Why Use Cloth Diapers?

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Why use cloth diapers? One pretty much average mom's reasons to go with cloth.

1. I'm frugal, which is a nice way of saying cheap! Yes, cloth diapers are cheaper than disposable. Any way you do the math, cloth wins.

A word to the wise, avoid buying cloth diapers or wraps at department stores. They may seem less expensive than buying through online or mail-order sources, but the diapers are only good for burp cloths, and the wraps tend to be more trouble than they're worth.

To get your money's worth:
Look for online or mail-order sources that give really good descriptions and critiques of each product. See the http://www.mommylinks.com/babytoddler/diapers.html page at MommyLinks for some great online sources for diapers and accessories! Join an online discussion group to get great information from moms who have found what works!

Another bonus and savings...If you use cloth wipes instead of disposable, you'll save a minimum of $3 a month if you are using the thin generic wipes. A single box of the really nice wipes are around $4 and it's easy to use 2 boxes a month. Flannel wipes are so great! They clean
up your baby's bottom with just water, no chemicals, and you just soak and wash them with your diapers.

It probably costs at most half as much to use cloth diapers as to use disposables. This is assuming your child can tolerate the store brands of disposables. Some parents pay 30 cents a diaper for the top brands, which at a minimum of $1.50 a day really adds up. ($1600/3 years)

Just to summarize. The absolute cheapest you can do disposable diapers for is probably $1/day. If you use disposables, and then the more expensive pull-ups while training, you are looking at a
bare minimum of $1095 for three years, and that is not including disposable wipes, which will add at the very least another $100 if not closer to $300 to the total. And if you live in an area
where you have to pay for each bag of garbage, you'll pay even more.

If you use cloth diapers, with the nice velcro wraps, flannel wipes, and launder them at home, it would be less than $550 for 3 years, and best of all, you can use many of the same supplies for your next child. It is also possible to save on the actual investment of using cloth diapers by using less expensive accessories, like pins and
plastic pants, resulting in a total investment of $120 at the most, before laundering costs.

2. No midnight runs to the store because you are out of diapers, no scanning newspaper ads, hoping for a great sale, and no clipping coupons. Just do a couple loads of laundry a week and you're set!

3. Cloth Diapers are more environmentally friendly! Now, I know there has been some controversy about this, and I've read many different articles from each viewpoint. But the bottom line is that with cloth diapers you are not throwing thousands of pounds of non-biodegradable waste into the landfills each year. Now supposedly some of the disposable diapers are biodegradable, or recyclable. This would be/could be true if they were exposed to air and sunlight (not buried in landfills) or processed at a specialized recycling plant (of which few exist). Cloth diapers should be the Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle product of choice! It only takes 3 dozen good quality cloth diapers to diaper at least 2 children for a grand total of 4-6 years, then you can use the worn diapers as rags for another 5 years, then you can throw the scraps in the compost bin, where the natural fibers will biodegrade. OK, OK, I'm getting off my soapbox now!

4. I own an automatic washer! It's not like I'm scrubbing the poopies out on a washboard! I'm not even overly fastidious about rinsing them out, just get the major stuff off and throw them in a pail of water to soak. (Just a note here, a diaper pail should always have a snug fitting lid, both for odor control, and safety for the little ones.)

5. That brings me to my next point, using cloth diapers is less stinky than using disposables. No, really! I use disposables occasionally for my son, and if there's a poopy, it has to be wrapped up and quickly disposed of like biohazardous waste, no letting it sit around in the garbage can. This is where all the high-tech diaper disposal systems come in, which are fine if you want to make the initial cash outlay, and then buy all the refills, and if they actually do the job! With cloth, most of the odor causing stuff goes immediately into the proper receptacle, and the diaper goes into water (with a touch of baking soda) and a tight fitting lid goes over top. The best part is that this odor controlling diaper pail is quite often a freebie 5 gallon detergent pail, with no expensive refills to buy!

6. What about the whole rinsing the diaper and wrap thing? Yes, you might accidentally touch poopy sometimes using cloth diapers, but I think most parents know that happens regardless of what diapering system you use. Besides, did you know that you are really supposed to shake the poopies out of disposable diapers before throwing them away? It says so right on the package. You might need some reading glasses to see it, but it's there! To rinse a cloth diaper, you just grab a clean corner, and shake/dunk it in the toilet until the major stuff falls off, then throw it into the diaper pail. Maybe it's not for everyone, but it's not really a big deal!

7. Earlier toilet training. This may not hold true in every case, but there's no denying that cloth diapers are a lot more "realistic" than disposables. A wet cloth diaper feels wet to a child, whereas a disposable diaper continues to feel dry.

8. Less diaper rashes? This argument goes back and forth between the disposable and cloth proponents. After using both, I would say that it really depends on the child, but that cloth seems to maintain a better moisture environment for my son's skin than disposables. You can also feel more easily when your child is wet and change him as often as necessary. And there's no increased cost if you need to change your child more often with cloth diapers, whereas with disposables it can really add up if you are changing your babe more frequently due to rash or diarrhea.

9. Cloth diapers can also be used as changing pads, burp cloths, and nose wipers. Disposable diapers are pretty much only good for one thing.

10. When I'm done using the cloth diapers for my kids, they'll still be the best rags for years to come!

Credits: Kayla Hunt

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