them exclusively for overnights (until Cullen started sleeping longer and longer through the night).  I love that the velcro is fast and easy, and the insert is attached which means less sorting and stuffing.  They are thicker, so they do take a little longer to dry.

Tots Bots definitely wins the award for cutest patterns.  I am dying over this nursery rhyme collection, but sadly I really don’t need any more. 

We have 24 diapers total, and it definitely seems like more than enough.  I usually wash them every 3 days or so, and I usually still have a few spares in the drawer on laundry day.  I wish I needed more because I’d love to get new colors and patterns, but two dozen is definitely enough for now. 

The Cloth Diapering Lifestyle

We’ve been using our diapers now for over a year, and I really love it.  These days, Cullen probably wears 4-5 diapers a day, and one disposable for overnights.  We gave up cloth diapering at night last summer because we were dealing with too many leaks – causing night time wake ups.  We also use disposables when we travel.

But other than that we are all cloth all the time – outings, play dates, afternoons at home – whatever.  He also wears cloth for daytime naps. 


When I initially decided to try cloth diapering, I was motivated by a number of reasons – environmental impact, significant $$ savings, no chemicals, etc.  And other than switching to disposables for overnights, we’ve really had no problems.  Of course I love all the practical reasons for cloth diapering, but one of the other reasons I enjoy it so much is that they are just so freaking ADORABLE!

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They also seem really good for Cullen.  In fifteen months, he’s really never had any diaper rash.  A few spots here and there a few times, but nothing significant that ever lasted more than one diaper change.  I also love that his bum is cushy and padded for when he tumbles and sits down. 

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I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s been a great choice for us.  Casey has been on board from day one, and he helps out with diapers in the evenings and on weekends.  One complaint I often hear is that they are too bulky under clothes.  And yes, they are definitely bulkier than disposables, but I just buy a size up in most of Cullen’s pants.  I mean – I’d have to buy that size eventually, right?  No big deal.  Plus the giant butt is adorable. 

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I think one of the reasons a lot of people end up quitting cloth diapering is because they don’t jump in with both feet.  Of course disposables are easier, and if you’re only using a few cloth diapers here and there, the laundry probably feels like a nuisance.  I also think it feels really, really overwhelming before you start.  It took me almost three months to work up the courage to get going!

But I’ve never looked back, and I know we’ll keep using them until Cullen is ready to try potty training (gulp).  We’ll also continue to use this same set of diapers as long as they last – for any future babies that might come after him!  Does it get any cuter?

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Anyway, that was my really long winded way of updating you guys on how things are going now that I’m cloth diapering a toddler.  Cullen has grown and changed a lot since we first started, and the diapers have adjusted and continued to work through all his many stages.  I hope it continues to be such a good experience as we look forward!

In order to streamline all my recommendations, I created a Cloth Diapering section in my Amazon Store.  All links included in this post are affiliate links through Amazon Associates.  Thanks for supporting DG!

For more parenting posts, please check out the parenting page.  You can also visit Toddler Times to read the latest Babble:

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79 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Vanessa     at 10:55 am

Hey ladies & Emily,

How do you think this would be for a working mom? I am due in summer with our first and I will be back to work (bummer) shortly after (2-3 months at the most). I will be working from home 2-3 days a week, but that still leaves about 2-3 days staying with grandma or a sitter, and I don’t know how that’s going to work with cloth. I’d LOVE to save the money though!


Jane Reply:

Our nanny is fully on board with the cloth diapering. You have to explain exactly how they work. We asked in interviews whether the nanny has experience cloth diapering (none of the candidates did), and then I had a brief show-and-tell about it all on the first day the nanny started. I usually pre-stuff our BumGenius & Charlie Banana diapers for her so there are no questions (for example, the extra fold goes in the front for boys & in the middle for girls). She then puts the diaper liner in before she changes my son. I also do the washing… the nanny just puts them in the wet bag in our bathroom.


Vanessa Reply:

Thanks for the helpful input!:) Encouraging for me!


