These aren’t your grandma’s cloth diapers.  I know most people cringe when they hear the words “cloth diapers”, you automatically think… YUCK!  Unsanitary, dirty, I have to touch poop, etc.  Yes, you possibly have to touch poop – but that’s also a possibility with disposables (basically when you have a kid you are signing up for poop contact).  As far as unsanitary or dirty – I don’t know what’s grosser than disposable diapers and the bizarre gel substance inside of them that fills up with pee – yuck!  And with disposables you tend to leave them on longer, which in my opinion is grosser than using a cloth diaper and changing more regularly.  With the invention of fleece, you can now use that as a liner with the cloth diaper to help wick away moisture (if you know you are going to be in the car for a bit longer than normal or for overnight or to extend the time between changes). 

As far as touching poop- well yes you will have to touch poop in the beginning (you know when it’s kinda seedy and very loose) but once they start eating solids you can usually just shake it off into the toilet (you’ll still have the occasional mushy ones that will need to be swooshed around in the toilet) but for the most part a good shake will do.  And really – we all know that as parents we end up touching much worse and for some reason your own kids poop/vomit/spit up, etc. doesn’t seem all that bad!

So now that we’re over the initial stigma attached to cloth diapers, let’s move on to the benefits………

     very cost effective

you make your initial purchase and then you’ll only have to purchase new size diaper covers, periodically (maybe twice a year as they grow) and if you use prefolds you will need to have 2 different sizes for the first year and that second size you buy during the first year will last till they’re out of diapers.  Then if you have multiple kids you will reuse them for each child (which makes them even more cost effective).  I am using all of Ryder’s diapers for Saige.  The only thing I have bought new were a couple cute girlie diaper covers and two new pocket diapers that were girlie too (couldn’t resist), pure vanity. 

       Good for Mother Earth

Now I know there’s a big debate over this… the amount of water and chemicals to clean the cloth diapers vs. the disposables.  Well, if you wash your own diapers it’s hands down better.  I use biodegradable detergent and vinegar, I have a front loader which doesn’t use as much water and you don’t need to wash them as much as some of the sites say.  You are good with a heavy wash and then a rinse (sometimes I do a soak- if there’s a lot of poopy ones).  As far as drying goes, you can line dry (which saves energy) or machine dry (and if you have a front loader you know that they come out so dry from the spin on those things that you barely need to dry them in the dryer. 

Now a commercial service will use stronger cleaning agents and more water- but you might be able to find one that doesn’t and is more earth friendly.  Some services even take the lint from the laundered diapers and use it as coffin stuffing.  Now that’s really cradle to grave!

As far as disposables go- here is some info I have run across…….

Some concerns about disposable diapers have been about dyes, sodium polyacrylate (the super absorbent gel), and dioxin, which is a by-product of bleaching paper.  Sodium polyacrylate has been linked in the past to toxic shock syndrome, allergic reactions and is very harmful and potentially lethal to pets. Some dyes and dioxin according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is known to cause damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver. The (FDA) Food & Drug Administration has received reports that fragrances in disposables caused headaches, dizziness and rashes.  Problems reported to the Consumer Protection Agency regarding disposables include, chemical burns, noxious chemical and insecticide odors, babies pulling disposables apart and putting pieces of plastic into their noses and mouth, choking on tab papers and linings, plastic melting onto the skin, and ink staining the skin.  Plastic tabs can also tear skin if the diaper is not properly put on the baby. 

It is estimated that roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the disposable diapers for American babies alone.  Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they must be exposed to air (oxygen) and sun.  Since this is highly unlikely, it can take several hundred years for the decomposition of disposables to take place, with some of the plastic material never decomposing.

The untreated waste placed in landfills by dirty disposable diapers is also a possible danger to contaminating ground water

            Earlier potty training

Many people swear that their children potty trained earlier because they could actually feel their diapers being wet or dirty.  Now this theory didn’t prove true with Ryder- but he was like that from birth- he never cried with a wet diaper.  So we’ll see if it is true for Saige.

             No chemicals next to babies skin

We will go to such great measures to buy the safest soap, diaper cream, etc. but have no problem letting our kids sit in a diaper treated with chlorine and some toxic gel substance that soaks up urine and who knows what kind of crazy leaching is occurring with that gel onto the babies bottoms (which, by the way, is your largest organ). 

               And to me, there is nothing cuter than that big bottomed cloth diapered baby!

So now that I have you all interested in cloth diapering, my next post will be about the different types of diapers available.

See you all back here for the next part of cloth diapers 101