There has always been a few ideals I’ve held near and dear to me: be kind to others, be kind to the Earth, and live frugally (so you can put the money back into people and the community). Cloth diapering checks all of these boxes and more.
When I was pregnant with Marshall, my first child, I contemplated cloth diapering. We were young- I was just 22 and Brad 24- we were just starting out in life and got pregnant sooner than we expected. I’m basically saying: we were broke. We toyed with the idea so we could save money, but eventually discarded the thought of cloth in favor of disposables. The whole prospect seemed intimidating to us.
Then Marshall came. We quickly discovered that he was allergic to the chemical additives in disposable diapers and had to spend extra money on the more high end diapers. Literally throwing away money every month- money that we really could have used on other things. Like food and bills.
All the extra money on frequent diaper changes in expensive disposables and Marshall still broke out in blistering, bleeding rashes. He would scream bloody murder when he saw us coming with a diaper; it hurt our hearts as parents. I gave him plenty of “air out” time, our pediatrician’s recommended concoction of creams and ointments- and none of it helped. Our pediatrician eventually asked if we ever considered switching to cloth. No, we couldn’t do that. We aren’t “those” people. Cloth diapering is too dirty, too difficult, and too much of a headache.
While still pregnant we were told that Vi would likely have some issues with her bowels and kidneys. We were toying again with the idea of cloth diapers and this pushed us over the edge; we were definitely going to cloth this time around.
People tried telling us horror stories of the past to scare us from going the cloth route. But I did more research this time around, I knew more and more people who were successfully cloth diapering with no issue. We had more money this time around, but were motivated more by our baby’s well being- and that is all the motivation you need in the world.
27.4 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the US alone- those diapers filled with raw human waste, bacteria, viruses, and possible disease end up in our landfill. The Real Diaper Association estimates it takes about 500 years for an average disposable diaper to decompose. Think of all the space these diapers are unnecessarily using up and all the poison they are leaking into the environment. That doesn’t even begin to go into how much people lose every year by literally throwing out $1,000-$2,500 a year in disposable diapers.
We have around 50 cloth diapers (a full stash for one baby is considered 24) costing about $700 total. These cloth diapers will last Violet to potting training, they will last any other children we may have from birth to potty training- and when we are done with them we can pass them on to a family member, donate them to a cloth diaper bank, or sell them to recoup some of the expense. They have and will literally save us thousands of dollars and keep unnecessary waste out of our earth. Economical and enviromental.
What about the health factor? Well, Vi is quickly closing in on a year old and I can count the numbers of times she has had a rash on one hand- the majority of the time that rash occurred because we put her in disposables for a weekend trip. She has the same sensitive skin as her brother but has had a considerably easier time in cloth than he did in disposables. We achieved all of or goals with cloth: ✔️kept our baby healthier ✔️kept extra chemicals and waste out of the environment ✔️saved money. Mission accomplished!
Stay tuned for future posts in our Cloth 101 series as we will teach the ins and outs of modern cloth diapering and the benefits to be gained.