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I Failed Cloth Diapering
January 5, 2011 12:09 pm | by

Confession time: I failed cloth diapering… at least my first attempt that is.

When my twins were newborns, money was tight, really tight. During an online search, I was introduced to the idea of cloth diapering. Hours of internet research later, I knew this was what was going to save my family’s budget. I shared with my husband, who was indifferent to the idea, but definitely wasn’t willing to invest the hundreds of dollars required for start up. I devised a brilliant idea to eBay off some extra stuff around the house to make enough to buy a few start up diapers, then slowly between clearing out my house and the money I’d save on disposables, I would work up to a full stash. Surely, after seeing them in use my husband would change his mind like all those other husbands I’d read about online.
I stalked eBay for hours watching a waiting for the “it” WAHM (work at home mom) cloth diaper of that time to post a lot of diapers that I could afford. Finally I found my magic lot, two yellow outside, dark grey fleece inner, seconds quality cloth diapers. Because it was the wee hours of the morning, I managed to snag the deal before anyone else could bid it above the balance in my PayPal account. They were ugly, but they were mine and they would save my family budget!
I couldn’t wait for my package to arrive. I followed the prepping instructions perfectly and put them on the boys… who promptly peed in them 10 minutes later. So then I had to wash them. Let me clue you in to something here, doing the whole laundry process for two diapers is ridiculous. My husband was irritated at how much time it took and I quickly became discouraged.
No one I knew cloth diapered, I was going it alone, except for help from other moms online. I had too few diapers to make it a success and there were no stores to visit for help or product. Keep in mind, my twins are now 6 years old, bumGenius just turned 5 last month. The cloth diapering world was a much different place than it is now.
A few years passed, the cloth diapering world grew, my family moved to a new city and I had another child. A child that I was able to successfully cloth diaper, thanks to a network of moms who I could call on, a local store that I could visit and amazing new products that had recently been invented.
So why did I write this as the first Real Mom Talk of the year? To give you hope. Cloth diapering is a parenting choice, much like breastmilk or formula, co-sleeping or a crib, baby wearing or a stroller. Parenting choices can be difficult and may require investments of time, effort and sometimes money.
As we think about making positive changes for our families for the coming year, remember to take it one small step at a time. If you feel like giving up, find support. If, after giving it your best, it’s just not working out, sometimes you have to let it go. If you choose let it go, don’t allow guilt to creep in and steal the joy of just being a parent. Only you can know what’s best for your family.
Have you ever tried to make a positive change for yourself or your family and failed? Did you ever try again and find success on the second or third try? Share your story with me.

About the Author

Heather is mom to four, born within 40 months (single, twins, single). She writes transparently about her chaotic household to encourage others through the twists and turns of parenting.



  • Adult Diapers said...
    September 29, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Interesting and important information. It is really beneficial for us. Thanks

  • me said...
    February 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I think I’m failing CDing. Every time my daughter is in a BG 3.0 she get a horrible rash all over her bottom (I’m thinking ammonia burn). I’ve done everything I know to do. I’ve striped them with dawn, rocked the soak, vinegar, even purchased the new ammonia rock by rockin green. I don’t know what to do, but I had to buy another pack of disposables and I am heart broken that I am hurting her.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • Anonymous said...
    February 5, 2011 at 5:22 am

    My cloth diapering failed with my oldest child bacause there wasn’t any support, with my second child I never considered using cloth diapers.
    But this was 6-12 years ago, cloth diapering wasn’t as ‘hot’ as it is now (it was considered ‘weird’ where I lived)

    Breastfeedig was alsmost a succes (I say ‘almost’ since we did had a lot of problems with allergies, not enough milk, to much milk, sore nipples, slow growth (by formula standards, normal growth by breastfeeding standards) not a lot of support especially from healthcare takers who where very pro-bottlefeeding at the time, (they had posters, samples, pamphlets, mouse pads, pens, notepads etc. with the logo’s from leading formula brands)

    My reason a be so ‘stubborn’ about the whole ‘breastfeeding thing’ was bacause my children have a severe allergy to cows milk protien, lactoses and soy, quiting wasn’t an option, there wasn’t a diet formula my kids could eat without getting sick (they tried)
    I constantly had to defend my decision to breastfeed áfter six months of age because people said ‘WHO reccomends only the first six months’ (*sigh* No, WHO recommend exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, start solids áfter six months and continue breastfeeding for another 2 years)
    I’m proud of myself for being able to breastfeed my kids until áfter the age of 18 months.

