Beat the Cloth Diaper Bulk (Or Learn to Accept It)

One complaint we hear about cloth diapers is that they’re too bulky.  Babies sporting disposables boast a trim and lean figure, while cloth-wearing tots have what we may affectionately refer to as a “basketball butt.”  How can you avoid this dreaded condition?   Here are some ideas:

Embrace it.  If you have a skinny baby (as I did), you’re in luck, because you’ll find clothes will fit much better with the cloth diapers than without.  In fact, once my daughter potty trained, she couldn’t fit in most of her pants anymore!   Also, don’t babies look adorable sporting hu-u-ge diapers like this one?   You can’t get that look with a boring old fitted disposable diaper!

Switch to pocket diapers.  Prefolds with covers will be bulkier than pocket diapers, which usually have just a thin terry insert.

Buy bigger clothes.  One of my friends confessed that she almost gave up on cloth diapering because none of her daughter’s pants could fit over the Bulge of the Cloth.  Then she had a flash of insight: She could buy bigger clothes.  Problem solved!

How have you overcome the challenges of bulky cloth diapers . . . or learned to accept them?


  1. When my 2 yr old potty trained, she went from a 24 month pants back down to a 12 month from not having the diaper bulk anymore…..Keep those smaller pants handy & you may get another season out of them since most baby cloths are designed to accomodate some diaper bulk.

  2. We really haven’t had much of a problem yet .. I made a bunch of pockets from the Rita’s Rump Pocket pattern and use a microfiber towel as a stuffer and a thisties cover. I don’t think I’d put tights on my girl but its not that bulky and its certainly better than the disposibles when they get full and saggy … there’s so saggy baby bootie with cloth!

  3. My daughter, until her 9 month check up, was always in the 95% for weight. Which means she never fit into the size that matched up to her age. Add the bulk of cloth diapers, and I had a hard time getting her into anything other than stretchy pants. If I bought a size up, they were usually just longer, not wider, which is what I needed. However, she has thinned out a little now so I can fit her into some 18 month jeans (at 10 months). Sure, she always has a little bubble butt, but it is adorable. And now that she is crawling, I think she will probably thin out a little more, which I am anticipating will mean no more problems with pants fitting.

  4. my daughter is on the small side, so it hasn’t really been an issue since the beginning when our one-size-fits-all mother-ease were really huge on her. i def couldn’t get size 0-3 mos jeans or cords over the bulk then, but now it’s not a problem.

    just size up if you need. i told people in the beginning that we were cloth diapering, so that if they were buying clothes for shower gifts they’d could purchase the next-size-up to accomodate a bulky cloth-covered bottom. so cute!

  5. I’ve been blessed with a skinny baby so I’ve have not had too much of an issue. Great tip about hanging on to old clothes!

  6. I used a smaller prefold (newborn/infant size) and I did have some problems with the bulk in the beginning, but when he was newborn to 2 months, I only put him in the sleep & play layettes. I never tried to put jeans or little pants on him because I didn’t think it seemed comfortable for such a little baby. I figured the one-piece outfits were more comfortable with no elastic around his waist. So I never had trouble getting the clothes to fit over the diaper. As he got bigger I continued to use the newborn/infant sized prefolds in a diaper cover. I never used pins or anything to fasten them. I just layed it in the cover and velcroed the cover. In fact, he’s now 17 months and almost 30 lbs and I still use that size prefold and there is no extra bulk as compared to toddler’s in disposables. I always changed his diaper frequently to keep him dry, so have never had a problem with the smaller prefolds not be absorbent enough either.

  7. These are the prefolds I use:–Unbleached.htm. I like the Thirsties cover with them the best. I have only had 1 leak in 17 months with the Thirsties cover and that was a very runny poop that I don’t think any diaper was going to contain!

  8. Bare bones says

    I have gotten in the habit of buying clothes 3 months older than my daughter (she is 9 months and I buy 12 months clothes). She was born in early summer so we always just had her in a onsie any way, but once fall/winter came around it was frustrating to try to get those tight pants on her.

    Also, I am doing Infant Potty Training/Elimination Communication so we go through far fewer diapers. I will throw some babylegs on her and she is good to go.

  9. Love the blog! Found it on Ask I have bookmarked it thank you for the tips.

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