A few months ago I took a break from using cloth diapers.
Yes, you read that right. I wrote a 200+-page manual on how to use cloth diapers, and then I took a break from using them.
Is that hypocritical? Actually, I don’t think it is at all.
Is it ever good to take a break from a good thing?
In my book, I talked about how sometimes it is good to take a break from using cloth diapers. I’ve always struggled with being an all-or-nothing gal with a LOT of things in life, but I’ve made a conscience decision that I will keep a balanced view on all things green and “natural”–including my beloved cloth diapers.
Why would you take a break from using cloth diapers?
There could be several reasons, really, including:
- Your child has a stomach virus (been there, um, last weekend!).
- Your child has leaky gut/food allergy-induced diarrhea (been there, too!).
- Your child has a yeast infection. Actually, in my book, I recommend you switch to disposables during a yeast infection because it will be VERY difficult to rid your diapers of yeast if you do not.
- You’re traveling: It is completely possible to travel with cloth diapers, and I have taken two 10-day trips with them, but, sometimes, it may be best to take a break from cloth diapering during this time. If your host is squeamish at the thought of tossing poop into her washing machine, it may be best to pull out the sposies. 😉
- You’re in the middle of a stressful life season. This could be a move, a major work project, the birth of a new baby, etc.
- You’re behind on laundry. Don’t laugh: I think this is a valid reason to take a break! There have been seasons when it seemed the only thing I was washing were cloth diapers. Then I realized it was really sad that my husband had to wear dirty boxers to work since I had washed the diapers instead of his underwear. If you’re that behind on laundry, give the diapers a rest.
Why did I personally take a break from using cloth diapers the summer after I wrote my book? Easy, we were in the middle of a big move. I needed to spend my time packing–not washing diapers. But at one time or another I’ve actually taken a break from using cloth diapers for all of the above reasons.
It doesn’t make me a bad cloth diapering mama. That’s just silly.
How long should you take a break from cloth diapering?
Well, I really hope you don’t give up cloth diapering altogether ;), but only you can know how long of a break you need. Perhaps you just need to take a few days off to catch up on laundry. Or perhaps you just need a 24-hour break while your child has a tummy bug.
For a yeast infection, I recommend staying away from cloth until a full two weeks has past after the rash has cleared. After my baby kept infecting and re-infecting her cloth diapers for several months, I no longer take any chances.
If you are in the midst of a stressful life season, you may want to just put the diapers aside until you finally feel you are in a good groove again.
How I got back on board with using cloth diapers:
During this past break, I told myself that when I felt we were mostly unpacked from our move, I would bring out the cloth diapers once again.
Other ways to get back on board with using cloth diapers include–
- limiting yourself to just one pack (or so many packs) of disposable diapers: Once those diapers are gone, your child will go right back into cloth.
- setting a time limit: i.e. When my child has been well for an entire week, I will put him back in cloth diapers. When I am all caught up on laundry, I will add cloth diapers back to my rotation .
- buying yourself a new diaper: some new fluff might be all you need to motivate you to get your baby back into using them!
- giving your diapers a fresh disinfecting strip: Perhaps you stopped because your diapers were leaky or stinky. A good strip should do the trick.
De-stashing has actually helped me as I have put our youngest back in cloth diapers. I realized that I was using a very large stash for basically one child, and I was just overwhelmed with all of it. It was easier to put off washing them when I had so many!
To boot, some of my inserts really need to be replaced. They have lasted through nearly three children, but no matter how many times I strip those microfiber inserts, they leak.
So I went through all my diapers and picked out the ones that I know do not ever leak. It’s a much smaller but much more manageable stash–and it’s taken us back to cloth diaper bliss once again!
There are a lot of stressful things in life. Cloth diapering shouldn’t be one of them. Don’t let yourself get legalistic about using cloth diapers. If you need a break, then, by all means, take that break, sister!
That’s grace-filled natural living for you. And that’s what we’re all about.
Have you ever taken a break from using cloth diapers? If so, how did you get back on board?
My eBook, Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert, is a 200+-page handbook that will tell you all you need to know to have a successful cloth diapering journey!
Yep, I do the same. When life gets crazy, cloth diapers & homemade bread just might be the first things to go. But like you, I find that limiting myself to one package of diapers motivates me to switch pretty quickly. My inner frugalista always wins out. And I definitely would’ve switched during a move!!! That was a sanity saver, no doubt about it.
I just took a break today because my husband has been sick all weekend and I was behind in getting the diapers washed. Also I took a break for baby #7. He was an extremely fussy baby. He wanted to be held all the time. I was so overwhelmed that I let the diapers go so I could meet his physical/emotional needs better. BUT oh how I love the new diapers we bought for baby #8. I’ve fallen in love with cloth diapering all over again.
I’ve taken several breaks from cloth diapers. I started cloth diapering my first son almost 10 years ago. We put him in cloth with temporary breaks for illnesses, traveling, etc. My husband dislikes cloth and always used to nag me about it so when our second son was stillborn I was lucky to make it out of bed every day. Anything extra went out the window. Our first son was switched to cloth and I was a little sad about it but that wasn’t enough in the big picture to make me go back. He potty trained when he was three.
I put my next baby (a girl) in cloth and we stuck with it. Again, we took breaks for illnesses and travel. The usual. Then when she was 17 months old, we had to move in with my mom because of the economy. My mom had already refused to let me wash cloth diapers in her washer on our last trip to visit so I knew there was no way she’d let me do it while living there. We had to give up cloth again. Baby girl was potty trained at two.
