Everywhere I looked when I was pregnant, I was warned about how becoming a mama is almost insurmountably busy. Once I had my little darling, I was able to reconstruct my own image of motherhood for the better. If you’re expecting, don’t be dismayed about what you’re in for. Having a baby (in my case anyhow) is definitely an adjustment, but ten thousand times easier than everyone made it out to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m busy! But I now realize how lazy I was before, and how much you can actually get done in five minutes when time is of the essence.
With all of the new tasks to take on when starting out on a new parenting journey, adding “Use Cloth Diapers” to your list can be somewhat daunting, especially if your concept of these fabulous little bundles is based on what cloth diapering used to be, like and you don’t know anyone who is currently using cloth. Cloth diapering in these modern days is remarkably easy, with our fabulously efficient washing machines and easy-to-use and effective new styles of reusable dipes.
So why choose cloth diapers, anyhow?
There’s a lot of great reasons why wrapping your baby’s butt in cloth might be the right choice for you.
Reducing waste in landfills – Disposable diapers comprise a huge amount of landfill waste, waste valuable resources, adds an enormous sum of money to the cost of garbage disposal, and the addition of sewage waste to household garbage in dumps is an unsanitary practice with undesirable consequences. For more information on all of this, read more here.
Saving you $$ – When I was trying to bring my husband around to the idea of reusable diapers, this reason was the big winner with him. To show him exactly how much money we’d be saving, I added up the cost of disposables we’d otherwise be using over our baby’s diaper-wearing years. At the newborn stage, you can count on going through about 10 diapers a day. Now that our little one is a bit older, and we have the swing of diapering down, we use at least 6 diapers a day (more on the days where munchkin’s bowels are particularly active). Depending on which disposables you buy, and where you get them, on average you can expect to spend between $750 and $2,500 to diaper a child for two and a half years. For the total price of quality cloth diapers, that will carry your baby and any future babies through their diapering years, I paid a little less than $250. As an added bonus, cloth diapers last for a very long time if cared for properly, and can be resold when you’re finished with them.
Better for Bottoms – Disposable diapers are getting more and more absorbent and odor-reducing, thanks to the powerful chemicals used in their production. We’re starting to understand more and more the health risks associated with the use of harmful chemicals, and exposing my spawns important bits to all those curious concoctions wasn’t something I felt good about. After all, a baby’s sensitive skin rests right up against their diaper and all it’s ingredients, almost all day – every day – until they are potty trained. With all the options for chemical exposure, I feel limiting the amount babes get from diapers is a great place to start. Another bonus! The fleece from reusable diapers keeps their bums so dry no matter how soaked the inside layer is, it keeps rashes away. A week of disposables at the cabin gave my babe a rash, but back to cloth and it cleared itself up.
What about leakage?
A common misconception about cloth diapers is that they lead to more undesirable leakage than their disposable counterparts. In my personal experience, I have dealt with far more (and far messier) poo- and pee-leaking situations when we changed to disposables for travel trips (let’s face it, although we have done it, it’s not always convenient to cart around the diaper pail in the back of the vehicle – although happily smell did not become an issue even in the confined space). The rouching around the leg-holes and back of modern-day diapers keeps those chubby little limbs comfortable, while still keeping explosions securely nestled inside, and the many options for changing the size of the diapers lets you fit it perfectly to baby’s wiggly little bottom.
Not for Everyone
Like everything else that comes with parenting, not every choice is right for every parent. There are pros and cons to everything, and these are some of the reasons why reusables may not be your family’s best option.
Sensitivities – Although most babies go unfazed by cloth diapers washed in an diaper-safe detergent, sometimes that little fall-stopper can be sensitive to cloth. Whatever the reason, if it seems to be bothering your baby’s butt, it’s not worth it.
Limited laundry access – If you don’t have a washer/dryer in your home, it is probably not the best choice for you to tackle cloth diapers at the Laundromat.
Cloth Schmoth – Maybe the whole cloth vs. disposables dilemma is just not that big a deal to you. That’s fine! After all, there is no one-size-fits all when it comes to parenting. We’re all trying to do what’s best for our families, and YOU are the only one who knows what will work best for your clan. No judgement here!
