My Love Affair with Fluff
- What: Cloth diapers
- Why: Save the earth, save money. and reduce blowouts
- Where: Online or in stores
For me, cloth diapers offer many advantages over the disposable type. I hear most often about their environmentally friendliness, and I totally agree. I had no idea how many disposable diapers will end up in a landfill from only one child, and it’s not because I haven’t used tons of disposable diapers.
An infant uses somewhere in the neighborhood of 2800 disposable diapers in their first year. I don’t know about you, but my kids didn’t stop using diapers completely until they were three and a half years old. That’s a lot of diapers. Once they fill with pee and poop and get thrown away, one kid could easily produce a ton of waste. Literally.
But I also have much more personal reasons to use cloth diapers. My bank account thanks me. Those 2800 diapers your kid uses in the first year? At 20 cents a pop, they will set you back $557.60. I haven’t yet met a child who’s fully potty-trained at one year. (People who use the EC – that’s elimination communication for any newbies – method, please feel free to chime in on how many diapers you used in the first year. Or how many wet sheets and clothes you changed.) And yes, you can get disposable diapers cheaper than 20 cents each. But not by much. A quick Amazon search reveals that all the big name brands go for at least 20 cents a diaper, and that’s only if you buy in bulk.
I spent much less on my stash of cloth diapers. I never tracked my costs, so I don’t have an exact number on how much mine cost. But I didn’t lay out a big chunk of change all at once either. I built up my collection by trying a number of different types, both new and used, and hunting down the brands that worked best for me. If I bought everything I use in my stash now brand new from Amazon, I’d spend $750 total. (I spent money on other cloth diapers trying different types and brands, but ultimately much less than that number buying second hand and getting hand-me-downs.)
If, like me, you have more than one child, you can reuse your cloth diapers. If I divide the brand new cost of $750 by three kids, I theoretically spent $250 on diapers per child, which is an insanely low number. But even an only child can pass along cloth diapers to friends, parents on a list serve, or donate them to worthy cause and let someone benefit who can’t afford to buy any kind of diapers.
Maybe you prefer to throw everything into one pail and forget about it. Diaper services take care of all the details, even with cloth diapers. None of the mess, none of the fuss.
Speaking of mess, maybe you don’t want to deal with poop and pee. I’ve used disposable diapers on at least ten different babies, and in my experience, disposable diapers are prone to blowouts. That means poop on baby’s pants, up their backs, in their hair, and who knows where else before you discover the mess. And changing a blowout? Don’t get me started on where the poop might go. Cloth diapers work better at containing poop, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to give them a try.
Some people worry about extra laundry. Guess what? The frequency of washing is based purely on the number of cloth diapers you own. Want to do laundry less often? Buy more diapers. Don’t mind doing small loads frequently? Save some money upfront and only buy a couple days’ worth of supplies.
Last, but definitely not least, cloth diapers have fewer chemicals. That translates to fewer diaper rashes. I’ve only had diaper rashes break out in extreme circumstances, like a stealth poop that went undetected for many hours. And all three of my kids have sensitive to very sensitive skin. My youngest breaks out in a rash within a couple of days when we travel because we use disposable diapers then. It clears up as soon as we get back to our cloth diapers. And my kid’s health, safety, and comfort rate higher than the supposed convenience of disposables.
Most cloth diapers require a bit more time, but I can have a stack ready to go in less time than it takes to get one kid ready to leave the house, go to the store, find diapers, stand in line to pay, get back home, and get inside the house. No one enjoys lugging home giant boxes of diapers. Luckily, online shopping solved that problem. Now you just have to figure out where to store the big boxes, because buying disposable diapers in small quantities dramatically increases the cost.
Think everyone who uses cloth diapers are purists? Far from it. The people I’ve met who use cloth diapers also own a stash of disposables. Disposable diapers have their moments, and sometimes those moments come quite often. But I think that the main reason people don’t experiment with cloth diapers is unfamiliarity. And that’s just a pile of poop that gets in the way of saving the earth, saving money, and saving you a lot of mess.
Wanna know what diapers I like best? Check it out here.