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Busting Cloth Diaper Myths: “I need a diaper stash”



You have a baby on the way – maybe your first, maybe your fourth – and you’ve decided cloth diapering is the system for you. Prepare yourself; you are soon going to be bombarded with unsolicited advice and facts, much of which just isn’t true. For some reason, whether people have used cloth diapers or not, everyone has an opinion and everyone has heard a myth they are eager to spread.

With so much information coming at you from every angle, it’s hard to know what is true and what isn’t. Fear not – our blog series, Busting Cloth Diaper Myths, will tackle these myths one by one so you know exactly what you are getting into.

Today’s Myth: “I need a diaper stash”

When you first begin researching cloth diapering, determining which brand is best can be overwhelming at best. There are many cloth diaper companies and styles out there, but which one is best? You may think that with so many choices, you should have a collection of types and brands. But not all cloth diapers are created equally and your best bet for effective cloth diapering is sticking to the one perfect style and brand.

Why you shouldn’t stash

When you diaper stash, you collect a number of different diapers to cover your baby from birth until potty learning. You may end up with a few pocket diapers, some all-in-ones and some hybrids, all from different companies. This is far from ideal.

When you cloth diaper, you want a system that you can depend on, and that requires consistency. When you have a variety of diapers from a variety of companies, you will not get the consistency you need. Each diaper change will be different from the last and some diapers require better coverage than others and are more leak-free than others.

Some diapers just don’t work

So, when you stash, you will have diapers that just don’t work. In fact, it is likely that upwards of 75% of your diaper stash will let you down. Some won’t work from the beginning while others will begin to leak after four months of regular use. Because so many in your stash will let you down, you will end up rummaging around for the one or two diapers that worked the best for you – and since they are the few that you like best, they will often be dirty when you need them.

Stashing is costly

Building a stash of diapers can cost just as much as, if not more than, finding one trusted and reliable cloth diaper system and sticking with it. And so, spending that much as an initial investment, parents who have encountered frequent blowouts in their diaper stash tend to give up and switch to disposables. They are afraid to invest in any more cloth diapers after three-quarters of the diapers they initially purchased failed, so they go with disposables assuming that cloth just didn’t work. The reality is, cloth does work – it just has to be the right diaper.

There is a cloth diapering system out there that meets your needs and your baby’s needs more than the others, so do your research and find that one cloth diapering system rather than buying one of each. With the right system, you won’t be disappointed and won’t give up and resort to disposables.

8 Responses to “Busting Cloth Diaper Myths: “I need a diaper stash”

  • I’ve CDed two kids from birth for the last three years. I don’t agree with this article. Here’s the problem. “Do your research and find that one cloth diapering system.” Kids change, needs change. I have tried almost every major type of cloth diaper and had medium size stash of each (6-24 changes). At some point, each of these types was the “best” for what I needed at the time. Without trying each of the systems, there was no way for me to know which one was best for me. Let’s say I chose prefolds and covers from the beginning, which is not a bad choice. But when my first child entered daycare, this was definitely not going to work. I sent BGEs thinking those would be easiest. Nope. They liked pockets. So I had to have enough of those. Night diapers required something different, otherwise I was changing wet PJs and sheets most mornings – I went with fitteds and wool. And so on and so on. Even with a cloth diapering store nearby where I could see and touch the different types, there was no way for me to know what would work for my kids, my washing situation, my childcare situation until I actually tried using the diapers (and more than one of each). So if you’re one of the lucky ones who can choose one system and have it work for you all the time for the entirety of your CDing years, then congratulations! But please don’t make it sound like the alternative (trying out different things) is one of those “myths that just isn’t true” — in my experience, the advice in this blog post is what’s not true. If I had only had one type of diaper to use based on my extensive “research” prior to having an actual baby to CD, I would have given up cloth diapers long ago. Looking forward to hearing other people’s experiences.

    • Erika Froese
      4 years ago

      Hi Julie,
      We appreciate your voicing your objection to our blog posting.
      This is a classic example of when the system you choose meets your current needs but not your needs as babies grow and develop. Other than going to childcare it is hard to anticipate what our child’s needs are going to be. For most parents the trial and error method of searching out the right diaper system would be cost prohibitive. It also requires a renewed time commitment each time your system no longer meets your needs. Over the many years we’ve been diapering children we have found parents want a well made, durable, easy to launder, leak proof diapering system at a reasonable price. Most parents want to choose a single diapering system and be done with it.
      A well designed, well made diapering system will fit the size range it is meant to fit and it will function perfectly whether you use the diaper during the day time or night time. It will work whether your baby sleeps on his side, stomach or back and also be the perfect diapering system for babies that will eventually go to a child care facility. All babies change on an ongoing basis. It is impossible to try to match a child to a diaper. The diaper must match the child. A well designed diaper will fit any baby within the weight range it is made for and perform perfectly no matter what your child is doing.
      We do agree that Prefolds and covers would not be a good choice if your baby will be sent to a child care facility and we also agree that pocket diapers leak.
      Cloth diapering should be fun and affordable.

