With this being Real Diaper Week I thought this is the best time to start writing about cloth diapering as I had mentioned I would do before.
There are many reasons people choose cloth diapering – environmental, cost, chemical exposure, sensitive baby, etc. Real Diaper Association has a great number of facts on their site which I recommend reading. Here are just a few facts to pique your interest.
A baby will go through approximately 5,000-6,000 diapers in the first 2 years. This amounts to a large amount of waste sitting in landfills as it is estimated it will take anywhere from 250-500 years to decompose. And it is not just the waste sitting in landfills but the waste generated in their production and the use of natural resources. A disposable diaper uses 2 times the amount of water to produce than it takes to wash a cloth diaper.
Cloth diapering in the long run will cost a great deal less, although it may seem more expensive at the onset. We have spent approximately $400 for all of our cloth diapers which will be reused many times for our daughter and should we choose to have another child we will already have the diapers. Standard disposables are roughly $.40/diaper and compostable/”eco friendly” disposables are $.70-$.80/diaper. Over a diapering lifetime per child it will cost you roughly $2,000-$2,400 for standard diapers and $3,500-$4,800 for “eco-friendly” disposables. Cloth diapering can cost less than what we have spent and it can cost considerably more depending on types of diapers and brands chosen. It would be great in Canada if our food banks were able to provide cloth diapers to their families in need rather than disposables since a pack of cloth diapers would go much further. There have been some recent articles circulating the internet about low income families drying out disposable diapers to reuse them as they can’t afford to buy more.
Cloth diapers are made with natural fibres, while disposable diapers are made with synthetic materials and plastics as well as fragrances and chemicals to make them look and smell nice. Some of the chemicals in disposables have been known to cause allergic reactions in some little ones.
It is said that cloth diapered babies will potty train sooner, I am not sure about this one as some of the cloth can feel pretty dry to the baby while the insert is soaked.
Everyone chooses what works best for them. We chose to cloth diaper for environmental reasons as well as the cost factor. I also think they look pretty darn cute on our little one, especially under her skirts and dresses come summer. The only problem now is I think I may have an addiction to fluff! And yes my husband is very pro cloth now as well (and yes he does change diapers!).