Part Time, Most-of-the-Time & Occasional Cloth Diapering

The count down has begun. Our little family will be driving away from this little town and state we have known for the past five years (and that my children have only ever known) in exactly one week. This week will be filled with preparing, packing, cleaning, and come Sunday we will be starting our journey to our new home over two thousand miles away. It is a big move and our first move as a family. Both of my children were born here and as you can imagine we accumulated mounds of things and we are trying to sell our house, so there is some stress and uncertainty in the air.

One thing that has been on my mind over the past few weeks has been whether I will try and cloth diaper on our drive. With the travel dates barely being set in stone, our route just determined in the past few days and our hotel reservations just made in the past day I had avoided making a decision. The hotels should have washing machines available, we might have time after full days of driving to wash them at night, but it seems like it will feel like another thing to juggle into our exhausting days. It is really hard for me to kick the all or nothing cloth diapering mentality, even after I weigh the pros and cons.

Could I find a way? Probably, but the common sense in me tells me that this is one of the times there is a place for convenient, disposable products. I have made the decision to use hybrid and eco-friendly disposable diapers for the drive since cloth diapers may be too much for me to handle after a six days of squirmy kids and whining cats, then take a stab at cloth diapering once we arrive in Washington. We will be staying in temporary housing for about a week (essentially a hotel room) until our rental is available, and although I still need to inquire about the laundry facilities I know they will have something available. Now that I can handle.

Day trips, overnight trips and visits to family with laundry accommodations have never been a significant issue for us, so we have chosen to cloth diaper. We did not, however, use cloth diapers the majority of the time we were overseas last fall as our suitcase space was limited and we were doing back-to-back loads of laundry in my parents small machine for our clothing as it is (and we wanted room to bring back souvenirs!). I brought some all-in-two inserts to use in our gPants and an overnight all-in-one for my daughter that we used a handful of times, but we used gLiners most of the time. It was a good compromise where I felt a lot less guilty and I think my mother was probably less stressed out about all of the laundry.

Part Time, most-of-the-time and occasional cloth diapering are all great options for different families or different stages of life. As I wrote on recently, many of us need to think less black and white when it comes to cloth diapering and I know I am guilty of this way when it comes to my decisions. Even one cloth diaper a day makes a difference on our budgets, health, environment, and we need to celebrate each cloth diaper used by families whether ten or ten thousand.

Still I let the “cloth mommy guilt” get the best of me. That obligation and responsibility I feel to use cloth 100% no matter the circumstances. But at what cost? I use cloth about 95% or even 98% of the time and when I choose to use convenience products I do my best to choose healthier disposable diapers. I am still doing great things for my family and environment and trying to adapt to life’s circumstances so that I am not a stressed Jane. I will have a couple dozen cloth diapers packed to use in Washington and if I really feel inclined to use them on the road I can, but I will start with plan A so I have one less thing to balance in our travel schedule.

Are you a part time, all-of-the-time, most-of-the-time or occasional cloth diapering family?

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By Emi Stapler. I am a cloth diaper advocate, green parenting blogger, mother of three and a military wife who enjoys sharing my motherhood adventures and advice. Follow me at The Cloth Diaper Report on Facebook, Twitter @TheCDReport , Google +, Pinterest and Instagram.

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  1. I have wanted to do full time cloth but have never gotten that far, except for the flats challenge that I took last year. We go in spurts of using cloth. There are weeks that I use cloth all day every day except for bedtime. Then we get busy and all kinds of things, and our cloth use goes down to almost nothing.
    I have heard many moms I talk to, when trying to advocate for cloth, think that they have to use cloth all the time then. I tell them that that really just is NOT the case. Every use of cloth counts, and you should never feel bad for using disposable when you need or want to.
    Like you said, even one cloth diaper a day makes a difference.

    • Thank you so much for sharing. I think that a lot more families would consider part time cloth if they didn’t feel like they had to choose between the two. Full time cloth is great, but different life events and life styles is a reality that may mean part time cloth diapering. And that is something to be proud of!

  2. I love your comment about every cloth is a step in the right direction. I felt guilty when we changed our son’s daycare and the new one doesn’t do cloth (unless medically necessary). Thankfully he’s 2 and we’re in potty training mode, but still, I have that guilt that we are wasting money and resources on the disposables sent to school. I know that the decision to switch his daycare/school was a good one in the long run, and maybe this will motivate my husband and myself to really push the potty training.

    I love using the G diapers for the versatility, and I actually tell new parents who are cloth curious to try that, as it seems to be a little less daunting to newbies.

    • Hybrid diapers are definitely a great option since you can use two different kinds of inserts depending on your comfort level, the caregiver or circumstances. And the “fluffy mom guilt” still gets me all the time as well!

  3. We are full time cloth except when traveling. We’ve always used flushable gInserts in either gPants (we have them in smaller sizes) and in just in our bummis covers. I think it’s a great alternative, still no excess plastics and minimal washing while away.

    • gDiapers are ususally my go-to when traveling, since they are a more environmentally conscious choice– they are probably my favorite disposable hybrid insert to use with a variety of covers!

  4. When I started cloth diapering more than 5 years ago, I was trying to use cloth all the time, everywhere. Although I found that I COULD do cloth pretty much anywhere, it just wasn’t worth it for me, for the stress level, to hold an absolute line of no disposable diapers. I’m a most of the time cloth diaperer. Usually, I use disposables (never tried out a hybrid diaper) when we are gone more than one night. Sometimes I use them at night, sometimes when I simply get overwhelmed with laundry. I’ve still saved thousands of dollars – 78 months worth of diapers. I’ve still reduced the chemical exposure my babies get.

    I gave up on feeling guilty about it. It’s not a hill to die on, and through my mellowed approach, I’ve been able to introduce several moms to cloth diapers – most of them are part-time cd’ers, too. If I’d been hardcore about it, I wouldn’t have been able to reach them where they were in their parenting journey.

  5. We have cloth diapered our 2 year old since he was a few weeks old, and the older that he gets, the more I’ve begun to use disposable diapers, especially when we are traveling, when he attends play school (they won’t change cloth for some reason *Isn’t that odd?*), and when I take him along on field trips for my oldest son. I have felt badly about that, like I’m not crunch enough, but like you said, every cloth diaper is a step in the right direction, so I am going to try no to beat myself up about this so much! Great post, thanks!!


  1. […] the same lines as my recent article on thinking less “black and white” about cloth diapering, I also feel that every step towards more natural and organic choices is something to embrace. Not […]

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