There are SO many decisions to be made when you are pregnant, and then as a parent. It never ends, and it doesn’t really get easier – the playing field just changes, as soon as you have things figured out (spoiler alert!)
One thing that I knew for certain though, is that I wanted to try to cloth diaper my children. Cloth diapering has come a LONG way since plastic pants and safety pins, and now is becoming even more mainstream than it was when my first daughter was born (four years ago!) Once I found our system with my eldest, I really, really enjoyed cloth diapering her. Now that I have things “perfected” for our lifestyle with baby number two, I am officially an evangelist for cloth! 🙂
Here are the main reasons why our family prefers to use cloth diapers:
WHY I CLOTH DIAPER : REASON #1 : HEALTH + COMFORT
My family has really sensitive skin. Ridiculously sensitive. We tried several brands of disposable diapers on our newest baby at birth, and she broke into a rash within minutes around the legs and waist. We use cloth wipes as well – the disposable wipes left rashes everywhere they touched (even premium “sensitive newborn” types). This for us, is reason enough – never mind all of the toxic chemicals and fillers that disposable diapers and wipes contain! I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the incidence rate of diaper rash increased from around 7% in 1955 (before disposables became mainstream) to around 78% in 1991 – it takes a lot of gunk to make disposables so absorbent, and ultra-absorbent diapers increases the likelihood that baby won’t get changed as often as recommended.
Cloth diapers made from natural fibers also promote better airflow and temperature regulation in babies than plastic disposables – especially important for baby boys. Covers and inserts are available in a multitude of fabrics – bamboo, minky, wool, velour… there are so many luxuriously soft materials modern cloth diapers are made of, I’d use them for myself!
Husband says: Cloth diapers are so much more comfortable for the baby! Who wants to wear paper underwear?!
WHY I CLOTH DIAPER : REASON #2 : ENVIRONMENT
We try to reuse and recycle as many products as possible, as part of trying to live a “greener” lifestyle. Cloth diapers are sustainable in that they can be used on multiple children, and can even be resold! It makes me happy to think that just this choice can make such an impact on our landfills – over 18 BILLION diapers are thrown out in the U.S. every YEAR!
WHY I CLOTH DIAPER : REASON #3 : COST
Cloth diapers have an easy win here – you can have a full stash of Chinese pockets for as little as $125, or even a full stash of premium Canadian diapers for less than a grand!
Cloth diapers can be reused on subsequent children (which doubles or triples your savings!), AND can be resold for easily 50% or more of your original investment.I was able to sell my original diapers for daughter #1 for the same amount I paid – it cost me only $16 to cloth diaper her, in the end! Thanks to some savvy sales-scouting, my current stash will most likely net a large profit when it’s time to sell.
Some diaper brands (like Applecheeks) focus on limited editions and hard to finds – if you build a stash of diapers like these, you can resell them for much, much MORE than you paid! (Crazy example: “lavender fields” and “samoa” colours go for $250-$400 EACH as USED DIAPERS!!)
Husband says: Somehow, I don’t see the used disposables trade taking off anytime soon…
WHY I CLOTH DIAPER : REASON #4: Ease of Use
Cloth diapers are really, really, easy nowadays. They get put on just as quickly as a disposable, and taken off like a disposable, and get washed in a jiffy.
NOT FLIMSY = This is a big one for my husband. Especially when baby becomes mobile and wriggly, disposable diapers tend to rip and shred, leaving caregivers with plastic sticky tabs in their hands, and a baby rolling away in a now-unusable diaper.
NOT STINKY = Ever smell a disposable after a baby has done its business? P-U! Cloth, being fabric, actually hides the odor – I have to look inside her diaper to see if it’s dirty or wet, because I won’t smell it! Our wet bags (zippered bags to store dirty diapers) are kept open, which actually prevents odor from building up. So, no stinky changing table! (If you keep your diapers in a pail, then they would get stinky, as fecal bacteria is anaerobic and builds up when there is a lack of oxygen).
EASY TO DO UP = Our cloth diapers have snap-buttons to close, and even with an wiggly baby, the snaps are easy to do up, and don’t come undone (a bonus with Houdini toddlers!) My mother is also able to use our cloth diapers with ease, and despite initial hesitation, is a HUGE fan now.
EASY WASHING = Cleaning them is easy – three extra loads of laundry a week. Rinse, hot wash with Tide, rinse, dry in the dryer. DONE! Sometimes I put them out on the line – the sun gets them extra bright white!
EASY ON THE GO = I use cloth diapers away from home as well – I just pack them in my diaper bag along with cloth wipes, a water bottle, and a wet bag. No searching for garbage cans!
Husband says: Cloth diapers are just as easy to use as disposables (okay, EASIER!) – AND I don’t have to make late-night runs to the store to buy diapers!
WHY I CLOTH DIAPER : REASON #5: No More Blow-outs!
Some people, fathers in particular, are very squeamish about washing dirty diapers in a machine. Thing is – disposables have a horrendous (and deserved) reputation for poop-blowouts, so either way, you’re going to be washing poopy fabric as a parent. It’s your choice whether you’d like to have that poop exclusively in your cloth diapers…or on you AND your baby’s clothing and furniture! 🙂
The type of cloth diapers we use (AMP and Applecheeks) have ruffled, gathered elastics at the legs, back, and tummy, which keeps poop where it belongs – inside the diaper, and not all over my child! Blow-outs are a thing of the past for us!
WHY I CLOTH DIAPER : REASON #6: They’re sooooo cute!
Cloth diapers have come a long way, baby. Available in hundreds of colours and prints, there is sure to be a brand (or three) to fit your lifestyle and budget!
Husband says: Just look at this baby! Too cool for da beach!
BONUS: Sense of Community
I was surprised by the support and commraderie that has been built up as cloth diapering has become more mainstream. I belong to a couple of cloth diapering groups on Facebook, and have been pleasantly surprised at how supportive and helpful a group of internet strangers can be – especially when you are navigating new waters (new baby, new to cloth, etc). Cloth diapering is also a great ice-breaker at mommy get-togethers or at the park: “oh, you cloth diaper? so do I!” It doesn’t guarantee best-friendship, but it’s a better pick up line than, “oh, you reproduced? so did I!” haha
Do you cloth diaper? What made you take the leap? Or, if you don’t, what’s holding you back?