From the time I was a child, I knew I would cloth diaper my babies. I had zero role models who used cloth, or who were eco-friendly in pretty much any way except good ol’ curbside recycling. However, as the generation who grew up with Fern Gully (amazing…so emotional!) and Captain Planet, environmental awareness was part of my childhood (who ever said TV was a bad thing?) Thanks to the disappearing O-zone and rainforest, my environmental conscience was heightened from an early age. When I first heard of cloth diapering from a Baby Sitter’s Club book (my passion as a nine year old), I knew it was the only way I could diaper my babies.
Fast forward to 20 years later and I held the same convictions, plus concerns about chemicals on my baby’s bum, plus wanting to save some cashola! I was determined and after I saw so many cute diaper prints, hooked!
This did not make my start into cloth diapering easy. I had zero support from ANYONE in my family. My husband said it was disgusting and would not pitch in a cent to buy them, my grandmother, who had cloth diapered herself, told me it was too much of a hassle, and even my usually incredibly supportive father said, “You know, Cindy, no one is going to judge you if you change your mind and use disposables.” Luckily, I am a stubborn (just a teensy bit) and when I decide to do something, I usually stick to it.
In the end, I was right. I have loved every second of my cloth diapering experience, and my critics are now cloth diaper proponents. Even my husband, who though it would be dirty, disgusting and a waste of time and money, now fully admits he was wrong and recommends it to friends. My sister and cousin have also begun to cloth diaper their new babies as well. I am proud of myself for sticking to my convictions and making this positive choice for my little girl, who now cloth diapers her own baby dolls!
Here are my best arguments when convincing others (or yourself!) about the wonder that is cloth diapering.
1. Be a Planeteer: Save the Earth!
The number of disposable diapers that wind up in a landfill is absolutely staggering and disgusting. Wikipedia states that 27.4 BILLION disposable diapers are used each year in the U.S. alone, resulting in 3.4 MILLION TONS of trash! If that is not enough to make your stomach turn, I don’t know what is. That is not to mention the environmental impact of manufacturing and shipping those diapers all around the world. My number one reason for cloth diapering is to cut down on garbage polluting the earth, especially now that I have a little one that will inherit all the problems this and previous generations have caused to our planet.
Some people argue that cloth diapers use a lot of resources both in manufacturing and washing the diapers, but I still believe that this is less harmful than using disposables. Purchasing diapers second-hand, re-selling diapers and choosing sustainable materials such as bamboo or hemp, and hanging diapers to dry can also offset the environmental impact.
(Courtesy of: baby.steals.com)
2. Save Some Dolla Bills!
No doubt about it, cloth diapers are a cheaper way to go. There are options that can have your baby diapered for $100 or less if this is your top priority.
Even though I chose to buy pricier diapers and had a separate set of newborn diapers, I calculated after a year in diapers I had made back the money I originally invested. That means the second year was free (minus the cost of washing twice a week). I plan on having using the same diapers for my next child, so the savings will multiply!
Not to mention, many diapers hold their value over the years. Some limited edition diapers (yes, that’s a thing) are collectible even sell for more than they were originally sold for up to $460! I plan on selling all my diapers after I am done having kids to recoup some of the upfront cost. You can’t do that with disposables!
3. Crazy Chemicals
Concerned about the number of chemicals used, especially in baby products? I know I am! I’ve read about babies getting chemical burns or rashes when using disposables and there have been lawsuits against Pampers by parents of children who have had reactions said to be chemical burns. There are lots of babies who can’t use certain brands of diapers because they react badly. There little scientific research on the chemicals used in disposables. I felt comfort in knowing my baby had natural fabrics next to her skin.
4. Local/Small Business: Spread Some Love
Many diaper companies are run by WAHM’s. Often diapers are made in Canada (or the US). I have diapers made by a small business located driving distance from my house. Additionally, many stores that sell diapers are local businesses, rather than big box stores. Employees are knowledgeable about cloth diapers and will help get you started on your journey, give lots of good tips and help you troubleshoot if you have problems. Supporting community members rather than big box stores is important to me!
5. They Are So Darn Cute!
Honestly, diapering is not a fun part of motherhood (or fatherhood if you can get your husband to change diapers). There are tons of adorable prints out there that make diapering just a bit more fun. It can become addictive and there is a great community to support you!
Hopefully that gives you enough information to defend yourself against critics. At the end of the day, you are the decision maker for your child. It doesn’t really matter what family members or friends say, you know best. My advice would be to stick to your guns and do what you want. Whether you invest in two diapers to give it a try, or, like me, have a full set ready to go, jump right in! I know you won’t regret it.
Keep following this series for more instalments on cloth diapering info, tips, tricks and FAQ’s. Part Two will help you to find the perfect cloth diaper for your family’s needs.
In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. What is your number one reason for cloth diapering? Do you have a support network, or are you like me, a cloth diaper lone wolf?🐺