Cloth Diapering: Why Use Cloth Diapers?

Happy Earth Week! In honor of this very important holiday, I am going to post a series about cloth diapering.

1. Cloth diapering basics
2. Prefolds and covers
3. Pockets, all-in-ones, and hybrids
4. Washing and care
5. Cloth diapering a newborn

Today, the basics!

Alright. So I know many reactions to cloth diapers are those of surprise, awe, and quite possibly disgust. I know when people found out that I planned on cloth diapering, I got a whole range of reactions, but it was mostly because many people really don’t know that much about cloth diapering. The majority think that cloth diapering still involves prefolds, pins, and plastic pants. How they are washed and dealing with poop were also popular responses and questions I received. But guess what?

Cloth diapering is really not that scary. Or gross. Or difficult.

I promise.

Disposables are yucky, but I totally understand how awesomely convenient they are. In fact, we used disposables the first week of life for Dominik because I was still way to sore and tired to tackle something new. And if we are out and about for longer than an hour or two, we bring disposables to minimize the amount of dirty diapers we carry around. And honestly, there are a great many people who, for them, cloth diapering is just not a good option if the resources aren’t there. For example, if you are washing your clothes at a laundry mat or outside of where you live, I highly doubt it would be appealing to lug dirty diapers to one every other day. Disposables are definitely there for a good reason and I would never judge someone for choosing them. If it’s an option, cloth diapering is honestly fun and beneficial.

So first, why use cloth diapers in the first place? Babies pee and poop, a lot. Disposable diapers really are wonderful because they are convenient, especially since babies go through so many. However, disposable diapers do not just magically disappear with the garbage, they stick around in landfills. In fact, they are the third largest consumer item in landfills. About 27.4 billion diapers end up in landfills in the U.S. alone each year and those diapers are estimated to require up to 500 years to decompose. The process of making diapers is not any better. It requires over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum supplies, and 20 pounds of chlorine to make diapers for just one infant… each year.

And all that chlorine and other chemicals (like dioxin, a known carcinogen) in the diapers? Against a baby’s soft and brand new bottom. I know that Dominik gets instant rashes if he needs to wear a disposable, even with the “organic” brands.

Still not convinced? Remember how infants go through a TON of diapers? Disposables require a new diaper with each change. That adds up to almost $2000 to put one baby through diapers. Cloth diapering costs anywhere from around $200 to $1000 (depending on the kind) and will last through more than one child. In the long run, that at least a grand saved.

In a nutshell: cloth diapering will conserve resources and be nice to the environment, are safer for your baby’s skin/body, and will SAVE YOU MONEY. (That last one was what convinced my husband) Plus, they are really darn cute.

I swear it’s really not bad. My mom, who was a skeptic and requested I buy disposables for her, loves her grandson’s adorable cloth diapers. And it’s honestly not any messier than using disposables; in fact, I never have leaks or blowouts unless he is wearing a disposable. When he done with a diaper, I put the diaper into a wet bag instead of a trashcan, that’s really the only difference. Breastfed babies have poop that washes right out in the wash. Solid food poop needs to be dumped in the toilet, but honestly that’s what people are supposed to do with disposables too. Worried about washing poopy things in the washing machine? If your child gets poop onto his clothes or vomits in his bed, that goes into the machine, and cloth diapers aren’t much different. They come out clean and your washer will still be clean enough for normal laundry.

Okay, so what kinds of cloth diapers are out there? Some are easier than others and they come in a wide variety of prices. There are prefolds, pockets, hybrids, and all-in-ones. I will post about each kind coming up!

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