I’ve had so many people asking me lately, “Why are you planning on using cloth diapers?”. This is a very good question so I thought I’d answer on a grander scale via my blog.
There are several reasons why I’m going the cloth route over disposable and they aren’t listed in any specific order.
They’re better for baby.
There are a ton of chemicals in disposable diapers.
Dioxin (a toxin used during the bleaching process of the paper. It’s been linked to cancer and has been banned in most countries but ours.), TBT (also known as Tributyl-tin, which has caused hormonal problems in humans and animals.), and sodium polyacrylate (an agent used for high absorbency. It increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome when used in the 80’s for super-absorbency tampons because it improved the environment for growth of toxin-producing bacteria.). And these are just a few of them…
Diaper rash is also more common in babies diapered with disposable diapers.
Now if you’re having a boy like me, or have a little guy already, this one really got me. Disposable diapers can cause your little guy’s scrotal temperature to increase. The prolonged temperature change can negatively affect his sperm count, ultimately affecting his ability to have children. WOW… yup, cloth for my little guy.
Cloth is better for the environment
It’s estimated that 18 billion disposable diapers make it to our landfills each year. That’s about 100,000 tons of plastic and 800,000 tons of tree pulp. In order for the diapers to biodegrade (for organic disposables) or photodegrade (for non-organic diapers) they have to get ample air and sunlight. When I last thought of or saw a landfill, I don’t remember there being a lot of air or sunlight under all the garbage. The piles and piles of trash continue to grow leaving little chance for the diapers to degrade.
It’s said that for your first child, whether you use cloth or disposable to diaper your baby, you’ll pay about the same. Now for your second, third, or however many you decide to have, you can use the same cloth diapers you did with your first and have nothing but savings. If you’re using disposable, you’re out all the money again.
I’ve received some cloth diapers already as gifts, after registering for them, and that’s money I would have otherwise been spending. While I know people give disposable diapers as gifts, they are soon thrown away after being filled by a wee one and then Mom and Dad are having to buy more.
Now the more cloth diapers you have, the better, I think. Obviously you’ll be washing them and the more you have the less often you’ll have to, and the life of your diapers will benefit as well. There are diaper services as well, should you decide to not wash them yourself, however it’s another cost to you.
Now onto the cloth diaper options. There are 4 main types. I’ll start with the one I plan to use.
Pocket diapers are very much like a disposable diaper. They don’t require a cover because it’s built-in, they fasten with snaps or hook and loop (aka Velcro) and they have elastic around the legs and waist. Pocket diapers require a stuffer be placed in the pocket. Pocket diapers can come in One-Size or sized. I’m going the one-size route so it’s a one time purchase.
Advantages of Pocket Diapers:
-What you decide to “stuff” the pocket with is up to you. There are various types of stuffing material from disposable inserts to microfiber or hemp inserts.
-Ease of cleaning because they come in two parts. The insert can usually be dried in the dryer while the outer shell (the diaper itself) is recommended to be line dried.
-There are so many patterns and colors to choose from. 🙂
Disadvantages of Pocket Diapers:
– A separate insert is required.
– Can be bulky if to many inserts are used.
All-in-One (aka AIOs or AI2s) are very similar to pocket diapers. They, too, don’t require a cover, as its already built in, they usually fasten with snaps or hook and look (Velcro) and they have elastic around the legs and waist. The difference between an AIO and a pocket diaper is the pocket part. The AIO functions completely on its own without the need for an insert because it’s built in. AIOs also come in one-size or sized.
Advantages of AIOs:
-Works like a disposable, except you don’t throw it away.
-No need for a cover.
-Easy to use.
-Available in a ton of colors and patterns.
-Longer drying time.
-Harder to clean.
Prefolds (aka flat cloth diapers) are what most people think of when it comes to cloth diapers. There’s a good chance your parents or grandparents used ones like these. Things have changed very little with this type of diaper. They still require a cover and they still fasten with pins or a Snappi. Prefold diapers are the least expensive choice, but they also require more pieces (the diaper, cover, and closure). They are very absorbent, easy to clean, and quick to dry.