April Reply:

My day care supports them 100%, i bring a wet bag for them to put them in – and don’t laugh ladies, it is actually fun to see the ‘poop’ at the end of the day – at least you know how much and what color it was, ha ha.


Vanessa Reply:



charmaine Reply:

Hi, thought I would add my two cents since I use prefolds and flat diapers in a daycare setting (some people find them more intimidating than the AIO bum genius and charlie’s). Definitely buy a big wet bag (if you’ll be bringing your baby to day care), we’ve had good luck with PlanetWise. Not a big deal At All. They’re actually tons easier to use than AIO, so I think our nanny prefers them.


Emily Malone Reply:

Sorry I’m late to reply! My sister works full time and sends her little guy to daycare, and she does cloth diapering too! She just found a place that was okay with it, and sends the diapers and a wet bag each day. No big deal! I’d definitely ask around. Good luck!


Leah Reply:

Good to know for friends of mine that are considering cloth diapers and daycare (I have friends that work from home having great success with the cloth diapers already!)


Whitney     at 11:06 am

I think the bulky diaper helps balance out Cullen’s belly! haha

I love your posts about baby items even though I don’t have children. I learn so much! :)


Emily @ MainEats     at 11:28 am

Great post! I’m not a momma but this is an amazing source for families out there! Love seeing Cullen’s cute bum! : )


Beth@MotorCityOnMyMind     at 12:05 pm

I don’t have any children yet but my sister has a 4 months old and I am going to send her this post. I think she will find it interested and may start using cloth diapers! Thank you for sharing your opinion on them!


Jeanne C.     at 12:36 pm

Nice post! This may encourage other parents to try!
I have something to add.
-Cloth wipes are barely the same than disposable wipes: I always have 3-4 (already wet) in the diaper bag, in a ‘baggy’ or a disposable wipes travel case. You only have to wash them with the diapers! But, you have to store them apart de diapers, in a other wet-bag, because they contain too much humidity that can makes bacteria growing into your diapers (and bad smell and baby rash)
-To use cloth diapers overnigth when baby sleeps for a long time, the best diapers are those in two part: the tissue diaper (called fitted) and the leak-proof cover. I think the best-ones are the Omaïki Ö sleep diapers. They are bulkier but absorb a lot and lot of pee! And baby sleeps very well in his wide PJs and dry bum.
-Travel: I bring my cloth diapers when we travel. I do the laundry the day before the trip and have my full set. I can travel 3 days with my diapers. OK, they are bulkier than disposables in the luggage and you have to bring them back (dirty) in a travel wet bag. But I don’t mind. And when we went in holiday for a week, I bought ‘green’ disposable diapers.
Don’t give up, cloth diapering is great! We also have made that choice during my 1st pregnancy and now my diapers are used by baby2.


Jane     at 1:06 pm

Excellent recommendations! We cloth diaper during the day, but use Seventh Generation disposables for nighttime (the kiddo is a super-peer during the night) and for traveling. I like that cloth diapers make the transition to potty training super easy because the kid feels the wetness more than in a disposable. We started putting our son on the potty in the mornings, after breakfast around 7.5 months, and it’s working beautifully.


April     at 1:46 pm

Great post Emily! If i needed an introduction to cloth diapers i would come here. I remember researching and being SO confused at first, it was horrible! But, like you i started with my son was a few months old. I originally bought Fuzzi Bunz but ended up not liking them – they leaked a TON (my son as in daycare so it wasn’t acceptable) and they were annoying to get the liner in/out. I ended up with Thirsties and love them – they def aren’t as cute as the ones you have, but they are super easy, you don’t have to ‘stuff’ the liners like the others. Our son’s are the same age, so how many more months until they are potty trained? i will miss the cute diapers for sure:)


Karen     at 2:18 pm

LOVE the super hero pose:)


Erika     at 4:26 pm

Thanks for the post Emily! I’m about 34 weeks pregnant with our first baby and have decided to jump on the cloth diaper bandwagon. Unfortuntately I was completely overwhelmed when I first made this decision, because there are so many options out there and everyone has different opinions on each type. Just to clarify, you are using All-In-One diapers right? Not the type that has a separate cloth and diaper cover. I bought some of each and don’t know which route I want to ultimately take. Did you ever try the ones with the separate cloths and covers? If so, how did they work for you?
Thanks again for this very informative post!


