Thursday, September 6, 2012

cloth diapers: why i do it

I've pretty much always known that I was going to use cloth diapers whenever I had a baby. And thankfully my sister-in-law has used them for 3 kids, so she knows the ropes and helped me along. We ended up using BumGenius 4.0 w/snaps. Maybe I'll do another blog post sometime just about using the diapers themselves, but for now I want to talk more about why I wanted to go cloth. [Disclaimer: I realize this is a personal choice, and I don't judge other people for using disposables (cross my heart). But I may try and convert you to cloth, because I think it's awesome ;)]

Henry has one in this pattern. So cute!
There are four "C's" of cloth diapering, and each one of them is a major factor in my decision to go cloth:

1. Conservation: Every baby that wears disposable diapers goes through one TON of diapers in their first couple years. That is two thousand pounds! That's like 200 Heidi Klum's. Whoa. Every year about 27 billion diapers are thrown in landfills (just in the US). The sad thing is that I can go on and on with crazy figures and facts and statistics, etc, but I don't want to bore you (if you're interested, do a simple google search, or email me). Basically, the raw materials, energy, and waste from disposable diapers is astronomical compared to cloth diapers. Also, an important concept of conservation is to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cloth diapers essentially fit into all three of those categories. You can buy 16(+) cloth diapers and be set for the rest of your children for the rest of your life. If you follow the care instructions and purchase durable cloth diapers, you can even resell your diapers once all your kids are potty-trained. Awesome, I know. ALSO, lots of people like to argue that the water you use to wash the diapers cancels out any environmental benefits/advances over disposables...false. Disposable diapers use 8 times the non-renewable resources, and 90 times the renewable resources than cloth do in production. They also get dumped into landfills, where they will take at least 450 years to decompose. Using water to wash the diapers is a renewable resource, in the sense that the water can go back through a filtration cycle and into municipal use. It does take energy to wash them in your washing machine, but if you use an HE washer, the impacts are minimal when compared to the energy (not to mention crude oil) that goes into the production of a disposable diaper. Also, you can line dry all your diapers (it's actually recommended to do so), which takes no energy (except for your arms to hang them up).

2. Cost: Depending on how long your baby is in diapers, your cost for disposable diapers can be anywhere from $1900 to $2400 or more (I'm not pulling these figures out of a hat, I've looked it up, yo!). Those are average prices for the range of 2 to 2.5 years in disposables. On a personal note, we've bought 25 diapers (I think), and each one was about $14.50 (I have bought most of them when BumGenius has their buy 5 get 1 free sale). That's a grand total of $362.50, and I don't ever have to buy another diaper in my life if I don't want to (I cave in though when I see new cute/fun patterns and colors and want to buy more!). You could even be fine with just having 16-18 diapers; it just depends on how often you want to do laundry, and how much you want to invest up front. We initially bought 18, and I've just added a few here and there since then ;). So yes, there is more of an upfront investment compared to disposables... But it will pay itself off in about 5 months or less. As much as I love going green, I equally love saving green.

3. Comfort: Umm guess what...disposable diapers are basically just plastic with some paper in there too. Oh, and chemicals. If plastic/paper underwear were more comfortable, we'd all be wearing them. But we don't. Disposable diapers contain gross stuff like Sodium Polacrylate (not to get graphic but this chemical used to be in tampons, until it was banned in their production in the 80s because it was linked to TSS!), and Dioxin. With cloth diapers, it's nice, soft, breathable cotton touching your baby's butt. Which also happens to decrease diaper rash (score!), and helps in potty-training your kids faster (they can actually feel the wetness because gel isn't soaking it all up).

4. Convenience: There's a saying that goes "These aren't your parents' cloth diapers anymore!" because really...they aren't. These aren't clunky fabric squares that you [somehow] fold up and pin on your baby. They're extremely easy to use, and very similar in design to disposables. Once you get the hang of it, it's really quite simple. We use the kind with snaps which are super durable, and harder for your babies to pull off once they realize that that's possible. With diaper inserts, you can even add extra inserts for better overnight coverage. I know a common complaint about cloth diapers is poop. Especially the matter of *touching poop*. I have two comments on this: 1) if you are a parent and have never touched poop or somehow gotten it on you, that's a miracle; and 2) you don't necessarily have to directly touch any poop to clean cloth diapers (if you want to though, that's your prerogative). Oh wait, three comments: technically poop is not supposed to be thrown away and end up in landfills. Even on diaper packaging it will say you need to flush solid waste down the toilet [Sadly, most people do not do this, but that's a whole different story]. You can either swish the diapers in the toilet (by holding the clean corners--I'm not talking about dunking your hand in the toilet!) or spray off the poop (you can buy attachments for your toilet around $40-$50). And then when the babies get older and the poop gets more solid--you literally just dump it into the toilet. Bada-bing-bada-boom!

Oh, and there's another unofficial "C" of cloth diapering: CUTE!!

fluffy butt!


Emelro said...

i'm converted. for real, yo ;)

alli said...

awesome! I love all of your reasons. I have already planned on using cloth when we have baby's, but this gives me all the more reason to. :) I do have one question though that I have thought about A LOT. what do you do with the soiled diapers when you out in public? How do you transport/dispose etc when you have to change them somewhere other than home? I am dying to know!!! ;)
You can private message me on FB if you want.

Crys Kaestner said...

I know I'm just catching up be we love our fluff! And on the potty training side, if you child takes longer to train no big deal no extra cost :)

Anonymous said...

I have the same question! Is there a bag out there that looks in the stink?

yours truly dear said...

yes, it's called a wetbag. they're waterproof, washable bags that can close with zippers or velcro. you put the used diaper in there, and then take care of it like normal when you get home! one of these days i'll do a post on how we cloth diaper, and i'll include pics, etc :)