The Truth about Cloth Diapers
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
If you are a new parent or soon to be a new parent you should consider cloth diapers for your baby. Now, before you start telling me why you don't want to, let me tell you that 2 and a half years ago when my wife told me that we should use cloth diapers, I didn't want to either. But if you will hear me out I will give you some things to think about that might just help you overcome any negative thoughts you have about them.
Lets get down to brass tax here. The number one reason to consider cloth diapers is cost. Disposable diapers are expensive. Like super expensive! Just for some numbers on popular brands for the best valued size containers (it is not always the biggest ones so take the time to compare):
Pampers are 28 cents per diaper
Parents Choice 10.2 cents per diaper
Huggies 29 cents per diaper
Loves 13 cents per diaper
Honest 34.8 cents per diaper
(they were honestly more competitive than i thought; pun intended)
If you assume that you will change your child's diaper on average every 2 hours during the day (that is taking into account more changes as infants and less as they get older) and once at night for easy math.
7 diapers a day * $0.23 per diaper (average cost) = $1.61 per day on diapers
The average age beginning potty training is 27 months according to healthline. And for conversations sake we will say it happens instantly.
27 months * 30 days * $1.61 per day = $ 1304.10 to get one kid to potty training age.
On the other hand, for Gaberiella we bought 4 sets of 6 cloth diapers at $35 per so we would only have to wash them every three days. Plus 2 sets of higher quality inserts, for better leak protection at $32 a set. Bringing our total initial investment to $204. We washed ever third day and our washer costs about 20 cents to run factoring in water, detergent, electricity, and wear/tear. Gabs potty trained at around 20 months (another benefit of cloth) So:
$204 + $.2 per load * 1/3 load per day * 30 days per month * 20 months = $244 total
That is over $1000 extra dollars in your pocket even by what i would call a very conservative estimate! Plus you can reuse them for the next kid making it even cheaper! I don't know about you but I am not about to literally throw that much money away.
Cloth diapers are much more similar to clothes in the way that they hold the moisture inside them. This make it a lot easier for kids to notice when they are becoming wet instead of the more squishy feeling they get when wearing disposables. That feeling translates into early awareness of when they need to go to the bathroom at potty training age. Toddlers are smarter than most people give them credit for. Recognizing patterns is one of thing they would probably beat a lot of us adults at. The pattern that the tingling feeling in my lower parts leads to a wet bottom is well ingrained by potty training age. Then you just have to teach the wet = potty thought the rest falls into place with a little (who am I kidding a lot) of patience and luck.
Blow out protection
This is really a plus and a minus. Not gonna lie to you. You pick up a kid super wet disposable diaper and you will feel the squish in the diaper but you are probably still dry after words. Same story with a cloth diaper and you have a wet spot on your shirt. However, when it comes to holding a big old number 2 in, cloth diapers beat the disposables everyday of the week. The water can leak through the fabric but those the elastic leg sections cut the browns of at the pass. Before we started using cloth (we didn't start until she was about 3.5 months old) Gabriella would blow out the side of a diaper every other day (I am not exaggerating). I can say with a confidence (you remember getting poo on you) that didn't happen again after we switched to the cloth diapers.
But that does bring me to my next point. You don't just take them off the baby and throw them in a wash machine. Well you do with diapers that don't have poo in them. With the others though, you have to pre-clean them. Yes that is as awful as it sounds. Not gonna sugar coat it, I am talking scraping poop off of a piece of fabric then rising them out. Yes, it smells bad. Yes it is time consuming. And yes it does get on you while you are doing it. BUT! It washes off just fine and you get way more used to it than you think you ever could by the 2nd or third time you do it. ( Just think about the money you are saving while you do it [and how much less your trash will be stink up you house])
This was a big one for us. When we moved into the country we decided not to pay for a rural trash collection service. (they aren't cheap) So we have consciously made some efforts to reduce what we are throwing away. A rolled up diaper takes up about 20 cubic inches (yes I measured one, I was curious). That's about 1 and a half baseballs (little less) for a visual aid. So if we take that times the number of diapers estimated we used earlier, 5670 over the life of the child, we get about 113,400 cubic inches or 65 cubic ft. That's like a standard hallway closet packed floor to ceiling full of diapers.
Last point and its quick one. I promise. Our kids, like most kids, spend a lot of time running around in nothing but their diapers. I mean why wash cloths when you don't have to and this time of year it is too hot to fight a wriggling infant into a onesie anyway. But with all the different designs you can get of cloth diapers they can still have that little bit of extra something to make them extra cute. A cloth diaper can easily be an entire outfit for a day at home.
Like I said I was skeptical at first too. But I highly recommend cloth diapers after using them for three kids. They do take a little getting used to and sometimes aren't as convenient as their disposable counter parts. But after a short transition you will be glad you did. They are cute, you save money, and they are good for your kids. (We had a lot less trouble with diaper rash while using cloth but it is hard to find solid data on that) I understand if I didn't change your mind but I hope I gave you something to think about and look it more on you own time.
I hope this message finds you in good health and of a sound mind. I am just another confused father from Kansas wondering ...
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