Why Cloth Diapering is Becoming More Mainstream

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to welcome you to the new age of cloth diapering!

Okay, so the title of this post is a little misleading.  The truth is the majority of American parents use disposable diapers. It’s convenient.  It’s fast. No one has to touch poop, or so you think.. (we’ll get to that).

FACT:

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Over 27 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the United States.

This equates to nearly 3.5 billion tons of diapers added to our landfills every year.

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Yuck.

Now throw that statistic at disposable-diaper-loving parents and you might have a fight on your hands…  Friends, I’m not here to judge you if you use disposables (even we’ve used a few here and there), but I do want to shine some light on the topic and let you know that the world of cloth diapering is NOT as scary as it seems.

Cloth diapers have a ‘crappy’ reputation among disposable diaper users.  I’ve heard it all..

“We’ll see how long THAT lasts…”

“You wash those in the same machine as your regular clothes?!”

“Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

“Is he wet or stinky? Just wet? Ok. I’ll change this one.” (You know who you are…)

Cloth diapering is certainly an intimidating endeavor for new parents, but I promise that it becomes second nature in no time.  So, as a cloth advocate, and an Earth Day enthusiast, KindAKrunchy Presents:

1) Reduce waste in landfills and save drinking water.  Americans have been leading the way in consumption and waste since disposable products ‘improved’ our lives.  Diapers and poop are an especially dangerous addition to our landfills.  Though many parents are oblivious to this, it is illegal to throw human feces in a landfill.  Knowing that, what’s the difference between removing poo from your disposable versus a cloth diaper?  Nothing.

Why must we remove the poop?  Bacteria from feces can make its way into our drinking water.  Natural filtration through soil is not capable of eliminating all the bacteria that threatens our water supply.  Not only that, but the chemicals used in disposable diapers for absorption are highly toxic and can work their way into your water as well.

If everyone in the U.S. switched to cloth diapers, it would reduce toxic, bacteria infested waste in our landfills by up to 3%.

2) Reduce baby’s exposure to harmful chemicals.  This is a biggy.  There are even articles floating around about how disposable diapers can decrease sperm counts in males..  Yikes!  For a nice discussion of the chemicals found in many disposable diapers, check out this site:  http://www.toxipedia.org/display/toxipedia/Diapers.  One does have to question a synthetic material capable of absorbing 100x its weight in urine…  not to mention the totally unnecessary ‘perfumes’ and waxy coatings that invade your child’s most sensitive areas.  No thanks!

3) Save money (in the long run).  The up-front price tag of cloth diapers can be quite the sticker shock, especially if you’re stocking up on those sacred one-size-fits-all, All-in-One (AIO) varieties.  We spent roughly $600 to get our cloth diapering adventure started.  I chose to go with user friendly diaper varieties like AIO or pocket style diapers, which meant spending a little more for my fluff.  In the long, that investment pays off, and here’s why:

  • Cloth diapers can be used on multiple children, especially with the one-size-fits-all varieties (typically good up to 35 lbs).
  • Cloth diapers hold their value if you take care of them, which allows you to sell them when you’re all done!
  • Cloth diapering CAN be substantially cheaper than disposable diapers.  I emphasize “CAN” because there are many routes to take when cloth diapering, from traditional prefolds and covers to highly coveted brands of AIOs.  The cost of purchasing and maintaining your fluff can vary (hand-me-downs, laundry supplies, brands, number of children, energy bills, etc.).  You can be as frugal or fancy as you want with your cloth budget.  Here is one example of a thorough cost break-down to give you an idea: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/cloth-diapering-a-real-world-analysis/

4) These aren’t your Grandma’s diapers.  Gone are the days of traditional ‘nappies’.  There are SOOO many styles, materials, colors and brands of cloth diapers on the market these days.  I can’t make a trip to my favorite local cloth diaper store, Arctic Baby Bottoms, without spending a solid hour drooling over fun patterns and new releases.  It has become an addiction.  Check their website out and see for yourself!

5)  Say goodbye to blow-outs!  I can truly attest to the power of this statement.  Just today my son filled his GroVia® diaper so full that I dare say it would rival a bowel movement from Sasquatch after a binge session in a Taco Bell dumpster…  I almost took a picture to prove my point, but I figured I’d spare you the graphic image.

6) Drastically reduce diaper rashes.  When changed regularly, cloth diapers have a breathable quality about them that greatly reduces diaper rash.  See a small flare-up?  Just slather a bit of coconut oil on there and you’re good to go!  Coconut oil is a safe alternative to commercial rash ointments because it is naturally anti-fungal, anti-viral and antibacterial.  Plus, this type of oil is perfectly safe for cloth diapers and does not leave any waxy residue that inhibits absorption.

7) No more leaking (mostly).  At first, we struggled to find the right fit for our son, which led to several mid-day outfit changes in the first couple weeks.  A proper fit is the key to preventing leaks, and it may take a few tries to get it just right.  You’ll figure it out!

8) Children potty train earlier.  I have heard mixed messages on this topic.  Some say that kids potty train earlier when using cloth diapers because they are acutely aware of the wetness and discomfort of having a loaded diaper (which is masked by the super absorbent disposables).  Though, it could also be that parents become tired of the cloth diaper routine and are eager to get their kid out of diapers at an earlier age…  The truth is, your child will let you know when they are ready to potty train, though I do believe cloth diapers will have a significant influence.  YOU try sitting in urine for an hour and see how it feels without Depends® to keep you dry.

9)  Laundry really isn’t that big of a deal.  I run diaper loads every other day.  It took me a couple loads to get the hang of it and test settings on our laundry machines (mostly dryer times), but I now have a perfect system in place.  It takes me less than 20 minutes of physical labor from start to finish (obviously not including washing/drying times).

10)  Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing campaign.  Traveling on vacation with your little?  It might be hard to fit in laundry stops on vacation, especially on the road.  Traveling takes some extra planning if you choose cloth and don’t want to rely on disposables.  Sometimes though, you might want to give yourself (or your spouse) a break and choose convenience over cloth.  If you really want to stick to your cloth routine, there are also hybrid diaper options with disposable inserts.  Or, you can splurge on some organic, less toxic varieties of disposable diapers like Seventh Generation™ or The Honest Company®.

***BONUS***

11)  Fluffy baby butts are just cuter!  It’s a fact.

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Having trouble convincing your loved ones to use cloth with you?  Here is a great post I refer people to when trying to convince their spouses to jump on the cloth bandwagon:  http://www.paddedtushstats.com/convincing-your-man-to-use-cloth-diapers-series-part-1-convenience/

Is your spouse just absolutely terrified of the poo?  Try these tips (targeting husbands, but it works both ways!):  http://www.paddedtushstats.com/convincing-your-man-to-cloth-diaper-series-part-2-give-him-the-scoop-on-the-poop/

2 comments

  1. The potty training sooner thing did not work in this house. He could really care less about sitting in a wet cloth diaper or trainer. He is getting better but also had a huge regression when baby sister was born.

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