I wasn’t thrilled about cloth diapering. In fact, I was pretty adamant about NOT cloth diapering. I figured “Someone came up with disposables for a reason…because they knew there was a better way to do things.” Guess what, I don’t think that was right. Is there a time to use sposies (disposables to those not in the “know”)? You betcha. Do I use them all of the time? Nope.
This series is going to cover some necessary cloth diapering information. At no time do the Mommies involved intend to make you feel as though you are doing things wrong. We in no way want you to think the world will fall apart or you are single handedly contributing to overflowing landfills if you use sposies. We do, however, want you to understand that we believe the benefits outweigh the cons. We believe it is important enough in our lives (and our little one’s lives) that we should share. I will start us off by talking about what got me to change from sposies to cloth diapers.
Cloth diapers = money in the bank:
I was looking over my grocery and monthly expenses about 6 months ago. I was trying to cut this and that. I was already living a pretty “organic” lifestyle but wanted to go even more traditional with my food choices. As a result, I noticed an increase in my monthly expenses. While this increase is gone now that I have gotten the hang of this kind of grocery shopping (more on that later), my change to cloth diapers has helped me get my budget where I wanted it to be – right smack in the middle of the “green”!
With a $168 investment you can cloth diaper your baby. You may choose to buy more or different styles as you go, but this is a good initial investment (once you know you want the specific type of diaper, in this case, pocket diaper).
That is a lot of money! Stay with me here, we aren’t done with my simple reasoning. Earth’s Best diapers, bought in bulk for a toddler, run $44.99 for a case of 88 (this is an online “good” price for chlorine free diapers). So for $168 (the cost of cloth diapers) you can buy 3.75 cases of diapers. That will last you for 54 days, assuming you change diapers 6 times a day.
Think of it like this: buy 2 months, get 22 months free! And that is for one child. Save the cloth diapers for baby number 2 (and maybe even number 3) and now you have “Buy 2 months get 4 years free”.
Yes, you can argue the cost of disposables. Maybe you can find generic non-natural for a half, or even a quarter of the Earth’s Best I mentioned. Okay, “buy 6 months, get 4 years free!” Yup, that still sounds good to me. I also want to state I am not including the cost of wipes, or increased water and electricity usage. There are more detailed summary tables out there in the blogosphere if you need more information. This is truly just an introduction.
Back to my reasoning for cloth diapers. We (my husband and I) decided to switch primarily because of the huge savings. Based on my above scenario, we are saving (based on our actual kids and our actual cost of disposable diapers) $3,120 per child. My kids are both in diapers at the same time so I had to double my investment listed above. If any of my diapers end up being gently used, I can also resell them. So I can get even more of that back. A total savings of $6,120. I could just end the post right here!
More than just a financial savings:
Skin: Both of my daughters have extremely sensitive skin. They react to detergents, animal hair, and things I am sure we haven’t yet figured out! My youngest also has very bad eczema. So we needed to find a solution that would be most gentle to their skin. For us, all-natural material, as found in most cloth diapers, was a no-brainer for our kids. No chemicals and toxins – my kind of diaper!
Exception: if there is a yeast infection, diaper rash, or any other severe skin irritation, we do use sposies with diaper rash cream (or other natural ointments). It is not recommended to use creams, of any sorts, with cloth diapers. They cause build up and won’t be as absorbent.
Environmental impact: I enjoy natural living and reducing my carbon foot print – but I am not a “hippy” and do not consider myself “in your face” green. However, I do practice “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and my husband and I definitely feel it is important for us to be good stewards of the Earth’s resources. That being said, I am not so hard-core that I sacrifice a lot of comfort and convenience for the sake of living green.
Let me remind you of my above figures:
- 6 diaper changes a day (every kid is different, insert your own figure here) for each child is 12 diaper changes a day.
- 365 days a year (I know, wouldn’t it be nice if they would take a day off?) for a minimum of 2 years (probably 3, but we will go with 2 for now).
- 12 (diapers) x 365 (days) = 4,380 (diapers) x 2 (years) = 8,760 (Diapers!).
Did you catch that? By cloth diapering you are keeping a minimum of 8,760 diapers out of a landfill if you have 2 children. Add or subtract to suit your family’s figures. But anyway you cut the mustard, and no matter how “green” you are…that is a lot of trash and you CAN prevent it from just sitting on the Earth. Well, that is at least the conclusion we came to.
Mind you, this is listed as the last of my reasoning due to the fact that this had the least amount of influence on us. Honestly, the huge savings and the comfort of our children’s skin came first.
But I don’t know anything about cloth diapers!
No problem! Neither did we before we, well, found out about cloth diapers!
Over the next 2 weeks, we will have a few posts that show you:
- Our cloth diapering routines (for example, cleaning, what we use on a regular basis, and what an average day looks like).
- Extenuating circumstances (for example, how we handle traveling, overnights and nap time, and address some reader’s questions and answers).
- My favorite diapers! (I will go over my personal favorites for both my little “petite” baby and also my toddler). **This includes a giveaway of my very favorite diaper!! (Courtesy of the best diaper store around).**
- Mindy @ The Purposed Heart
- Leigh Ann @ Intentional by Grace
- Yours truly! With some questions answered by Erin from The Humbled Homemaker (see below)
Nikki, are you really giving us homework?
No, not really. But here is a good resource, should you decide you want to know more about the specific cloth diapers that are available. This link is a Cloth diaper comparison. If you look at this, you will know what we are all talking about when we explain our daily routine!
What are other Mamas saying about their change to cloth diapering?
“I used disposables on my first and we had issues with rashes constantly. I don’t like the waste aspect and how long the diapers stay in landfills. The toxic chemicals in sposies freaked me out too. Besides breastfeeding, I feel that is the most wonderful decision I’ve made in my child rearing and it opened up the door to be greener all around:)” (Michelle via Facebook)
Michelle, we totally agree about breastfeeding and cloth diapering. Two great choices to make!
“Honestly, because they are way cuter! Plus you never run out!” (Tabitha via Facebook)
Thanks Tabitha! I had forgotten to mention how darn cute they are!!
“I wanted to try them just because my mom used them on my sister and me, but never got around to it with my first. Then, I hosted a cloth diaper party (thanks to Erin with The Humbled Homemaker) and saw how easy it actually was. I’m not a pro for sure, and I don’t use them every day, but I feel I am saving money (and the Earth) on the days I do use them. :)” (Lexie via Facebook)
Thanks Lexie! Another great point! It isn’t an all or nothing situation! Any time you use a cloth diaper over a sposie you are saving money, helping the environment, and giving your kiddo’s skin a needed break. Even just every once in a while works!
“My #1 reason was savings, but we also liked the no waste aspect and the health aspect…” (Erin via Facebook)
Thanks Erin! And we look forward to hearing more from you soon!
There you have it!
You now know the “why” for using cloth diapers. Learn about the “how” later this week from the above mentioned bloggers, and myself. Learn about our routines and how we get through the day with our little one’s and their diapers!