If you have never given cloth diapers a second thought, I am here to tell you, they are awesome! If you have never even considered them because of gross factor, expense thoughts, or belief of difficulty, let me tell you, you’ve got it all wrong. Cloth diapers today are nothing like those of decades past, and even those most simplistic ones that were used decades ago are still more user-friendly now than ever before. Trust me, you want to give these a chance.
Introduction to Cloth Diapers
For millenia, cloth diapers of some sort have been the common protection for baby and toddler pre-potty needs, but only within the last 70 or so years has the face of baby bottoms changed to include the disposable diaper. Though the idea of convenience definitely plays into the allure of the disposable, the lingering stench they leave behind ought to give pause for concern by most of us.
The Residual Stench of Disposable Diapers
The stench is not quite as noticeable as one would hope, but it is left in the environmental hazards that come from such waste being used as frequently as with the disposable diaper. In the average family, each child will likely use between 4-10 diapers a day for about 18 months to 3 years, or longer, which means an accumulation of between 2,160 and over 8,000 diapers PER child. Multiply this by the families having even one child and we can see that the effects cloth diapers have on our environment can be substantial.
I will admit that we do not completely avoid disposable diapers like the plague, but we try to use them as little as possible, which really saves us in the long run. Even if we each are able to reduce disposable diapers down to one or so a day we would make a large impact on reducing disposable diaper waste.
Livestrong.com shares three areas of environmental impact that disposable diapers have in our world. This is not the point of my post, so I am not going to spend a lot of time on them, but I did want to quickly explain. Disposable diapers impact use of natural resources, depleting them by significant numbers, head to the landfills in gross amounts and remain there for the hundreds of years that they take to decompose, and release chemicals linked to significant health defects through long-term exposure (such on repeated contact on baby skin, and when slowly decomposing in a landfill). These are not small things that we should just ignore, especially when solutions to these problems are so readily available.
Why Use Cloth Diapers?
When I first considered cloth diapers I have to say that the environmental impact of the diapers was only part of my motivation. Another large component of thought was their cost in comparison to disposable diapers. Unlike cloth diapers, disposable diapers are a consumable product, which means that you need to buy them over and over again because they are going into the trash can once “consumed”. Cloth diapers, on the other hand, generally mean a one-time investment that pays over and over again, a significant savings if you have more than one child!
We have had many of the same cloth diapers for over 8 years now, and they continue to perform well, which makes me so, so happy. We have also purchased new diapers to replace ones that did not provide the necessary components that our children seem to require. But, in comparison to the regular purchase of disposable diapers, even a large order of diapers will still save immensely over the long run.
Plus, they’re adorable! I mean, have you ever seen a little cloth diaper bottom!??! Talk about swoon cute! I love seeing a toddler move around in only a cloth diaper…there is just nothing cuter. Love it!
No Matter Your Financial Situation, There is a Cloth Diaper Solution for You
Another great benefit to today’s cloth diapers is that there really are tons of different kinds to choose from. They range from the basic, and most cost effective tri-fold diaper to the more expensive, but also super effective and absorbent all-in-ones, etc.
We have found a method that works for us where we use the tri-folds for solely breastfed babies, and a mixture of the all-in-ones and tri-folds when they get older and start solids. There are also other convenient little additions that CAN be included in your cloth diapering plan to help reduce the ick-factor. There are diaper liners that literally collect the solids and then dump straight into the toilet for easy flushing and poo reduction, diaper sprayers that conveniently connect to the toilet’s water system to easily spray off any remaining solids right into the toilet, diapers made with extra leg gussets (essentially an additional pocket for protection against leaks around the legs), diaper covers in either one-size-fits-all style or separated sizes, and of course the effective washers that we now have that mean we barely even have to touch anything icky. These are not the diapers your grandma used!
So, I hope that whet your whistle as an introduction to cloth diapers. Keep your eyes open for tomorrow’s posting with a few more specifics on our cloth diaper choices, system, solutions, and suggestions.
What about you? Do you use cloth diapers? If not, why have you chosen to use disposables exclusively?