I am sure there’s a lot of people who don’t like the idea of cloth diapers, particularly the toweling kind as opposed to the new modern ones. I chose to diaper my baby the old way.. I hate spending money on things that I know I’m just going to put in the garbage. It seemed senseless to me to be buying something that my child is only going to poop/pee in and then needs to be thrown out. I also didn’t want my sons first legacy to the earth to be a mountain of landfill. Yeah, I looked into the overpriced “biodegradable” diapers, and I have some bad news. If you’re putting them in the garbage and sending them to landfill, you’re not doing the environment any favors. there is not much decomposing going on in landfills due to lack of airflow. Those of you who know about composting will know that airflow is essential for efficient decomposition. if your heap doesn’t get turned, it will stink and decay very slowly. No matter what goes into a landfill, it’s not going to breakdown any time soon, so, unless you’re composting those biodegradable diapers yourself, you’re essentially paying more to only feel like you did something good when in reality you’re still contributing to the problem.
When I looked into cloth diapers I wasn’t expecting it to be easy, but it was something that I wanted to do anyway. I can say now I’m so glad that I’ve done it, and it’s not as difficult as I expected. It is well worth it for the saved money, the lessened environmental impact, and not having your child suffer with nasty diaper rashes caused by synthetic materials and the moist, non-breathable environment that disposable diapers create.
Here’s my top reasons to choose cloth…
- Cloth is the Cheapest;
Cloth is also by far the cheapest diaper setup if you go for the terry toweling squares. I’ve seen others spend upwards of $500 on a supply of needlessly over complicated modern cloth diapers (you know the kind with the outer shell, pad insert, and you need to use a liner. Yes, its still cheaper than disposables but keep reading for the other problems these diapers have. For my entire cloth setup I paid less than $100 aud. I bought 36 toweling squares which came in packs of 12 for $17 aud each from Kmart. 3 covers which were $10 each and have snaps to adjust the size (ie I wont need to replace them as my baby grows). I was also given a set of 3 diaper closures (the plastic ones you can use instead of pins) which im sure can be found under $5. But if you’re willing to use pins you can buy a pack of 10 safety pins for use with diapers for $2. So, that makes $83 for a supply that will last the entire time your child is in diapers. With a pack of diapers selling at $20-$30 we have saved an incredible amount of money already.
- You can save more by making them yourself
Got some old towels? Cut them to an appropriate size and use them for diapers. Hand towels can also be used as-is for diapering. If you have trouble finding larger sized cloth squares using old towels is particularly useful as your baby grows
- Customize to your child
If you’re using disposables you might need to try a few brands before you find one that can effectively contain your child’s waste. Some diapers blow out more easily than others and if you have an active baby the diaper may shift to one side and you end up with a huge blowout and the diaper barely catching anything. With cloth, all you need to do in this situation is change your folding technique. So far, I’ve only needed to use 3 different folds. First was the pad fold because it was easiest and effective for a while. The bat fold worked well until my son was a little over 4 months and started rolling and sleeping on his belly. After this, I switched to the bag fold which focuses the layers in front to add extra absorbency in this area. There are many more kinds of folds which you can used based on your child’s gender, age and preferred sleeping position.
- Can be used with inserts from the modern cloth diapers
Those absorbent pad inserts come in handy for terry squares too. You can put one of them either inside the folds of the cloth diaper or just sitting on top and you have yourself some extra absorbency for nights.
- Folding isn’t hard;
I often see people who opt for the other kind of cloth diapers say things like “I don’t have time to learn origami.” I’m sure they never bothered to even look at any video or even try to fold a diaper once because it’s certainly not that hard. You don’t need to learn every style ever invented. Just start with one and learn new ones as needed. Spending a few minutes to save several several hundred dollars is a worthwhile investment in my opinion.
When I first started using cloth I just folded the squares into thirds and used it like a pad inside the cover. Easy as. However it made the diaper a bit bulky, so when I had more time I looked for a tutorial about the different folding techniques and chose one that I liked a bit better, the bat fold. It’s incredibly easy to do, after I had done it once I didn’t ever need to refer to the tutorial again.
- Washing them isn’t that bad;
Especially if you’re breastfeeding, the cloth diapers arent that disgusting and you can handle them minimally if you’re doing a load of laundry every other day or so. Just chuck them in a lidded bucket and wash any soiled diapers, pads and diaper covers at the end of every second day or so and hang them out the next morning (if your machine has a delay function you can make use of it so they wash before you wake up). They will wash best in cold water (hot water will cause staining) so all you need is a suitable detergent or powder. If a lot of time is passing between washes you should rinse off any poop with cold water and let the diaper dry out, if its well rinsed you can wash it with towels or other items.
- Best for the environment;
Nothing goes to landfill, and when the diapers reach the end of their life they can be composted in the garden as they are made of cotton. If you buy plastic covers you only need a few (3-4) and they last a long time. Even if they eventually get thrown out It’s still better than throwing out several considerably larger pieces of plastic a day as you do with disposables.
- No rashes;
Without all the synthetic fibres and chemicals against your baby’s skin, they don’t suffer any diaper rash. If they do have any rashes or skin reactions the culprit is likely some other product you’re using such as your laundry powder or baby wipes, etc,
- Toilet training will be easier;
Because the baby will be able to feel when it’s wet, and the discomfort of this will assist them in learning to use a potty. Disposable diapers have been acknowledged as part of the reason children aren’t toilet trained by the time they are school aged. Because disposables maintain a feeling of dryness for the child even when wet, there is much less incentive for them to use a potty. Companies producing disposable diapers also want you to keep your child in diapers as long as possible because that means more profit for them.
- No waste;
Because I don’t need to worry about my baby growing out of his cloth diapers, I don’t have to deal with the hassle of returning unopened boxes of diapers or worse, being left with half a box of diapers that no longer fit.
- They can be properly sanitized;
Flat towelling diapers are much cleaner than the new diapering system, which consist of a shell with a waterproof outer layer (often plastic) and some kind of fabric inside (often polyester or the like but may also be cotton) with a gusset that you insert a pad into. The pad is often thick and stuffed with a highly absorbent filling, Often you need to use a liner as well. There are many problems with such a system. Mainly that multiple layers of fabric give bacteria lots of places to hide. Terry towelling squares are a single layer that can be line dried, the sunlight will then destroy any remaining bacteria after washing.
- No harmful substances;
Cloth diapers are free of any chemicals and fragrances that are used in disposable diapers to increase their absorbency and mask odors. Some disposable diapers have been known to cause chemical burns and rashes.
Did I miss any benefits? Was your experience of cloth different? Add your comment below.