I first started considering cloth diapering in 2012 while pregnant with my daughter Isla. Unfortunately, it never quite took off for me, as I found myself very overwhelmed at that point and just couldn’t stick with it. Fast forward 21 months, and here I am embracing cloth diapering. I never could have imagined how simple it actually is, and it makes me wonder why I got so worked up over it previously. As we prepare for our next baby (nicknamed B2), I made the decision several months ago that this time I was going to stick with it. And to ensure I do, I started putting Isla in cloth diapers (CDs for short) just so I could establish a routine.
I found that in speaking with friends and family about cloth diapering, many questions arise because of preconceived notions. People ask how can this be a good thing and have I completely lost my mind. While cloth diapering isn’t for everyone, it is definitely something everyone is able to do. So I have compiled my top three reasons for cloth diapering:
Disposable diapers are ridiculously expensive
(And in my opinion they are very over-priced, unless you go with a cheapo brand.) The cost over a two-year period can really start to add up. Disposables can cost anywhere between $1,600 and $2,000 for the two-year span. Now in my case, I have three other children. Just low-balling that figure, that’s around $4,800 that I have spent on disposable diapers. Over a ten-year time-span, that may not seem like much to most people, but when you are as cheap as we are — oops, I mean when you try and stick to a budget like we do — $4,800 means a lot.
Cloth diapering, starting out, can be expensive. It’s an investment of between $500 and $750, depending on the brand of diapers that you choose to use and how many. It can get really pricey if you develop a crazy obsession for the prints like I have (yikes — don’t tell my husband that). But the good thing is the resale value of cloth diapers is amazing (yes, people buy second-hand cloth diapers — it’s not the end of the world), and you can make back a good portion of what you spend.
Worried that you can’t do it? Being a mom new to CDing, I have to say the cloth diapering community overall is one of the best and most supportive parent-to-parent communities out there.
Let’s face it, if you have a husband like mine, no matter how supportive he is, he just won’t get into CDing. So when it’s late and I am worried about delimination (when a diaper’s outer layer breaks down) or barnyard stink (I think you can figure that one out), it’s great to have a group of moms (and dads) to help. From social media platforms to blogs to even cloth diapering stores, wherever you go, you can be educated on techniques from laundering to which brand to choose.
From my experience, the Lalabye Baby community is one of the best. While a very popular brand, the community is smaller than the Bumgenius and Grovia communities; but it offers more personal support from other moms and even the owner, Melissa Huynh. She actively participates in Lalabye Baby’s Facebook group, and she and other admins readily answer any questions that newbies or seasoned CD vets have. Many of the women in the LLB community continuously praise Melissa for being so available, and it gives them (and me as well) that added confidence in her products.
So if you are considering cloth diapering, remember that while choosing a brand you love is important, choosing a close-knit community who is familiar with that brand is equally important.
If money is no object, then let’s look at the environmental factor. According to the Real Diaper Industry Association, an estimated 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the U.S. There is no hard evidence on how long it takes a diaper to decompose, according to the industry’s website, but it could range anywhere from 250 years to 500 years.
Now I am by no means perfect when it comes to eliminating waste and excess in my life. But I do admit, I am sort of a hippie at heart — just one who takes baby steps. There are those who argue that with cloth diapering that you are using more water and electricity; but honestly, you are not. Since we have started, our water bill has gone up by maybe $4, and I believe only the usage of the sprinkler for the summertime has really added to our bill. So overall we have still been saving. As far as electricity, our bill is still the same every month, so we have yet to see an increase in that area either.
You can do it!
I understand that cloth diapering isn’t for everyone. But I do firmly believe that anyone is able to do it. Parents who work outside the home have managed to cloth diaper their children even if it’s just on a part-time basis. Even those without regular access to a washing machine have been able to cloth diaper multiple children by handwashing or bucket-washing.
While cloth diapering may seem like it is a lot of work, it’s really just an extra load of laundry (depending on the size of your diaper stash), and no harder than anything else in your routine. Plus, who doesn’t love to save money?
If you cloth diaper, I would love to hear some of your pros and cons and which brand of diapers you use.
Photo Credits: Esther V. (Header & Top Right), Brittany Charmley (Bottom left), Denise Garcia (Top Left)
Natasha Brown never saw herself as a stay-at-home mom, and definitely would not be described by anyone in her inner circle as being a crunchy mom. After ten years of working for other people, she decided it was time to back away from the workforce and spread her “crunchy mama” spirit around. Now she is proudly a baby wearing, meal-planning, cloth diapering, EBF’ing, homeschooling mama who spends her spare time DIY’ing everything in their home running her local children’s art studio. And when she is not is not busy being supermom and an awesome wife you can find her on the couch getting some much needed sleep.