As we delve into our cloth diaper series today, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the main reasons why some moms choose cloth.
Perhaps just the thought of using cloth diapers turns your stomach. I can relate.
I’ve been there!
But when I started using cloth when my 2 year old was a newborn, I quickly realized that, well, poop is poop–and it’s gross regardless of what type of diaper you are changing. And, really, I’ve found cloth to be no less clean than using disposables.
So whether you are a mom-to-be, a new mom, a grandma or even a single gal looking to educate herself on all things homemaking and mothering even before that season arrives, I hope this series, as well as my book, will help take the stinky stigma out of cloth diapers.
Top 3 Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers
1. Cloth Diapers are Cheaper
It’s true; using cloth will save you money. I don’t plan on an exact cost breakdown during this series, but Nikki has written a great one.
I’ll be honest: there may be some sticker shock if you are planning on using modern-cloth diapers, like pocket diapers (which I mainly use) or all-in-ones, but spending some money up front to build your stash will most definitely save you money in the long run–especially if you use your diapers on more than one child!
I’m now using the same stash of diapers on my third child. My diapers paid for themselves long ago, and I’ve been saving money ever since by NOT having to buy diapers or even spend the gas to run to the store to get them.
There are ways to pay for your stash on a low income. And stores like Sweet Little Blessings run frequent sales and even give free shipping on orders over $40! (And the owner really knows what she’s doing…she is a mom of 12!!)
2. Cloth Diapers are Better for the Environment
This one is really a no-brainer. Disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to dispose of themselves in a landfill. 500 years! And the poop that stays in the diapers instead of being flushed can be contaminated with viruses, bacteria and diseases that make their way back into our environment (source).
3. Cloth Diapers are Better for Your Baby’s Health
Disposable diapers are made with chemicals that can potentially cause cancer and disrupt your baby’s hormones. Don’t believe that? Check out what the Real Diaper Association has to say about this:
Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S..1
Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) – a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.2
Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome by increasing absorbency and improving the environment for the growth of toxin-producing bacteria.3
In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis.18 (source)
Wow and yikes! That’s enough to make me want to rip off the disposable that my baby is wearing right now!
Wait? Did I say my baby is wearing a disposable diaper? Yes–that’s not the norm in my house, but I was given a good supply of disposables before her birth, and to save my sanity with less laundry during these first few weeks postpartum, I’ve been using them. But, especially after researching for this post, I am getting back to my beloved cloth very, very soon!
We can’t live in fear of #2 or #3 because God is ultimately in control, but He gave us knowledge for a reason, and because I know of the potential harmful effects of disposable diapers, I can’t just keep using them and tell others to use them without informing them of the truth. I’m not a cloth diaper Nazi, but it really would be wrong on my part not to share these things with you.
So why did I personally choose cloth? The money factor. Yes–I know it’s the least profound of the three, but that’s why we chose cloth when our second baby was born. Our first potty trained VERY late (ahem, age 4), so when it became apparent that I’d have two in diapers, I started researching…and I quickly became a cloth diaper convert.
Have you ever considered using cloth diapers? If you use cloth, what was your reason for choosing cloth diapers?
My eBook, Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert, is a 200+-page handbook that will tell you all you need to know to have a successful cloth diapering journey! To read more about this book, click here.
Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents
I can’t wait to break out my stash! 🙂 I’m almost done with the disposables….when I get back from our trip, they’re coming out! WOOT!
We started cloth diapers when our son (now nearly 2) was about a week old. I also decided to do it for the money factor, and also because it is less wasteful and does not negatively effect the environment. I had also heard that cloth diapered babies sometimes potty train faster, which seemed like a benefit to me! (I’m sure it isn’t just due to the cloth diapers, since we’ve been working on potty “learning” but our 23 month old IS getting close to being potty trained)
We bought only prefolds and covers at first, and later bought some pocket diapers for nighttime. A friend gave me a whole box of cloth diapers that she was no longer using. So between buying the cheapest form of diaper (the prefold), buying used sales on Ebay and getting hand-me-downs, I really don’t think we’ve spent more than $350 on cloth (minus the cost of washing, any extra effort involved, and the cost of the occasional small package of disposables for special occasions). I love cloth!!
