Real Life Cloth Diapering: Part-Time Cloth Diapering, Allie's Story

This post is included in a series of posts about real parents cloth diapering in a variety of life situations. You can read about parents that work full time, cloth diaper without a washing machine and more! Stay tuned for more Real Life Cloth Diapering Stories from parents like you!

Part-Time Cloth Diapering - The Best of Both Worlds!

Hi, I'm Allie, The Practically Green Mom. I'm a green(ish), semi-vegetarian, coffee addicted mommy of a 16 month old boy.

In addition to this mom gig, I have a full-time job outside the home. Therefore, my son attends a daycare center 5 days a week, where he wears *gasp* disposable diapers!

Trust me, this is not what I had pictured. In my dream mommy scenario, I was never going to let a disposable touch my little guy's bum. I was so determined to cloth diaper that I began buying them to start my "stash" long before I even had a baby to put them in!

Then, reality set in. I had to go back to work. There was a lot of mommy guilt there, but life happens, and you deal with it. I found a daycare center that was the perfect fit for us, but they were not willing to use cloth (and in retrospect, it's probably for the best, because I'm pretty sure I would have lost a lot of diapers in the past year!!) I decided that was a compromise I could make. So, we are officially a part-time cloth diapering family. Little man wears cloth at home in the evenings and on weekends, and it works for us. The only downside (because there is a downside to everything) is that now that he's older, we just don't USE as many diapers. So, on a weekday evening, he wears two or three diapers...which means when I'm doing diaper laundry every two days, I'm only washing six diapers! (Sometimes I'll stretch it to three days, but I don't like to let them sit longer than that.) On the plus side, I still have a fairly large CD stash, so we're not using the same diapers over and over (woohoo....higher resale value!)

If you're just starting out, you could use cloth part-time with just 9-10 diapers. However, I recommend eventually having a stash that could last two full days, so you could use cloth for an entire weekend, and not have to do laundry every day (unless you want to).

As far as what KIND of diapers to use, that's really up to you, and it's honestly a lot of trial and error. What works when your child is younger may not work as well as they grow up. A lot of moms start out with prefolds and covers, which is one of the least expensive diapering options. At 16 months, we still use those quite a bit!

Here's a general breakdown of a two day stash based on age.
  • 24-30 diapers
  • If using prefolds and covers - the above amount of prefolds, and 7-8 diaper covers.

    6-18 months:
  • 18 diapers
  • If using prefolds and covers - the above amount of prefolds, and 5-6 covers.

    18 months-potty training:
  • 12 diapers
  • If using prefolds and covers - the above amount of prefolds, and 3-4 covers.

You will also need a diaper pail and couple of diaper pail liners, or large wetbags, to hold the dirties in until wash day. If you're diapering a teeny tiny baby with prefolds, you may want to invest in a few snappis to close the prefolds and contain newborn poo.

I know that may seem overwhelming, but like I said, you can start small and work your way up. If you're like me, you will find that you prefer your little one with a fluffy butt as often as possible!

I will say that always having the right size disposables on hand is really convenient. Disposables are just EASIER in some cases (travelling, stomach virus, travelling WITH a stomach virus...), and you're still saving a little money because you don't go through a box as quickly. On the flip side, every cloth diaper my son wears means there is one less diaper in a landfill, and that appeases my "green(ish)" side. In my opinion, it's the best of both worlds.

Happy diapering!!


  1. Thankful for this post because I too will be part time cloth diapering due to working full time outside our home. We will cloth diaper nights and weekends, but not at daycare.

  2. I'm a SAHM of 3 (2 in diapers). We are part time cloth diapering our baby. We have 8 diapers that fit her and 3 more that sort of work if I absolutely need to squeeze her into them. We do 2 days on and then I try to wash them at night and get them hanging over night and a full day to dry and then back to another 2 days of cloth but more realistically it ends up beeing2 days cloth 2-3 days disposable! I have had a hard time finding the size and quality of diapers I need for the size I want, which probably just means I haven't spent enough time looking!

    1. Viv what is currently in your stash? Shoot me an email at jenny@clothdiaperrevival.com. I'd love to help you find some solutions!

  3. Viv, you should try Fuzzibunz Elite One Size diapers! They are a pocket diaper and super adjustable. I love the way they fit on my toddler (first got them when she was 11 months, now she is 20 months) and they also fit beautifully on my newborn!

  4. Love your post! I too work full time outside the home, and with my now 20 month old I have only used disposables because we didn't have a washer and dryer in our apartment. We are about to move to our new home where we will finally have that luxury! And with baby #2 due in 2 months, I have begun to wonder if I should give cloth departing a try(I always wanted to). I just wasn't sure if it would be worth it part time since baby will be in daycare and will have to use disposables there. But your post has encouraged me to start building a stash so I can try! I want to switch my 20 month old to cloth too, hoping it will help her with potty training. ��


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