How My Cloth Diaper Journey Began

March 2, 2009

Cloth Diapers

I have always enjoyed reading my baby book or finding an old journal to re-discover life changing moments.  First steps, first date, meeting my husband, chiropractic school and all the new thoughts I was exposed to, births of my children…all these events changed me from who I was before to who I was going to be.

There are many decisions we make daily that forever alter how we live and parent.  One huge decision for our family was switching to cloth diapers.  I very clearly remember my first experience with cloth diapers.  It makes me laugh to remember my true excitement over pee/poop catchers…well I suppose that hasn’t changed much!

Our beginning…

One day in October 2005, as we were heading out of town I chased down the UPS truck (seriously) to get my first order of cloth diapers. I had no idea what to do with them but the fact that I was actually touching and feeling a new stage in my life put me on a “fluffy” Cloud 9. I was definitely a kid on Christmas morning.

We were heading to my mother-in-law’s house for the weekend and as soon as we arrived I started washing my 2 dozen unbleached Chinese prefolds and 6 prowrap covers from granitesmith on Ebay—at that time I assumed one wash would do. I had no clue that when it came to prefolds you needed to do several washes to prep them to their full absorbency.

The whole weekend I had to defend my decision to cloth diaper because every time I put one on Haven it leaked.

My sweet mother-in-law very politely asked, “Are they supposed to leak?”

I was not discouraged by this bumpy start. I called my best friend who had walked me through my first purchase.   She explained that I needed to wash prefolds in HOT water 5 or 6 times for them to adequately fluff up for proper absorbency.

So, that is how I began my venture into cloth diapers. My best friend, Melisa, is really the one who got me interested in cloth diapers. I had no clue where to start and she provided me with all the answers I needed. She gave me a website and literally told me exactly what to order. Thankfully, our son was a good fit for prefolds and Proraps! I don’t know what I would have done if this was a bad match for him.

This first batch of diapers lasted Haven all through his diapering days (15 months to 3+years). I did buy 4 Happy Heinys to supplement his stash. I honestly thought that I was THE coolest mom for having Happy Heinys. With my limited knowledge and experience I felt they were the best cloth diaper ever made.

I didn’t have a lot of money to buy more so I needed to wash daily, sometimes twice, in order for my diapers to last. I preferred using the HH, which is why I would sometimes do two loads of laundry.

As we made more money I was able to try some other types of diapers but still my exposure was limited, as I had not yet discovered the world of online cloth diapering communities. By the time my 3rd child was born in December 2006, I was fully immersed in online forums and had learned of a vast world of “fluffiness”.

Even after months of surfing the internet and frequenting cloth diaper message boards, I was still learning the lingo. I was on the journey to find what diaper worked best. To make matters worse, I soon discovered that even though I had “paid my dues” with my son and reached stash nirvana, my daughter was born and none of what I had discovered worked for her!

A whole new set of questions surfaced.

What works best for chubby thighs?

Why does she have this rash when I put on a pocket diaper with suedecloth inner or a fitted with serged edges?

Again I was at my wits end (or was it the end of my Paypal money I had reached).

I put in months of internet time and more importantly bought and sold DOZENS of diapers to find what works. I attribute that persistence to my stubbornness and well, honestly, my obsession with utterly cute fluffiness.

There are a couple of key points to take from my experience:

*Don’t assume that the new baby will be able to wear all of the previous child’s diapers. Some may work, while others will have fit or sensitivity issues.
*Don’t be afraid to start from scratch. If you find a system or fabric isn’t working for your new baby don’t give up! There are so many choices in cloth diapers, making it easy to find alternatives.
*It is possible to cloth diaper more than one child at a time! They may have different stashes but it is just as simple and a lot cheaper to cloth diaper than use disposables. Cloth Diapers Times 2!

When it comes to children you never really get anything fully figured out. The minute you think you do they grow 3 inches, lose 5 pounds or suddenly have a wool allergy. The answer is to have an absolute (cloth diapering is the best choice) and be committed to finding a solution to whatever problem arises.

Of course that is what I am here for right…to help you find solutions to cloth diaper problems and to tempt you with some amazing diapers!


About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at

View all posts by Autumn Beck

11 Responses to “How My Cloth Diaper Journey Began”

  1. Sara Says:

    I can relate to your comment about having to defend your cloth diapering choices. In the beginning too, when I was figuring out the cloth diapering ropes I definitely had leaks from not enough prepping and not snapping the diapers tight enough and letting inserts stick out of the diapers allowing leaks. I dug my heels in, searched everywhere for answers and now we’re great and the one people we know come to for advice!


  2. Julie M. Says:

    Thanks for linking up for the Cloth Diaper Hop! A friend introduced me to cloth diapers as well…sorry you had a rough start, but look at you now, you are a pro!!!


  3. Kelly Says:

    I use Charlie’s Soap and have no problems. I wasn’t aware that it was known to cause rashes. I guess I lucked out because we use it for all our wash (first bought it for cloth diaper laundry, then started using it for all our laundry) and we all have very sensitive skin.
    I have never used pre-folds and covers, but will probably use those next time I have a newborn (hopefully soon;)). I use pocket diapers, and around certain family members, who are baffled by the idea of cloth, I feel like I sometimes get a sort of told you so attitude if ever one of my daughter’s diapers were to leak. It doesn’t happen often, but every once and a while it leaks. I feel like telling people that the little girl I baby sit for, who is my daughters age and in disposables, has more leaking diaper issues than I have ever had in cloth.

    Hope you have a speedy delivery! Can’t wait to hear about your new little one!


  4. Vicki D. Says:

    I think we are lucky to have you teach us about cloth diapering!! I know I have learned so much by your posts. I’ve had a great experience cloth diapering so far in part from your wisdom. Thanks!!!!!!


  5. Susan Says:

    My third child is due this month and this will be my first CD experience. I am currently waiting for my unbleached prefolds, flats and thirsties covers as I type. They are out for delivery on the big brown truck and it is definately like Christmas morning!!! I have some newborn and small proraps,3 snappis, 4 pins, 2 gdiapers and 2 BG 3.0 one size. I am interested to see how all this goes. I don’ t want to hear “I told you so” from everyone who already thinks I am crazy for CDing. I looked in Wal Mart for that diaper pail like you found but didn’t see it. I’ll keep looking for something like it. Your website is a great help!!! Thank You! ~Susan~


  6. Debra Says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey, Autumn! I have been wanting to ask you a question for a long time and was inspired by your own experience with leaky prefolds. I’ve been using prefolds with my 8-month-old since she was new, and have always, without exception, had them leak. They’ve been washed a million times, I’ve tried four different covers (MotherEase, Thirsties, Baby Milano, Bumkins), I’ve tried using doublers. Nothing works. Without fail, the reason I know Annabel needs to be changed is because her pants are wet (Even after just a couple hours). Is this supposed to be happening? Any ideas on what my problem could be? I really don’t want to give up on cloth diapering, but I don’t have money to try other kinds and it is getting exasperating! I would love any feedback you have.


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Wow, Debra. You are committed! I applaud you for that. Have you tried wool soakers? No matter the cover it sounds like Annabel (that’s my oldest daughter’s middle name) pees a river when she goes. In that situation microfiber as a doubler is best because it absorbs so quick. Hemp absorbs slow so that would exacerbate the leaking. If you are trifolding the prefold and laying it in the cover I would wrap the prefold around a homemade microfiber doubler. This is what I did with Haven when I first started cloth diapering. I used Proraps covers from the link in my post and I found them to be the best, even after using lots of covers over the years. Wool covers can be made by you very inexpensively. Or you can purchase a couple of really good bulletproof ones like aristocrats or babyology to change out with her. At 8 months she’s not going to have much preference. My 26 month old refuses to put on any knit wool anymore :( It’s not worth the fight. Check out the Cloth Diaper Covers and Wool category for instructions on how to make wool longies and soakers.


  7. kelly Says:

    Can you lead me in the right direction for cleaning CDs? I’m at my wits end bc I’m having issues with smell. Then she had a rash bc I used too much soap and now they’re leaking. I need to strip and start over, but don’t know how to strip properly and dont want to continue the same wash routine expecting diff results!
    She got a major rash from Charlie’s soap. I use Publix brand detergent (1tbsp) bc it was on an approved list. I dont want to quit, but had her in disposables yesterday while her stash washed/dried and it was such an easy day!


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Kelly, is the smell an ammonia smell? If so do a vinegar soak: 4 cups vinegar, set washer to soak setting. Charlie’s soap is known for causing rashes :( sorry your little one got one. My wash routine is: prewash with bac-out, wash with costco “green” detergent, 2nd rinse. When an issue pops up like stink I make sure I’m using enough detergent (our stinkies are usually due to not being really clean) then do HOT wash/rinses. Our new house has an awesome water heater so I can really get the buildup out. I completely understand your frustration. The key to stripping is to rinse like crazy with hot water.
      Here is an old post on stripping cloth diapers: There are some things that are different like I don’t use the Laundry Ball or Crunchy Clean anymore.


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