  • Adult Diapers Wholesale said...
    January 14, 2011 at 12:44 am


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  • Anonymous said...
    January 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Failed is too strong a word for what has not worked in our lives. So we werent able to breastfeed for 12 months or we were unable to use cloth diapers exclusively. Is your baby happy? Healthy and living life to the fullest? The only time you have failed is if your child is lacking in love! I say this like I have never had those feelilng like a failure moments. I feel this way constantly about everything. However reading the blogs and seeing how hard we are on ourselves makes me realize that as long as I love my son and do the best job I can with my resources than I have succeeded no matter whether I CD, breastdfed,coslept or not!

  • Corry said...
    January 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I’m so stubborn about everything that I refused to fail. I bought my BG3.0s shortly after I learned that I was pregnant, then FLIPs when they were released. That went pretty smoothly for me. I found it pretty simple to travel and stay home with cloth. He outgrew the BGs at 22 months, so we had to make a change. I chose PFs this time around with a fitted for nighttime. Ironically his skin condition improved 100% by being in the natural fibers, as opposed to the MF. We have been having great success with them, even though it was an adjustment for anyone besides my husband and myself who may change his diaper occassionally. We’ve often picked him up to find him a cover only, or with the cover on backwards (??).

    Breastfeeding was a drama. The hospital wasn’t great about education and said that a 6 lb baby couldn’t BF. So, I pumped and would feed him by cup. At 8 weeks, I was about to give up. I found a great breastfeeding group near me who directed me to an IBCLC. Within 10 minutes, she had him latched and he ate 5 oz from one breast! 🙂 It was expensive to see her, but it gave our family back peace of mind and eliminated the need for pumping.

    If Chicago area mamas are looking for CD support, join Cloth Diaper Chicago at

  • hfluegel said...
    January 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I had a hard time when I was nursing my first. He didn’t have a great latch and I didn’t know what to do to fix it either. It was painful every time he latched. My milk ended up giving out at about 10 months. And he was then supplemented with formula. I had wanted to nurse for a full year. With my second, I was able to have that goal. I was armed with a lot more information thanks to the LLL. I learned how to do a correct latch. Everyone who says that nursing comes naturally to both mom and baby is lying!! For cloth diapering, I tried to cloth diaper my first son. I had prefolds and covers. I was overwhelmed. And had no idea how to wash them or anything. I only had pins, I didn’t know about snappis. I was just folding them and placing them in the covers and we would have poop on the covers all the time. It was awful. I had terrible stink too. With my second, I was a lot better prepared. I had BG 3.0’s. He was pretty much exclusively cloth diapered from 2 months until over a year. Then he got yeast rash and impetigo and we had to use disposables for about 2 months. I figured out the stay-dry in the BG’s were giving him a rash. So we quit using them. I just sold my whole stash and started using goodmama fitted diapers. He does much better in them and his rashes are almost non-existent. He likes the natural linings I guess!! We go coverless a lot too…

  • Erin said...
    January 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I failed at breastfeeding TWICE and clothdiapering once. I had no idea what I was doing the first time around with CDs and the second time around was soooo much better with more resources and knowledge.

  • Terry Moran said...
    January 6, 2011 at 3:57 am


    Cloth diapers have been worn throughout human history. They are made of cloth or disposable materials. Cloth diapers are composed of layers of fabric such as cotton, hemp, bamboo or microfiber and can be washed and reused multiple times. Thanks…

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  • stacythemagnificentmommy said...
    January 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    i failed at breastfeeding my first daughter. she got at least some, but not full time for even the first 3mos. i am 12mo going strong now with my son. cloth was easy for us, breastfeeding, not so much =)

  • Anonymous said...
    January 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    When my son was 11 weeks old, I sat in the dressing room at a Carter’s store and cried because I felt like I had failed at everything I intended to do. I had just stopped nursing him and started pumping and dumping due to a chronic yeast infection that we were passing between us. He had a terrible diaper rash that got worse when I used cloth (I know, that’s not usually the case but with him it was) so he was wearing disposables all the time. I felt like a total failure. Somehow, though, I was able to adjust my expectations and keep going. I pumped and dumped for 5 weeks while the infections cleared, then was able to give him some breast milk from a bottle and gradually transition off formula and back to nursing over several months. It was really difficult, but I’m happy to say that at 9 months he is back to exclusively breastfeeding.

    I also got great advice from several other cloth diapering moms who helped me find the best diapers for him. I’m still not able to cloth diaper all the time, because he does get rashy, but we’re doing much better with that.

    I think the most important thing I learned (or at least, I’m trying to learn!) was to be flexible and adjust my expectations when things didn’t go as planned. Sometimes, no matter how much you want to do something, it just doesn’t work out. You have to be able to let that guilt go and move on. And sometimes, when you’re just about to give up, things take a turn for the better, and you can accomplish your goals. It helps to have a good support system either way.

