The longer we use cloth diapers, the more passionate we become about them. While they seemed intimidating at first, they have now become a part of our daily routine in the same manner as doing the dishes or making sure the doors are locked at night. With little effort and a surprisingly small time commitment, we have embraced the world of cloth and cannot imagine it any other way. In fact, folding diapers is actually family time--we sit Beatrice in the middle of our bed and dump the basket of clean diapers on top of her. While we fold, she grabs a diaper or two and uses it to play peek-a-boo, tries to wear it as a hat or, in an apparent effort to assist, kind of balls it up and tosses it in our general direction. It seems silly, but it has become one of my favorite moments of the week.
Here are a few reasons, courtesy of Susan K. Dodge-Doak at diaperpin.com, for parents to consider cloth:
#1 Your baby's comfort Would you like to wear stiff paper (and/or plastic) underwear 24 hours a day? The comfort of cotton and knowing I was providing the best possible comfort for my daughter was the #1 reason I switched to cloth diapers, and why I still love them so much today.
#2 The environment Leave a cleaner world behind for your baby and your grandchildren. Disposables leave behind an average of 2.7 tons of non-biodegradable waste (not to mention the waste produced by manufacturing them alone) per child. Compare that to a few dozen cotton diapers, and the responsible choice also becomes an easy one.
#3 Save money With disposables, some estimate you spend an average of $2000 per child. Cloth compares at only an average of $150-$350 per child (with the added but minimal cost of electricity and water to launder them). What a great excuse to start a college fund for your baby now, and you can rest assure that your money is being well-spent and not going to "waste" in a land-fill!
#4 Potty training is easier, and happens earlier It's a little-known fact that cloth diaper children potty train earlier, and with less effort on their parent's part. This has mostly to do with the fact that when a cloth diaper is wet, they can feel the sensation. Chemical laden disposables can feel so dry your baby never gets a chance to understand what their body is doing.
#5 Cotton diapers are gel free Polyacrylate gel in diapers is a relatively new phenomenon, and no one really knows what the long-term effects are. It also leaches moisture from your babies skin. Additionally, disposables are full of dioxins. While non-organic cotton cloth diapers can also have dioxins, they typically are washed out within the first few pre-washes (before your baby will ever wear them), however one-use-only disposables are never rid of them. Additionally, and perhaps the most compelling reason to use cloth diapers, is that disposable diapers containing polyacrylate gel are suspected of exacerbating, and even causing, asthma.
#6 Cloth diapers are so much better looking Photographers still traditionally photograph diapered babies in cloth diapers, simply because they are so much cuter! Today they are available in as many prints and colors as there are fabrics available, not to mention the combination of choices you have with twill, flannel, hemp, terry, and more. Imagine how many classic baby photos would suddenly become less "quaint" with a baby wrapped in a disposable diaper.
#7 More fun for Mom While not every mother (or woman, for that matter) is a born "shopaholic", most moms I know just love how fun it is to shop for cloth diapers. There are unlimited choices today in cloth diapering, like all-in-one, terry, flannel, contour, prefold, fitted and other contemporary-style cloth diapers. And when you are on a budget, swapping is a great, and economical, way to try the latest new "rage" in cloth diapers.
#8 Better cushioning for baby's bum We all know that babies and toddlers have their fair share of bumps and spills! Cushy cotton provides a much softer "landing pad" than a flat paper diaper.
#9 Convenience Convenience? Yes, convenience! You'll never have to worry about making another late-night trip to your grocery store for a package of disposable diapers. You'll never have to hold your nose while emptying and re-bagging one of those complicated "Diaper Genie®" contraptions. And you'll have approximately two bags less of garbage to haul to the curb every week!
#10 Being a leader is much more fun than being a follower Stand out from the crowd and show you care to give your baby the very best, including the way you diaper. It's so much more fun to share the joy of cloth diapering with other mothers (who are usually very curious!), than to waste time clipping the latest coupons for the cheapest disposable paper diaper.
Need more convincing? Check out a more in-depth article at diapernet.org, the official site for the National Association of Diaper Services: click. I had always leaned more on the environmental issues involved with diapering and was genuinely surprised to find out what kind of health risks are involved with disposables.
How about a breakdown of the money you’ll save with cloth? You’ll find it here: click. I nearly did a little dance when I realized just how many thousands of dollars we're saving.