Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Diaper Decision

Cloth diapering.  SCARY.  White cotton rectangles held together with humongous pins.  A thin layer of material separating you from your baby's, uh, stuff.  No thanks.  I'll leave that to the crazies, thank you very much.

Then, I got pregnant with Baby C, and got to thinking about a lot of stuff.  And it seems strange to say, but diapering was one of the things I thought the most about.  I decided to join the crazies and wrap my baby's bum in cloth diapers.

WHY?  Was I some sort of glutton for punishment?  Did I have a large assortment of diaper pins at the ready?  Here are some of the reasons I decided to go cloth:

While the upfront costs of cloth diapering are more expensive than disposable diapers, over the course of diapering your child, it's estimated you can save over $1000!  Here's how:

According to a recent trip to my neighborhood Target, a 92 pack of disposable diapers costs $20, or about 22 cents per diaper.  Let's say your baby goes through 8 diapers a day, or 240 a month.  To diaper your baby in disposable diapers, it would cost $53 a month.

Costs for cloth diapering will range depending on styles and brands.  After doing a ton of research, I decided to go with bumGenius One Size All in One 4.0 at $18 a piece.  I have 20 diapers, which cost $360.  Total.  For good.  In theory (since the One Size fit 7-35+ pounds), I won't have to buy another diaper.  My cloth diaper stash will pay for itself in about 3 more months.  

If you keep your diapers in good shape, you can reuse them for additional children, saving you even more money!

While there is not any proven research showing that babies in cloth diapers have less diaper rash than babies in disposable diapers, Baby C has been in cloth diapers since she was 7 weeks old (she's now 21 weeks old), and she has had one instance of diaper rash - we used disposable diapers for a weekend out of town.  There are a ton of chemicals in disposable diapers, but the scariest one is dioxin (a known carcinogen).  There are trace amount of dioxin in disposable diapers, and while the chemical is banned in most countries, it isn't in the United States.  Many disposable diapers have dyes, fragrances and perfumes, which can irritate sensitive baby skin.

A disposable diaper can take up to 500 years to decompose.  Ewwww.  Not only do they take up space in landfills, but they use a lot of energy to produce.  Yes, cloth diapers come with an environmental impact of their own - I do an extra load of laundry every other day, which uses water and energy.  However, the impact seems not quite as severe as something that will be here long after many generations have come and gone.

*Cute factor
Totally vain, but I think cloth diapers are way cuter than disposables.  Am I wrong?

So there you have it - in a big nutshell, this is why I chose to cloth diaper.  And I'm so glad I did.  It's not for everyone, but I think if people got past the myths of what cloth diapering looks like today, I think more folks would do it.  It's really not that bad.

Do you cloth diaper?  Why did you decide to do it?  Are you happy with your decision?

Psst - I got most of my facts about cloth diapering here.

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