  • bittywings said...
    January 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I failed at breastfeeding my son. He was a 9lb9oz baby who couldn’t get enough to eat. While my supply was plentiful, it was more like skim milk and this left my poor guy kind of unsatisfied. When my son was 2 months old I had to have emergency surgery and as there had been no possible way to build up a reserve in the freezer because he drank every ounce, he had to be formula fed for a few days. After that He started cutting back on mommy and enjoying the much more satisfying bottle a little more every day. We held on for about two months after that….but it got to the point that he would just scream at me when i tried to get him to latch on. This was heartbreaking for me, but it was finally time for me to let go of that ideal. I know there was nothing more I could do…for him it was a matter of choice. I had wanted to be a successful breast feeding mama, but ended up being doomed from the start. Now when I share with other pro-boobie mama’s, a lot of them give me the “Oh, you obviously didn’t try hard enough” look, which makes me feel even worse. But I know I tried everything I could, and I’m proud of hanging in there as long as I did.
    We shall give it a go with number 2:P

  • Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...
    January 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I was a cloth diaper failure with my daughter (2007). The diapers were horrible and leaked. I wasn’t dedicated enough. I didn’t do enough research. I quit. Chloe wore disposables. Until the birth of my son in 2008 when I put her in cloth trainers and she was potty trained by her third birthday.
    With the birth of my son (2008), armed with knowledge gleaned from the internet and a small but workable BumGenius stash, I finally got my success story with John. He’s 2 1/2 and now in cloth trainers. I hope to have him potty trained when baby #3 arrives in May 2011. I sold my BG3.0 stash and bought 4.0 snaps. They’re freshly laundered and ready to go for our new arrival.

    I think it’s important to share cloth diapering failures and the reasons we think we did. it’s helpful to other moms and can be an encouragement too!!

  • Christy R. said...
    January 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I want to be a WAHM. I love being home with my kids, but the bills add up fast and money is tight. I’ve tried a couple of different ventures in direct sales and daycare, and so far, I guess you could say it’s been a bit of a flop. But I know that this is best for me and my babies, so I’m going to keep looking. I’m not sure where the journey will take me, but I’m determined to find a way to spend my days with my girls and still support my family. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • stefanie said...
    January 5, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    it’s good and encouraging to hear moms being honest about their attempts and to be reminded that not everything will always go as planned! we’ve been very lucky with our first – she took to bf’ing beautifully and we’re in sync at 7 weeks… the cd’ing surprised me, i thought i would take it on and be a pro… i’ve gotten better, but my husband is the one who really knows his stuff when it comes to using prefolds and the like! you just never know what positive surprises might come your way too 😉

  • Anonymous said...
    January 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    With my first child I was a “failure” at pretty much everything! Breastfeeding, nope. Cloth diapering, fail. Baby wearing, not so much. With my twins I did much better but still no luck on breastfeeding and baby wearing is a tad difficult with 2 wigglers so I did my best. Now I put failure in quotes because despite all my percieved failures and pressure from outside, my oldest who is now 16 is one of the most loving, kindest, smartest, self aware guys I know. My twins who are now 2 and a half are poised to take over the world just as soon as they can write their names and are turning out pretty dang good if I do say so myself. Mommies need to stop beating themselves up and love the journey and worry less about the destination. No one is perfect but if you are doing your best then put down the parenting guides, turn off the blogs and go hug them babies and just pat yourself on the back for making it through another day.

  • yolanda said...
    January 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    i failed at cloth diapering my newborn. i had prefolds, pins and plastic pants. i was easily discouraged and my diapers were too big. gave it another try when she was 8 months old with modern diapers and was successful.

  • laura said...
    January 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I almost failed at breastfeeding. It has been two months since my DS was born, i was told he had a great sucking reflex and we had a wonderful time BFing and bonding in the hospital. The day i was discharged, my milk came in. This was a nightmare, i had so much milk and was so engorged that my little one couldnt latch on. We went to the doctor who said to start pumping because he wasnt getting enough milk. I felt so guilty for him not getting enough even though i had so much. For a week i pumped exclusively, and bottle fed him. He was no longer jaundiced, but i still felt dissatisfied. As a last resort i made a (very expensive) appointment with the hospital lactation consultant. Upon arrival, she immediately popped a little plastic disk onto my breast and like magic my son was able to latch on! He ate 4.5 oz in about 10 mins according to her scale, and then promptly went to sleep. I went home with a nipple shield and was excited that my son was basically breastfeeding again. Its been two months and he still nurses off of the nipple shields even though i am no longer engorged, i feel so lucky that it worked out for us, because i came so close to just giving up.

