Even The Most Devoted Cloth Diaper Moms Experience Burnout

Don’t do it. Don’t shake your head in disbelief or scorn.

Maybe you are just beginning your cloth diaper journey or you have been blessed with perfect water, perfect detergent, perfect child(ren), self-folding dryer and of course plop-able poop every time.

If you are, just wait. Burnout happens to the best of us.

It can sneak up on you overnight. Or perhaps the ho-hum, nasty routine eats away at you until one day you scream, “That’s it! I’m using disposables!”

For me burnout has happened many times over the last 6 1/2 years.

Most recently, it hit while on vacation at my mom’s between Christmas and New Year.

In the weeks leading up to our vacation our water softener ran out of salt. It’s not something you notice right away. One day you smell that horrid dead animal/rancidity after your child pees and you wonder what is going on.

That’s when my husband exclaims, “Honey, these diapers are not getting cleaned! Did you switch detergents or something?”

After about a week we put 2 and 2 together and realize what the problem is.

But, did I get salt while I was in town? No. Of course I forgot.

Now, if you have no idea what I am talking about then you have “normal” or soft water. I’m not sticking my tongue out at you right now. Promise.

For those who feel my pain, you know the difficulty that comes with washing cloth diapers in hard water. You wash and wash and yet they never seem to get clean.

Back to my travel fun. So, we pack up our zoo, I mean, 5 children, 1 dog, 1 cat, popup camper and the kitchen sink.

After a few days of being at my mom’s I do diaper laundry. I thought I was on vacation??

Everything diaper-wise was going normal. But, as can happen when you travel with a zoo and go from living in a 5,000 sq. ft. home to a 200 sq. ft. camper a general annoyance for anything can arise.

On my one blessed alone trip to Sprouts I saw a sight that seemed irresistible. Earth’s Best disposable diapers.

They looked so convenient. So, “healthy”. So….disposable.

One pack wouldn’t hurt, right?

I bought them.

I looked at them.

And I didn’t use them.


That doesn’t mean I won’t ever use them. It just means that this time the buying was enough to squelch my burnout/convenience envy/annoyance issues.

Am I alone here?

There are several reasons burnout might occur:

  1. Yeast. Ugh. Hate it. Sometimes the beast grows horns and breathes fire and the only thing that will kill it (and save your sanity) is prescription creams. Get yourself some sposies and start bleaching your cloth diapers. You do not want to re-infect.
  2. Virus. Ugh. Nasty. Hate it. Isn’t it enough to have to smell the diarrhea? Actually, if you stick with the cloth diapers you are doing yourself a favor. Cloth diapers contain the mess better. Use a sposie and you’ll have poop up the back and down the leg. Just make sure and add some oxygen bleach or tea tree oil to your wash to kill the germies.
  3. International Travel. Traveling overseas or across a border means major changes in your washing routine. It’s not like packing up and going to grandma’s. If you are concerned about ruining your cloth diaper stash and you have the funds, I would buy a couple dozen flats. Make it simple and be honest with yourself before you leave home. If you want to use cloth then use it. If you want to use disposables on your family vacation cruising the Adriatic Sea then pack disposables. Why do I know this? A close friend traveled there this summer with family and she discovered finding disposable diapers while on a cruise is H.A.R.D and expensive!
  4. Family crisis. Divorce, death, sickness, fire, theft…there are number of major traumas that can shake your world and leave you numb. Using cloth diapers should never be a hindrance to your well-being or add more stress to an already unthinkable circumstance. Let others take care of you and have them bring some diapers.
  5. Ammonia. Like yeast, ammonia can be a huge animal to slay.  Sometimes it takes 5 or 6 different tricks to finally be rid of the burning stink.  Take a deep breath, know it will get better and start soaking.  If all your diapers are affected place an order for Flip disposable inserts.  They are great for those times when you need something in a pinch.

Lest you think I am promoting the use of disposable diapers, let me assure you that I feel absolutely without a doubt that cloth diapers are the best choice for diapering your child. They are the healthiest choice, the most economical and the best for the environment.

But, reality is we all crave convenience every now and then. Denying it doesn’t make it less real.

Happy diapering!

Autumn is part of the KellyWels.com Cloth Diaper Ambassador team (details coming soon!)  You can find her on her All About Cloth Diapers blog or on Facebook.

About All About Cloth Diapers

Jennifer is a 33 year old SAHM to one beautiful little girl named Sophia. She closed her business, Curves, when she found out she was pregnant so she could stay home with her. Jennifer fell in love with cloth diapers even before Sophia was born and searches for ways every day to share the love!
Tags: all about cloth diapers, best disposable diapers, by Autumn, cloth diaper ambassador, cloth diaper burnout, cloth diaper problems, cloth diapers

9 Responses to Even The Most Devoted Cloth Diaper Moms Experience Burnout

  1. Sara C says:

    I appreciate this post b/c a lot of the blogs about cloth diapering make it sound like you are a neglectful parent just for using disposables. I’ve been CDing for just over 9 months with my first child (we started when he was 4 days old) and have bought two packs of disposables. One was for a weekend wedding we flew to and did not have the suitcase room to pack our CDs (or access to a washing machine while we were away) and the other pack was bought to get rid of a bad rash. I’m still trying to figure out detergent issues/our wash routine, which does leave me frustrated, but I also am committed to using our cloth b/c I do believe it’s better for our environment and my sons skin!

  2. Just got your book….and it is GREAT! Thank you so much for writing so well and creating a book that is easy for even a newbie like me to understand!
    And……choose me for the giveaway! We need cloth diapers.

  3. Sarah says:

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who has had CD burn out!

  4. Kimson Weston says:

    I almost gave up on cloth until I bought a diaper sprayer. I was getting exhausted from having to pre wash by hand and dump it in the toilet. Now that i have a sprayer the process has gotten so much easier. I love cloth diapering

  5. Lisa kuhl says:

    I must say I get a little burned out sometimes. I will put off washing them until I have 2 left:-) Thus forcing me to wash. I just don’t want to deal with it sometimes.

  6. Christina says:

    Thank YOU. I KNOW cloth is the absolute best for the earth and for my baby (now toddler) but it isn’t always easy. After over a year of CDing, we’ve slayed yeast, gone crazy from a mysterious period of nightly leaking and whiffed our fair share of ammonia despite doing exactly what one should do to clear it. I had my moments of weakness and I’m not proud of them, but I did what I had to do to keep my sanity. I’d guess many cloth diapering families still use plastic garbage bags and not biodegradable/compostable ones or none at all. Just as many years to biodegrade. I like to think wholistically, not just the dipes but everything else…like clothing, where was it made, what material (polyester is plastic), etc. It’s a lot. Overwhelming at times. So if I have to use disposables for a few days on a trip, I think the better part of a year I’ve spent not using them, along with everything else I do to minimize our impact, outweighs the “evil”.

  7. Texas Momma says:

    THANK YOU! Sometimes I feel like I’m the only cding mama that has thought this! Makes me feel less alone to know I’m not the only one!

  8. Georgia Cribb says:

    Reading your blog made me feel so much better about those days when I just DON’T want to wash my pile of diapers b/c I just don’t want to wash clothes period. (Like today) I know life will be much better once I get a sprayer. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone, and not to feel so bad about my random lazy days.

  9. Mrs. Smitty says:

    You should add this one: my washer drain is clogged and it will be a few days before we can address this issue.. of course it happened while I was doing an initial rinse on diaper laundry… the nearest laundromat is 30 minutes away. So I get to handwash them in the tub or buy disposables. Somehow I managed to push through and keep up with washing all our laundry in the tub the last 3 days… but damn am I burnt out.

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