As a busy mom of 5 kids, I am always asked why I put the extra effort into cloth diapering. It's always assumed that disposables would make my life easier and somehow be the better choice with 3 kids currently in diapers. My why and my reason for choosing cloth is simple, it actually is the easier and better choice for me for these 3 reasons.
When it comes to baby items, cost and convenience go hand in hand. With 3 kids in diapers, I would need 3 jumbo packs of disposables, in 3 different sizes. I would also risk running out of diapers. Needing 3 different sizes in diapers and the possibility of running out of diapers would definitely classify as inconvenient in my book. Keeping them all sorted by size would be even more inconvenient because lets face it, babies and toddlers love dumping and ripping out bins of diapers. My kids would be running around putting all the different sizes of disposable diapers on their stuffed animals and throwing them in the air like confetti. All while I frantically run around looking for the right size diaper. With one size cloth diapers, it's just that, one size fits from baby to toddler. All I have to do is quickly adjust the rise snaps to fit whichever kid I am changing and I'm good to go, perfect fit, with no searching for the right size in my toddler tornado of a living room. I also never have to run out at midnight for diapers, because I always have a pile of beautiful cloth diapers right in my house.
Cost is a convenience to me. To disposable diaper 1 child for 2 years, you are looking at about $1,440 to $2,160 (using a popular disposable brand at about $30 for around 100 diapers at 2 to 3 boxes per month). Switching to cloth saves money in the long run. To cloth diaper 1 child, I always recommend around 24 to 36 diapers when washing them every other day. My go to cloth diaper brand is Lighthouse Kids Company. Lighthouse Kids' all in one diaper is just that, a one piece diaper, with no stuffing or fussing; it's as easy to put on as a disposable diaper. When I first started cloth diapering 3 years ago, I started with a modest 24 cloth diapers. It costs about $504 ($20.99 for solid color Lighthouse diapers) to build a nice 24 Lighthouse cloth diaper stash. What's great about cloth is that it is a one time investment that will last from the newborn stage all the way up through potty learning. Cloth can also be used for multiple kids, so if you plan on having multiple kids you will be saving even more on diapers. To put it into perspective, investing in a 24 cloth diaper stash and ditching disposables for 2 years will save you around $936 to $1,656. You will save even more on diapers if your little one doesn't potty learn right at 2 years old. If you have multiple kids who you choose to cloth diaper, you will be saving even more money! I'm a living example of the cost savings. If I had to pay to disposable diaper 3 kids, I wouldn't have the money for family fun days and I would be living like I did in my college days, ordering off the McDonald's $1 menu for every meal. Also, to add, you can sell your cloth diapers when your’re done using them. This also puts money back in your pocket. This way, if you obsess over all of the cute prints (I may or may not collect cloth diapers for myself, I mean, my kids) or want a larger stash, you can still save by making back your money at the end of your cloth diapering journey.
The last thing that goes with cost and convenience is less trash to throw out, because lets face it, no one enjoys throwing trash out or taking a bag full of trash out to the curb on trash day. For me, less trash is also a cost savings since I have to pay for every extra bag of trash that exceeds my town's mandated limit. This also is not just a saving grace for you but also for the planet. Less disposables being thrown in the trash means less trash in the landfill. Less trash in the landfill means a healthier and happier earth.
Ditching the chemical filled disposables is what originally turned me on to cloth diapering. My second daughter would get terrible, burn like rashes from disposable diapers. It was like magic when we switched to cloth. Her rash disappeared and never returned. I was able to ditch the heavy duty diaper pastes too, which was also a plus!
Disposable diapers are full of chemicals and the company's that manufacture them are not required by the U.S. government to provide a list of what chemicals are in these diapers. If you visit popular disposable diaper brand's websites you will find that they are generally very vague about what is actually in their diapers. The main absorbing “thing" used in many popular disposables are known as SAPs or Super Absorbent Polymers. Dr. Juliet Spurrier from Baby Gear Lab wrote an article titled What Is Inside Those Disposable Diapers? In this article Dr. Juliet Spurrier points out that many Super Absorbent Polymers used today are petroleum based and that the safety of this disposable diaper component is not clear. This lack of transparency is terrifying to me. I want to know what materials are going to be touching my child's bottom 24/7. This is why cloth diapering is a no brainer to me. I know what fabrics are touching my child's bottom and I can choose what detergent I use on my diapers. There is no uncertainty about what I am exposing my child to. Cloth diapering gives me peace of mind and has kept my children's bottoms rash free. (Spurrier, Juliet, MD. “What Is Inside Those Disposable Diapers?” Website article. Baby Gear Lab. 30 August 2014. Web. 19 April 2018.)
This is probably my favorite reason for cloth diapering. Actually, take the “probably" out, this is absolutely my favorite reason for cloth diapering! I love being able to pick out an outfit and match my kid’s cloth diapers to the outfits. In the warmer months, cloth diapers are cute enough to sub as pants or bloomers when paired with a shirt or dress. If my son is wearing a Spider-Man shirt I can pair it with a red, black, white, or grey diaper. If my daughter is wearing a colorful floral dress, I may pair it with a cute floral print that compliments the dress or pair it with a line up of pretty rainbow solids that coordinate. To me, cloth diapers count as clothes. I think this reason also compliments convenience, since diaper changes are easier without pants or a bloomer covering up the diaper. If you're reading this and are new to cloth, you may think I sound border line crazy. I can guarantee that once you switch to cloth you will more than likely develop an obsession with all the pretty colors and prints. You will also be obsessed with coming up with a cloth diaper line up to match your outfit of the day.
Jill Vida is a stay at home mom to 5 crazy, beautiful kids. She loves spending time with her family, being a dance mom, photography, coffee, collecting cloth diapers and aimlessly browsing the aisles of target.