You have a similar experience to mine! We got our stash very cheaply…and I love cloth!
Great post! I was wondering what you thought of the G diaper? ( http://www.gdiapers.com/ ) As far as I can tell, its between disposable and cloth, with biodegradable inserts that are chemical free. The cost might be a little more up front then even cloth but it seems like a good idea for those who don’ t want to go full cloth.
Otherwise, I’m slowly becoming a convert and I don’t even have kids yet!
To be honest, Rachel, I didn’t like the g diapers. I did try a few of them, and they were my least favorite diaper. 🙁 I hate to be a downer, but to me they didn’t fit right and I just preferred to have the entire thing be cloth if i were going to have to wash them anyway. I think they are too pricey as well. Just my opinion, though!
That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. There’s a lot of good things said but I wasn’t seeing anyone who had bad experiences. I like to hear both sides. Thanks!
We use two types of cloth indian prefolds w/Thirsties covers and gDiapers. We keep 3-4 gPants of each size (S, M, L)
*gPant with cloth insert (hemp or tri-folded prefold)
great for wet diapers
okay for wet and soiled diaper
not great for soiled diaper (sometimes the feces “slip” and the whole cover has to be washed.)
bad for wet stools
*gPant with disposable/flushable/compostable insert
great for wet diapers…in fact so absorbent sometimes it still feels partially dry when we change our daughter
FANTASTIC for road trips (we have have been on 7 long trips this year)
CONVENIENT for nursery workers who are terrified of cloth diapers
okay for stools
Thank you for starting this series! I’m pregnant with our first (my due date is today!). We decided to use cloth diapers with our little one, but I must admit I’m still a bit nervous about it. It just seems dirtier to me than disposables; but I liked your comment, “Poop is poop.” So true. I guess that takes away one of my main “fears” about cloth diaperings.
Looking forward to the rest of your series!
Congrats on your first baby, Melinda! Did you have him/her yet? No worries if you go “over”–I was 12 days “late” with this last one! The poop was my main fear as well…and I saw that it simply was unfounded! I hope you learn a lot in this series and that it’s a blessing to you!
Hey, I love your blog and have gotten some great tips! I have been using cloth diapers for almost a year now, and love it! I switched because I knew it would save me money and then I learned about all the other benefits of using cloth. I use disposables at night because I have not found a cloth diaper that doesn’t leak at night. I use BumGenius and even with 2inserts in them, they still leak. Any recommendations for a good night-time cloth diaper would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you, Tamara! My go-to nighttime diaper is the Kawaii Bamboo Mom Labels. These diapers are bullet-proof for me! They even work better than sposies. They are also pretty affordable–about $15/diaper. I just use them at night and use Kawaii or BG pockets during the day. The bamboo mom labels are pocket diapers as well. I triple stuff them at night. I get mine from Jack Be Natural: www.jackbenatural.com, which does not charge tax and has free shipping. Very few retailers sell Kawaii.
I would just give one a try and see if it works for you!
The thing you have to remember about bamboo and any natural-fiber diaper is that they won’t reach their maximum absorbency until about 10 washes. Hope this helps! 🙂
Thank you so much, that is very helpful! I’ll be ordering some soon 🙂
We loved cloth diapers! Between the environmental concerns and the expense, I would have used them anyway, but then when we were trying to conceive our supermarket happened to have a “demo model” diaper hanging in the aisle so you could feel the new material that was supposed to be so soft and nice–and to me it felt horrible, plasticky, kind of gave me chills like nails on a chalkboard! I would never want to put THAT next to someone’s most sensitive parts! Then when I was pregnant and a couple people gave us mainstream disposables, the way they smelled, unused and in a closed package, nauseated me so much I couldn’t have them in the house; we had to donate them to the food bank. A couple of times our son ran out of diapers at childcare and was sent home in a disposable, and we were astounded at how much worse they smell compared to cloth once they are wet or dirty. Uggghhh! I totally agree that you have to deal with poop anyway, and cloth diapers don’t really make that worse.
