Almost two years ago I wrote about our plans for a GREEN baby! Back in that post I wrote about how I really wanted my daughter (and any future children) to grow up with a minimal impact on this planet. It’s always been important to me to conserve, and that is a trait I hope to pass down to my kiddos.
The green factor was the most important factor in deciding to use cloth, but there were also many other important things we loved about them, and many things we have come to love along the way. Since I get asked this a lot, I thought it would be a good way to start off this series of blog posts. So, why do we cloth diaper?
Environmental Concerns: This is obvious. Our planet only has enough space to hold a certain amount of garbage. Disposable diapers add A LOT of trash to our planet. And guess what? It doesn’t go away. Disposable diapers do not break down in landfills. No, instead they sit there, festering toxic waste (which I’ll talk about later) for something like two hundred years. Sure, there are some newer “biodegradable” diapers out there that claim to break down at a faster rate, but from the research I did, these still are hanging out for many many many years.
So there is that, the landfill perspective. All I think about when I think of ‘sposies is the amount of toxic waste they create. You imagine, what 6-8 diapers a day on average for 2-3 years? That’s a crazy amount of diapers for one kiddo. Then there is the effects of toxic waste. Unlike the treatment that our sewers go through, landfills don’t have the ability to treat/clean the toxic waste that hangs out there. So instead of the waste going through a treatment facility after being flushed, the waste in a landfill sits there, leaching into our groundwater.
Cost Concerns: If there is one complaint that you hear the most from parents of newborns, it’s how costly they are. The cost of disposable diapers over 2-3 years can easily reach $2-3K or more, depending on the type of diapers you use. Organic biodegradable diapers can easily cost $15 per package of 30.
Cloth can be expensive, but it can also be very affordable. A prefold/cover system can effectively last you from newborn through potty training, and even for the organic cotton, would cost less than $200. That would include everything from enough diapers for three days between washes, wetbags and wipes. The higher end of cloth diapering, all-in-ones or pockets can cost closer to $800 for a full system. But either way you wrap it up, disposables cost more. And cloth lasts you for ALL of your children, not just one. Also, there is a huge resale market for cloth. We got a lot of our cloth second hand in great condition. It’s a great way to save even more dough!
I’ve heard some people argue that the increased water demands for washing are not only worse for the environment than the added landfill effects of disposables, but that they also put an increase on your water bill. Both statements hold no fact. At least not in my research or experience. Many studies claim that the effects of the extra loads of laundry for diapers are equal to the amount of additional water used by an added person to a household, which you are doing in any case. Plus, let’s not forget that water is renewable. Land space is not. And as for the water bill? Ours has never increased due to extra laundering. An extra few loads a week is not making a difference.
Health Concerns: I’m a very skeptical person. Especially when it comes to the things I let touch my baby. One of the things that really turned me off from disposables was the strange chemical components in them. Gel that absorbs urine and pulls it away from the skin? No thanks. Diapers that leave gel crystal residue on a little tush? Umm…what? We’re very picky about our detergents and soaps, so this is just another part of that argument.
The Extras: Beyond the obvious items above, cloth also has some additional perks. A lot of parents say that potty training comes earlier and easy in cloth babies. This is because there is less wicking action, leading a child to feel wet and recognize the feeling of being wet. I don’t know if this is true as I have not potty trained a child, let alone a disposable and cloth diapered child to compare. But it makes sense to me.
Plus, they’re cute!
And give your baby a nice little cushion when they fall on their butt!
They’re also incredibly customize-able. I love that I have the option to double up on inserts, or swap out a microfiber for a more absorbent hemp, or use a prefold and a hemp insert for maximum absorbency. It gives us a lot of control and let’s be honest – there is nothing I love more than control!
They are baby proof. At least snaps are, which is our diaper closure of choice 🙂
Cloth diapering is a really great conversation starter!
There is no need to run out for diapers. Ever.
It’s as simple as that.
Our love of cloth diapering began a long time ago, with a simple goal: to be as environmentally conscious as possible. But today, we love our cloth for so many reasons. Who would have thought diapers would be something I would end up so passionate about. Yet I am. I want to tell everyone about it, and I pretty much do.
Two years ago I knew ONE cloth diapering momma. Today, the majority of Ariadne’s close in age friends are cloth diapered.
It looks like cloth is on the upswing, and I’m happy to be part of the crowd.
Next up: Our Stash, and how it’s changed.