I have a shameful secret: I've been using disposable diapers for the last month, and I'm loving it.
We switched Nate to cloth diapers back in January, after the breastmilk poop fought the Huggies and won a few too many times.
I generally have never minded using the cloth. They're adorable, they really aren't that much of a pain to wash, and they allow me to feel a tiny bit of that smug superiority that environmentalists all seem to carry around with them.
Our new house, though, has a front-loading washer instead of a top loader, and a somewhat old one at that. I'm sure front loaders have improved in recent years in their ability to get clothes really clean, but this one totally sucks. Within a couple of weeks of moving into the new place, I started to notice that Nate's wet diapers would get a strong ammonia odor that they'd never had before.
I'd always been perfectly happy with the diapers before just by running a cold cycle with no detergent, then a hot cycle with a small amount of Charlie's Soap, then an extra rinse. I'd been trying the same routine here, but I just can't get enough water in the machine.
I tried stripping them (running them through the wash multiple times without detergent, in order to remove detergent buildup), but there was no improvement. I also switched to a different brand of detergent that is supposed to rinse out of diapers particularly well. It hasn't worked.
And then, last month, Nate got a horrible yeast diaper rash. It took days and days and a ton of Lotrimin to get it cleared up, and we had to use disposables while using the cream on him. In the meantime, I ran the cloth diapers through multiple hot cycles with bleach to kill the yeast.
The day I put him back in the cloth diapers, he started to get a rash again.
That was the last straw. I told David that I wasn't going to use the cloth diapers any more until we could get a top-loading washer that would make me feel confident that Nate's diapers were getting clean. At the time, I felt kind of bad about it. I'd been using disposables in the diaper bag and when we traveled (I learned on our first trip to see my family in Georgia that traveling with cloth isn't worth the hassle), and I always felt a little guilty when I had to throw a diaper away.
I have to admit, though, that over the past month I have not-so-secretly been enjoying the disposables. I decidedly do not enjoy the smell, which can be awful--we don't have a Diaper Genie or anything similar, and a few poopy diapers in the nursery trash can (which is a really nice Simple Human can with a lid, not something with an open top) can make things really foul really quick. But I had come to dread dumping Nate's diapers into the toilet, using the diaper sprayer (which seems to get water everywhere), and trying to keep Nate from either grabbing the diaper or sticking his hand into the dirty water before I could get everything flushed away.
Here's the thing: Everyone who uses cloth talks about how easy it really is. And it's true. Using cloth diapers is a lot easier than you'd expect using cloth diapers to be. Before Nate started solids, it was really a cinch, because I didn't have to dump and rinse poopy diapers.
But the fact that it's easier than you'd think does not mean that it's easier than using disposables. And so even though I'm feeling slightly guilty at the sheer number of diapers I'm putting out with the trash every week, I can't say I really mind having to take a hiatus from cloth. I'll still go back to the cloth when we acquire a new washer, both because it seems silly to have invested in a nice cloth diaper stash and then use disposables unnecessarily, and also because I really am susceptible to guilt from the tree-hugging types.
For now, though? I'll take easy.