  • Amanda said...
    January 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    So far I’m not a fail as far as CDing goes, but in my mind I failed at Bfing with my first. I tried, the LCs tried, he just wouldn’t latch. So I exclusively pumped for 6 weeks. Then he learned to latch. The sad part is all the pumping had my supply low, at 3 mo we started supplementing, by 5 we stopped. With my second I was determined not to let things go that way. We are 4 1/2 mos bfing, rarely pump, going strong

  • Anonymous said...
    January 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I’m still failing at cloth diapering. Been nearly a year. Hopefully, I learn to like it soon. New baby due in May.

  • Anonymous said...
    January 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I would have already failed at cloth diapering without the support of a couple local stores. My daughter is only 5 months old. We’ve already had leaking problems and blow outs. It has taken the advice of many moms to find what has worked for us. I’m sure I’ll have even more question as my daughter continues to grow.

    The same has been true with breastfeeding. I would have given up had it not been for some great lactation support and a local store with awesome staffing!! I think that when we are trying things that are new to us, we need to seek out a support system. We need people around us that can be there when we have questions, which will eventually have.

    If you think that something is right for you and your family, seek out support. Somewhere out there are people that have gone before you, been where you have been, and will be there when you need them!

  • Spiffychick said...
    January 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    With my first I planned on cloth diapers. But the craziness of a baby (and me without any children experience, I didn’t even babysit as a kid!) it kept getting pushed off. With the birth of my second and a new concern for finances, I took the plunge. I purchased 6 OS BG. Two weeks later, I purchased 12 more. It was a hit on our pocketbook for the upfront, but so much cheaper in the long run! So far so good. I think the big difference is that I’ve been down this kid rodeo before and I know what I’m doing. Too many “news” at all once was over whelming with the first. Now, I feel like an old pro.

  • The Wholesome Duchess said...
    January 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I wouldn’t say I failed at breastfeeding, but I wasn’t as committed to it as you need to be your first time around. I was much happier to sleep for 4-5 hours and let my husband take one of the night feedings with a bottle. As a result, it took a LONG time for my milk to come in, and we were two MONTHS into the process before my son and I were both comfortable with the whole experience. THEN, after approximately one good month, he went on strike, and refused to eat from the breast– only from the bottle. Terrible tantrums ensued, and even after trying all of the tricks to get him to nurse, he would not. So at 4 months old, I had to switch entirely to bottles. I tried to stick with pumping, but gave up on that too, since it meant I could never leave the house. I felt pretty badly about it.

    With our next baby, I’m still open to bottle feedings, but not for the first couple of weeks. I really want to get my milk to come in, and the new baby used to the routine. My husband will still help late night by changing the diaper, and taking the baby back to the crib, but I’m DETERMINED this time to learn from the mistakes I made before.

  • Kittie'sMom said...
    January 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I failed at breastfeeding with my daughter. I had no support from the nurses at the hospital, my daughter couldn’t latch after two weeks I gave up. I’m hoping with our next (since we’re in a new area) I’ll be able to breast feed or at the least pump exclusively!

  • K. said...
    January 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I tried to cloth diaper my firstborn (he is now 7) and failed miserably. I had prefolds, pins and plastic pants…a long way from what cloth diapering is today! My second son was born last April and we’ve been using bumGenius one size 3.0s since he was about 6 weeks old. They are perfect! I absolutely LOVE cloth diapering and tell everyone who will listen how absolutely wonderful it is!

    Breastfeeding was also a challenge for me BOTH times. With my oldest he was a slow gainer and by 6 weeks his gain was extremely minimal. I was young and didn’t find the proper support, so I just switched to formula. I encountered the same issues with my youngest (who was born at home and had an excellent start at nursing) so I suppose I am just one of the select few who doesn’t produce enough. This time, however, I had excellent support from a few people and I tried everything in my power to increase my supply before eventually supplementing with formula. This time I used the Medela SNS, which really prolonged our nursing relationship! He is almost 9 months and we are still breastfeeding! 🙂 it has been SO hard sometimes, feeling rejected at times, self conscious, inadequate, etc…but it has been SO worth it! <3

  • JLo said...
    January 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I failed at breastfeeding. Twice. Admittedly the first time around I wasn’t that into it anyway so I wasn’t too upset, but when I had my son last summer I was determined, which made it so much harder when it didn’t work out yet again. I have spent a lot of time feeling guilty, when he had reflux, or colic, or showed lactose sensitivity. When he couldn’t sleep at night. In my mind I know I did everything I could, but in my heart I still wonder if there was one more thing I could have tried. It’s funny because I’ve helped a few of my friends through the same thing, but when it came to my own child I was a lost cause.