Why Cloth Diaper?

When I was pregnant, I researched baby products – how to take care of a baby, what I need for a baby (and of course, being me, everything needed to be natural, non-toxic, etc.) – and while I was doing my research, I stumbled upon a blog about cloth diapering. At first I thought “No way. I know that I’m extreme, but I am not that extreme. That crosses a line.”

But I made the mistake of reading the blog post all the way through. Then I Googled cloth diapers to see what they looked like. Then I did more reading, and more research. And I talked to my husband about it. And before I knew it, we were ordering a bunch of cloth diapers. At first we used them only at home, and used disposables when we were out, but after a month or two, we started to cloth exclusively, and I love it.

I thought it would be hard, super inconvenient, smelly, awful…and I’ll admit, I’m sure it takes a little more effort than using disposables, but I think the benefits outweigh the costs. There are two main reasons why we cloth diaper: it saves money and it is healthier for the baby. Some say it is also good for the environment. That is debatable because while you are not filling up landfills with disposable diapers, cloth diapering does require the use of a lot of water for washing. So maybe it’s better for the environment, maybe not. Disposable diapers do make up 1-3% of landfill waste. 

Oh, I’ll add a fourth reason – they are SO cute!! 

1. The Cost Savings. This is what sold my husband, I think. I am all about health, he is all about money. I was planning to quit my job, so that meant we would lose my income once the baby came. Our expenses would increase, and our income would decrease, so we were (and are) always looking for things we could do to save money. It is hard to give a solid number on how much money you save by cloth diapering because it depends on the kinds of cloths that you choose to use as well as the types of disposables you are comparing it to. It also depends based on how often you change your baby. And when they potty train.

That being said, disposables generally cost between $2,500-$4,000 per child. Cloth diapers cost between $250-$550 plus the cost of washing them. And if you plan on having more than one child, you only have to pay for the washing part for the next child(ren).

2. The Health Factor. Diaper manufacturers are not required to disclose a detailed list of the ingredients and chemicals found in diapers. So we don’t know everything that is in them, but many (pretty much all non-“green,” plus some “green” diapers) contain the following: chlorine, perfumes, dyes, phthalates, and the list goes on. Some of these chemicals might be harmless, but many are known allergens and toxins. And they are being rubbed right up against the baby’s very absorbent skin. Here is a quote I found from CBC news:

‘Though neither Proctor and Gamble nor Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Huggies diapers, responded to requests for information by CBC News, a manufacturing consulting website, The Diaper Industry Source, says most disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a super-absorbent gelling material. A polymer, it has the ability to absorb 1,000 times its weight in water, making it a very useful diaper component in its ability to contain urine.

Sodium polyacrylate’s material safety data sheet indicates that “the respirable dust is a potential respiratory tract irritant.” The dust “may cause burning, drying, itching and other discomfort, resulting in reddening of the eyes,” not to mention lung irritation.’

While researching and trying to decide if the cloth diaper thing was worth it, I read blog after blog of moms who had switched from disposable diapers to cloth who had noticed diaper rashes disappearing. When I found out about these chemicals, allergens, and skin irritants, I knew that I didn’t want to use regular diapers, so it was pay the premium for “green” diapers, or cloth diaper.

And because of all of the money we could save, I decided to try out the cloth diapers. And I’m so glad I did. They are really not hard at all. We haven’t had problems with leaks (we get one here and there, but nothing crazy). They are so cute, save us so much money, and are better for our baby!

Sources:

http://www.babygearlab.com/a/11093/What-Is-Inside-Those-Disposable-Diapers

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/disposable-diapers-are-they-dangerous-1.888074 

http://www.toxipedia.org/display/toxipedia/Diapers

http://www.diaperjungle.com/Disposable-Diapers-Exposed.html

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