Advantages of Prefolds:
-Easy to clean
-Can be used in many ways other then diapering like burp cloths or cleaning rags.
Disadvantages of Prefolds:
-A cover is required.
-Takes time to fold.
-Not as convenient as an AIO or Pocket Diaper.
-Hard to use on a squirmy baby.
-Pins and/or Snappi can be hard to use.
-Runny messes are harder to contain.
Fitted Diapers are a bit of a mix between a prefold and AIO. Fitted diapers require a cover. Some snap like an AIO, with snaps or hook and loop (Velcro) and others require pins or a snappi. No insert is needed. They aren’t flat like prefolds, they are shaped more like an AIO or Pocket Diaper with elastic at the legs and waist. This makes them fit much better then a prefold. Fitted diapers also come in one-size or sized.
Advantages of Fitted Diapers:
-Fitted and snug for a good fit on baby and under diaper covers.
-Easy to clean.
-Available in lots of colors and patterns.
Disadvantages of Fitted Diapers:
-A cover is required.
-Not as convenient as an AIO or Pocket Diaper.
-Can be hard to wash and may have smelly issues if there are too many layers.
Now that I’ve covered the major players in the Cloth Diaper world, there are a few other things to keep in mind when cloth diapering your little one. The following is not in-any-way required when using cloth diapers, but it may make your experience a little easier…
After I decided to go the cloth diaper route, I also planned on using liners from day one. Liners are just that, a piece of thin material similar to a dryer sheet that goes inside the diaper. Now if your little one goes number 1, the pee simply goes through the liner and into the diaper. Now if number 2 is in the diaper, the mess is caught in the liner and all you do is take the liner out and flush it. No need for cleaning that yuckiness with your hands, dunking it in the toilet or who knows what. It’s all gone with a matter of a flush.
There are several different liner options out there. The one I recently ordered is made of rice paper and comes in a package of 200 liners (100 per roll). It is an added cost but my time and ease of cleaning is worth it.
Each cloth diaper manufacturer has its own recommendation when it comes to detergent. I have read several different things and did a cost comparison for load price and have decided to go with Charlie’s Soap. We’ll still use our standard detergent on our clothes and baby detergent on our little guy’s clothes. Charlie’s Soap has gotten a ton of great reviews and I’ve read nothing but great things about anything smelly being knocked right out… which is important if you ask me.
When out and about shopping or visiting friends, what are you going to do with a dirty diaper? You don’t want to just put it with all the clean ones in your diaper bag. That’s when a wet/dry bag comes in handy. A wet/dry bag is a bag that zips closed and keeps the smell and mess in so it doesn’t get everywhere. There are even ones that have two sides, one for clean diapers and another for the dirty ones. There are various sizes, colors, patterns and of course compartments (be it one or two). I registered for one that I’ll use just for when I’m away from home (it’s already in my diaper bag) and then a separate larger one to keep upstairs in his room so I can bring all the dirty ones down at the same time instead of having to juggle messy diapers. Can you imagine…? Yeah, me neither. That could be a complete nightmare. The one to the right is the one I received from my Mom as a gift. Thanks Mama.
When it comes to the laundry room, I plan on having a separate place to put dirty diapers in. This is when a diaper pail liner comes in. I’ll be washing them separately anyway, so why mix them with all the other dirty laundry. Sure, I could take an extra garbage can and throw tons and tons of garbage bags out… but why, when I can use something that is reusable and also saves money. The Diaper Pail Liner works similar to the wet/dry bag, but on a larger scale. NOTE: When it comes time to put a diaper in the pail, you’re first instinct is to put a lid on it… DON’T. I know, it’s against nature to think the smell won’t radiate into the rest of your house. You may be able to smell the diapers, but it’ll only get worse if you do close the lid. Just leave it open and let the diapers breathe. Believe me… my friend gave me this sound, or should I say smelly, advice and I plan on taking it.
I hope this post helps you with any questions or concerns you may have about your own diapering… and for those curious about why I’ve decided to go the route I did… I hope it answered your questions as well.
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