Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Cloth Diapering - Off Topic Tuesday

"Why on earth would you CHOOSE to cloth diaper?" and "Why would you ever use CLOTH PADS?!"

I asked these two questions to my online doula community colleagues 3 years ago. Today, I'll tell you why I chose cloth diapers following lots of discussion, contemplating, researching, and eventually...convincing of my husband. 
When I was three or four months pregnant I asked my doula friends in-the-know, why they used cloth diapers...wasn't it outdated? hard? messy? nasty? stinky? gross? come to find out, I was thinking of the wrong cloth diapers my friends! 

These are your grandmother's cloth diapers!
This is what I was picturing...fluffy, bulky, cotton squares which I would have to twist, fold, pin, put plasticky covers over, and stuff onto a squirmy baby. These were the diapers my mom wore...prefolds and flats...pinned onto the baby. I have a picture of my mother, probably about 1.5 years old, with one of these beauties hanging half off her toddler booty. The picture is 63 years old...why would I put such outdated digs on MY modern day baby? Because, unless you PREFER these diapers...diapers have come a LONG way in the 63 years since my mother toddled her Wisconsin sidewalks in these.

Cloth diapers are better for baby's skin. I'm sure it's hard to imagine that all of the mystery chemicals in Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs, that make that paper thin diaper soak up loads of baby pee without leaking and turning it into a squishy beast 6 times it's original size. Chlorine, plastics, chemicals, gels...you name it, it's in there. There are compounds in disposable diapers that were banned in the 80s from being used in tampons because it was causing Toxic Shock Syndrome. This is what is against your baby's butt. Babies have a higher instance of diaper rashes and allergic reactions in disposable diapers. But cloth diapers, my friend, are just cotton, some have fleece, and some have PUL as a waterproof layer, but they are all just fabric...no goofy, potentially dangerous compounds, no fragrances, no paper or plastic. Cloth Diapered baby bums have fewer rashes, don't get chemical burns, and are waaaaay cuter. That's the last reason on our list...we'll talk about it later. 

Cloth is cheaper as long as you don't get sucked into that last reason of "cuteness" which is entirely possible. I'm in no mood to crunch numbers for you...but look at it this way...a small size fuzzibunz as been on my 6 month old's bum since he was 1 month old. I own 15 of them. That's $270, divide it by 2 because Aiden also wore them...in fact he wore them for 8 months...figure that Chase will do the same, that's 16 months of diapers for $270. Shoot, add in that I loaned them to a friend who also cloth diapered HER son for 8 months and we have 24 months of diapering for only $270...that sounds pretty good right?! Now go add up an average of 8 to 10 of your preferred diapers per day, and figure 24 months of that, for me it would be huggies and 24 months of diapers would cost me about $1700. Big difference right? Ok, but let me be honest, I have 6 bumgenius diapers as well...but those are one size...Aiden wore them from age 1 month until a few weeks ago when I potty trained him. So 21 diapers for 2 years, and now Chase is wearing them...I'm not good at compound math, but what I DO know is that I saved a ton doing it...and so will you. Switch to cloth wipes (pretty easy!) and you'll save even more. Some argue "What about the cost of washing/drying the diapers," but it's not $1400, not even close...some website I found while researching broke it down per load...but I don't remember what it was or where to find it so you are on your own. The energy cost is just as low and has a lower impact on the environment than disposabales. That brings me to a third point...

Cloth is better for the planet. Regardless of whether you think Global Warming/Climate change is a political issue to be believed in or not...it NEVER hurts to think about the future. Disposable diapers with all their plastics and gels take 500 years to decompose...then add that they are almost always bundled up in some kind of plastic bags...pretty much indestructable by the time it's all said an done. So when the argument that the use of water (hot water specifically) and detergents offsets the environmental benefit of cloth diapering, I beg people to consider those  numbers...500 years! Do I need to say more? In my house we use 7th Generation Free & Clear Detergent and HE washer and dryer. I know Mama Christa uses green laundry detergents, and that she hangs hers to dry on a clothesline during the summer. Even if we were using Tide and old machines, there isn't 500 years worth of impact in that.

Cloth is easy! Surprisingly, it's not that hard...people ask me..."WHAT ABOUT THE POOOOP?!" Here's the short story: if it's not solid enough to just be knocked off into the toilet, then it's soft enough to just dissolve in the wash. I know this grosses you out...but it shouldn't. The wash routine breaks down to a cold rinse, a hot, heavy wash, and two rinses...trust me...your delicates won't be swimming with poop. If you still are unsure there are biodegradable and flushable liners to lay inside the diaper...pee passes through, poop stays on top! Then you just put the diaper in your pail...this is no different than putting a disposable in a diaper genie or the trash. In the life of a mom, what's a couple or three extra loads of laundry per week huh? So no dunking, scrubbing on a washboard...none of that! It's super easy and...

Cloth is CUUUUTE! Who ever saw a baby in a pampers and said "wow, what a cute diaper?!" No one. That's who!

I'm totally buying this...
and probably this...
if I had a girl, I'd get this...
and I totally love this
Do I need to share more? Why don't you take some time to check out some of our favorites until our next cloth diapering post about types of diapers. 

Kawaii Diapers - probably our top choice right now...pocket diapers with cute prints, snap closures or hook & loop closures, one size...all as good as Fuzzibunz and BumGenius but at less than half the price. Thank Mama Christa for this one!

BumGenius - one size pocket diapers, easy to use and popular!

Fuzzibunz - both one size and perfect size cloth diapers, snap closures...super soft, nice fit, fun colors. 

Green Mountain Diapers - Mama Christa LOVES their pre-folds (yea, she uses pre-folds and covers...to each her own eh?!) 

So stay tuned, another OTT post will go further into this! 


  1. I prefer prefolds with a cover also. I hang them on the line in the yard if it isn't raining.

  2. i like my prefolds! And Fitteds...oh i love fitteds!!

  3. I wanna know more now! Lol. I have tickled the thought of cloth diapering at our house, & my hubby isn't really on board, but I think it wouldn't be too bad if I know a lot & can make it easy for us.