So you’re interested in cloth! Wonderful! But you’re confused, you have lots of questions, and you’re not sure where to begin… What’s a fitted? How many diapers do I need? How do I convince my husband to use cloth? What’s PUL? Or an AIO?
First off, take a deeeeeeeep breath… it’s all going to be ok! Cloth diapers ARE just diapers, afterall. Yes, there is a learning curve to using cloth since our parents most likely used disposables on us (if you were born after the mid to late 70’s), so we were never taught how. Let’s start with the basics… A “Cloth Diapering 101” class if you will.
What are the point of diapers, anyway? Well, I think we’d all agree that a diaper needs to contain liquid waste and solid waste. How it’s done is not really important at this point. Let’s go with the REALLY BASIC basics… To prevent tons of icky messes in really inconvenient places, babies need something that 1) absorbs urine, 2) contains (sometimes explosive) fecal matter, and 3) has some sort of fastener to keep the diaper on the baby. Disposables do this… They have chemicals (SAP) that absorb urine, chemical perfumes to mask the smell of poop, elastic-y plastic stuff around the legs and across the back in attempt to contain the more explosive poops, and a plastic waterproof layer with some sort of sticky tabs to hold the whole thing together. With Cloth diapers it’s the same thing… a natural fiber or synthetic fiber layer (most common are cotton, bamboo, hemp, and microfiber), a waterproof outer-layer normally made of PUL,(Wool and fleece are other options) and elastic around the legs and back to contain the messiest of messes, and either snaps or some form of aplix (velcro) closure to fasten it around the baby. See how they aren’t so different?? The difference is in the materials that make up the diapers, not how they work!
So why should you choose cloth? I can’t really answer that question… cloth is not for everyone, just like a vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone! As parents, we weigh the benefits vs. the drawbacks. So I’ll list those here for you to decide:
– Cloth diapers do need to be changed more often than disposable diapers. Usually every 2 hours… but there’s a hidden benefit here, since it’s been shown babies in cloth get less diaper rashes since they’re not sitting in their own waste for hours on end.
– Babies feel wet when they pee, which sometimes makes them cry… eh, crying isn’t great, but on the plus side, you’re alerted that they’re uncomfortable, and they’ll learn the correlation between peeing/pooping and feeling uncomfortable, and actually potty-train earlier.
– Cloth diapers will require doing more laundry, unless using a diaper service of course. Oh! But another hidden benefit here… Cloth diapers actually contain poopy leaks better, so you’ll be washing less dirty outfits!
– Cloth diapers are a bigger initial investment. Yep, this is true… you can buy a pack of 30+ diapers for around $15-$20, which is about the average price of a single cloth diaper… We’ll address cost later though.
– Sometimes it’s hard to find child care willing to use cloth diapers.
– Sometimes Dad’s/grandparents/family members refuse to use cloth diapers
– You can’t throw away poop! Well, that’s actually against the law anyway, you’ll just have to put it where it belongs and flush it.
– Cloth diapers are bulkier than disposables, so sometimes clothes (especially jeans) don’t fit properly
– Less Diaper Rashes – If any at all!
– No exposure to chemicals/perfumes
– Earlier Potty training
– Less waste in landfills (an estimated 2,000 lbs per child using disposables!)
-More money in your pocket! You can cloth diaper from birth to potty-training for under $200, there is NO WAY that’s possible with disposables! It’s estimated that a baby uses over $2,000 worth of disposables from birth to potty-training around 2 years old… if they potty-train by 2!
– Less leaks & ruined clothes
– No need to run to the corner store at 3 am when you realize you’re out of disposables
– Cloth diapers come in tons of fun prints and are super cute!
Only you can decide if the benefits out-weigh the drawbacks!
Over the next few days I’m going to write in-depth posts on the different types of cloth diapers, and I will link them here: