Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Why Should I Cloth Diaper?

Believe me, it wasn't my first choice in diapering. I thought it would be messy and smelly and take up way too much time. After doing some research though, I found out that many of the thoughts I'd been having just simply weren't true. Here are some of the reasons that cloth diapering might be right for you:

The Facts
  • Disposable diapers are the 3rd largest human disposable in land fills today. It is estimated that a single sposie will take between 250 and 500 years to biodegrade, and some never will fully.
  • Over 27.4 billion disposable diapers end up in a landfill every year in the U.S. alone.
  • Each baby produces approximately 4,000 pounds of disposable diaper waste that ends up in our landfills. That is about 6,500 disposable diapers per baby. This is based on birth to age 3.
  • It costs between $2,500 - $3,500 to use disposable diapers for one child based on three years worth of diapering.
  • On average, cloth diapered children potty train 6 months earlier than children diapered with disposables.
  • Disposable diapers contain toxins such as Dioxin, Tributyl-tin and sodium polyacrylate. 
    • Dioxin has been labeled by the EPA as the most toxic of all the cancer-linked chemicals. It’s been banned in most other countries. 
    • Tribuyl-tin can be absorbed through the skin and has been linked to hormonal problems in humans and animals. 
    • Sodium polyacrylate is added to disposables to make them absorbent. (The little crystal like beads that sometimes stick to your babies bottom...that’s sodium polyacrylate.) It has been made illegal to use in tampons because it can cause TSS. (Toxic Shock Syndrome) TSS can be a deadly condition, but this material is still legal for use in diapers.  

The Myths
  •  Cloth Diapering is just too expensive!
    • Yes, the cost up front can seem like a lot at first, especially to the family on a budget. However, when you figure out that you will spend, on average, $2,500 to diaper your baby in their life time, cloth ends up being much more economical. It is very easy to cloth diaper your child for less than $500, and there are more an more web sites and companies out there making it an even cheaper option for parents. (eBay and diaperswappers are both great resources for the family on a budget! Remember, it doesn't have to be name brand to be good!) When you add the fact that you can use cloth diapers for more than one child over the years, the savings just keeps adding up.  
  •  Cloth diapering uses up extra water and electricity, so it doesn't make any less of an impact on the environment than using disposable diapers.
    • Just not true! First off, washing cloth diapers uses up no more water than flushing your toilet 5-6 times a day. Secondly, while the water and electricity used to wash a few extra loads of laundry a week does have an environmental impact, consider this: Disposable diapers and the waste within are dumped into landfills and left there. Over time, the contents of these diapers can make their way into our water supplies through the ground and rain wash off. With cloth diapers, the waste is either flushed or washed out. That water will be drained into our sewer systems and properly treated at a water treatment facility, making it a much safer choice for our environment.
  • Cloth diapering isn't sanitary!
    • To be honest, no diapering is sanitary! When you think about it, diapers in general are pretty gross. Unless you change your child immediately every time they pee or poop, they spend a certain amount of time sitting in their own feces and urine, and then you change! This is why people wash their hands after words. In all seriousness though, cloth diapering is perfectly sanitary so long as you care for your diapers properly. If you, like me, are not comfortable with the thought of having pre-used diapers on your child, don't go with a diapering service. Instead, buy your diapers new and use proper care techniques to take care of them. Unless you throw away every outfit your child has ever had a blow out on because that too is unsanitary, there really is no reason to be worried about cloth diapers being unsafe for your child to wear.
  • Cloth diapering takes up too much time! I don't have time to fold diapers and do extra laundry every day!
    • If you have a child still in diapers and your not already doing at least one load of laundry every couple of days good for you! Laundry is a daily chore in my house in order to keep all of us in clean clothes and linens! If throwing in an extra load of laundry every other day or so is really that much of an inconvenience, look into a diaper service! Diaper services will drop off your diapers every week and pick up the soiled ones to be laundered! All you have to do is simply change your child and put their soiled diapers in a bag to be picked up...and you're doing that already! If you're worried that it's the actual diapering its self that will take up too much time, don't be. Cloth diapers of today are not your grandmother's cloth diapers. Many are styled just like sposies, and go on and snap or Velcro into place just as quickly as their disposable counterparts!
  •  Cloth diapering is unsafe. I don't want my baby to have safety pins at hand!
    •  As I said before, these aren't your grandmother's diapers! Many types of diapers, like AIOs and AI2s, snap or Velcro together just like a sposie. Perfectly safe for you and your baby! Even diapers that still require some kind of device to hold them together, like pre-folds, have options other than safety pins. Snappi diaper clips and similar products can be found in many stores and online and are perfect for parents wary of diaper pins. (Or parents with wiggily children who would find it impossible to pin!)
  •  You can't get a proper fit with cloth diapers so they will always leak!
    • Again, this statement just isn't true. There are so many different kinds of cloth diapers and fits that it would take another entire post to list them all. Between pre-folds, AIOs, sure fit diapers, one-size are bound to find the perfect fit for your little one. As with disposables, there will be leaks. If you've never had a leak or a blow out, you are the most fortunate mommy in the world. Even with disposable diapers some brands don't fit certain babies well. (Once we hit size 3, my son leaked out of every single brand except for Luvs.) You just have to be patient and find what is right for you and your baby.
  • You have to change your baby every hour.
    • Different babies got to the bathroom more than others. Once you start cloth you will be able to tell how often you might have to change your child. With many types of cloth diapers, you have an option to add more or less soaking materials, so you can adjust to the needs of your specific child. While you might indeed want to change your child more often to insure their comfort, (children feel wet quicker in a cloth diaper, which is one of the reasons that cloth diapered children potty train 6 months earlier on average) once you figure out the amount of absorbency your child needs, you shouldn't have to change your baby any more or less often than you would have to in a sposie. In situations where you are on long road or day trips, you can opt to use sposies if you find that more convenient that using cloth.
  • You can't use disposables during nap or bed times.
    • Many cloth diapers have the option to add more of less absorbent materials per the needs of your specific child. For nap or bed times it is very easy just to add extra soakers to make up for the extra liquids the diapers will be holding. If this is inconvenient or your child still leaks, you can opt to use disposables during the times when your diaper needs to be able to hold more waste. 
  • I can't use cloth because my children will be in daycare.
    • While it is true that many daycares do not allow cloth diapers, you'll never know if you don't ask. If you daycare is one of the many that won't, you can simply use sposies during the hours your child will be in daycare and use cloth at home and on the weekends. Not being able to cloth diaper 100% of the time isn't a reason not to do it at all.

    • It's just too confusing to start cloth diapering! Disposables are so much easier!
      • This one isn't as much of a myth. Many people, myself included, find it very true. When you're first getting into cloth diapering it can all be very confusing and overwhelming. I certainly wanted to ditch the entire idea many times. In my case, I had several friends who pointed me in the right direction. I soon found some amazing sites and online blogs that helped answer my questions further. It was some work, but with a little research I soon found a well of knowledge of the subject of cloth diapering. The answers aren't going to fall out of the sky, but if you look for them, you will find them. I certainly hope that this blog can be a help to you, and there are several blogs and sites on this blog that I have linked to that helped me! If you know any friends or family who cloth diaper, that is also certainly a great place to start. In the end, if this is something you are really interested in, please don't get discouraged or give up! Like I said, it's a little work, but it is well worth it in the end!

    I hope that this has made your decision a little easier! If you can think of anything that I need to add to this blog, please leave me a comment and I will add it as soon as possible! 

    Thank you for reading!

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