Monday, December 26, 2011

Top Reasons Why I Choose to Cloth Diaper

*Read Below for a Chance to Win 12 bumGenius Cloth Diapers*

I think that the decision to cloth diaper was one of the first "parenting" decisions that Ryan and I made, long before Perogy was even conceived.  The initial reason that I wanted to cloth diaper (even before I met Ryan actually), was due to the environmental impact of disposable diapering.
At that time, I had viewed cloth diapering in its earliest fashion-envisioning large squares of absorbent white cloth that would have to be folded, pinned and covered.  As we got closer to wanting to start a family, I started to research cloth diapers, and was pleasantly surprised to find that there are much more modern ways to cloth diaper today, and that cloth diapering can be just as simple, if not easier than disposable diapering.  The more I scoured the Internet for cloth diapering options, the more I fell in love with the idea of cloth diapering, and the more reasons I developed for wanting to cloth diaper.
Luckily I have a pretty easy going husband that, despite the fact that he has never even seen a diaper being changed, let alone changed one on his own, has been pretty open to whatever diapering option I choose to go with.
Cloth diapering has been one of those decisions that has not always been well-received by our family and friends, and we have often been met with well-meaning parents trying to talk us out of our decision to cloth diaper.  For every person that is "against" our cloth diapering decision, however, there is an equal number that are "pro" cloth diapering-our parents that cloth diapered multiple children with the less than modern versions of cloth, the friends that have tried both disposable and cloth diapering and who have become cloth diaper converts, and those that, like me, love the green aspect of cloth diapering.
At this point, we are far from cloth diaper veterans, as our journey has not even begun, however, for those of you who are on the fence about cloth diapering, or who are wondering "why in the world would they want to cloth diaper?", here is a list of some of my top reasons for why I chose to cloth diaper.

1.  Environmental Impact: I once read that it takes approximately 200 years for a disposable diaper to decompose.  My research has shown me that, on average, a baby will go through about 8 diapers/day (more in the beginning, and then tapering off).  Optimistically, if this child were to require diapers for 2 years, this would equal 5840 diapers disposed over the diapering life of that child, each taking about 200 years to decompose.  Multiply this by multiple children, and you can quickly see the impact.

2.  Better for Baby: While the verdict is still out, I have read many studies that have spoken of harmful chemical dioxins found in disposable diapers.  It is said that continued exposure to dioxins can cause multiple health problems including infertility and various types of cancer.  Few long term studies have been done on disposable diapers, to either prove or disprove this theory.

3.  Quicker Potty Training: I have heard that cloth diapering fosters quicker potty training.  While this would be very difficult to measure, unless on a population level, due to the variances in every child and their readiness to potty train, what's the harm in believing it?  The reasoning behind this is that disposable diapers contain gels that prevent the child from ever feeling wet.  If a child doesn't feel wet or uncomfortable after peeing in their diaper, why would they stop?

4.  Tons more options: There is a very large range in options for cloth diapering  from pre-folds and fitteds, which are the cheapest, to Pocket Diapers and AIOs, which are the most expensive.  There are diapers in which the size can be adjusted as your baby grows, or you can choose to purchase multiple sets of different size diapers and move up as your child grows.  You can choose from Velcro or snaps.  Cotton, bamboo or wool.  There are numerous colours and patterns to choose from.

4. Cheaper: As there are so many options in cloth diapers, cloth diapering can really be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it.  I have seen claims that cloth diapering can save you $3000/child, and although entirely possible, our savings will be much more modest.
Our plan is to use pre-folds with covers for the first few weeks because they are cheaper and the baby will grow out of this size quite quickly.  We bought 24 pre-folds and 4 covers for ~$115.  We will then move on to use bumGenius AIO's in size small for the next few months.  These range from ~$25/diaper (new) to ~$10/diaper (used).  I lucked out and found a stash of 15 very lightly used diapers on Kijiji for ~$175, and then bought 5 more new ones for ~$125 to complete my stash for this time period.  These will last until Perogy is about 18 lbs (about 6 months), at which time we will finally switch to the bumGenius Freetime diapers, a one-size adjustable AIO diaper.  These will cost us ~$15 each for a total of ~$360 for a stash of 24.  These will last until Perogy is potty trained.
So in total, cloth diapering will cost us ~$775.  If disposable diapering, 5840 diapers at an average cost of $0.20 each would cost $1168.  So to cloth diaper, we would actually save ~$393 over disposable diapering on our first child, and $1168 for each subsequent child, as we would already have the stash.
And now, don't even get me started on the resale value of well cared for cloth diapers.

5. Cute: Enough said.

6. Convenience:  As we live 30 minutes from our closest grocery store, washing a load of laundry would be much quicker and more convenient than running to the store, should we run out of diapers.  Also, given that we live in the country and are responsible for our own garbage disposal, it would be much easier to wash diapers than have to worry about disposing of  56 diapers/week.  Finally, with the modern cloth diaper options available, specifically AIOs, diaper changes are just as easy as with disposable diapers.

