Why Every Mom Can and Should Use Cloth Diapers for Their Baby

September 5, 2019

Before your baby is potty-training, he will have contributed over 1 ton of landfill waste via disposable diapers, each one taking nearly 500 years to decompose. The Real Diaper Association identifies disposable diapers as the third most common consumer product found in landfills worldwide, and that number is only expected to continue to grow as more developing countries produce a stronger middle class. Americans alone are responsible for an estimated 20 billion disposable diapers every year! By reducing your use of disposable diapers by even 1 diaper a day, you are removing 365 diapers each year from local landfills! If you choose to exclusively use cloth, you can eliminate 6,500 diapers per child from polluting local landfills!


Ok, but managing cloth diapers sounds gross, and like a lot of work. 


But it doesn’t have to be! Most major cities, and some smaller suburbs in between, have a local cloth diaper service that will pick up dirty diapers, wash them, and deliver clean ones back to you each week. So for roughly 80.7% of Americans living in an urban environment, cloth diapers remain just as convenient as disposable! You won’t have to scrub a single diaper, or subject your washing machine to your baby’s bodily waste.


If you are managing cloth diapers at home, you can expect to do laundry every other day, cutting your diaper-investment as well as your laundry load. But of course, how much laundry you do is also determined by what kind of cloth diapers you use: an all-in-one system requires each diaper to be washed after every use, whereas a hybrid or more traditional prefold diaper system only requires you to wash the inner lining. 


Washing at home breaks down into four steps: Pre-wash, Wash, Rinse, and Dry. The cloth diaper brand Grovia has very useful tips on washing your diapers at home.


Click here to read Why I've Committed to Using Cloth Diapers (and You Should Too!).


What about cost? 


Well, if using a cloth diaper service, the cost of the diapers are factored into your weekly fees. But even without a diaper service, a cloth diaper system can cost as little as $300, and once your baby outgrows his diapers, you can donate them or save them for your next child. 


For most, cloth diapering remains more cost efficient than disposable, saving you potentially $1,700 every year! The cloth diaper brand Thirsty Babies has a Customer Savings Calculator that can help you determine how much you’ll be saving when you choose cloth over disposable. 


Not sure how many diapers you’ll need? 


You can expect a newborn baby will soil an average of 10-15 diapers every day, and so you may want to have in-stock 36 diapers. Infants 6-12 months old can use 6-10 diapers a day, so you’d want to have about 24 diapers on-demand, while toddlers (12-24 months) may only go through 4-7 diapers a day, so you’ll only need about 20 diapers on-hand.


Will my baby like going cloth?


In short, yes! Babies typically prefer cloth diapers over disposable because they have less exposure to the chemicals and synthetic materials that disposable diapers are made out of, and with that they have less risk of diaper rash, and potentially other more serious issues in their lives (including chronic skin issues, reduced testosterone, or even cancer). Most cloth diapers are made with cotton, whereas disposable diapers are a concoction of absorbent pulp (often made out of plastic), chlorine bleach, lime, and polyacrylic acid.


That being said, cloth diapers may help your baby potty train faster because they remain wet to your child’s skin, unlike disposable diapers that pull moisture away from their body. However, your child is still at lower risk for diaper rash and other skin issues despite the wetness, and may have less need for diaper rash creams.


What about blow-outs?


Like any diaper, blow-outs are a reality that can happen with cloth as often as with disposable. The best way to avoid a blow-out is to make sure your diaper fits your baby. Most cloth diapers have adjustable sizing that will fit most babies, although sometimes it just takes experimenting with different brands to find just the right fit for your Little One! 


Click here to read Why I've Committed to Using Cloth Diapers (and You Should Too!).

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