Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's What Wednesday: Why Cloth?

When I found out that I was going to have a baby, I knew immediately that I wanted to try cloth diapers. When I started to share that desire with people, over and over again they recoiled in horror and asked "Why?"

Delilah in a Goodmama Diaper: "Groovy"

It's no secret that I embrace the 3 R's, (that's 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle', although I'm certainly not opposed to 'Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic') so I had a hard time understanding why it was so shocking that I'd prefer to avoid contributing to the estimated nearly 30 billion disposable diapers that end up in landfills each year. Plus, what's in that creepy stay-dry gel anyway, and why would I want it anywhere near my baby's skin when the ingredients list on the back of Johnson's Baby Shampoo makes me cringe?

My friends thought I was crazy. My mom spoke of safety pins and rubber pants. She and my sister declared that they'd refuse to use cloth diapers when they babysat. People chided me, telling me that it would be gross, that it would be too much work, and that it would never last because I'd give up. I'm nothing if not stubborn, and all of the nay-saying served only to strengthen my resolve. I'd show them!

For me, the decision to use cloth was an easy one. While cloth diapers do require the use of energy and water, overall, their environmental impact is less than that of disposables. They are free of chemicals that are either potentially or known to be dangerous. While they do involve an investment up front, they save thousands of dollars in the long run. Depending how many and what type of diapers you buy, cloth diapering can cost very little (alternately, it can cost quite a lot!). Believe it or not, cloth diapers have a high resale value, so if they are well cared for, much of that investment can be recouped when the diapering days are behind you. Purchasing gently used diapers as opposed to new ones in the first place further increases the savings over disposables!

Have I mentioned that they're cute? They're CUTE!

Delilah in a Goodmama Diaper: "Chord Progression"

I remember my excitement when my first package of fluffy new cloth diapers arrived in the mail. (They were FuzziBunz, which ultimately didn't end up being the diapers for us, but many people love them!) When I showed them to my mom, she was amazed at how far cloth diapers had come since I was a baby. She and my sister both use cloth with no complaints when they watch Delilah, for the record.

There's definitely a learning curve when it comes to using cloth diapers. I remember the feeling of defeat when my tiny newborn baby was absolutely swimming in the "newborn" sized diapers I'd bought for those early days. We've worked it all out, and Delilah has been in cloth full-time since she was a few weeks old. These days, when people ask how it's going, using cloth diapers, I'm not even sure how to answer. It's what we know, so it's what's normal to us. I can't realistically compare the experience of using cloth to the experience of using disposables, since we only used disposables for a few weeks.

As for the grossness factor? I'll let you in on a little secret. Poop is gross. It's gross no matter where it ends up. I don't care what kind of diapers you use, if you have a baby, you're going to end up with poop in your washing machine (and on the wall, the floor, your shirt, and probably even your dog).

There are pros and cons to consider with either choice, but for us, cloth diapers are the best option and we're glad we've stuck with it!

Don't forget, there's still time to enter to win the Knickernappies One Size Diaper from Simple Wonders Diapers!

--This is the first in a series of cloth diapering related 'What's What Wednesday' posts. Next week, I'll explain the different types of cloth diapering options including prefolds, fitteds, pockets, and all-in-one/all-in-two diapers!

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  1. Love this! You hit all the nails on the head! These are/were all my defenses for cd'ing and even still after, people would be "grossed" out...those people must have nannys that change all the diapers lol : )

  2. I actually like the idea of cloth diapers, especially because babies have very sensitive skin! and they are sooo cute :) years from now when I have a child, I will probably use cloth diapers as well. :)

  3. Having used disposables with my older two and my youngest for the first 16 months of life I can safely say that I would never go back to disposables. I love cloth diapers they are so simple and as you said CUTE!

  4. Thank you for your simple and well-put cloth diapering post. I hope many who are on the fence about it read your post and realize they can do it too!

    I just started CD with my second and I can't believe I didn't do it with my first. I look at disposables now with a bit of disgust (but without judgement...I did it
    too). I can't believe how much joy it brings me to CD now!


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