I was first interested in cloth diapering when my daughter was just two months old. I was still a teenager, and had limited finances and the idea of saving $20+ a week appealed to me. I bought some flannel, and attempted to make some diapers, which turned out okay, but I never had the chance to use them. We ended up moving into a small cabin twenty minutes outside of town, and with the winter and poor pipe insulation, plumbing was unpredictable at best. Many times, we had to do our laundry at family member’s and relatives houses. Cloth diapering just wasn’t feasible at that point in our lives, and we let that thought slip to the back burner.
When my son was born, two years later, we hadn’t even given cloth diapering a second thought. It just wasn’t something we were interested in. I remember even calling one of my friends “crazy” when she brought home her newborn son in a black pirate print cloth diaper. We continued using disposables, but battled rash after rash. It seemed like no matter what brand of diapers we used, or what kinds of creams we applied, my son would break out in a rash from his butt to the top of his head!
We bought our first house when my son was just barely three months old. It was nice to have our own place, but with our own place, came more financial responsibility and higher bills. I started cutting corners whereever I could. We stopped eating out as much, started clipping coupons, bought things used instead of new. We did everything we could think of, but it still seemed as though we were just as strapped for cash as we had been before. This is when I started considering cloth diapers.
I couldn’t afford to buy my diapers brand new, so gradually I began to make them. The first few covers I made to go over prefolds, were horrible, but they got the job done. I eventually progressed into making more and more complicated diapers, until eventually, I had a full stash and I stopped having to buy disposables at all. My son was completely cloth diapered by the time he was four months old, and my daughter was within a month or two of him. My diapers weren’t the nicest, or the fanciest, but they fulfilled their purpose and they did what I needed them to do!
While I was learning about how to make cloth diapers, I began digging into the other aspects of cloth diapering. Not only was the cost of disposable diapers astronomical, but the impact that disposables had on the baby’s health and the planets health was tremendous!
Babies who wear disposable diapers are more prone to experience rashes. This may be due to less frequent changings, the chemicals contained in the diapers, or both. Studies have also been done on mice, showing that asthmatic symptoms may be increased in babies who are in disposable diapers due to the the scents and fumes emitted from the disposable diaper. In baby boys, there may be a link between disposables and the occurance of male infertility later in life. This is thought to be due to the heat that the plastic lining of disposable diapers keeps trapped against the body, and may damage the ability of the baby’s body to regulate the scrotal temperature. Even further, disposable diapers have been shown to contain dioxin, a by-product of the paper bleaching process, and TBT, both of which are carcinogenic and are actually banned in many countries.
I was shocked when I found out the affect disposable diapers had on the planet. Scientists estimate that it takes over 500 years for a single disposable diaper to decompose, and disposable diapers account for 8% of solid waste in landfills. A family that uses disposables can expect half of their household garbage to be diapers! Disposable diapers take nearly three times the amount of water cloth diapers take to manufacture, and not to mention how many other resources (such as wood, chlorine and petroleum products) that disposables take to produce!
By the time I was done making my own calculations, based on what diapers we bought for our children and how often we bought them, I determined I could save our family nearly $200 per month just on diapers and wipes! I was shocked with this number. I hadn’t thought for a second that we were spending that much on disposable diapers, but after crunching and recrunching the numbers, it became quite evident, that we were spending that much, but only at the bare minimum. Some months, we spent even more.
Switching to cloth was a little daunting at first. The logistics of it all were a little confusing at first, but we figured it out as we went. Now, I’m a pro at assembling a pocket diaper, or cleaning a poopy diaper. It’s not as hard as it looks, and with a little time and effort, it can save you thousands upon thousands of dollars and preserve the planet for your own children’s futures.
Why Choose Cloth Diapers?