Well broken down for the new to cloth diaper field. I used cloth diapers with my first couple of kids, but as the kids came more often the convenience and cheapness of disposables one out over the care and keeping of cloth diapers! I am glad to see the improvements made in them since we used them 15+years ago…they were just too harsh for my little ones bottoms as I had to use bleach to get them clean. I really must have kids with the most sensitive butts in the world so we just potty train really early! Thanks for this great post on reason to use cloth.
Keep up the God work.
Great post! Cloth diapers all the way!! Your reasons match up with my reasons, too. A couple others: they don’t leak nearly as much as disposables (especially when it comes to poop. I didn’t do cloth with my first child and he would occasionally have those explosive poopy diapers where it would go up his back…ick; with my second child, we’ve NEVER had a diaper leak poop. Sometimes we get wet leaks, but they’re still better than disposables.) and my baby doesn’t get diaper rashes (again, my first got them fairly often — we always had diaper rash cream in the diaper basket; with my second, hardly ever gets diaper rash). I also really liked what you said about poop being poop — it’s gross no matter what. Switching to cloth is simply just a paradigm shift.
I used a diaper service for the first 6 months with my first daughter (it was also cheaper than disposables but I didn’t have to deal with the mess myself) and then we bought 24 cloth diapers. Those lasted through my first daughter and until my second daughter was 18 months old, and then the velcro failed and the diapers began leaking. I’ve been using disposables, but with Baby #3 on the way, I’m looking at cloth diapers again. For all these reasons!
How many years did you say you’d been using your diapers? Mine lasted three years/two kids, but a few websites I’ve read say cloth diapers will only last about a year – which means they aren’t quite as economical as they seem. (My hubby and I estimated that cloth diapers pay for themselves in six months, compared to disposable, but I’d like to do that math again.)
this is an interesting post. I’ve used cloth diapers for 11 years , 6 children I still have my
whole stash of snug to fit which have lasted 11 years and bummis covers although i
have recently started to replace my whole stash with alva baby pocket diapers because they are so economically priced
I love cloth diapering! We use the pocket ones and a couple all-in-ones at night. We have used disposables whenever we go away for longer periods of time… and I have to say that I’m glad to have our cloth back once we get home!
The first diaper my husband ever changed was a cloth diaper on our daughter. My husband has “poop-aphobia” as he calls it, and he tells his friends “cloth diapering is easy.” I think that is quite a testament to how easy it is to cloth diaper.
As I mentioned earlier we use both prefolds and gPants, because we use gPants we need at least 9 of those covers because they have 3 sizes. We also need at least 8 Thirsties Covers.
At our baby shower:
We received 13 covers (retail value estimated at $192)
We received 14 Thirsties Hemp Inserts (retail value estimated at $56)
We were given a travel wet bag ($7) and a regular one ($18)
We were given, randomly, 8 flat diapers that someone had for 20 years.
We purchased our prefolds (preemie size $12, infant 18, and we will soon buy regulars $48)
Because we didn’t get everything at our shower, we still need to invest in 2 more gPants ($35) and 3 more Thirsties Duo Wraps ($39.50 – because I want the owl patterned one!)
Therefore our out of pocket cost is $158.25, and the retail value of our collection is about $430. That sounds pretty pricey, but remember we basically have two collections.
We wash every 3-4 days, which is great since our washer broke. I love you mom! Please also note that we paid for coin laundry for 8 months ($135).
Our daugther only had diaper rash once, when she cut her first tooth. She dislikes being wet, so we change about 8-9 times per day. We use a Thirsties Hemp insert for overnights, we have had about a dozen leaks.