Where and What to Buy
The first step in your cloth diapering journey begins with choosing and purchasing the right diapers.
There are a variety of options out there for where to buy, especially on the world of the web. A quick search will yield a plethora of results to do your own research, but the company I chose to do business with was at www.assuntastore.com. I was referred to Assunta directly by a friend who had been very pleased with her own purchases from the company.
There are a number of reasons I chose to go through Assunta. First, the prices are the most affordable I could find in my quest for poop-catchers. Secondly, the Assunta Store is the storefront for a very positive organization that runs the Little Flower Project. The proceeds go directly to helping orphans with disabilities in China, and I like to place my money where it might make a difference.
*Update* I’ve noticed that Assunta has changed some of their offerings and doesn’t offer quite as much now. Luckily, there are a lot of other places to find quality cloth diapers. You can even order a wide variety of cloth diapers from different brands on Amazon. Check out some of the options by clicking on the images below. (Disclosure: Affiliate links.)
When it comes to styles of cloth diapers, you have a few options.
Pocket Diapers – This is what we use in our household. The diaper is a waterproof casing, lined with soft material (fleece in our case) on the inside that sits against baby’s tiny tuchie, wicking away all the wetness into the “pocket” of the diaper, where an absorbent “liner” or “insert” (microfiber, bamboo or a blend) stays nestled to soak up the mess. You can put in as many inserts as you can jam into the cover, which is nice for night-time diapers that won’t get changed as often and need to be more absorbent. The covers come in a ton of different textures, colours and fun patterns, which I love to coordinate with my little one’s outfits.
Tuckable Diapers – At the beginning of our new parenthood, we were gifted with a local diaper service to use for the first couple months (a great gift for parents-to-be who want to use cloth without the “hassle”). The service provided us with tuckable diapers to use, which consisted of an absorbent cloth (microfiber) diaper and a waterproof cover that went over top of the cloth part. These did the trick, however I was happy when we moved on to the pocket diapers for a few reasons. To ensure the diapers didn’t leak piddle (or worse) all over clothing and furniture, you really had to make sure all parts of the cloth were tucked inside the waterproof cover, and the fit (for these particular diapers, anyhow) wasn’t that great through the growing changes, leading to leakage. Also, baby’s bottom stayed wetter without a waterproof pocket to separate wet from skin, which can lead to diaper rash. Again, they worked, but are not my first choice.
All-in-One Diapers – The all-in-ones have the liner attached permanently to the diaper cover. This is good if you don’t want to take the liner out for washing, but I still prefer the pocket diapers (although I have to admit, I haven’t used an all-in-one).
The other choice you should think about is whether you prefer snaps or Velcro when it comes to doing up the diaper. I prefer the snaps, myself, as I feel more secure with them, and there is less chance that wee Z will be able to undo her poop-catcher, while a friend went with Velcro closures as her husband’s large hands found the little snaps frustrating.
The different brands for the diapers don’t seem to make much of a difference as I know many people who use diapers from the different providers. The quality all seems to be about the same, just the brand name (and the price) is different.
How Many Wearable Waste Wonders Do I Need?
Myself and my mama friends agree that 30 cloth diapers is the perfect amount. You’ll wash them every 2-3 days, and use about 10/day at the beginning. I also suggest buying more liners than the number of diapers you choose (cheapest to order liners with the diapers at once). I ordered 2 liners for each diaper, so that I could double up the liners at night to allow for more absorption (and therefore a longer stretch during night-time sleep that we don’t need to get up for a change). This ended up being a few too many, however, so I sold some of the extra inserts to a friend who only had 1 per diaper.
There are some other items you may want to consider ordering along with your cloth diapers.
A diaper pail is easy enough to make for yourself, but if you’re not much of a DIYer, you might want to look at ordering something all ready to go.
A liner bag for your diaper pail isn’t essential, but it will sure make your job easier. Check out my next post on using cloth diapers to see why.
Waterproof to-go bags are, again, not essential, but come in handy for keeping any wetness and smell hidden away safely while you’re out and about. I have two, as I like to be able to rotate between them and always have one available in my diaper bag.