Emily Malone Reply:

So when I first bought the diapers, I TOO was totally overwhelmed. I actually THOUGHT I had AIO’s, but turns out I don’t. Haha, oops! I have Bum Genius 4.0, which has separate covers and inserts, but I’ve found that I don’t mind it at all. WIth that said, if I was going to get more I’d try the BG Freetimes!


Robyn     at 4:57 pm

It was thanks to your post over a year ago that we decided to give cloth diapers a try, and we love them! I cant imagine doing it any other way :-)


Emily Malone Reply:

This makes me so happy! :)


Sarah Crowder (punctuated with food)     at 5:49 pm

Nice post – cloth diapers rock! By the way, you should be putting all solid waste down the toilet (just plop it off of the diaper or the liner) whether you are using cloth diapers or disposables (even disposables have instructions on the packaging to do so). That way, they will go through the water treatment process. Our landfills are not equipped to handle fecal matter effectively.


Emily Malone Reply:

I’ve had a lot of people tell me they clog drains and sewer lines!


Sarah Crowder Reply:

I mean just flush the poop, not the disposable liner. The poop can’t clog anything any worse than adult poop.


Christina     at 3:31 pm

“And I’m not going to put terds in the washing machine.”

This is, hands down, the best sentence I have ever read on a blog. Ha!


Amanda     at 5:07 am

Emily and anyone else-
My little boy has just turned 6 months and we are starting solids. I do cloth diaper but am still using alot of disposables as well. I am still a little intimidated to use them when we are out and about. they take up alot of space in the diaper bag…clean and dirty. Also what do you do with the solid poop when you are out? Maybe I should buy those little bags people use for dirty diapers that you can throw away?? Just trying to get tips to help us cloth diaper more full time. Thanks!


Emily Malone Reply:

Hey Amanda! I say just go for it. I have a small wet bag I keep in my diaper bag to deal with dirties. It contains all the mess and the smell, and then I just dump it in with the other dirties when I get home. Also, I have found as Cullen has gotten older that we have WAY less blowouts and leaks now that he’s eating/pooping on a more regular schedule. We almost never have to change a diaper when we’re out, unless we’re gone for a loooong time!


Kath     at 8:21 am

Great helpful post!!!! We are loving cloth now too.


Susan     at 11:15 am

We’re using cloth as well, but I’m wondering why you throw the Bummis liners and poop in the pail to decompose, when they are flushable and biodegradable/meant to be flushed?? Is there a reason for this? Just curious. We just flush them…


Emily Malone Reply:

Cullen’s room isn’t close to any of the bathrooms, so it would be a major extra step to haul all of them in there. Also, I’ve heard that even though they are technically “flushable” – they can backup sewers and plumbing lines!


Sarah @ Kids Heart Real Food     at 5:57 pm

Great recap Emily! We have been using the Bum Genius diapers for almost a year as well and LOVE them. I definitely think that the cloth diapers prevents diaper rash – Tyson has only had it once in the whole year since we have been cloth diapering.

I’m going to forward your post on to my sister who is also considering cloth diapering with her upcoming new baby!


Guadalupe Fisher     at 6:21 am

Thanks Emily, that was a very informative post. Now only 6 weeks left for my second baby, I planned on using cloth diapers but this post has made it easier for me to apt for it.


Guadalupe Fisher     at 6:21 am

Thanks Emily, that was a very informative post. Now only 6 weeks left for my second baby, I planned on using cloth diapers but this post has made it easier for me to opt for it.


Irina Johnson     at 12:44 am

Thanks Emily, I have been using cloth diapers from lilhelper diapers for around 6 months now and have found them to be very useful


Irina Johnson     at 11:19 pm

Thanks so much for this post! Quite helpful indeed


Delna Shaw     at 1:20 am

Thanks so much for this post!


Sudspenser     at 3:00 pm

The Sudspenser can save you money on the washing of diapers check it out


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