Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why we use cloth diapers...

A lot of people seem very surprised to learn that I use cloth diapers.

"Do people still do that?" 

Yes! And a lot more people than you would think. I didn't cloth diaper Buddy because we lived in the mountains at the time and I thought you needed to live near a cloth diapering service in order to use cloth diapers. When I got pregnant with Little Man, I looked into it a little more and found out that most people purchase and wash their own diapers rather than going with a service.
I thought I would do a little blog series over the next few days about cloth diapering to hopefully answer any questions you may have and just maybe encourage someone to look into it for themselves. It seems like the best place to start is with the question "why?".

There are a lot of reasons why we chose to cloth diaper. I can't say that one is more important than the other, but all contributed to our decision in one way or another.

  • There is the obvious "going green" aspect. From the time a baby is born until they learn to use the potty, they will go through approximately 5,000 to 7,000 diaper changes. That's a lot of diapers sitting in a landfill for one child. Some guys were joking with my husband on if we thought we were really "saving the planet" by cloth diapering. Sadly, we are not. But if I can influence only 2 mothers, who can each influence 2 more, that is 7 women including myself. If we each cloth diaper 2 children, that's approximately 70,000 to 98,000 diapers not in a landfill. In my opinion, that's pretty cool.
  • There is the other obvious "frugal" aspect. You will save money if you choose to cloth diaper. The amount you save can vary greatly because there are so many cloth diapering options. There are designer diapers that cost $30 each. I'm not kidding! My guess is that  those folks aren't in it for the "frugal" aspect. I prefer simplicity, so my method of prefolds and flats with wool covers is definitely saving us money. Here is a worksheet that will breakdown the costs for you. (Don't be overwhelmed by all the options. I will explain those in another post.) Another great thing is you can sell your diapers when you are finished with them, and get most of your money back. And because there are so many people selling their diapers, you can buy your diapers used at a fraction of the cost, thus saving yourself even more money. That's what I do. Diaper Swappers and Craigslist are my favorite places to shop!
  • I prefer having natural fibers touching my babies skin. Did you know that disposable diapers contain toxins? Read here and here for more information. 
  • When using flats, prefolds or fitted diapers with fleece or wool covers, there is much better airflow in the diaper area making baby less prone to diaper rash.
  • I have less "blow outs" with cloth. Buddy would have "up the back blow outs" all the time in his disposable diapers. I have Little Man in disposables this week while we are in Virginia and he had a blow out the first day. That rarely happens to him in cloth. 
  • Cloth diapering is great for the crafty mom! There are numerous sewing patterns for diapers and covers, as well as knitting patterns for wool covers. Here are a few things I've made.
The diaper on the left was made with a free pattern found here, and the one on the right was made with a pattern that I purchased here. They were both made with flannel, which is a great fabric to start out sewing cloth diapers with until you perfect your skills. Then you can move onto the more luxurious fabrics such as organic bamboo velour. 

Here are some fleece soakers (diaper cover) that I made with this great free pattern.

And a wool soaker that I made with the same pattern above, using a J. Crew wool sweater from a yard sale.

And here are some wool diaper cover "shorties" that I knit using this pattern. I had so much fun making a whole outfit to go with them.

I know, enough with the craft show. Anyway, those are just some of the reasons that we choose to cloth diaper. I hope I have peaked your interest in the world of cloth diapering and that you will join me over the next few days as I post about the following topics.
  • Cloth Diapering 101: An Explanation of Cloth Diapering Options and Commonly Used Terms
  • Dirty Diaper Storage
  • Washing Cloth Diapers
  • The Benefits of Wool 
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer.