I started researching cloth diapers when I was pregnant with my son over two years ago. Knowing that I was going to contribute to the overflow of landfills with thousands of disposable diapers just didn’t sit well with me. Unfortunately, two moves in my third trimester (the last one being 10 days before my son was born) had me a little preoccupied. And as soon as my son was here, I was so overwhelmed with him and all of his perfection that I didn’t really think about it again other than the occasional “I wish we would have done cloth”…as if it were too late.
Almost a year ago, when I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I knew that I HAD to make it work! I began researching and found all kinds of websites, blogs, and forums on the benefits of cloth diapering, how to get started, and everything I could ever want to know about using cloth. I was blown away at how many people had the same frame of mind as me! My husband (being just as environmentally conscious as me) was on board right away. Other people, though, didn’t seem as excited about the idea as I did. My response was simply, “why wouldn’t we use cloth?”
Here are a few key points to why I love cloth diapering so much:
- When you decide to make the leap to cloth, you should be prepared to invest a good amount of money into it. The high end, name brand cloth diapers can reach up to nearly $25 per dipe. Personally, I think that is CRAZY! I found hundreds of different YouTube channels and websites that reviewed every kind of cloth diaper brand and style out there and, based on what I researched, decided what was easiest and most cost-effective for my family. Trying to be as savvy as I could, I decided on three different brands of diaper that I got for as low as $4.50 per dipe that could be used from newborn all the way until potty trained. And, as a general rule, I never paid more than $6 per dipe (for more info on which brands I chose, check out my blog Choosing the Right Cloth Diaper). There are several different online trading companies that buy, sell, and trade used diapers as well (clothdiapertrader.com and diaperswappers.com) so you could potentially get diapers for even less. I would count on at least a couple hundred bucks to get started, though, depending on how many you want (I recommend at LEAST 20 as new babes go as many as ten times a day).
- Disposable diapers are, on average, about $.20 per dipe (we used Pamper Swaddlers for my son which are closer to $.25/dipe). You’ll use about 10 diapers a day on your baby for the first three months before that number goes down to maybe six a day for the next two and a half years! That’s math I can’t even do! In all my research, I found that on average, every child uses about $2,000 worth of disposable diapers which creates over 6,000 diapers added to landfills..that’s PER CHILD! That alone should be enough to convince you, but don’t worry…I have more!
Healthier for your baby
- Disposable diapers contain several different dangerous chemicals including dioxins, a byproduct of chlorine which is used to bleach the diapers. Dioxins happen to be one of the most toxic chemicals known to science according to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency. It is known to cause cancer. In addition, disposables can contain dyes, fragrances, sodium polyacrylate, and phthalates. These ingredients have been linked to immune disorders, asthma, skin rashes, and so much more! Diaper companies are not required by law to put their ingredients on their boxes, but most companies generally use the same make-up of chemicals (except for brands like The Honest Company and Seventh Generation that are chemical-free).
- We used disposable diapers on my son for two years before making the switch when my daughter was born. Through his life, he has had severe diaper rash off and on. No amount of diaper creams, powders, or bath soaps would help his poor little behind. Anybody that has ever seen their child in pain can imagine the anguish I experienced every time it was time for a change and my son would begin crying because he know how painful it was going to be.
Despite popular belief, they really aren’t that difficult to maintain
- Many people hear “cloth diapers” and are immediately taken back 40 years when cloth diapers were folded and held together with a safety pin and you had to call a diaper service to come and pick them up to be cleaned and returned. That is totally not the case anymore! Cloth diapers nowadays are created with high tech waterproof fabrics that are fitted to your baby’s body with velcro closures or snaps. There are a variety of sizing options, as well, so people can buy diapers based on their baby’s weight, or (like me) get the one size diapers that grow with your baby. There are several different types of materials sold so you can be as organic as you’d like (i.e. bamboo linings, hemp inserts, ect.).
- Cleaning the diapers isn’t as disgusting as you may imagine when you first hear “cloth diapers”. All it really requires is an extra load of laundry maybe three days a week. For somebody like me who takes care of all the laundry in the house anyways (and doesn’t mind it), it really isn’t too much of a hassle. Just a couple buttons to push. Several different companies sell diaper sprayers, too, so that you never have to worry about touching the stuff as they start eating real foods and the mess gets a little nasty. Here is the one that I just ordered.
- You can still travel using cloth diapers. You can still let your baby sleep in cloth diapers. You can still change a cloth diaper in public. You can do all the things you do with disposables! If travel or convenience is something you’re worried about, it really isn’t all that different than hauling around disposables. If you are still reluctant, however, I encourage you to start by using cloth during the day at home. Some cloth families use disposables on long trips or throughout the night. I guarentee, though, that once you see how simple using cloth is…you’ll make the switch 100%! We also use chemical-free disposable inserts for travel on our two year old. These are the kind that we like.
- Check the fine print on the next bag of diapers you come across. You are actually supposed to dispose of waste before throwing your disposable diaper into the trash! How many people do you know that have ever done that?!
They are totally adorable!
- There are thousands upon thousands of different colors, patterns, and styles of cloth diapers! I know moms that dress their babies for the day based on the different diaper color schemes they have put together!
- Try to tell me that a saggy, disposable diaper butt is cuter than a little fluffy tushy!