Sunday, June 6, 2010

Why Cloth?

My mom is my hero. We were all breastfed and we all were on some kind of cloth diapers. Why? Partly because cloth was all that was available in Brasil in the 80s. I remember the amount of cloth diapers being washed every week as well as being ironed every week. Crazy but we made it through. When considering my diapering options last year when my first child was born I did not consider cloth. In my mind, why would I want to go back in time if disposable is more convenient? We also were blessed with over 6 months worth of disposable diapers and we didn't have to spend money until recently. What a huge blessing.
When my niece got on cloth diapers my interest grew. All the good reasons (listed bellow) were not impressive until I found someone real to me who was using it.
My husband and I bought our first (and only) cloth diaper a while ago. This photo is the second time the Little Prince has wore it. Cloth is cute tough I have to smell it until I wash it. I haven't bought the other products that go along with it. Oh, I always hope LP won't poop in it but he does.
Now that I have been trying it for myself I can agree that saving money is always good. Not having to make the diaper runs to the store would be awesome. The only cloth vs. disposable argument I don't quite agree with is the better for the environment one. I agree that we will avoid landfill waste but we will use more water to wash the extra amount of clothes. As I balance all the pros and cons I still think that cloth is better. Will I switch? I can totally see myself doing it half and half at least. Here's an article about it with all great reasons to switch. Let me know if you do cloth or disposable in the comments session.

Why Would You Want to Use Cloth Diapers?
an article by Cloth Diapers Blog

Are you considering cloth diapers? Good! It makes financial sense. It makes environmental sense. Let's talk about why.

Cloth diapers are cheaper to use than disposables. Disposable diapers cost around $0.25 per diaper change. That varies based on the type of disposable diaper you buy. If you buy cheap store brand diapers, you may spend as little as $0.09 per diaper. If you buy higher end name brand diapers, you could spend over $0.30 per diaper. Every single disposable diaper you buy and use is thrown in a landfill. How much money are you wasting? Replace that image of a disposable diaper fluttering in the breeze at a landfill with a mental image of piles of quarters. There you go! You may have thrown away around $1600-$2000 by the time your baby starts potty training.

Cloth diapers are an initial investment that pays off in the long run. Your initial investment will vary based on the brand you choose. Cotton Babies offers cloth diapering packages that range from $34.95 to $339.00. Want to spring for the nicer diapers (like bumGenius) but not sure how you can afford it? Try the budget plan. Buy one diaper per paycheck. Did you know that shipping is free on everything at Cotton Babies, including cloth diapers?

Is it worth it? Heck yeah! Even if you only saved a little bit of money because you bought the most expensive cloth diapers on the market, it is a little bit more money than you would have if you'd chosen to use disposable diapers and thrown that money in the landfill instead! Use cloth diapers. It makes financial sense.

Cloth diapers are more convenient. Imagine just realizing that you just picked up the last disposable diaper. The diaper bag was empty. The "emergency stash" in the car was gone. Now what? Well, you can send your partner out on an emergency trip to the grocery store, or you can rest easy because you have cloth diapers. It's just time to do a quick load of laundry!

Cloth diapers are better for the environment because they prevent landfill waste. According to a recent EPA study, disposable diapers take up over 1.5% of the space in landfills. Cotton Babies is in the middle of researching more information about many pounds of waste your baby will contribute to that landfill waste if you choose disposable diapers. Research is so impersonal though! If you are anything like me, it is hard to correlate numbers in a spreadsheet to something visual that really affects my life. Thankfully, Hollywood took the time to create the visual for us. Have you seen Wall-E yet? Remember the mountains of garbage? Everytime I see a disposable diaper in the trash, I have mental images of the piles of garbage that little robot was trying to clean up. That's enough to make my insides shudder. I've written quite a bit more on this issue (and included links to relevant studies) in my Cloth Diapers - Just the Basics resource page.

Cloth diapers are realistic. Yes, cloth diapers can be used in virtually any family situation. What solution you choose will vary based on some variables - including whether or not you work outside of your home and who is the primary caregiver for your child. If you are a stay at home parent, it is easy to use cloth diapers all the time. If you work outside the home, consider using cloth diapers on the weekends and overnight. Some daycare providers will cloth diaper your baby though (to boost your argument, consider a one-piece cloth diaper like bumGenius Organic All-In-Ones). I don't know your individual situation though. It is important to identify what your family needs and just choose a diapering solution that will work for you!