I’ve been asked a lot of questions about cloth diapering lately (mainly why, in God’s name, would you ever?), so I decided to write a little bit and explain a few things.
First there’s the why question. The original thing that made me consider cloth was the cost. We were fortunate enough to receive a lot of diapers from friends and family when I was pregnant, so we were stocked with disposables for the first 2-3 months. Then as we neared month 4, we started having to buy them ourselves, and I realized that at least $40 a month would need to be budgeted for diapers. The price goes up, by the way, as the diaper sizes do, so we’re looking at a good $1,500 or more before Jude is potty-trained. Multiply that by an eventual baby #2 and it’s money that could certainly be put to better use. Cloth diapers are a bigger expense up front, but $300 could really get you from birth to potty training, and most reviews I read state that the same diapers can be used for another baby, so you’re really looking at $150!
Once I started doing research, however, I realized that cost was really only the beginning.
Did you know that disposable diapers are the third largest contributor to landfills and that the average baby goes through approximately 4,000 diapers? Furthermore, we have no idea how long they take to decompose, but it’s estimated to be around 500 years. Over 300 pounds of wood, and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to create the diapers for ONE baby for only ONE year. Critics of cloth will say that it takes equal amounts of waste to launder and care for cloth diapers, but that’s not a logical argument. Water is a sustainable resource, and many of us hang them on clotheslines or drying racks to dry them.
Did you know that the EPA lists Dioxin as the most toxic of all cancer-causing chemicals, and there are traces of it in every disposable diaper? There are numerous other chemicals in them as well, and a quick internet search can give you details on the environmental and health risks to using disposables.
Once I read all of this, I was leaning more toward going cloth all the time and not just sometimes as I first intended. I was still unsure about the laundry element though. I mean anyone with a new baby knows how much laundry you deal with. I find myself staring at large piles every weekend feeling so overwhelmed, and I couldn’t imagine how I had time for more. The thing I hate so much about laundry, though, is the sorting and the folding. You have none of that with diapers. You just dump them all in, run one cold wash, and then run a long hot wash and you’re good to go. I dump them in the washer every other night when I get home from school and let the washing machine do the work for me.
If cloth diapers were as they used to be, I wouldn’t last a week, but the modern options for cloth diapering make the process so easy and so so cute!
Bumgenius pocket diapers are one of my current favorites. They are adjustable, so Jude can use the same diaper from now till he’s potty-trained. They are super absorbent and we’ve NEVER ONCE had a leak. I can’t say that for disposables.
I also love Thirsties fitted diapers. These require a waterproof cover over them, but they are so soft and so absorbent. Jude can sleep comfortably and feel dry all night.
Lastly I love love love this diaper, but I’ve only got one. It’s kinda pricey, but it’s one size so it’ll last for a while.At some point, I’ll probably get another for Jude as well.
Unfortunately, Atlanta doesn’t have a cloth diaper specialty store, so I do my shopping online. Kelly’s Closet is my favorite to order from, but there are a million options offering so many different types of diapers for any mom’s preference. There’s so much more I can say. ( I LOVE cloth!) but that might be enough to get you started and answer any basic questions. I’m still learning, but I love Jude’s little fluffy butt, and I love the feeling that I am making the best choice for Jude and the world we live in.
5 thoughts on “Cloth Diapering 101”
Your advice has been SO helpful! I have been enjoying cloth diapering way more than I ever thought I would. Of course my grandma thinks I have lost my mind since she remembers having to sew 6 dozen of her own diapers for each baby, but even she admitted that my gDiapers were pretty adorable! : )
That’s funny! My grandmother is actually the most enthusiastic one about my cloth. She says she misses it. 🙂
Cool! Thanks for the input. I’ll be back with questions as I think of them. I’m really trying to bring Chuck over to this side, and he’s just not having it so far. He’s most worried about an icky smell around the house.
Theclothdiaperwhisperer.com is a great site to read for info. I think their current post is from the perspective of a dad actually. Like Abida’s story, Scott wasn’t keen on the idea at first, but once he actually saw them and got used to it, he doesn’t mind at al now.
@Andi- my husband supported me in deciding to use cloth on our upcoming arrival but wasn’t very enthusiastic. That is until I washed a load of them (Close Parent Pop-Ins) and hung them up to dry. He took one, rubbed it on his cheek and said ‘Oh, this is nice. No disposable feels so soft!’ He’s been gung-ho ever since! Sometimes seeing is believing when it comes to men, lol!