Cloth Diapers for Practical Parents
Most people cringe upon hearing that we use cloth diapers. Some families love it, and praise it. Some have tried it and it wasn't for them. I mean 95% of American babies wear disposable diapers. The general reaction we get is, "why would you even want to do that?"
We are not necessarily alternative, cool, or hip parents. And we accept that. One of the things that my husband and I are, is practical. And for practical reasons we chose to use cloth diapers on our son's little bottom. Practical, you say? Tell me more, you say? Here are our reasons for using cloth.
First, decide if cloth diapering works for your lifestyle.
We travel quite a bit, and when we do we choose to use disposables. It is easier for us that way as we don’t often have access to laundry facilities and generally travel carry-on only. We also use disposables at nighttime, because our little is just such a heavy wetter.
Another consideration is daycare. We are choosing not to put him into daycare for a while - possibly until he is potty trained. Many day cares do not accept cloth. When choosing to do cloth diapers for a purely financial reason, this is a big consideration. IF your daycare does not accept cloth, then it might not be cost effective to shell out for a huge diaper stash that is only being used for a few months at home.
So for me, a work-at-home mama with some travel and a small budget, cloth diapers seem to be a good fit.
How will you clean your diapers?
Having in-suite laundry is key. For homeowners, this doesn’t seem to be an issue, but for us apartment dwellers, it is. Even laundry outside of the unit and in the building can be an extra hassle that doesn’t is not easy enough for me.
There are a few more gadgets besides the diapers themselves that are quite helpful. The top diaper accessory would have to be - a diaper sprayer. This is a little spray nozzle that attaches to the base of your toilet for washing off soiled diapers. Having other tools like wet bags, cloth wipes, and a supportive family are pretty swell too. You can find out more about the types of detergents to use and the laundry cycles to run from Fluff University or Kelly’s Closet.
Overall yes, they’re messy. But disposable diapers are too. Poop is poop. Meh.
Whats the environmental impact?
It takes up to 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose in a landfill — but actually nothing really decomposes in landfills. Tossing disposables in the trash means tossing #2’s. That’s right, putting un-treated poop in the ground. It means ignoring the World Health Organizations’s recommendation that no human excrement be sent to landfills. Water usage, renewable sources (ie. cotton v. hemp v. bamboo), compostable materials, and use for multiple children are more valid points that I will leave for another time.
Our baby has sensitive skin, so we avoid toxins where possible.
The piece of clothing that will touch my baby’s skin for 24 hours a day for the first 2-3 years of his life should be a product that is nice to his skin. A product that won’t cause respiratory problems, hormonal disruptions, or irritate baby’s skin. I know that he will be exposed to toxins in his life, but it has been my choice to avoid putting them on his bum for the next two years.
But what brand of diaper is best?
As a parent-to-be, I think the most Googled search queries go like, “best ____ for babies 2016.” So before you can type, “best cloth diapers 2016” I will send you to BabyGearLab for their detailed assessment of the top cloth diaper brands out there. I would like to say that deciding which cloth diapers to buy is a hard thing to do. There are flats, pockets, all in ones, hybrids…. Each of these types has its pros and cons. You need to think about your needs, budget, lifestyle and decide what works best. We personally chose the pocket style diapers, namely BumGenius(more expensive) and EcoWays(budget). We have about 24 diapers, and I wash them every other day. I change my baby about every hour and a half. I have been using disposable diapers since 6 months at night. In the end, talk to other mothers who have used cloth, go online and read reviews. I suggest buying a few different brands to begin with and once you have found your favourites, order the rest of your lot.
Oh and finally, we are super frugal. (That’s another word for cheap.)
A proper pricing out of cloth versus disposable in canada makes is logical to save some money. This mock budget is done based on one child in those diapers. You won't need to buy many pairs of shorts in the summertime as they are cute as a button with a t-shirt and diapers. Use them for subsequent children, or sell them after your child is potty trained, and your savings increase again!
I would definitely like to stress that cloth diapers don’t work for some families, just like they do for others. I believe every decision you make as parents should be thoughtful and for the right reasons. I am not at all pushing cloth diapers on any one in particular, I simply had a lot of questions on the subject and thought I should answer them.
Let me know if I have left anything unanswered.
Some other good cloth resources:
Progressive Bag Alliance
Real Diapers .org
CBC - Cloth Diaper Comeback
Cloth Diaper Shop
Fix.com - Green Diaper Basics
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