7.  Conversation: Given that this is my longest blog post to date, you can very well see how cloth diapers can evoke conversation.

9.  Poop doesn't bother me: There.  For all of you who ask "Why would you want to deal with all of that poop, if you could just throw it out?", you have it.  And besides, the vast majority of diaper changes are pee diapers, with only a few poop diapers here and there.

10.  Ease of Use: I cannot say that cloth diapers would be any easier to use than disposable diapers, but I would definitely venture to guess, that they are not any more difficult to use.

When it all comes down to it, we will all make decisions that suit our families, whether it be cloth diapering or disposable diapering.  However, with this post, I hope that I have enlightened you with some excellent reasons on why I choose to cloth diaper and that I have spoken the words of many others who feel the need to justify their decision to cloth diaper.

How do/did/will you diaper your child(ren)?  What are the reasons for your choices?

Disclaimer:  Although composed of my own thoughts, this post was written as part of this contest to spread the word about cloth diapering.   This contest was sponsored by Cotton Babies, the maker of my favourite cloth diapers-bumGenius.  I have not received any form of compensation for this post.  If selected as the winning blog post, I will receive 12 bumGenius cloth diapers from Cotton Babies.  Even better, if I win, I will randomly choose one commenter to also receive 12 bumGenius diapers.  So be sure to leave a comment by midnight on January 15, 2012 to qualify! Only one comment will be counted per person. 


  1. I hear you like comments :) Apparently you have really thought this through. I would also imagine that it would be much more comfortable for the baby to be wrapped in a cloth diaper. Natural fibres such as cotton and bamboo are also more breathable (thank you- Quilts etc. haha), so I assume you would have less occurrences of diaper rash or other fungi/bacteria rashes.

  2. btw- you have more than 3 followers- I just don't admit to it ;)

  3. Those are all great reasons, and pretty sure I agree with all of them...and the fact that you deal with poop whether or not you CD...anybody that asks about the poop hasn't had a newborn (I think) because I soaked at least an outfit a day from disposables and poop going everywhere!

  4. @kaleye_cochrane

    Always a scientific spin on things! The idea of fungi/bacteria rashes further discourages me from disposable diapering!

  5. @Krystyn

    Yes, I would much rather deal with poop that is nicely contained within a cloth diaper than deal with a major blowout at an inopportune time!

  6. Found your post by looking at the cotton babies page. I love cloth diapers! My babies bums are so cute and squishy with cloth. I am now cloth diapering 2 kids under the age of 2 and it's not near as hard as I thought it would be. Thanks for writing an informative post on cloth diapers. I am always looking for good information I can turn my friends to when they inquire about my diapers.

  7. @caedmen

    Thanks for your comment! I am glad that you have found this post useful, even though you have way more experience with cloth diapering than I do!

  8. Did you know that technically you're supposed to dump the solid waste out of disposables too? Poop doesn't bother me either, not nearly as much as the thought of landfills full of disposables or my baby's bits being exposed to that weird absorbent gel. You've got great points here.

  9. When I first decided to use diapers, I also envisioned prefolds and covers. As I researched more, I learned about the "modern" cloth diapers that are available now. Even so, after 4 1/2 years of cloth diapering and trying just about every diaper out there, I still reach for my prefolds and covers first.

  10. I a pro-cloth diaper post before we even got pregnant and was hooked! We started baby #1 at 3 weeks, and baby #2 at 4 days. The goal was from birth, but I was knocked out during surgery, and we both had complications. Maybe we'll have baby #3 and go full-cloth.

  11. I'm looking forward to quicker potty training. Two of our three older kids didn't potty train until they were well over 3 years old. I'm hoping our current little one will potty train much faster. If not, at least I won't be spending money on disposables since we already have a great stash!

  12. i cloth diaper because i think it is more comfortable and it would be what i would want to wear if i were a baby (and it was what i wore as a baby). I have only found positives to cloth diapering and am so glad that i was able to give my son (and future children) and clean healthy start at life.

  13. I am currently collecting enough cloth diapers to give up disposables completely (without having to do laundry two times a day). I love how far they have come in design the past few years.

  14. My first two were in disposables, somehow it completely escaped me that cloth diapering was an option. Retail stores don't offer cloth options because they want you to come back every week for diapers, wipes and formula, if you didn't need those items how often would you go to babies r us? I only recently learned about cloth diapers, When I was pregnant with my third I was laid-off and while searching for ways to cut our household budget we replaced a couple diapers a day with some old prefolds, and it worked. Now after doing research and picking up some hybrids we will never go back to disposables. Now I just need to convince my friends that it's not dirty and yucky, but actually the cleaner option, in so many ways.