Monday, January 28, 2013

Cloth > Disposable Diapers

Ok, here is the much anticipated post on why I love cloth diapers!

I know, it sounds like CDing (cloth-diapering) is totally old-school, but it's actually becoming more and more popular, due to some ingenious inventions... I'll get to those later in another post.  For now, I'd like to just share about why we decided to CD, and why we love it.


Before Willow existed even a little bit, Ian and I decided to do a rough budget to see what having a baby would cost.  There are tons of websites and tools out there to help you estimate, although I think they all over-estimate by assuming you buy a bunch of things you don't really need. (who needs a $400 crib?)  Well, while we were doing that, we found that diapers are a crazy big cost to having a baby!  I couldn't believe how much they cost from birth to potty training.  Per diaper they are pretty cheap if you get the really cheap ones, but it certainly adds up.  If you look online, the estimation varies, but after doing some research, realistically it would cost about $2,500 per kid.  If you want to go with less-chemically diapers, or sensitive ones, you can expect this price to go up.  Cloth, on the other hand, is significantly cheaper.  The immediate up front cost is more:  you have to buy diapers, covers, cloth wipes, wet bags, and depending on your style, all-in-ones or pocket diapers, which individually aren't cheap.  Think $2 - $35 per diaper, sometimes more or less if it is on sale or a fancier brand, and depending on the type and style.  But, once you buy them, you're done!  That's super nice for if you are planning on having more than one child in the future.  Honestly, the cost difference is what was the deciding factor for us.  Even with the cost of special detergent and the electricity/water to wash, it was cheaper.  We have spent approximately $700 on CDing, and we are essentially done purchasing.  AND, we can re-sell many of the diapers when we are done!  YES!

Environmental Impact

It isn't hard to know that disposable diapers make lots of waste.  Just the fact that you have to actually purchase a larger trash can and pay for more trash pick-up should let you know.  But did you know that we aren't supposed to just toss dirty disposables in the trash?  Really we are supposed to rinse/shake off the poop into the toilet and THEN throw the diaper away.  All that feces going into the landfills is really really bad for the environment!  And that is in addition to the chemicals in the diapers themselves.  Yuck!  With cloth diapers you don't have to pay for larger trash pick-up or worry about what you are leaching into the soil.  You aren't contributing as much to land fills either.

The Smell

Now, I know what you are thinking:  Don't cloth diapers stink way worse?  Nope!  And here is why:  cloth diapers don't have all the chemicals in them that disposables do.  And THAT is what causes the strong diaper smell.  Especially with breast fed poop.  That doesn't really smell like anything at all!  Ian was so surprised by this that after a few months, this became his favorite reason for CDing.  No disposable diaper smell.  When we do have to get disposables for the exceptional times, I actually splurge and get the 7th generation diapers which don't smell so much.  But we simply can't afford to buy those all the time!  There is one exception to this rule: sometimes detergent can build up on the diapers, and this causes "the stinkies" where they smell like ammonia as soon as they get wet.  Stripping the diapers can fix this, however, and they go back to smelling like... nothing!

Never Running Out

I love that I never really run out of diapers.  If I'm running low, I just do a load of laundry and viola!  More diapers.  Same with cloth wipes.  No emergency trips to the store or huge online orders.  In fact, for our cloth wipes, we just use a squirt bottle with plain ol' water.  No special solution, wipe warmers or anything.  So easy!

Super-Duper Cute!

Last but not least, cloth diapers are adorable.  We have white ones, flowery ones, one with a froggy print, mathematical equations (Ian picked it out: It's called Einstein by Bum Genius), owls, and lots of fun colors like blue, red, green, yellow... If you can dream it, you can probably find a cloth diaper with that print.  Diapering isn't the most fun chore in the world, but it makes it a little brighter when you can pick out fun colors and prints to coordinate (or clash!) with their outfit!

What about you?  What do you love about cloth diapering?  Do you have a favorite style or print?

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