Numerous choices arise in the world of parenting, especially in children's infancy: bottle or breastfeed, attachment parenting vs. teaching early independence, staying at home or going back to work. On top of it all, every product choice we make seems to say something about what kind of parents we are, or at least what kind of parent we want to be.
On the decision between disposable and cloth diapering, I never gave it a second thought until I had my third child. My biggest reason for considering cloth diapers after so many years was that I had become more eco-conscious of the effects of all the waste and hazardous chemicals pouring into our environment (and on our little ones' bums) through mainstream disposable diaper brands.
I even went so far as to order a couple of cloth diapers about a year ago online, but when they arrived on our doorstep, I suddenly realized the implications of more laundry, feared a stinky diaper pail, and finally decided on returning the unused cloth diapers and eased back into the comfort of disposables.
As a compromise, I searched online and found a biodegradable eco-friendler brand, Nature Babycare, and have remained loyal except for the occasional emergency trip to the store for regular disposables.
But with paying over $100 a month for diapers and wipes for two children, and another baby on the way, a more economical choice started to look more appealing. As a woman who gets excited about clipping coupons and coming out under (our low) budget at the grocery store, I'm thrilled over the idea of providing even more for my family. I wish the money wasn't the thing that finally started changing my mind, but I hope to spread the word not only on the cost benefits but also the health and economical ones as well.
After getting over my initial fears of cloth diapering, I've realized that it's not just folding and pins anymore--there are some pretty cool products out there! And the best part is not only the fact that they're reusable, but that you can use them for more than one child. With the forecast of a house full of little ones, the more savings the merrier.
So right now my husband and I are navigating the sea of choices when it comes to all the different types of cloth diapers out there. Seeing friends who are already cloth diapering has given us more courage in venturing out on our own (my friend Lucy has a great blog where she talks about cloth diapering her daughter Greta). My good friend English has also let us borrow a bunch of her diapers, and we've ordered a handful of our own. We started Eleanor in them last week and so far it's really been a breeze! And maybe I'm weird, but I'm actually enjoying the laundry--it gets me motivated to work on the rest of our regular laundry, and I enjoy going outside to hang them. We haven't transitioned our two-year-old over to cloth yet (hopefully he won't need diapers much longer anyway), but we plan to after his disposables are gone.
If you still think there's no way you'll ever use cloth diapers, here are some things to consider:
- It is illegal to dispose of human waste in the trash--we should be rinsing the poo from disposables too!
- Regular disposables contain dioxin, a carcinogenic chemical listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals--not only is this exposed to our children, but also to the environment as they sit in landfills!
- For more diaper facts check out The Real Diaper Association
- Also read A Tale of Two Diapers--another interesting article on the history of research on Pampers vs. cloth