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May 13, 2010

Why should I cloth diaper?

Welcome to the New to Cloth Series on Lynifer's blog!

I am like many cloth diapering mamas who get asked the infamous question, "Why?" Well, here is a post solely dedicated to answering that question.

Cloth Diapers save Money: let's face it, with a young child (or a child of any age), money can be an issue. They cost a lot of $$. I always liked saving money where I could, but it wasn't really a big deal until LJ came along. Then I really started to pinch pennies where I could and as much as I could.  Everyone can find tons of sites out there that will save how much an average family may be able to save when using cloth versus conventional disposables. Really though each family needs to sit down and think about how much they are going to save themselves.
I want to share a recent bout with disposables to give you an idea of the savings.
Recently LJ and I went to Connecticut to visit Hubby while he was up there for work. I bought a "jumbo" pack of size 3 Luvs diapers for the trip. It cost about $8 for the jumbo pack that holds 36 size 3 diapers. That pack lasted the week. So, now, think of this. At two years of age I went through 36 diapers in one week and spent 8 dollars. Multiply that by one year and you are spending $416 dollars to diaper one two-year-old child. This is a time when they are not going through as many diapers as when they are infants. As an infant, LJ could go through a jumbo pack in like 3 maybe 4 days. I would say that since we started using cloth I have spent maybe $300 on cloth diapers. Yes, that may sound like a lot, but you know what? I can use those diapers for our next child, and it is still less than I would be paying for one year of disposables for a two year old. 
Oh, and I plan to sell any diapers I can when we are done using them, so there is a bonus for us and chunk of that cost given back. That makes for a happy mommy.

Okay. I must stop myself and get back on track...
Reason two to use cloth:  
Cloth Diapers save the Earth: Every disposable diaper you use, has to be thrown away. Where do they go? In a landfill where they will sit for a very long, long time. What happens to cloth diapers after they are used? They are washed and used again. When you are done using cloth diapers, you can sell them. I am like almost every other mother out there that used to use disposables and I had never heard that you are supposed to put the poo from every diaper (cloth or not) in to the toilet. But poo aside, disposable diapers are filled with varying chemicals and plastics that will not go away, no matter how long they sit. Certain things just cannot be broken down by nature. Those chemicals then can stay in the soil and contaminate it, leaving it unusable by plants and animals, us included.

Cloth Diapers are Healthier for Baby: You know those chemicals I said are in every disposable diaper? Before it hits the landfill, you have those chemicals next to your baby's skin. Have diaper rash? Those chemicals could possibly get in to your baby's body through wounds. If antibiotics can get in to your system to help you when you get a wound, why couldn't chemical compounds found in the diapers you are using?
Cloth diapers are also healthier for baby because they can allow baby's skin to breathe more. This also reduces diaper rash. To all ladies out there that think cloth may increase rashes, they don't. They make things a whole lot better because the chemicals aren't there and the natural, breathable fibers are there.

Cloth Diapers help with Potty Training: A lot of kids that are cloth diapered are potty trained earlier than their disposable diapered pals. I have heard estimates of 6 months earlier or more. My son was 18 months old when we started to cloth diaper. Before cloth he had no interest in even thinking of telling me when he was wet or messy. Within about two weeks he was started to pat his diaper when wet or messy. He has remained pretty constant with this routine now ever since. There is a very real possibility that he could be trained by 2 1/2 years of age. What is the average age of boys being potty trained? I believe you could be looking at 3-4 years of age. 
Cloth diapers do wick away moisture and let the bum breathe, but they do retain the feeling of slight wetness, which tells the child they have gone potty and they need to be changed. Yes, disposables hold more wetness away from baby, but that doesn't help them potty train, it hinders it. If they don't feel the sensation of being wet, how will they learn when they need to go?

Cloth Diapers are Better: Yes, they truly are for many reasons. I have less leaks than we do with disposables. I also have a lot less blow outs. Modern cloth diapers have been made to conform to baby's body and keep wet and mess in while letting the air in as well. Many moms who make the switch will say they experience a lot less leaking than they do with disposables, and I am one of them. When LJ is in a disposable, I have to go with the sizes they give me, where with cloth I can make the diaper fit him like it is supposed to. The legs of one size diapers can be adjusted to fit the baby. 
Lots of cloth diapers have elastic around the legs, but also around the back area to help keep messes in as well. A good friend of mine is testing out cloth for the first time and I will bet that one thing she will finally be able to get away from is the blow outs she experiences all the time with the disposables. Breastfed babies have different poo than table fed babies and it can make for more blow outs at times. Cloth holds it where it is supposed to be, in the diaper!

And lastly, but certainly not least:
Cloth Diapers are so much Cuter! How many different colors or patterns do you find on disposable diapers? Not many. First off, the color is usually white with maybe a pattern on it. The patterns are usually one of like three out there with maybe some slight variations. Most disposable diapers are made in a hand full of factories. Store brands are made right next to name brands with almost no difference. 
Cloth diapers are only limited by the design of the materials that the makers find. There are many cloth diapers out there that are actually made by moms. They are made from organic materials to old T-shirts. Top of the line Hemp to cotton to wool. You name it, you can probably try to make a diaper out of it. You can get every color in the rainbow in your diaper stash and then go and get all the patterns you crave as well. A girlie-girl can have all pink and purple flowers on her diapers while he mans-man brother can have camo. You just can't get that with disposable. 

So, I have tried to list many reasons why moms make the switch to cloth over disposables. I hope I didn't bore and I helped inform. Next up in my "New to Cloth" series will be the different types of diapers out there. 
Until next time... Happy diapering!

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