This post was updated and adapted from my old blog. It was fun to see how my views on cloth diapers have evolved over four years of use on two (differently shaped) children. Some of our reasons remained the same, and others have changed a little. Regardless, I am still very happy that we decided to go primarily with cloth!
When in my third trimester with J, my childbirth ed teacher asked our class if any of us were considering cloth diapers. I laughed and spat out a “No way!” for my response. I worked in a daycare at the time, and all I could think about was changing pooped-up underwear when one of my potty-training toddlers had an accident.
My teacher smiled, and instead of chastising me, went on to show the crunchier, more interested mamas some of her cloth stash. As she went over options, explanations, and reasons for cloth diapering, I realized I was becoming more interested as she continued to speak. Maybe cloth diapering isn’t as gross as I thought it would be?
By the end of the class, I was at least open to trying cloth. And by the time my son was about a month old, I was ordering a cloth diaper trial kit. And by the end of my two week trial, I was a total convert, ready to evangelize my disposable-using friends left and right. Now I’ve mellowed out a bit- and I even use disposable part time too (gasp!)- but I still love my fluff. Here’s why.
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1) It’s WAY cheaper.
We paid around $200 for all of our diapers. That bought us 8 Flip covers and 24 liners- enough for full-time cloth diapering one baby. Some cloth diapering systems cost less, some cost more. While the initial investment may seem daunting, we figured out that we would have spent that much on disposables in about 3 months at the newborn poop rate (obviously that depends on your kid’s digestive tract). Since that initial purchase, we have also accepted hand-me-down used cloth to add to our collection.
The best part about a cloth diaper investment? We’ve reused most of those diapers for our second child. Some of our waterproof diaper covers have doubled as protection against the mess of bed-wetting for our preschooler. Also, when cloth diapers wear out, you can mend them yourself (or pay someone to do it) to extend their life for years to come.
2) Less leaks (usually).
We’ve noticed a remarkable advantage to cloth diapers in the blowout phase of diapering. Every time we had disposables on our newborns, they were soon wearing poop up their backs. Every time we had on a well-fitted cloth diaper, the poop was efficiently stopped in its tracks by the elastic bands. This has generally held to be true for us for both babies.
As a caveat, if you find your cloth diapers are leaking frequently, try a little troubleshooting. Is your baby wearing the right size diaper? Is the elastic or waterproof fabric worn out? Are you changing them frequently enough? Are they heavy night wetters? Certain culprits will create cloth diaper woes, but these causes can usually be sleuthed and solved without too much trouble.
3) Less diaper sensitivities.
My son had a constant diaper rash when he wore conventional disposable diapers. Once we switched to cloth, the rash went away. We think he was sensitive to some of the ingredients in disposables. Instead of paying for the expensive, organic, chemical-free diapers, we relied on cloth to be kind to his bottom.
4) Better for the environment.
I’m not the greenest person you ever will meet on the planet. But hey- if I can make a simple change to help keep more waste out of landfills and reuse what I have instead, why wouldn’t I? I’ve found that my wash load has not increased greatly since switching to cloth, so I feel that my water usage is not a contraindication to cloth diapering.
5) It’s cute.
C’mon, you have to admit it’s cute to have diapers that match your baby’s outfit! (Okay, so this didn’t play a big role in the decision making process either, but again, it’s an added bonus!)
6) It’s not nearly as gross or labor intensive as I thought it might be.
I mentioned my horror at the thought of endless mushy poopy underwear and pants and shoes and shirts that have suffered the onslaught of potty training accidents. Thankfully, cloth diapering is nothing like potty training, and is, in fact, very similar to disposable diapering! It’s easy, no grosser than disposables, and only adds occasionally spraying off poo into the toilet and doing an extra load of wash every couple days.
7) You can try before you buy.
I highly recommend trying a cloth diaper trial kit to see if it works for you and your family. Make sure it’s a kit with good variety so that you can test several types of diapers- there are just so many options! I used Diaper Daisy’s Trial Kit for J to determine which types of diapers fit him best and worked well for our lifestyle. I was extremely satisfied with Diaper Daisy’s customer service!
Another company that I have ordered from and trusted is Kelly’s Closet. They are a larger company, but they quite the variety of quality diapering options along with some online diapering education for cloth newbies. Last but not least, a doula friend of mine has opened her own growing business, MotherBaby Naturals, that you can visit and order from online. (I couldn’t decide on just one diaper source to recommend when I have used several!)
Overall, cloth diapering has been a rewarding adventure, and has saved us a ton of money. Do I still use disposable sometimes? Yes! Do I beat myself up over it? No! 🙂 Disposables work better for us at night and on the road, but when we are home, cloth is still the way to go for us.
What about you? Have you tried cloth? Would you ever consider it? I’d love to hear your experiences!
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