Wednesday, January 25, 2012

why should you consider cloth diapers?

i have decided to do this post.

i have friends that are "fluff" (aka cloth diaper) curious. but once they start looking into it, they become overwhelmed. it is true. the options are endless!

so i will start off my little cloth diaper series with a few reasons why we chose to cloth diaper.

i'm not going to lie, our number one reason was cost.

this video sold me. she speaks very quickly so you may want to watch more than once.

the cost up front can be a lot for people but there are options to buy used. however, the nice thing about buying new is many companies offer a warranty in case the elastic goes out or the stitching comes loose. buying a whole stash up front can save money in the long run, but if you don't have that, buy a diaper or two at a time. soon, you will have enough to switch over!

the second reason: cloth diapers are better for the environment.

some argue that more water is used in the cloth diaper world than in plants that make disposables. however, water is a renewable resource. and i will be keeping hundreds of pounds of waste out of the landfills. that alone was reason enough. studies have been done in the past, stating that water/energy used in cloth is still more than in disposable (when looking at the "life" of the diaper, from field to plant to home). however, all the studies i have seen have been done in the 80's and 90's using horribly old washing machines. a new study  done in 2000 showed that while the level of energy used isn't significantly less with cloth, it still was less. this study was not done using the new, energy efficient washers. i'm willing to bet that the energy and water usage is even less with these machines. disposables also generate 60 times more solid waste and use 20 times more raw materials (like crude oil) than cloth diapers.

third: we believe that cloth is better for lily. 
less diaper rash! that's right! kids in cloth get changed more often as cloth does not hold as much liquid as disposables. because her diapers get changed more often, there is less time for bacteria from ammonia to grow and multiply. plus, there aren't toxic chemicals against my baby's skin. in disposables, the bleach used to whiten the cotton leaves dioxin. dioxin has been known to cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, and skin diseases. there are unbleached disposables, but as our main concern was cost, there was no way we could afford to buy those diapers (and of course, we would still be putting a ton of waste into landfills). these are the same toxins that are thought to be linked to toxic shock syndrome (tss).

disposable diapers have emissions. did you know that? yeah, that plastic-y, nasty smell. the smell that reminds me of maxi-pads or scented tampons? new studies suggest that these admissions can cause asthma and asthma like symptoms. some sites even suggest that disposables cause little boys scrotal temperatures to be higher, which can affect fertility later on in life.

those were the biggies for us. but there are even more benefits:
they provide a great way for baby skin to absorb vitamin d. setting cloth diapers out in the sun, they absorb great vitamins from those uv rays. then, those vitamins go right onto baby's skin. the suns' uv rays can also kill yeast and other bacteria.

another plus: they are soooo dang cute! i love the prints and colors! i love all the options! and i think a little fluffy bum is just adorable! 

many people may be hesitant because of the "gross" factor. i.e. what do you do with the poo? i would like to point out, that i *think* that directions state that fecal matter on disposables should be flushed before the diaper is thrown away (anyone care to confirm this?). if this is true, then the yucky part of cloth should also apply to disposables. i'll go over what we do for poo. it really isn't a big deal and you get used to it.

if you don't have a washer at home, here is a great video showing you how to create a bucket washer. if you are really daring, you can make this work if you don't have the facilities at home!

others may be hesitant because it seems like a lot of work. there is extra laundry, but diapers don't need to be folded. there are diapers that are very similar to disposables (called "all in ones" or aio). these are more pricey, but more convenient. they do take more time to dry, so the time factor should be considered.

but i'm getting ahead of myself. look to the next post to learn more about cloth diapering options.

*i got my statistics from here , here,  and here for the reasons that we chose cloth. these sites link back to specific articles, books, and studies, which i appreciated.


  1. :) I think it is also important to note, while a baby is solely breast feed you don't need to shake out the diaper at all. So your newborn will have water soluble poop that you can put straight into your washer. Right? Brooke was pasted this stage when I started cloth. So I am not speaking from experience.

  2. thanks shalane! i completely forgot that aspect! yes! exclusively breast fed babies don't require poop to be scraped off! i will add that to the original post!