I had heard of cloth diapering before becoming pregnant, but never really thought much about it, I mean I didn’t have to right? Once my husband and I were expecting, I knew it was time to sit down, research, and learn all about the cloth option. The idea of it did instantly appeal to me for the sake of my baby’s skin. I knew that disposables were full of chemicals and unwanted ingredients just as sanitary pads and tampons are. And since my daughter was going to be wearing a diaper 24 hours a day for the first couple years of her life….I figured the all-natural route seemed like the healthier choice of the two. I did however have a lot more to learn on the subject before making a final decision for my husband, my daughter, and I. (Read Chantal’s birth story here.)
Upon researching and asking my cloth diapering friends for their opinions and reviews on the subject, I learned that I definitely wanted to try cloth. I ended up gathering quite the stash and all for under $300. I bought shells and inserts that were both brand spanking new and in excellent used condition. I am now 5 months into cloth diapering and I have no regrets whatsoever. Both my husband and I absolutely adore them. We do use bleach and dye-free disposables overnight and when we are going to be out all day with her simply to make for lighter packing. Because I use both I can honestly say I prefer cloth for a whole pile of reasons and here they are:
The average family spends between $2500-$3000 on disposable diapers per child.
The cost ranges from $300-$500 max for everything you would need to comfortably cloth diaper. The same stash can be re-used for all children to follow should they be looked after properly. Additionally, cloth diapers hold their value so they can easily be re-sold if kept in good condition.
It has been reported that about 20 billion disposable diapers are dumped into landfills each year. It takes 500 years for these diapers to fully decompose. Even when comparing how the two diapers are made, cloth wins hands down. The production of disposables requires twice the amount of water and three times the amount of energy.
As I mentioned above, cloth first appealed to me for this reason alone. Disposable diapers contain dyes, bleach, and sodium polyacralate (the crystals) that are extremely harsh on a baby’s bum. Skin reactions and diaper rashes are very common in disposable wearing babies. Babies wear diapers every moment of their life until they are potty trained…that is a lot of time to be sitting in harsh chemicals.
THEY ARE JUST AS EASY
Convenience. That’s why people choose disposable. They want to just roll up that diaper, throw it out and never think about it again. Fair enough. However, cloth is just that easy, too.
When I mention cloth diapers, most people imagine the style used in our parents’ generation. The white saggy ones with the large safety pins holding it all together. Well my friends, cloth has come a long way since those days. We now have an overwhelming amount of options when it comes to cloth.
To explain it in the simplest form possible, we have our shells or covers. They come with adjustable velcro or snaps that can grow with your baby until they are potty trained. This shell is the outer part that essentially looks like a super cute diaper. They come in all colors and tons of adorable prints.
Then we have inserts or liners that you place inside the cover. The liners are the absorbency. They are available in different lengths and widths and are made only of all-natural materials. Organic hemp and bamboo are the two most used.
Until a child starts solids, you do not have to do anything but throw everything in the wash. Until solids, you roll up the diaper and throw it in a lined bag or pail and wash it when you have enough for a load. Upon starting solids, you simply spray the mess off into the toilet then proceed to throw the diaper in the pail and wash as always. There are also flushable liners available which is a great option for those who like the idea of cloth but can’t get past the poop.
And just for the record, nobody I have ever talked to that does use cloth-has ever complained about laundry. The laundry excuse is just that-an excuse for those who don’t want to consider cloth diapering. Might I add that it really is no big deal at all-it’s actually convenient to help create full loads when you have delicate sleepers, onesies, and blankets to wash anyway.
LESS RUINED OUTFITS
It took me a while to catch on to this, but cloth = less poop explosion dilemmas. The covers of cloth diapers provide so much coverage that they catch it all. I learned this the hard way after a handful of really cute white onesies were forever ruined by poop explosions. It seemed whenever I would put on a brand new outfit that had never been worn, it never failed that within the hour it was all painted curry yellow for life. This is the reason I actually prefer to use cloth when going out and about. Baby’s digestive systems love movement. A bumpy ride in the car seat followed by stroller marathons while running errands is a sure way to encourage a poop explosion. For this reason alone, I honestly always try my best to do cloth when going out. In my experience it really does catch it all.
EARLIER POTTY TRAINING
Although I can’t yet vouch for this one, I have been told it again and again so I believe it. Its simple really-disposables are made to absorb a lake of pee. They are made for the baby’s comfort and made so that our babies don’t feel a damn thing. Sounds nice in theory, right? With cloth, while there is absorbency, it’s not to the extreme that disposables are. After 2 or 3 voids, the baby can feel the wetness and they will let you know. These babies are already accustomed to the feeling of “wetting their pants” and they already know they don’t like it. This encourages them to make the connection that urinating or emptying their bowels leads to feeling wet and dirty. They can better understand their bodily functions allowing them to potty train faster. I’m really digging this idea for when our training time comes.
PEACE OF MIND
For all of these reasons, I can rest assured that I made the best choice for our family. We saved a lot of money (probably my husband’s favorite reason ha-ha) and I know that we aren’t contributing a ton of slow decomposing disposables to our landfills. Eliana has gentler, organic materials sitting against her delicate parts and we are doing it in a modern and functional way. I am saving tons of favourite clothing items from being tie-dyed bright yellow and hopefully we get a successful potty trained girl quicker than the average. There aren’t any mad rushes to the store because we ran out of diapers without realizing it. We are all set for our next child if that happens and if not; we can re-sell our stash as cloth diapers hold their value. I completely have no regrets on choosing cloth. Every time I wash them (every 3-4 days) I feel so much joy organizing and re-stocking my changing area. It’s like a mom therapy.
If I haven’t convinced you after all of that, at least you actually understand and appreciate why people do choose cloth. It’s not because we are crazy hippies (well, not only ;).
CHANTAL URBINA is a registered Massage Therapist and Culinary Nutrition Expert. She is passionate about living a life full of health, love, and happiness and that all three start with our diet. “Nature’s healing properties will never cease to amaze me and it inspires me day after day to create and share recipes made with only real whole foods.”