Shortly after finding out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to give cloth diapering a try. I’ve always dealt with sensitive skin, and figured my baby would be the same. I loved the thought of putting gentle materials on my baby’s bottom. The fact that cloth is eco-friendly was an added bonus.
My husband was a little hesitant when I brought up cloth for the first time. He thought my desire to cloth diaper was a phase (I can get a little over exuberant sometimes), chalking it up to pregnancy hormones and my crunchy nature. I scoured the Internet, arming my arsenal with all of the cloth-friendly information I could find. What I found was more than enough to convince myself, and my reticent husband, that cloth was the way to go.
- Cloth diapers are better for the environment. Although no one knows for certain how long disposables take to decompose, it is estimated that the decomposition process takes 250-500 years. In the meantime, disposable diapers are filling our landfills. Cloth diapers are made of fabric that easily decomposes, and can be repurposed for cleaning when your diapering days are over. In fact, my grandmother dusts using prefolds that my father wore 50 years ago.
- Cloth diapers use 2.3 times less water than disposable. That includes the water used washing them. Disposable diaper manufacturers use ridiculous amounts of water, crude oil, and wood pulp during manufacturing.
- Cloth is better for sensitive skin, and babies diapered with cloth are less likely to experience diaper rash. Many diapers are made with natural fibers (cotton, hemp, bamboo), and no harsh chemicals come into contact with baby’s skin.
- Cloth diapers are cheap. Diapering a child from birth to potty training can cost as little as $300, depending on the type of diapers used. Prefolds or flour sack towels and covers are the cheapest route, while pockets and all-in-ones (AIO) are a little more expensive. Whatever option you choose, the cost is significantly less than the average $1500 spent on disposable diapers. Planning on having more children? Multiply those savings. As long as you take care of them, your diapers will last through multiple children. You can also sell your diapers when you are done with them, recovering as much as 80% of your initial cost.
- Who doesn’t love a booty covered in adorable fluff? Compared to cloth, disposables are downright ugly.
After a lot of pestering, and promises that it wasn’t a phase, I was given the all clear to start buying diapers. My husband’s biggest motivator? The savings.
Six months into cloth diapering I have learned a lot, mostly through trial and error. Modern diapers come with a lot of options, which can be a bit overwhelming when first dabbling in the world of fluff. While pregnant I thought I would prefer the ease of pocket diapers and AIOs. I bought an entire stash, only to decide later on that I preferred using inserts or prefolds with covers. I sold most of my pockets, and bought a variety of “hybrid” diapers. My favorite is this AI2 system by Best Bottoms. I’ve perfected a wash routine that works for our hard water, thanks largely to Fluff Love University.
One question I get a lot is what about the poop? Many people envision the “dunk and swish” method of old when they think of poop and cloth. Changing a cloth diaper is pretty similar to changing a disposable. Solids get dumped into the toilet, which you are supposed to do even when using disposables. Don’t believe me? Check the diaper package. Next steps? Put the diaper in a diaper pail until wash day. Wash. Dry. Put on baby. Really messy diapers might require a bit of rinsing, but there are diaper sprayers for that. Sounds simple, huh? It is.
I won’t lie and tell you that I never use disposables. I do. We’ve used disposables while waiting for A’s umbilical stump to fall off, for travel and overnights, and, more recently, while A was on antibiotics for an ear infection. I’ve only been brave enough to use cloth at night once, afraid that A would wake up wet. He’s been leaking out of disposables lately, however, so switching to cloth wouldn’t mean any more middle of the night changes than we are already doing.
Have I piqued your interest? Thinking of switching to cloth? Check out my favorite retailer, Nicki’s Diapers, for adorable prints and colors in every option under the sun. Join a cloth diapering group on Facebook (there are LOADS to choose from), and get diapering! I promise you won’t regret it.
Real Diaper Association. Diaper Facts. 2014. http://realdiapers.org/diaper-facts