I’ve mentioned it before on the blog, but I’m proud to say that Monkey is in cloth diapers 100% of the time. I wanted to wait until he was 6 months before talking too much about it so that I could write from my experience, and not just research. The verdict: We LOVE it. It’s so much easier than I could have ever imagined. Even the husband agrees.
For the first month of Monkey’s life, he was in disposables. This was because when we got home from the hospital (after a longer-than-anticipated stay), we were dealing with some major breast-feeding issues including yeast, and I didn’t want to get the yeast on the diapers. I was so sleep deprived and was already doing a ton of laundry (multiple loads a day) to keep the yeast at bay, that I just couldn’t fathom doing even more. Plus, I really wanted to get his yeast rash cleared up. During this time, we hated hated hated the disposables. He had a ‘blow-out’ on more than one occasion, and our garbage filled up so quickly. Oh and don’t even get me started on the smell. Those first few weeks, we literally had 4+ bags of garbage to take out on trash day, when we usually only have one (if that).
So, when we had the yeast battle under control, I enthusiastically dove into my cloth diaper stash that I had been building up throughout my pregnancy. Monkey seemed to like them immediately. So, why did we choose to cloth diapers in the first place? Well, there’s pretty much a bajillion reasons, but here goes:
Did you know that the average family goes through at least 8,000 disposables for one kid from birth to potty training? Let’s do a little math here…If one box of diapers contains 72 diapers and costs $20, that’s $0.277 per diaper or roughly $2,216 total for 8,000 diapers. This is an extremely conservative estimate considering I just took my numbers from the size one Huggies Pure and Natural diapers listed on amazon.com – and obviously your child won’t be wearing the newborn size forever, so they’ll only get more expensive.
Depending on the type of cloth diaper you decide to use, a ‘stash’ that lasts from birth to potty training can cost anywhere from $200-$500. Big savings. First Bonus: Cloth diapers can be used kid after kid, so you’ll be saving even more money since you won’t have to buy a new stash for each kid. Second Bonus: Cloth diapers have a huge market for resale. You’ll be able to make back a lot of your investment if you choose to sell your diapers after you’re done.
(Stay tuned for a more detailed post all about the ‘numbers’ soon)
Disposable diapers are full of some pretty nasty chemicals. If you’ve used them before, you know how absorbent they are – but have you ever wondered why they are so absorbent? It’s because they are filled with a chemical compound called Sodium Polyacrylate. This stuff works like magic in the way it absorbs liquid, however, it’s the same stuff that was banned from use in tampons because of the heightened risk for toxic-shock-syndrome. Why is it banned from tampons but not baby diapers? your guess is as good as mine.
Most disposable diapers are also bleached with chlorine to make them white. Bleaching results in a carcinogenic byproduct (dioxins), which is released onto baby’s skin and into the environment. Many disposable diapers also contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), tributyl-tin, and other chemicals. Together, these chemicals can wreak havoc on the human body by causing damage to the liver, nervous system, immune system, endocrine system, reproductive system, and more. These chemicals also cause many rashes and allergic reactions on baby’s delicate skin.
If you’re a girl and you’ve worn a pad before, you know how uncomfortable it can get having that plastic thing chafe against your skin for a few days. Now, imagine feeling that, all over your bum, 24/7 for a couple of years. Yuck. I would much rather my baby have cotton touching his bum than plastic. The chemicals in disposables have also been found to cause more irritants such as rashes and allergic reactions than cloth. Monkey’s skin is so sensitive, I want to protect it!
+ Environmental Reasons.
Disposable diapers are terrible for the environment. Most parents don’t think twice about throwing a dirty diaper in the trash. Out of site, out of mind. Completely forgotten. The thing is, that diaper makes its way to the landfill and stays there. For years. Also, if your kid was just vaccinated, that dirty diaper can leak the virus from the vaccine into the landfill and into the ground, which can end up in the water system.
Secondly, just looking at the numbers I mentioned above, can you imagine all of those diapers added to the landfills just from your kid(s)? That’s 8,000 diapers minimum, per kid. Then, think about all of the people you know that have kids. And the people they know that have kids. And on and on and on. That’s a whole heck-of-a-lot of diapers sitting in a landfill somewhere. According to the EPA, 20 billion (BILLION!) diapers are thrown in the landfill each year.
Yes, your cloth diapers will end up in a landfill someday, too…but even a large stash has what…maybe 100 diapers? you’d go through that many disposables in like two weeks. And, if you end up re-selling some of your diapers, you’ll be keeping even more out of the landfills.
Lastly, the manufacturing process of disposable diapers is more harmful to the environment than that of cloth diapers. According to The Good Human, disposable diapers use 20 times more raw materials (talk about depleting our natural resources), two times more water, and three times more energy than cloth diapers.
+ The Cool Factor.
My favorite reason. Cloth is cool. No, seriously! Cloth diapers are so much cuter than disposables. So much so that disposables are now making diapers with prints in order to compete with the competition of cloth diapers. Have you seen those disposables that look like jeans? The options with cloth diapers are endless. Get your kid in cloth, and I guarantee within a few days, someone will say “Oh my gosh that diaper is so cute, what is it? Where did you get it?” And then you can tell them why you chose cloth.
Note: This post just barely scrapes the surface of the countless reasons to use cloth diapers. If you have any questions, concerns, or other facts you think should be listed in this post – please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail!
Up next in The Crunchy Wife’s Cloth Diapering Series…
Cloth Diapering: The How – A beginner’s look at the types of cloth diapers available today.
April 14, 2012
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