Church nursery is a big problem for me though, I cannot seem to get nursery workers to change (or correctly) change her diaper. They also rarely page me when she needs a change, and is obviously wet. I have had to adopt the habit of following my instincts and just checking her when I think she might be wet, (I am always right too).
I am so happy that you are doing this series. I am preggo with my fourth and am considering doing cloth for the first time. I am pretty nervous about the up front cost (we are planning on being done having kids after this baby so less money saved). I would love a post on how to save money buying cloth. Did you buy any diapers used? How many did you end up buying before the baby was born?
Hi Dana! Congrats on baby #4! I wrote a post about buying on a low income, which can really relate to anyone wanting to buy as cheaply as possible! The only thing is that i need to update the post b/c the organization I got my loaned diapers to start out with (you’ll understand when you read the post) had to close down. For anyone on the lower income side, you can still get diapers through Giving Diapers, Giving Hope (http://www.givingdiapersgivinghope.org/).
Basically, my stash is comprised of Kawaii diapers, which are about half the price of name brand diapers. I got mine online at Jack Be Natural (www.jackbenatural.com). They have free shipping & no sales tax. I also purchased some on craigslist or through my local Mommies Network’s classifieds. There are also a lot of online FB groups where people sell used diapers, but I would be careful when purchasing.
Here is the post I wrote: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2011/08/affording-cloth-diapers-on-a-low-income.html
OH–and I didn’t start until my baby was 8 weeks old, so I didn’t buy any until she was born. I started with 12 diapers for each child (my oldest was 2 at the time) from the Cloth Diaper Foundation loan. If I were building otherwise, I would probably start out with 1-2 or however many I could afford at the time and just buy them little by little. 24 is usually good for the newborn stage–and 12 for older than that.
Erin- Thanks so much!!! I REALLY appreciate your response!
I have a 22 month old son and am pregnant with our 2nd child. I’ve been looking at the possibility of using cloth this go around. But I’m worried about having the time for upkeep with a toddler and newborn. I read about moms who do this and am amazed. Lol. I am a fan of cloth but have always used disposables. I looked at cloth for my first child but hubby shut that down. So I guess I need some stories about how much time it actually takes for upkeep and how do you get your family on board?
My 21 year old just blessed me with his first baby boy …he is 2mths old now did good when came home but found he kept having problems with disposable diapers sadly my son and baby momma are not together but they keep him equal time she insists on keeping him on a diaper we believe he’s allergic to so my son asked mom what do we do ? We’ll I’ve had two kids and four grandchildren never used cloth diapers but we went to different stores to find dye free chemical free etc diapers where we are there isn’t any… It frustrated me then at walmart one day I was checking again and looked down and there were the cloth diapers I told my son I don’t kW but there isn’t any chemical in them and when he comes on yr days we can give him a break from disposable …so proud of my son I thought he would freak out ladies proud to say he said mom if it will help him I’ll do whatever it takes….so we tried them and having two kids and four grandbabies the poo /pee diapers were no problem matter of fact I was thinking I wish I would have used them all along…yes sometimes they may be a problem but what isn’t you know…I don’t know if this has help anyone but I sure hope everyone at least try’s it for a couple of weeks you just might like it..
Thanks everyone have a blessed day….
For our fourth child I finally did cloth and love it. I’m sad we didn’t do it before. As for the sticker shock, since it was our fourth, we got all for free. At the baby shower we basically asked for cloth diaper supplies (if people asked what we needed). We got multiple Flip diaper covers, one Flip set (including the stay-dry cloths). We also got a gift card to a local diaper store and got the Indian pre-folds there. A friend also gave me some hemp inlays (they were intended for other diapers as inserts but work great). The only thing we purchased from our money are fleece inserts as I have a very skin sensitive child and needed that extra barrier to keep moisture away from her skin. Since those are really cheap, we probably spent less than $20. There are tons of covers available from Ebay and at our local used store. Even our local second hand store has a great selection and they only take clean diapers.
Similarly, packaging should be avoided with a foreign language and huge weight loss promises.
