Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: baby, cloth diapers, disposable vs cloth, economic, green, green mama, Green parenting, mama
When I first told my mother I wanted to use cloth diapers for my baby, she was skeptical. She had used cloth for her first baby, and given up after her second baby (me) was born. They were too much work, definitely not as convenient as disposable. She tried to talk me out of it. They leak. They take so much time and energy to get clean and sterile. Those pins! The smells! It wouldn’t last very long before I’d hate them too. The upfront cost is intimidating, too.
That may have been true thirty years ago, but cloth diapers have come a long way since then. In my experience with them, they are more convenient than disposables. They are a prime example of how to be a green mama. They are green, and they save green.
It’s true: there is an initial investment getting started, but most cloth diapers last for at least two children. It’s been estimated that from birth to potty training cloth costs a tenth of disposables. And you will never hesitate to change a diaper when you know that you will never have to run out in the middle of the night because you’ve run out of diapers. Whether it’s the breathable fabrics used or the lack of chemicals against delicate skin, most babies get diaper rash less frequently with cloth.
When you’re done with your diapers, you can usually sell them. I had a friend tell me she was surprised by how much people were willing to pay for a used diaper. You also might be able to find used diapers for sale on Craigslist or at consignment shops.
It can be intimidating trying to decide between all the options. We have a few of each, and later on I’ll let you know which one I prefer. There are several options for cloth diapers. The three big categories are: pre-fold diapers with a cover, pocket diapers, and all-in-one diapers. No matter the option, there are two layers involved: an absorbent fabric layer (the diaper itself) that goes next to baby’s skin. The outer layer is waterproof to keep fluids from leaking out.
The other big choice may be whether or not to use a diaper service. A diaper service typically picks up soiled diapers and delivers clean ones. While an added convenience, it also adds an expense and a carbon footprint to cloth diapering. Cloth diapers can be easy to clean, and I’ll talk about that more in my next post.
All-in-one diapers are probably the most convenient of cloth diapers. They come as one piece. Like disposables, you put them on the baby without having to fold them or put them in place, and when soiled, take them off and throw them in the wash in one step. The cons of this system can be that they’re more expensive, and that they are less absorbent.
Pocket diapers are similar to all-in-ones, except that the absorbent layer (essentially the diaper) can be removed. They are less convenient for washing, but they can be more versatile for absorbency. It is easy to add layers if you need to go some time without changing your child, such as overnight. However, the most economical choice is usually covers and prefolds. The covers go over the diaper, and pads can be added for extra absorbency.
The choices may seem overwhelming. It can be especially hard if you have no way of trying them out in person before buying. I was lucky enough to get someone to demonstrate the different options before I committed to anything. Diaper Junction, along with other companies, will let you test drive their diapers.
The environmental reasons are also huge. Most disposable diapers end up in landfills, where they linger for hundreds of years. To make them uses much more materials and energy than making cloth. And while the manufacturers recommend disposing of fecal matter in the toilet, most parents dispose of them in the trash.
The best reason to pick cloth diapers is because they are the best choice for your child. My daughter had horrible diaper rash when we used disposables because we were traveling. We’ve never had leakage issues, never had laundry pile up, never had an explosion that could not be contained. In my next post I’ll go into the minutiae of cloth diapers, and how they fit into our lives.
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