Why our family uses cloth diapers

Why We Cloth Diaper

Why our family uses cloth diapers - pros and cons of cloth diapering from a busy family with two full time teachers!
Why our family uses cloth diapers

Emily here!

So, I was asking Mark what he’d like to share with all of you today and he told me, “Hey, why don’t you talk about why we cloth diaper?”  Honestly, I am equal parts excited and reserved about this.  On the one hand, I’m excited because I’ve found over the past 10 months that cloth diapering is a really cool thing that I love being able to do for my son.  On the other hand, talking about cloth diapering with a lot of zeal is one of the easiest ways to sound “holier than thou” when it comes to parenting.  Like you somehow aren’t “mom enough” if you don’t cloth diaper or something, which is just plain silly.  We all work hard.

So my little parenting disclaimer is this: I don’t want to judge anyone for their parenting choices.  We all do different things and I think that’s great! I’m just sharing what works for us and hopefully enlightening some of you in the process, especially if you were ever on the fence about it.


There you have it.  Moving on!

“So how did you even get into cloth diapering?”

Would you believe that it was actually Mark’s idea?  Because it was.  Some time last spring, when I was between 20-25 weeks pregnant, we were sitting around when out of the blue he turns to me and says, “Hey, what would you think of cloth diapering?”  And I looked at him curiously because I’d never really thought of it.  I’d always been pinning those posts on how to save money on disposables like it was just what you were supposed to do.  I never even thought of cloth!

So I told him I’d look into it.  After all, my mom used cloth on me for a little while, right?  And knowing what she did, I was imagining those old cloth flats (which lots of people still love to use for a variety of reasons, but more on that later).  We called his mom and asked about her experience with her three kids, which amounted to old flats and “plastic pants” (ugh), and we called his sister which amounted to some info about how she made her all-in-one diapers and some other basic info on what was out there.  This got us started down the vast rabbit hole that is cloth diapering.  Pocket diapers, all-in-ones, all-in-twos, prefolds, flats, fitteds…the list of diapers goes on and on, not to mention the sheer number of brands out there.  It’s hard to sort through (and I will help you do that in later posts as well!).

A few weeks later, after weighing all of our options, we decided to order a variety of different kinds of diapers and discover what worked for us as we went.  I had a lot of Amazon gift cards after my baby shower and I used them to buy all of the items you see below, which I will review in subsequent posts.

diaperdelivery
“Fluffy mail” and assorted extras for baby from my Amazon registry!

Turns out, our little boy was a very tiny 6 lbs. 9 oz. and didn’t fit into most of the cloth we’d gotten for him right away, so we used the newborn disposables from the hospital and bought a box or two of them until he was big enough to fit into them.  And in the process of buying disposables for those three weeks, I discovered something about myself:

I hated buying disposables.  I hated using them.  Moreover, I HATED STANDING IN THE DIAPER AISLE TRYING TO CALCULATE THE PER UNIT COST OF DIAPERS WITH COUPONS BECAUSE I’M REALLY BAD AT COUPONING AND THE COST OF DIAPERS WAS A HUGE DRAIN ON MY GROCERY BUDGET!

Speaking of, my sister in law is apparently a coupon wizard and could get diapers super cheap.  I am not a wizard.  I wouldn’t even pass for a sorcerer’s apprentice in couponing.  I’d just stand in the diaper aisle looking lost and vacant, and occasionally have associates come up to me and ask if I needed help.  And I’d just look at them blankly.  “No…no…I’m…okay.”  Not really.  Buying disposables is insane for me.

So once he fit into the cloth at 3 weeks, we started using it exclusively and haven’t bought a single disposable since then.  At all.  Not even on long trips.

Three weeks old in cloth diaper
Three weeks old in cloth diaper

“Okay, weirdo.  So why do you like cloth diapering so much?”

  • WAAAAAY less expensive than disposables – Overall I’ve spent about $150-200 on my cloth diaper stash, including accessories like traveling wetbags and pail liners.  If I had kept using disposables I would have spent about $400-660+ by now (about $15-25 every 1.5 weeks, because I’m not a good couponer like I said).  It costs an average of $1600-2000 to diaper one child in disposables, but a cloth diaper stash can easily last through multiple children.
  • More eco-friendly – between the crazy chemicals and energy wasted to make disposables and the amount of time it might take for them to decompose (estimated 200-500 years) it just makes sense to use cloth.  Yes, even with the water you use to wash them.  And by the way, our water bill went up a whopping $3/month.
  • Health – Disposables contribute more to diaper rashes, and may contain chemicals that are carcinogenic or that cause hormone imbalance.
  • Cute prints and patterns!  Modern cloth diapers are cute and customizable.  They don’t look anything like the old cloth systems our parents used.
  • Easy to use and wash! – We do diaper laundry 2-3 times a week and my water bill barely went up.  If you will have access to a washer and dryer on a regular basis, it definitely makes it easier, but a lot of people wash them at a Laundromat without problems.
  • You never run out – Even if you lapse with the laundry from time to time, all you have to do is wash them.  It’s not like you’re going to go change the baby only to realize you’d used up the last diaper.  No emergency trips to the store for more!
  • No “blow outs” – I had lots of friends tell me about all of the diaper blowouts their kids would have.  I’ve never had this issue with cloth. It’s way better at containing messes than disposables any day.  Prefolds and covers seem to be the best at this.
  • It’s way easier than people will tell you – I had so many family members tell me that I wouldn’t stick with it past the first month.  We’re now in month 10 and I can’t even imagine having to use disposables.  There really isn’t that much more laundry than normal, and using them is about the same or sometimes easier than using disposables.

So again, we found ourselves being accidental hippies by cloth diapering.  We weren’t setting out to “save the planet” or be eco-nuts.  We simply looked for a diapering system that would fit our lifestyle and found it in cloth!

Ready to dive into cloth diapers?  Check out these posts:

Types of Cloth

A Beginner's Guide to Prefold Cloth Diapers: Information about why to use them, how to use them, and what our changing and wash routines are like! On the fence about whether prefolds might be for you? Get more information about how they can work for you and your family here!

How to set up an easy, no-fuss changing station for cloth diapers. It's easier and cheaper than you'd think! #clothdiapers #organization

A complete breakdown of everything I take with me on a short trip using #clothdiapers

Check out this easy DIY recipe for a multi-purpose cloth diaper cream, chapped skin healer, lip balm, frizz tamer, and more! $.22 an ounce to make and way better than commercial creams!

Want to #clothdiaper but don't know where to start? Check out these handy beginner guides!

Leave your comments and questions below, or hit me up on Twitter or on my Facebook page!

Make it a great day, everyone!

 

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  1. Jamie Matheney
    June 13, 2014

    Cool read. I’d love for you to break this down into “cloth diapers for dummies” posts. I wonder if you could do adult diapers in a similar way…. ?

    1. June 13, 2014

      Will do! I’ve seen a bit on adult versions but sadly not as much as for babies. I’ll try to find where I saw that!

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