I am writing a series of posts about cloth diapers this month, in an attempt to help answer questions that newbies to cloth might have. This is inspired by pregnant friends that have been asking me questions! If you’re knowledgeable about cloth diapers and you are reading this, please feel free to chime in on the comments, whether you agree with me or not. I think discussion and commentary can be very helpful for the learning process.
Deciding to use cloth diapers with Olivia didn’t take as long after her birth but I had months before she was born to really consider the option. My Livejournal friends can attest to the fact that I spent a lot of time going “should I or shouldn’t I?” about using cloth. At first, it wasn’t really the money factor but the environmental factor. I felt bad hurting the planet with more disposables but I was, again, daunted by the idea of laundry. There are also a lot more options in brands and companies than there used to be when Noah was a baby and I had a lot of research to do. I tend to stay current on baby-related topics since I have friends who are planning to have more babies than me and I like to know things, but I was still unprepared for the onslaught of information I found when I started researching cloth diapers.
I decided to do disposables and figured I could change my mind later. Then Joshua lost his job and I started to save money wherever I could. We figured he’d find one pretty quickly so I planned to use coupons. We actually didn’t spend much money on newborn and size 1 diapers; between coupons and a sweet Craigslist person who passed on diapers that her son had outgrown and the hospital, we had a good number of diapers to get us through the first two months.
Except, Olivia started getting rashes more and more often. “Nakey time” gave her a chance to air out and lose the rash, so I started my research. I had learned that prefolds came in different sizes and that sized prefolds were trimmer. (I’m not one for bulk.) I had also watched Youtube videos and realized that prefolds are actually pretty simple to use! I decided that prefolds and covers would make up the bulk of our stash because I wanted “the cast iron of cloth diapers”. Basically, natural fibers that could take a beating and still wash up beautifully (and they do).
Picking the cover was the hardest part, I think, but once I make a decision I tend to stick to it, so once it was made, we ordered the diapers. This time around, we had just received our income tax return, so we went mostly new. I also bought some secondhand Bumgenius 4.0 pockets for Joshua because I wasn’t sure how he would like prefolds. (He’s answered that question for me since then!)
When Olivia was six weeks old, she had her first cloth diaper and we haven’t gone back. I’ve had some issues with stink (because Houston apparently has hard water) and working out how many diapers we needed per day has been a bit of trial-and-error. Now I can go about two days without washing and wash on the third day, though I usually don’t wait that long.
Honestly, there are so many reasons to cloth diaper that even though Joshua has a job now, I don’t see myself going back to disposables. We will still continue to save money on diapers, even if I continue to buy a few more because of how cute they are. Adorable prints are another reason to cloth diaper, by the way. A diaper gets used more often than pretty much any outfit you will buy your kids and during hot summers like we have here in Texas, kids can often go around in a shirt and diaper and no one thinks anything of it. Therefore, if you have a cute print you want to show off, you can! And the savings you will get from not buying disposables will still make it worth it financially, before you even touch the resale value.
Yes, that’s right. You can sell used cloth diapers if they are in functional condition. Some diapers that are “hard to find” and really sought for are known to go for hundreds of dollars on eBay or Spots (a smaller selling site). Of course, if a diaper is pretty used up, you may not get as much back as a diaper in near-perfect condition, but really, what kind of resale value do disposables have? Exactly. (A personal example with reselling are the prefolds I bought. I spent $56 on yellow-edged Green Mountain Diapers prefolds and sold them for $50. After shipping and fees, I basically got $36 back on diapers that had already saved me money to begin with!)
There is also the community aspect. The cloth diapering community online is pretty small, considering, and there are a lot of amazing people out there. Like I told you in my last post, many cloth diapering parents are so willing to help others because they want more people to be able to cloth diaper and bring awareness about modern cloth diapers to the world. I’ve passed on used diapers myself and just been happy to help another mother out the way I was helped. Plus, sometimes it’s just fun to talk about fluff with someone who “gets” it!
If that’s not enough of a reason for me to cloth diaper, then there is my kids’ health. Disposables have a ton of chemicals in them and, for Olivia at least, cause rashes that cloth diapers don’t. Instead, I swaddle Liv’s bum in cloth and make sure there is a waterproof layer and call it good. She might as well be wearing only clothes, with no extra chemicals added!
Basically, there’s five reasons:
1. Financial (both cost effectiveness and resale value)
2. Environment (helping to not add to the already enormous waste on this earth)
3. Appearance (cloth diapers can be CUTE!)
4. Community (a great group of parents you can chat with and help each other)
5. Health (no chemicals on that sweet little baby!)
Like I said before: we are not an anti-disposable family. We never will be, because we used them with our son and cloth diapers do not always work. There are so many reasons for us to use cloth diapers though that we will continue to do so as long as we can and put that money towards something else, like a zoo trip. :)