“Why do you hate the environment?” I remember the question like it was yesterday. Truth, it was 14 years ago. And for the record, I didn’t, and I still don’t. It was 2005, I was in college and one of my friends from my dorm decided to ask me that really pointed question . We were walking through campus late at night trying to find something to make the night memorable. That one question sure made it memorable to me.
At that time I was not the most environmentally conscious person, but I don’t think I hated the environment. I am pretty sure that friend would be shocked to learn that the person he thought hated the environment, now uses cloth diapers on their child. And loves it!
I’ll admit it, I used to be a skeptic. When I thought cloth diapers, I thought it was for people who had more money and who could afford a diaper service. I thought of cloth diapers as complicated, folding of flat cloth sheets and then securing somehow.
The thought of cloth diapers was introduced to me by a co-worker long before I even thought of having kids. It was a random conversation while she was expecting her first child. She mentioned that she was going to use cloth diapers because while they are an investment upfront, in the long run the are worth it.
When we learned that our family would be growing, I started into my research on the world of cloth diapers. Here is what I learned, and what I love.
Diaper Raffle, diaper registries, diaper cakes. People find all kinds of way for people to give them diapers before, or shortly after, the baby is born. Probably because the cost of diapers seem like then biggest “extra” purchase once you start a family.
When I first was introduced to cloth diapers, the gal who mentioned them to me mentioned what a cost savings they are in the long run. It blew my preconceived idea about cloth diapers out of the water! I had to look into it. And she was totally right. Up front it is a chunk of money, but it is not astronomical in my opinion. Especially when you think about what you will spend on diapers in the first 6 months to year of your babies life.
I’ll admit that our son was too small for the cloth diapers we had when we first brought him home for the hospital. And he was too small for them for about 3 months. He was a little peanut. So until he fit into the cloth diapers, we used disposable diapers. I think we spent at least $150 on diapers in the first month (we used A-LOT of diapers). Our complete cloth diapers ‘stash’ costs about $450. That is huge! Especially when you think that the diapers are going to be used at least 2.5 years for one child, and will be used again on any future children. And some of our stash was a gift from our registry.
We are a family that loves to save money where we can, so spending a fraction on diapers was a huge selling point for us. But after my research, it was actually not the only reason we decided to cloth diaper.
Better For The Environment
Like I said before, there are people in my past that would be shocked that I considered this, but I have grown as a person since then. The more I learned about the environmental impact of disposable diapers, the more I turned my nose up at them.
This is my strongest reason for using cloth diapers: a disposable diaper from my child would out live him, his children, and his grand-children in a landfill. Most resources estimate it takes a diaper 500 years to biodegrade. Five. Hundred. Years. Now times that by the thousands of diapers a child will use.
As a parent, I have started to think more and more about the planet my child lives on, and what it will look like after I am gone. To think that his disposable diapers will outlive him made me so sad. I want to try and make the planet better, not worse. I don’t think disposable diapers help me achieve that.
It also occurred to me that human waste, a.k.a bio-hazards, are being put into the landfill inside those disposable diapers. Yuck! In our house we say, poop goes in the toilet. What do you want your child to think about where poop goes?
As I mentioned before, we did use disposable diapers on our son in the first could couple of months of his life and there are time when we have to temporarily switch to using them. But, by using cloth diapers most of the time we are still greatly reducing the waste that goes into landfills.
They Are Better for Babies Skin
Plastic, synthetic absorbent gel beads, fragrance, lotion. These are all common ingredients found in most disposal diapers. These are not things I felt great about wrapping sensitive body parts in.
It always made me feel crummy when I had to use disposables and during a diaper change would find little gel beads that that had escaped their pocket and made their way on to my son’s skin. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, imagine the end result if you put one of the packets you find in a shoe box in the bathtub. But they are in mini form. Ick.
I do know that there are disposable diapers out there that do not use the gel bead, however they use natural resources like wood fiber from specific trees. Which in my opinion is not great either because they are using natural resources that are limited.
Sometimes babies have allergic reactions to disposable diapers due to the chemicals an/or fragrances used in them. I was lucky and my son did not have a reaction, but if he did, I don’t think I would have wanted to spend time figuring out what diapers would work for him. Switching to a chemical and fragrance free diaper, like cloth, would have been my immediate decision.
They Are So Stinking Cute!
Yes, yes, there are cute disposable diapers available. But I just could not get over how cute cloth diapers are! And the extra padding in the bum area just adds to the cubby baby cuteness.
I find it so fun to look through all the different styles and prints can be so fun. Trying to decide what little bit I want popping out the back of the pants is so fun in the mundane moments of changing a dirty diaper.
At the end of the day I do think that every parent needs to do whats right for them and their family.
Do you cloth diaper? Why or why not? I would love to hear! Comment below, follow and share on social media!