I don't love cloth diapers, although I do use them regularly. I feel like most parenting decisions have to be extremely black and white - Do you baby-wear? Do you do cry-it-out? Do you breast-feed? (exclusively is implied). It's a bit strange why moms can't do a little of whatever they want, but I suppose that wouldn't fit into a label very well:) So while I cannot announce that I CLOTH DIAPER at moms groups, I do like cloth diapers in some circumstances, and have used them periodically for the last two years. Here's what my experience has been.
They are expensive. I bought Bum Genius's after a co-worker recommended them. At the time, Soren was about 14 months and had been wearing disposables his whole life. I mainly bought them because I thought they looked adorable, and the environmental aspects appealed to me. They cost about $25 per diaper, but I bought them secondhand (unused), and paid $80 for 6 diapers. To cloth diaper exclusively I would need probably 18 diapers, which would cost around $300-$400, depending on sales. By comparison, I can usually buy a big box of pampers for around $30, which will last me close to a month. (Newborn days are obviously different… they use a ton!) I would need to use each cloth diaper for approximately one month before it starts saving me money.
They are confusing! Now, I must say that they are not impossible to understand, obviously, but the number of types, inserts, washing instructions, etc. makes me tired just thinking about it. As a new mom I found it too overwhelming to add another product to the list of things I needed to research. (carseats, strollers, cribs, baby monitors, etc.)
My kids seem to get more diaper rashes from them. I haven't exclusively used cloth diapers for either child, rather I will use 2-3 per day, typically in the afternoons while we are at home. I then switch back to disposable overnight and when we are out of the house. I know most moms swear that they are better for sensitive skin, but I find their little bums get a bit red.
The cuteness factor! I love seeing naked babies in cloth diapers, it's probably my main reason for buying some and still one of my favourite reasons for using. However, I don't think it's quite so cute under clothing when Poppy's bum looks absolutely gigantic. I'm all for fat babies, but I find her scale looks off when she's got a massive behind ballooning out from her waist. I didn't notice this as much with Soren, perhaps as he was a bit older when I first tried them. Great for summer, when naked babies are an everyday occurrence:)
Ease of use. I don't think it's any harder to change a cloth diaper compared to a disposable, at least when you are at your own home. Yes, even dirty diapers don't phase me, especially if I've used these ingenious little inserts.
Leaks. Tie! I think I can remember only one disposable diaper leak, with Soren, and I'm sure I must have put the diaper on incorrectly. I've had one leak with a cloth diaper on Poppy, and I think I've resolved the issue by altering the size of her diaper. (Which is a very good feature that the bum genius's have.)
Cloth diapers will be used around here in the summer, especially as I try to stick to a tight budget (and the diapers have already been purchased.) I also really like using wash cloths as opposed to wipes, not as much for the cost savings but more for the fact that only water is touching their sensitive bums. Disposable diapers will also be used, although I do cringe when I look at the diaper bag that goes in the garbage each week. Good thing I've only got one in diapers; our trash contribution lessened when Soren potty-trained back in January. Girls are easier to train, right? Maybe I've only got another year in the diaper world!