Next baby girl was born almost exactly 5 years later and I was very excited to try all the new fluff. I had to schedule a c-section so we waited till she was 8 weeks old to put her in cloth. Cloth has come a long way since I started using it 10 years ago and we’ve had our ups and downs. Hubby actually refuses to buy disposables anymore but he refuses to use anything other than pockets. It’s pretty funny because when we started we had almost exclusively prefolds but now hubby acts as if he doesn’t know how to use them. He will finish washing diapers and hang them on the line for me. I’m really grateful for that. 🙂
I never have believed there was anything wrong with taking a break. I wish everyone would ease up on everyone else. Seems there’s a lot of mess flying around the internet these days. It’d be nice if that weren’t the case. 🙂
Oops, in the first paragraph I meant to say our first son was switched to disposables, not cloth. Sorry about that.
I am 38 weeks pregnant with our third. I stopped using cloth on my son about six weeks ago because I literally could not dispose of his poop without throwing up! Sometimes even just changing/wiping him led me to throw up! So we decided until baby is born, and maybe even a few weeks after, we’ll have to use disposables.
Wow, I wish I had had the choice to take a break from cloth diapers when my children were babies. They are now 52, 50 and 49. Disposable diapers came out when my oldest was a baby, but we could not afford them, so all three of my kids were in cloth diapers until they were potty trained. Traveled with them, went thru sicknesses with them and washed a load almost every day when all 3 were in diapers. Of course they did not have the fancy cloth diapers available now and we used plastic pants. Best part of cloth diapers was the month of diaper service my mother-in-law gave me when each child was born. You know they do not have diaper services available like the old days? If I had a baby now, I would still use cloth diapers. I feel disposable are so bad for the enviorment, plus other things I do not like about them. I am impressed with all you moms that use cloth diapers.
Took a break last week because my daughter had a diaper rash. I think it was just a regular diaper rash, not a yeast rash, but it was really nasty and I wanted to be able to put Desitin on it, so we switched to disposables for a week. At the same time as we were dealing with the diaper rash, so also had a rash in her neck, a small outbreak of eczema behind her elbows and knees and a goopy eye. There was only so much I could deal with at one time! We went back to cloth as soon as the diaper rash was gone and the other problems were starting to clear up.
I am in the mist of taking a break from cloth because after the birth of my second I had severe postpartum depression. I was so overwhelmed, had such high anxiety and depression that it had to go. It was a hard decision. Now feeling better at 6 mo. postpartum I am now reconsidering switching back. I think I might when my 2.5 yr old is potty trained. 🙂 Then I will be back to one in cloth. I like cloth and how much it saves us so I would like to take that big box of cloth diapers out of the closet in the near future!
I took a forced break a few weeks ago. I had emergency gall bladder surgery and my husband is not on the CD band wagon. He was the one largely changing the diapers, so I figured he deserved to get his way. He was also home due to the government shutdown. Honestly though, if the government shutdown had lasted any longer, I was going to tell him he had better jump on the CD band wagon because that was definitely one expense we could cut out ;). We were down to about 10 sposies when the government opened again. Then my mom helped me for the next week and I was able to use CDs here and there. Then my weight lifting restriction was up and I went back to using CDs (except for when hubby is around). I was lucky enough not to go into complete withdrawal from the CDs, because my husband actually suggested we use them at night because they were softer and looked more comfortable to sleep in! I may convert him yet!
I am thankful for this article. I just took a first ever week break to go out of town and I felt so guilty at the beginning like cloth was an all or nothing because I hear so many say how horrible disposables are for baby I felt like I was gonna harm my baby or something and that was so silly. I thought how can I buy even one pack of disposables when I have invested so much in cloth. Then I felt guilty at how much I actually liked using disposables during that time. We are back on cloth now but I will not hesitate to take a break again if needed. As mamas we need to cut ourselves a break sometimes.
I have a cloth question for you: I’ve used our diapers for 21 months now and never had ammonia issues until about the last 3 months or so. I have stripped them using blue dawn, again with funk rock and even added bleach to the wash and literally every time one of my boys pees (21 month old & 6 week old) they reek of ammonia. After just stripping them!! Any suggestions?? Please….I’m desperate. =\
Try Dreft detergent if they still make it. I had to use that with my daughter as she broke out in a rash because of the rubber/plastic pants they had 50 years ago. Dreft was the best detergent I found and I could not use bleach because that also made her break out. I do not remember the ammonia smell being so offensive except in the diaper pail. Good luck.
Leave them outside in the sun for a day or two. That works wonders!
Ive never taken a break from cloth diapers, because, I simply CANNOT. My son is terriblyallergic to the chemicals/materials in them. So id say im VERY loyal, otherwise my son would pay for it!
I’m on a permant break! I clothes diapered with babies one and two. When number three came I had such bad health problems I could barely take care of him. I decided to drop the cloth diapers and concentrate on keeping the breast feeding going. I had a severe yeast infection and went back and forth between meds for that and antibiotics for mastitis. At 6 months I quite both and went to a naturopath. My daughter also started getting UTI’s. The day I gave birth she was in the ER with a high fever. After three rounds of anitbiotics not helping we went to a naturopath. While cleansing she would go through about 4 pairs of pants a day and soak through a nightime pullup and all her sheets every night. (Yep – exactly what is needed when you have a newborn!) Now that I’m feeling good enough to go back to cloth, my baby has outgrown them. He’s 3.5 and has Global Developmental Delays. He’s functioning at around 18 months and no where near ready to potty train. Life doesn’t go as planned!!