Cloth diapering was one of the first parenting decisions I made, and the second most contested one by the folks around me. For some reason, it appears to be pretty controversial.
The first person who pushed back was the Husbeast. Bless him, he thought we’d be sentenced to a life of diaper origami and rubber pants. Once I showed him that wasn’t the case, he opened up to the idea, and has fully embraced it since the WeeSheBeast was born.
The rest of the detractors were concerned about the amount of work, the upfront costs, and, of course, the poop in the washing machine. They were all promptly ignored, and those concerns are discussions for another blog post on another day.
Cloth diapering was a decision I still feel very strongly about. There are a lot of reasons to choose cloth or make the switch, so I thought I’d share why we chose to cloth diaper, beyond my own stubbornness!
Our biggest reason for choosing, and sticking with, cloth diapering is cost. Our initial costs were a bit higher, since a single, one-size, pocket-style cloth diaper can cost $20 or more (and you need a few to get through the day), whereas the first few boxes of disposable diapers come generally come free at your baby shower (or husband’s beer and diapers party), but in the 10 months since WeeSheBeast arrived, we’ve saved the money several times over.
To help keep costs minimal, I did end up sewing some of our stash. Not the whole thing, like some awesome entreprenuring mamas do, but enough for us to not have to spend as much at first.
Diaper Decisions estimates that between the least expensive type of cloth diaper and your average Joe disposable diapers, the savings over the diapering life of just one child is over $2000. That’s a huge chunk of change for anyone, but especially for us living on just one income.
The first question I was asked when I announced we were going to use cloth was, “Do you still have blowouts?” “Well, yes, but you have blowouts in disposables, too.” Cue head tilt.
Turns out, the number of blowouts from a cloth diaper is significantly smaller! We’ve had less than I can count on one hand, and those were some particularly spectacular poops. I’ve opened up WeeSheBeast’s diaper to find a pool breastmilky poopy goodness that never made it out of the magical leg and back elastic.
This one has come about since WeeSheBeast’s birth, but it is hugely important to us. We see a lot fewer and much milder diaper rash with cloth than disposables. The one time she wore a big name brand disposable, she broke out in a horrible rash that caused her to cry in pain for three days. Her tiny bum hasn’t seen said brand of ‘sposies since.
Reduced rashes (really, no rashes) also saves money on the chemical concoctions known as diaper rash cream. No rash, no need for cream, so another expense is avoided.
This one was lower on the totem pole, but still important. I’m definitely trying to green-up our lifestyle, and I love that cloth diapers create much less waste and have a smaller impact on the earth.
Sure, we use water to launder them and PUL isn’t perfect or compostable, but I still think cloth is better for the environment than disposable plastic diapers.
Easier Potty Training
Now, I can’t completely confirm this one, nor will I be the best judge for it because we casually EC (elimination communication – another post for another day), but WeeSheBeast is definitely aware of when she wees and more-than-wees, and makes an appropriate fuss for us to change her.
Mommy experience is a mixed bag, as well, but if it has the potential opportunity to make potty learning easier, I’m all for it!
Cloth diapering has been pretty excellent to us. We only shelled out around $300 and have enough one-size pockets, sized fitteds, two-sized covers, and newborn diapers to last us through the next few children (not that I’m not going to miss out on some adorable WAHM diapers…don’t we all have a diaper buying problem?). We even use cloth wipes, for most of the reasons mentioned above, and because it seemed like a natural pairing with our cloth diapers.
Make sure you check out the new Cloth Diapering link party that is starting this month here at Making it Home, too, for more awesome cloth diaper blog posts!