      • If this “well-designed” system that functions “perfectly” exists, and I can purchase an entire set of these prior to diapering my child over time and changing circumstances… why do you sell so many different products?

        • Erika Froese
          4 years ago

          Hi Julie,
          Good question. As you know ME has been designing and producing cloth diapers since 1991. The product range we have reflects the different diapering systems parents want. Our OneSize fitted diaper and fitted cover lines were developed at that time to meet a very economical one size fits all demand. The Sandy’s diaper was developed to meet the demand of a more customized multi sized fit and the original All In One diaper was developed for those that wanted a super easy to use diaper. Each system was developed to meet a specific desire. All of them work perfectly. In 2008 we recognized that the trend was towards slimmer fitting, easy to use diapers. It was trending away from the fitted with separate diaper covers ( a two step diapering process) to more of a one step type process – All In Ones, All In Twos and Pocket diapers. Motherease recognized that a pocket diaper, by design, can not function as a leak free diapering system and therefore concentrated design efforts on meeting the demand by introducing a revolutionary All In One and All In Two diapering system. Both of these diapers meet different needs for a parent and both work perfectly. We have different designs to choose from to ensure we meet every parents’ desire; but not because one works and one doesn’t.

  • Litlmamarose
    2 years ago

    That’s all fine except that you don’t mention how to determine that one perfect diaper system without trial and error of several kinds. I started with prefolds and thirsties covers because I wanted all cotton Against my baby. No matter how much I wanted that, my baby’s skin constantly had bumps because she needed a stay dry like fleece. After cutting up 100 rectangles of fleece to layer on top of the prefolds inside the cover, I realized life would have been a lot simpler with a pocket diaper — fleece already attached and already one piece to put on wriggling baby. Once I received fuzzibunz I really didn’t like them compared to the old Bumgenius I had been trying. That is, until I put them on my baby. Suddenly they were my favorite because of how soft they were on baby’s skin and the natural hemp inserts. Too bad they leaked so much and barely fit in the carseat. Bum genius never ever leaked, but wow… Charlie Banana fit him like no other diaper has even came close. Meanwhile I had some workhorses delivered to try those out as well. I ended up buying several brands just so that I can figure out which one I really love. No matter how thorough each blogger may be, you really have to see for yourself. And without some kind of stash, I’m really not sure how you propose to go about finding your perfect system.

    • Erika Froese
      2 years ago

      Hello Litlmamarose,

      You couldn’t be more right. How can you possibly find the right diaper system without the trial and error of several different kinds? We aren’t going to say it is easy or foolproof but we have a couple of suggestions.

      You may want to ask yourself “why do I want to use cloth diapers?” “What is my main motivator?” These are personal questions to which personal answers apply.

      I will speak to those questions but they are my personal point of view. They may not reflect those of other moms:

      The environment was my main motivator to use cloth, secondly, I preferred cloth against my babies skin as I just felt it was better, in my opinion (more breathable primarily). Once I started using cloth and owned the diapers I liked that I could change the diaper as often as I wanted without any real additional cost, but that was a bonus. I also discovered I was much more about function finding that as a busy mom I didn’t always have time to change diapers quite as regularly as may have been ideal (in other words I liked a diaper that could hold a couple of pees before I had to change it).

      A Diaper has one job
      A diapers job is to contain and hold body fluid and excrement without leaking until a suitable time to change the diaper – sooner rather than later especially with the latter.

      Avoiding a Stash

      Tip 1

      Most pocket diapers leak. They may not leak the first time you use them but they will soon enough. By their very design they are not meant to hold liquid for long. Just as soon as baby is a little older and voids a little more they are not capable of holding liquid without leaking.

      The popular slim fit is also a problem. By the very nature of how things work down there, if there isn’t enough room (width of the cut of the diaper), the tight slim fit will squeeze the excrement out of the diaper- there is no room for it. Not only is this very unpleasant to have to clean up, it is completely unnecessary. The cut of the diaper needs to be somewhat more generous than most of the cloth diapers available today. When the fit is a little more generous you will find that the diaper will fit a larger spectrum of babies and the diaper won’t need to be customized to fit each baby (as mentioned in an earlier post). You won’t need to worry whether the diaper will fit your next baby.

      So, if a non leaky diaper is your objective when cloth diapering you may want to rule out pocket diapers. This will dramatically reduce the number of diapers for trial.

      A few more tips:

      Ask the manufacturer of the diaper system your considering how much liquid their diaper can hold before leakage occurs (they should have those numbers available). Compare those numbers with other manufacturers.

      Ask the manufacturer if you can put your baby down for a nap without it leaking?

      Can my baby wear the diaper overnight if we add a soaker/booster or absorbent liner to it?

      A well designed diaper should not fit too tight nor be too molded to the body. It will fit most babies in the allotted weight range and it will be leak proof day or night, no matter how baby chooses to lie in the crib (back, stomach or side).

      A two piece system (diaper with separate cover) is more leak proof, more cost effective and more versatile than a one piece system (pocket diapers or all in ones).

      Why not ask the manufacturer if their diaper is capable of this? This will further reduce the number of diapers for trial.

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