One of the best things I am doing to help the environment (and my baby) is use cloth diapers. When DH asked if we could use them I told him he was crazy, but now I am so glad he brought it up!
This is the reason we looked into cloth diapers (although it is probably #2 on our importance list now).
There is debate on which type of diaper is “best” for the environment. There is no doubt that all diapers do their fair share of harm (you could always practice elimation control – they don’t use any), but the debate on which one causes more harm is pretty cut and dry. There have been studies funded by the sposie diaper companies that claim the water usage of cloth diapers outweigh the environmental benefit. Most of those studies do not take into account the water it takes to make a sposie. The studies are done with large amounts of water being used to wash the cloth diapers (high efficiency washers are much more common now). They also assume that all cloth diaper folks dry their diapers in a dryer. That is not always the case. From a logic standpoint, water is renewable. Disposable diapers in a landfill will never go away. The sewage from the disposable diapers can leak into the water system. If you get your hands on a sposie package read the directions – it states to rinse and flush all solids before throwing them away. How many people actually do that? All that sewage is just sitting in plastic pants in our landfills, EEWWW!
The amount of water it takes to wash a load of cloth diapers is equivalent to 4-5 flushes of the toilet. How many times will your child flush the toilet after they are potty trained?
This is our #1 reason for switching!
Sodium polyacrylate has been linked to toxic shock, allergic reactions, and is potentially lethal to pets. Why would I want this on my baby’s bum! Dioxin can cause cancer, and is known to cause damage to the CNS, liver, and kidneys. Sposie use has also been connected with infertility in men because their stuff is kept at a higher temperature when it is developing. Cloth allows that area to breathe. Your baby will wear these cancer pants for 2-3 years!
Many people are concerned with diaper rash. The thought that diaper rash happens more often in sposie diapers is a myth. In a study (by a sposie company) on diaper rash it was found that the incidence increased from 7.1% to 61% after the use of disposable diapers. At one month of age (according to the Journal of Pediatrics) 54% of sposie wearing babies have had diaper rash, 16% have had a severe diaper rash. Disposable diapers do not keep the babies drier because most parents leave the child in the diaper longer and there are further allergic reactions to the fragrance in the diaper. There are liners you can put in the cloth diapers to keep the baby dry (without drying the skin), but for the most part the child is not sitting in their own waste so there isn’t time for a rash to develop.
This is a factor for many parents. Cloth diapers usually cost you more upfront (a lot more), but you will save over the years. Disposable diapers cost $50-$80 a month, $600-$960 a year, $1500-$2400 for 2 1/2 years. If your child wears them longer the cost will continue to add up. If you have a second child the cost will double. With the advent of diaper pull-ups, many children are wearing diapers for much longer than they did in the past.
First, let me say that you can cloth diaper for a very low cost. You can use prefolds (which many people love) and covers at a very low cost. Be sure to get DSQ prefolds (no gerbers)! You can buy a pretty good stash for around $200 start up and you might have to spend another $50-$100 as your child grows. You can keep these for your next child or turn around and sell them when you are done. There is a market for used cloth diapers – they was up just like any other article of clothing 🙂 The resell value on prefolds isn’t high, but you should be able to get about 25-40% of the money you spent on the stash back. If you are crafty then you can dye or embellish them and get even more back.
You can also spend an arm and a leg on cloth diapers. I tend to be in this category, I am addicted! But, I am still saving money 🙂 I’ll let you know how I did that in another thrifty thread. These types of diapers have a resell value of 60-80% the original value. No name WAHM dipes have a lower resell and some of the “hot” diapers will actually sell for more than what they retail! If you spend $2000 on diapers over the course of your childs diaper-wearing time (that would be quite a bit!) then you could either sell them at the low end of $1200 when you are done (and be saving $300-$1200 over the course of the 2.5 years) or you could keep them for your next kiddo and sell them after that and save even more.
I have to throw this in. Before you subject your baby to wearing a plastic diaper try wearing one yourself. They get used to it, they have to, but when you think about it… it’s pretty awful 🙁
I was surprised on this one. I would have guessed that cloth diapers were inconvinient, but I was wrong. Sposies win when you are going out. Cloth wins at home, hands down. We didn’t have a single blow-out until my son was 5 months. That one was because we were trying a new type of diaper and he was sitting in his bumbo (just not enough room for his little bum). We’ve never had to run out to buy diapers, they are always there and ready to go. We have a little attachment on our toilet to spray the diapers – quick and easy. We do use the cloth when we go out as well (we have even used them on vacations). Cloth isn’t inconvienent when you go out, just not as convienient as sposies. For me, keeping my baby in a healthy diaper at all times was more important than being able to throw away the dipes while you are out. There are many people who use cloth at home and sposies when they go out though and that is just fine!
What does your baby wear? Hmm… I need to write up a stash thread!