“We’ll see if you stick with it.” “It’s a whim.” “We’ll support you, but we’ll see.”
We heard all of these and more when we decided to cloth diaper our daughter. My husband and I both have sensitivity skin, and I was afraid diapering would be three years of endless diaper rash for a new baby. I had been cloth diapered for a time as a baby for a short time so I started looking for a cloth diaper service like my parents had used. Luckily, I found Fluff Love and CD Science. After scouring the website and watching videos, I started following the Facebook page, reading every question and comments. Soon, I started answering questions…while I was still pregnant! Although at times it all seemed overwhelming, 15 months later I’m glad we made the decision to cloth diaper. So, here are the reasons I chose to cloth diaper.
The initial “start up” cost of cloth diapering can be daunting. Instead of parsing money out for two years, cloth diapering requires you to put up the whole investment up front. Before you even spray your first diaper, you have to decide if it’s worth it to you to shell out a good amount of money. I think this is probably the biggest stumbling block to many people on the tight budget to get started with cloth diapering. While there are several charities to help families afford cloth diapers (like the Rebecca Foundation), many families may not qualify but still find the initial costs overwhelming.
However, in the long run, cloth diapering saves money. A lot of money. Want to have more than one kid, you’re going to $ave a lot more money! I had a bigger budget to play with and could therefore get some mid-range diapers and some organic cotton options, but we still only spent $1073 for my daughter’s diapers.
Remember I staid the initial start up costs can be high! Don’t be turned off by the sticker shock. That includes all of our wipes (generously made by my mother), all of our liners, wet bags and pail liners that could be used for other things later, and my learning curve.
I really didn’t know what I was doing all of the time so I just bought a lot of things and culled as I went. In the end, I spent about $200 on a a couple of different brands of diapers I ended up not liking – a smarter person would have bought a few and tried tried them. I am, apparently, not a smarter person. That said, this is the only money I’ll ever have to spend. Two of my friends have used my newborn diapers on their kids. At the end of the diaper phase, I’ll probably sell them and recoup some of my initial investment or donate them to the Rebecca Foundation for the tax write off.
Does that number still seem high? Cloth diapering can be done on any budget. I had more latitude in budget so I was able to chose some higher-end diaper retailers. Some women poo-poo China cheepies (notice the pun? I couldn’t resist), but remember, at the end of the day, you’re buying something for a baby to poop and pee in. There are many active BST (buy sell trade) websites and Facebook pages to buy used diapers. However, I’ve seen amazing tutorials about how to make prefolds with thrift store cotton t-shirts. (I really almost tried this just because I thought they were so awesome!) There are nearly as many cloth diaper makers these days as there are budgets and needs, so there is certainly an affordable option out there.
Check out a full breakdown of the costs, and savings, here.
2. Easy to learn…I swear!
Don’t know the difference between a wet bag and pail liner? Neither did I. And what are all those snaps for?! Why don’t some of my diapers have certain snaps? As cloth diapers have modernized, many manufacturers have created their own systems, hybrids, and designs. With all these myriad options, cloth diapering can be overwhelming.
Then there’s cleaning: What type of detergent do I use? How much? How often? Finding the right answers out there can be the difference between frustration and a future cloth diapering. (My wash routine is pretty simple and I use the same detergent we use on our clothes. You can read about it here.) I can’t recommend Fluff Love and CD Science enough to find all these answers. Once you have the answers, it’s pretty easy. You diapers won’t change from week to week, so you just need to get a routine down and it eventually becomes second nature. Now I hear friends saying that they can’t find an overnight diaper that won’t leak, or that they don’t know when to move up to the next size – with cloth diapering, I never have to worry.
3. The Environmental Impact
From using solar power, sustainable bamboo, and biodegradable materials, a lot of the major diaper manufactures have done a lot of recent years to make disposable diapers more environmentally responsive. However, when we used disposable diapers for my daughter’s first month of life, I could not get over the bags and bags of garbage diapers my husband hauled to the curb.
4. The Cuteness Factor
In the end, cloth diapers are just a little cuter. My daughter has diapers to match any outfit or mood. She has modern prints and unicorns pooping rainbows (my favorite!). She can run around in her diaper on a warm day and look dressed. In a word, they’re cute.
If you’re interested in cloth diapering, check out my wash routine here to see if it would work for you.
Not sure what type of cloth diaper to buy? Check out my Buyer’s Guides!