The Great Cotton Diaper Adventure


Last year my wife and I had our first baby. Naturally, bringing another human being into the world gets you thinking A LOT about the future of the world, how you’re going to raise her/him, what sort of values you want to impart, etc. You also start thinking a lot about poop. That is, diapers. My wife and I decided to try out cotton diapers to see how they worked. We also read several articles on “cotton versus disposable” including this great article from We bought the cloth and made our own diapers, and then we bought a few wool diaper covers from a company called Tikiba. (They’re from Europe but there is a family here where we live that orders them wholesale and sells them from their home.) Wool diaper covers? Yeah, turns out wool breaths, and is about 90% impermeable, especially if you treat it will a slathering of lanolin oil every once and a while. Anyway, I’d say we spent maybe $100.00 total in our initial investment of diapers and equipment. So, baby arrived, and cotton diapers were put into action. Everything worked like a charm, initially.

But once baby gets bigger and starts sleeping more at night, the cotton diapers get saturated fast! This means that you may end up with a wet bed at like 4:00am. (Before, we were changing diapers every 3 hours at night, so it wasn’t an issue). Also, there is the issue of traveling. We initially were taking a few plastic bags with us to carry the dirty diapers with us on short trips so we could bring them back and add them to the pile for washing. For longer trips, this got to be a little uncomfortable and stinky. What to do? Well, we compromised. We decided to use disposable diapers only for trips, and at night. The super-absorbent freaky wonder gel of disposables works great at night, and now carrying around stinky cloth diapers for several hours in a backpack is not an issue. We figure we’re still helping the environment, and we are still saving a ton of money, as a pack of 40 disposables lasts us about a month. Anyway, what we discovered is that you have to find what works for you, and for the baby. There are also more eco-friendly disposable diapers out there for folks who don’t want to wash diapers, don’t have time, etc. Once again, I recommend this article by to learn more about cotton diapers. Happy diaper changing!

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