Oz’s 28-Day yacon weight loss experiment were impressive: A whopping 73% of the women lost an average of 3 pounds each,
and 2 inches off their waists. But in the 1500s
manufacturers began refining sugar cane so that it could
be more easily transported overseas, especially back to Europe.
We have a new adopted 15 year old daughter whom we have had now a little over a month and we are using the Gerber flat cloth diapers and adult size rubberpants on her 24/7 for her wetting accidents,I use regular baby diaper pins to pin the diapers on her with and she like wearing the nursery print rubberpants more than her pastel colored ones.I use the regular babypowder and lotion on her at her diaper changes at at bedtime.The diapers and rubberpants are no big deal to wash.We have all ready made plans to baptize her next month and when we told the baptism director the she is in the cloth diapers and rubberpants 24/7,she told us she should be baptized as an infant so we will dress her in a poofy,white,midthigh length baptism dress and bonnet with lace anklet and white shoes and she will have a pair of her nursery print rubberpants over her diapers under the dress.
I’m glad you’re using them! Congrats on the new baby!
To Clarice A.-When i started puberty back in 1970 at the age of 12,There were no disposable diapers or the diaper covers we have now.I wore the regular cloth pin on baby diapers with toddler or super large size rubberpants over them to bed every night and they worked and kept my bed dry.After mom would put them on me at bedtime it was hard not to feel like a baby!My bedwetting went on thru 13 and 14.When i was confirmed in 8th grade at 14,us girls had to wear puffy white top of the knees flower girl dresses with a veil,lace socks and white mary jane shoes.Mom put a pair of my Playtex toddler extra large size rubberpants on me that i wore under the dress for the day.Now my daughter,jenny,who is 12,started bedwetting also and i am using the flat cloth diapers on her at bedtime with adult size rubberpants over them.They are much more comfortable for her than the baby rubberpants i wore.
I am the mom of a bedwetting 15 year old daughter who has been bedwetting now for almost a year and ever since she started,dad and i have used cloth pin on diapers and rubberpants on her.They keep her bed dry and she doesnt mind wearing them and i dont mind washing them.Ever since she started wetting the bed i have always put the diapers and rubberpants on her and it is our ‘special’ bonding time.After i get the diapers and rubberpants on her,we talk and cuddle for a time,then she goes out and cuddles with dad and gives him a hug then gets in bed!
When our daughter started puberty just after age 12,she started wetting the bed,so we got the flat cloth diapers by Gerber in the 24×27 inch size that come 10 to a package and i sewed them together to make one 10 ply thick cloth diaper out of them and i pin it on her with regular diaper pins.I bought her rubberpants in adult size so as to fit blousy over her diaper for comfort.I got the rubberpants in pastels and some babyprints that she likes.She just turned 14 last month and is till wetting and i still put the diaper and rubberpants on her before bedtime.She has now around 5 dozen of the cloth diapers and 4 dozen pairs of rubberpants and i use the Dreft laundry detergent to wash her diapers and rubberpants in.Now that the weather has turned colder,she is wearing her footed blanket sleepers to bed and it is cute seeing her diaper and rubberpants bulging out under them!
So, I am loving the idea of cloth diapers and have been researching it a lot. I was unsure about it, but someone gifted me a stash of 13 used diapers, so I think I will try it out! During researching, I noticed that your blog and a lot of others reference the same article about scrotal temperatures being elevated by disposables. After reading the article, I noticed that there was no mention of covers, only 100% cotton, which is not how most people diaper. In fact, there’s a counter study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12423546 that finds that the temperature difference only holds true when cloth diapers are used without any kind of waterproof cover.
I loved your blog post and loved that you give references! I know my comment is way late (it’s 2018), but thought I would share this anyways.
Parent of 2 bedwetting children who both wear cloth diapers with plastic pants to bed and are wet in the morning. We are told they will outgrow it. I use cloth and plastic pants because they work well and disposables for both are costly.