I first decided I wanted to try cloth diapering when I was about 12 weeks pregnant. And everyone around me thought I was crazy. Why would I want to make more work for myself?
Now that my daughter is over a month old, I’ve found that the extra load of laundry per day is worth it for all the benefits cloth diapering has to offer.
Here are the top 7 reasons why I love cloth diapering.
1. Cost Effectiveness
Getting started with cloth diapering is an investment. For a stash of 20 pocket diapers with inserts, a toilet sprayer for poopy diapers, and a nice scent-locking trash bin with washable bags, the total came to about $350. That seems like a lot to pay upfront!
But let’s compare that to the cost of disposable diapers. Considering that one box of 100 disposable diapers costs about $25, and you’ll use an average of 8 diapers per day, that means you’d get about 12 days of diapering out of one box. And how many days does a baby wear diapers?
Even if you have a super easy baby that potty trains at 18 months, you’ll pay over $1,100 for disposable diapers. That’s insane! I’ll take the $350 instead.
(Here’s my math, in case you’re wondering: 18 months is about 547 days, divided by 12 would be about 45 boxes of diapers you’d need, times the cost of $25 per box, equals $1,140.63.)
Being the midst of a pandemic right now, we’ve all seen how supply chains can be interrupted, making it hard to find common items we used to take for granted. Diapers are one such example.
In light of this, our family is always looking for ways to be more self-sufficient and sustainable as a unit. This way, we won’t have to be so reliant on the outside world for our basic necessities. Cloth diapering takes away the need to rely on stores to have our specific brand of diapers when we need them.
It’s nice to know that we have all the diapers we need right here, whenever we need them.
3. Environmental Friendliness
According to PR Newswire, about 20 billion disposable diapers go into U.S. landfills every year. That equates to 3.5 million tons of waste. And this isn’t just normal garbage - it’s human waste containing pathogens and all the other lovely stuff you can imagine is in feces.
Would you dump your poop in a landfill? Probably not, yet many people think nothing of throwing baby poop into the garbage like it’s a candy wrapper.
Cloth diapers will eventually end up in a landfill, too, at some point. But isn’t it better to contribute 20 rather than thousands?
Now some may argue that cloth diapers aren’t really that environmentally friendly because you have to use a lot of water and energy to wash them. But if you have a high efficiency washer, that greatly reduces water waste. Plus, there are many ways to reduce water use in other areas of your home to make up for the wanted used for laundering cloth diapers. You can take shorter showers, for example.
Plus, in the grand scheme of things, the energy and water you use for one extra load of laundry per day (or even every other day if you prefer) is a small drop in the bucket of environmental impact, especially when compared to thousands of feces-filled disposable diapers in a landfill. But it’s up to you to pick your poison and decide which you think is less damaging overall.
4. Diaper Rash Prevention
In over a month of cloth diapering, my daughter has yet to get a diaper rash. She has had some slight redness at times, which clears up with a little cornstarch. There has been no need for fancy butt creams and diaper rash spreading tools and all that jazz.
Cloth diapers tend to result in less diaper rashes, as they don’t contain all the chemicals found in disposables, which can irritate babies’ sensitive skin. For extra sensitive babies, cloth diapers made from cotton or bamboo are even gentler on skin than those made from synthetic materials.
I have cloth diapers made from a variety of materials, and my baby’s skin has not reacted negatively to any of them. It’s been nice to not have to deal with diaper rash.
On the other hand, it’s important to note that cloth diapers should be changed more frequently than disposables, or diaper rash could result from constant wetness. I change my daughter's diaper every 2-3 hours, whereas you could go up to 4 hours with disposables. Still - I think it’s totally worth it!
5. Easy Sizing
I love one-size cloth diapers that adjust to fit a baby from the newborn stage up until potty training. This means that I never have to worry about having the right size diaper for my baby at the right time in her growth, or have the next size diaper ready in case she sizes up soon.
I also don’t have to deal with the headache of my baby possibly skipping a diaper size, or only wearing it for a short time, resulting in nearly full boxes of diapers that may never get used.
Our house doesn’t have a ton of storage space, so I cannot even imagine storing boxes and boxes of various sizes of diapers. That sounds overwhelming.
Anyway, cloth diapers are great because you can adjust their size as needed! My baby was born at over 8 pounds, so she actually never even needed to use the newborn adjustments on her diapers. They could have been adjusted to a much smaller size than what she started out at, so even if you have a smaller baby, you should be able to use the diapers as soon as you want! (I started using cloth as soon as all the meconium had passed and the umbilical cord stump had fallen off.)
6. Blowout Reduction
Babies are messy, especially in the diapering department. In my past experiences babysitting and caring for other babies who used disposable diapers, I have seen how easily they can leak. Blowouts happen pretty often, wetness leaks through, and it’s just crazy.
If a disposable diaper doesn't fit just perfectly, leaks happen. If you use cheap diapers that aren’t strong or thick enough, it’s a huge mess. You get the picture.
I’ve found that cloth diapers seem to be much sturdier and effective at keeping everything in. So far, I’ve only had two experiences with diaper contents starting to leak out as I was placing my daughter onto the changing table. But let me tell you - cloth diapers can hold A LOT!
They have a waterproof outer covering that really keeps wetness and poop inside. The inserts do a good job of absorbing wetness, too (especially bamboo inserts!). I really love dealing with far less mess by using cloth diapers.
Last but not least, I love cloth diapers because they are so stinking adorable! Most disposable diapers are just plain white, or maybe have a little bear on the front, but that’s it.
Cloth diapers, on the other hand, come in all kinds of beautiful colors and patterns. You can even just pair a tee shirt with them and have a cute little outfit! Cloth diaper cuteness is just the icing on the cake of all the other wonderful benefits mentioned above.
If you’re considering cloth diapering for your baby, I highly recommend using Nora’s Nursery brand diapers. I’ve tried several brands, and these ones are my favorite!
I also recommend the Dekor diaper garbage, with reusable cloth bags. It keeps the smell inside and makes washing the diapers super simple. Just take the bag out with the cloth diapers and inserts, dump the contents in the washing machine and throw the reusable bag in, too! Voila!
I won't have to spray the poopy diapers until my baby starts eating solids, but when she does, I'll be ready with this sprayer that hooks right onto the toilet.
My wash routine is simple - cold wash, then hot regular cycle with Purex Dirt Lift Action detergent, another cold rinse, and then delicate tumble dry. Alternatively, you can hang the diapers on the line outside to help bleach out stains naturally and make your diapers last longer. I periodically add ½ cup of baking soda to the regular cycle along with the detergent, to maintain freshness.
I hope you found this helpful in discovering why cloth diapering can be a great option for you and your baby!
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