Friday, February 15, 2013

Top Ten Reasons to Cloth Diaper (Cloth Vs. Disposable Diapers)

  1. Cloth diapering is easy.  There are all sorts of styles and cuts and thicknesses.  Once you sort out what you like and your system, it is easy.  One style, the "all-in-one," is just like disposables and you choose snaps or velcro and wash them at home.  You can wash with your regular laundry after rinsing any poop off into the toilet (you don't have to touch it, I swear- just buy a diaper sprayer for $20), or wash on hot with some vinegar instead of fabric softener.
  2. It's not gross.  Really.  It also encourages you to notice when your child is pooping, and place them over the toilet.  You can really see that that is where poop goes, so why not put the child there instead of using the diaper as a middle man.  You can also use a diaper sprayer (a $20 gadget that attaches to the toilet) so you never touch poop.  
  3. They are cute.  There are some really adorable cloth diapers out there.  And they are so soft against Baby's skin.
  4. It's cheaper. You pay once (or once per size), and then add them into the regular laundry.  They have resale value as well (about half your cost new).  Disposable diapers average 20 cents each, and parents go through 8 per day on average.  That's $1,752 if your child potty trains at age three.  Plus you need wipes at 5 cents each- so if you use one wipe per diaper change (unlikely but possible), that adds $438.  That brings the disposable total to $2,190 for diapers and wipes at 8 changes per day for three years using one wipe per change.   Cloth all-in-ones cost about $10 each, and if you use sized diapers (newborn, S, M, L, and also XL is available if needed), then you need about a dozen per size (that is doing laundry about every other day- less as they get older, of course, and use the potty more).  You could have far fewer, but a dozen is a comfortable number.  At a dozen all-in-ones per size that is $120 per size, then you get half back when you sell them on craigslist.  So they end up costing about $60 per size if you start with new diapers (if you buy them used, you get the full value back when you resell them- who can beat free diapers?!).  If your child potty trains at two years (a generous number for cloth diapering users), they would only go up to size large.  So four sizes at $60 per size is $240 for the whole thing.  That, plus an optional but nice to have diaper sprayer ($20), a wet bag for when you go out ($20 but also can be re-sold and you can use plastic baggies as well), and either disposable wipes or cloth wipes (cut up old t-shirts work great) with water and soap.  Personally, I prefer these to disposable wipes-- fewer chemicals and fewer shopping trips.  If you buy cloth wipes they are up to $1 each, and I would buy two dozen.  All in all, if you have one kid who potty trains at two and you buy new cloth all-in-ones (a dozen per size NB, S, M, and L at $10 each) and use cut-up t-shirts as wipes with soap and water, then sell the diapers when you are done, the whole experience will cost $280. Plus your kid will be in underwear about a year before the average.  You could go wild and crazy and buy 18 per size, and it will bring your cost up to $400.  Add on two dozen cloth wipes and your total is $424.  That's a far cry from $2,190. 
  5. Two for the price of one.  You can use cloth diapers for a second child (or more), for free, before re-selling them, as they last for about four kids, depending on how many diapers are in each kid's rotation.  You can easily buy gender-neutral colors the first go around.
  6. Fewer shopping trips.  You never run out of cloth diapers at midnight.
  7. Kids in cloth diapers potty train faster.  Both our kids were daytime potty trained by a year (and we have carried extra pants around for an additional year for pee misses).  Babies feel when they are wet, so they have reason to tell you when they have to go.  Disposables have gotten so advanced these days that kids don't even realize they have peed. The feedback loop from using cloth diapers and feeling the wetness against their skin helps them potty train.
  8. Less diaper rash.  Really.  With clean, dry cloth diapers against Baby's skin, Baby is less apt to get a rash.  Parents will often let Baby sit in a feel-dry disposable with the chemicals and urine right next to Baby's skin for longer than if Baby were wearing cloth.  
  9. Zero landfill use.  The experts debate if it is more environmental to use disposable vs. cloth diapers.  There is talk that disposables use more resources and chemicals to make than cloth diapers do, and that they end up in the landfill (and often with solid human waste wrapped inside-- potentially leaching into groundwater).  But there is also talk that cloth diapers use electricity and water to wash (plus gas and air pollution if you use a commercial diaper service to pick up your diapers).  As far as resources go, it is my understanding that water and electricity are renewable resources, and I would rather use them than putting more chemicals into our environment and filling the landfills.
  10. No weird chemicals against baby's soft skin (especially against their reproductive organs).  

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