The following is a guest post for the series, “Speak-Up Mama!” The purpose of this series is to help Mamas have more compassion for one another regarding controversial decisions. In light of that, feel free to comment but please play nicely or your comment will be removed. Thank you to Natalie for her willingness to share her story!
My interest in cloth diapering started even before we got pregnant. I had read a few “crunchy” lifestyle and parenting blogs where cloth diapers were a regular topic and this piqued my interest to dig deeper. Why would anyone choose to wash and dry their own diapers? Weren’t disposables created to save us from this hassle? After quite a bit of online research and drilling a friend of mine with questions (she is currently cloth diapering TWINS!), I decided it was definitely what we wanted to do. The influences for our decision are as follows:
COST: As much as I would love to say that I primarily decided on cloth diapering to “reduce my carbon footprint,” a more honest answer is that I wanted to save our family money. I read in a few different places that choosing cloth diapers over disposables would save somewhere around $500 per year. Because most people will diaper their babies for two years or longer, that’s at least $1,000 per child, and most of the diapers will work for the second baby also! For us, that savings alone is definitely worth an extra couple of loads of laundry each week. We also chose diapers that were one size, with adjustable snaps, so that these same diapers will work for us from birth to potty training (we did use disposables for the first 2-3 weeks and I recommend that to others… you have enough on your plate during that time!).
CHEMICALS: I try to be as green as I can when it comes to my beauty products, cleaning products, food, etc. Naturally, I wanted this to carry over to my baby too. Learning about what many disposable diapers are made of and the nasty chemicals that would be right up against my little one’s skin kind of freaked me out. I’ve heard the green brands of disposables work well, but they also cost a lot more than your average disposable diaper. Choosing cloth completely eliminates that unnecessary exposure to chemicals and also is soft and gentle against the baby’s skin. Cloth diapered babies are less susceptible to diaper rash, which is an added bonus.
ENVIRONMENT: The number of disposable diapers being dumped into landfills each year is astounding. And the crunchy question of the day is,” Do we want those same nasty chemicals to be absorbed into the earth?” I won’t go into detail, but if you want to know more just google “disposable diapers and environment” and you’ll get tons of statistics. The amount of trees and other resources used to make disposables is also pretty staggering. In the two years (give or take) we cloth diaper our daughter we will have saved thousands of disposable diapers from going into landfills and who knows how many trees from being chopped. If that doesn’t make a crunchy mama feel good, I don’t know what will!
CONVENIENCE: I realize some people might fight me on this. What could possibly be convenient about cloth diapering? However, I LOVE the fact that when I’m running low on diapers, I just toss them in the wash and a couple hours later I have enough diapers for 24 changes. I never have to worry about running to the store, making sure I have enough of the right size to fit my growing baby, or changing brands because my baby’s skin is too sensitive. There is also a biodegradable insert option on the GroVia diapers I chose, which will make things easier if we are going to be gone for an entire day and don’t want to tote around a bunch of soiled inserts. I haven’t had a reason to use these yet, but I have heard they work well.
CUTENESS: I have to admit, I love seeing my baby’s big old cloth diapered booty! I love the fun patterns and choices, and the fact that when the weather warms up she’ll be able to crawl around in just her diaper, clad with owls, flowers, bikes, airplanes, trees, etc. Sure, it’s a bit of a hassle to buy pants a few sizes up in order to fit her booty, but honestly, I think it’s pretty awesome that my baby gives Kim Kardashian a run for her money
COMMUNITY: This didn’t come to me until after I’ve been in the cloth diapering world for a few months, but the support and knowledge about cloth diapering from other moms is a village in and of itself. Talk to anyone who has done it and they have a million recommendations for you, whether it’s tips for making your own, sharing their specific cloth diaper nighttime solutions, etc. Everyone who cloth diapers is so supportive of other cloth diaperers (just made up a word). In my own mama tribe we swap back and forth to find ones we like, and share advice for what we’ve tried for certain situations.
I’m so happy about our choice to cloth diaper our baby! I realize it’s not for everyone, but it has worked very well for us so far.
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