“Why the cloth diapers?”
Of all people, my son’s doctor asked me this at his last appointment. He caught me totally off guard, since he seemed to mildly disapprove, and I feel like I’m just doing the best by my baby. My response to him was some mumbled, non-committal explanation about the environment.
For some reason, I just lose it when I’m put on the spot without any real time to construct a response. So, Dr K, if you are ever searching the web and find this, here is your answer:
2. Baby’s Health
About the Earth: Concerns for the environment was definitely what got me started on thinking about cloth diapers. It seemed obvious that they would be a better option. When starting to do research on that, you will hear plenty of disagreement there. At the end of the day, you have to decide if its better to be using a little extra water and electricity, or to have hundreds of diapers piling up in a landfill.
Disposables are Expensive!: That pretty sums it up. Disposables are costly. Sure, there are people out there who are super couponers, and maybe they can get them really cheap. But I am definitely not that person. Cloth diapers are an larger initial investment, but they are so much less expensive in the long run. Especially if you get to use them for more than one baby! There are tons of breakdowns on the cost difference of disposables vs. cloth, this one even accounts for energy costs. Simon wore disposables the first week or so after he came home, and Dad commented that he could see how much we were going to save by using cloth.
For My Baby: I didn’t look into how our diapering decisions could affect his health until after we had already been using cloth for months, and my neighbor mentioned how horrible disposables might be for their health. Then I did some research, and was pretty surprised with what I found. Yes, there are bad things everywhere, and I can’t protect him from everything, but I can keep the dioxins, as well as some other nasties, away from his most sensitive parts.
There are other claims of it causing infertility, asthma, etc. I don’t know how credible that is, but hey…why chance it? Its not like cloth diapering is that difficult anyway.
Cloth diapering doesn’t get quite the eyebrow raise that I imagine it probably got about 10 years ago, but it does still get a lot of questions. Some that I get a lot are:
How do you do it?: Really, I get that question a lot and it is so vague. I wrote a follow up to this post, Cloth Diapering Part 2 – How, where I went into great detail on how you cloth diaper a baby.
Doesn’t it take a lot of time?: It surely does not. Three times a week, I do a load of diaper laundry.
Isn’t is messy?: Well sure…but not any messier than changing a disposable diaper! I would think it’d be a little extra messy if you are using cloth diapers and disposable wipes, because you can’t just roll up the wipe in the diaper. Cloth wipes are much easier, in my opinion, when using cloth diapers.
Isn’t is hard to travel?: If we are going away for a weekend, it isn’t necessarily harder, but it does take up more space. We just got back from visiting my family for the weekend, and Simon’s diapers took up more space than Simon and my clothes. If we are going away for more than four days, we’re going to need to find a washing machine. As far as dirty diaper storage, we just use wetbags when we are traveling, larger ones for longer trips, small ones for everyday use.
Doesn’t it take up a lot of space?: Of course. A whole stash of cloth diapers takes up more space than a pack of disposables. But it all fits on the changing table easily.
*Flash warning, there is no light in his room!*
I know some cloth diapering moms do complain about the space it takes up in the diaper bag, and I’m not sure if my diaper bag is just big, or if our diapers are smaller than most, but I don’t have an issue with that either.
Isn’t is smelly?: Honestly, not at all. You can see in the above photo a white garbage can to the right, and that is where his dirty diapers go (with a pail liner) until they are washed. No, there is no lid, and no, his room doesn’t smell. If you want to go stick your nose in it, of course they have a scent…he has been peeing and pooping in them. But just walking around the room as you would in normal everyday life, nope.
Some other things to like about cloth diapers:
– babies in cloth tend to potty train sooner
– diaper rashes are less frequent
– fewer “poopsplosions” (he wore disposables when we moved, and I know this is true)
– no running to the store for diapers when you run out
All in all, cloth might not be for everyone, but it is a decision I’m quite satisfied with. So far no complaints from Dad or Simon, so we won’t be trading them in anytime soon!
Need to convince someone that cloth diapers are a good option for your family? I went into more detail in my “How” post. If you have any questions I didn’t address, leave a comment! Or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.