Monday, July 1, 2013

Why Cloth Diapers?

        I know that some people think I've gone off the deep end for wanting to cloth diaper our second son and Owen so I wanted to explain how I came to the decision. There are many reasons to cloth diaper and the diapers themselves have come a long way from the diapers our parents and grandparents used. So here are my reasons for deciding to cloth diaper:

Money: I feel like one of my "jobs" as a stay-at-home wife is to be responsible with our money and try to save wherever I can. For me, that means using couponing programs like Ibotta and shopping through Ebates when possible to earn money back on purchases. It also means that I write blog reviews about certain subscription boxes and companies I use so that I can earn referral credits, making our purchases from those companies either discounted or completely free! For instance, I have been getting us free or highly discounted disposable diapers for a few months now, but I realize that it won't always be the case for us and we are soon to have two in diapers anyway. I also sell our used clothing online and have also sold various other unused items we owned online to make some extra money. 
          Disposable diapers are super expensive, especially if you decide to buy more environmentally friendly diapers with fewer chemicals that are more biodegradable. Purchasing a month's supply of diapers from The Honest Company costs about $80, minus shipping. That's almost $1,000 a year or around $2,500 by the time your kiddo is potty trained (if they potty train by 2.5 years old, which Owen does not seem ready for). Now, I still love The Honest Company, but I feel like we can save so much by going with cloth diapers. A stash of cloth diapers to last through potty training costs about $300. The up front cost is what freaks out most people though, but if you keep an eye out for sales and buy a couple diapers every paycheck or so, you can have an entire stash by the time your baby is born. (People do this to stock up on disposables too!) My favorite cloth diaper website, Kelly's Closet, frequently has a coupon code to get an extra diaper with any purchase over a certain amount as well as buy X, get 1 free sales. You can also create cloth diaper registries on many websites and receive them as gifts just as you would a box of disposables. Additionally, any cloth diapers I buy now can be used on Owen and his little brother and on any future babies we may have. Or I can resell them once we no longer have babies in diapers since cloth diapers have a great resale value. 
        Also, for those of you who don't know, breastfeeding didn't work for me with Owen and I ended up pumping exclusively for around nine months and supplementing some with formula. This time, even though I plan to try breastfeeding again,  just in case we have to go the formula route I want to save us the expense of buying both disposable diapers and formula. 

The environment: Now I promise not to go all hippie on you, but since becoming a mother I have been a lot more conscious of making healthier choices for our family like using cleaners and personal hygiene items with fewer chemicals, purchasing organic food when I can, and trying to give away or sell items instead of just throwing them away. After throwing away who knows how many bags of disposable diapers with Owen, I learned that disposable diapers can remain decomposing in a landfill for 500 years. What kind of legacy is that to leave for my children? With cloth diapers (and hopefully cloth wipes too), we are producing far less waste. And for those who wonder about the extra water used to wash the diapers, with an HE washer the difference added to our water usage is pretty negligible. 

Earlier potty training time: Now I have no experience with this because we are just starting out, but at 27 months old after using disposables for the majority of his life, Owen is showing absolutely no interest in potty training. And why should he? Disposables soak up tons of liquid and the baby can't feel that they're wet. I am curious to see how cloth might affect this as he will be able to tell he is wet if I leave him in a cloth diaper for longer than I normally would. It will be interesting to see if there is a difference between him and his little brother as I intend to cloth diaper the new baby almost from the beginning. (We will use disposables at the beginning because newborn diapers only fit a baby up to at most 12 pounds and since I have bigger babies, I don't want to spend the money on a complete set of newborn cloth diapers. We will  skip the extra small cloth diapers and begin cloth with him once he starts to fit into the one size and small size cloth diapers.)

~ Less diaper rash/irritation: The chemicals used in disposables to soak up the liquid (i.e. urine) can cause diaper rash and severe irritation with some babies who have sensitive skin. Although we don't have much problem with this with Owen in his Honest Company diapers, there's no telling how sensitive little brother's skin might be. 

     Now, those are most of my reasons for deciding to make the switch to cloth diapering. Another reason that it was easier this time around is because we already have pretty much everything we need for our second baby since he is a boy and we have all of Owen's baby stuff packed away. Since we don't have a ton of stuff to buy for the baby, we have more money to use toward cloth diapers. Tim was hesitant at first because he was apprehensive about the up-front cost. But I think he has been surprised at how I've managed to gather a pretty good stash (though we still need more since I'll have two in cloth at some point). I have sold a few things online and using money I've earned from my Ibotta app, I have been able to discount pretty much every purchase I have made. I also keep an eye out for sales, like the 70 percent off sale at Fuzzibunz where I got our diaper pail liners for a great deal and another time where I got two Fuzzibunz diapers for 50 percent off. I also took advantage of a BumGenius Buy 5, Get 1 free deal that saved us close to $20 and have gotten several diapers for free during certain promotions on Kelly's Closet. So for those that are freaked out about the up front cost, it's not so horrible if you spread it out and look for deals. 

        And have I mentioned that Owen loves his cloth diapers? He frequently goes into his room and looks at all of them lined up in the drawer in the dresser and tells me all about his "colors." He loves picking out which diaper he wants to wear next and he seems pretty comfortable in them. 
        And the poop! I know tons of people are interested in how you deal with the poop when cloth diapering and honestly, I was a little nervous about it at first too. But it isn't that bad! You have to deal with poop in disposables too. Obviously I will have a completely different experience once I'm diapering a little baby again, but as far as Owen goes (and he tested out his cloth diapers by going No. 2 three times on his first full day in cloth), it wasn't bad at all and after I washed them, you couldn't tell they had been used at all. I am especially interested to see how cloth performs with a little baby because Owen used to have blow-out poo diapers all the time when he was little. I have heard that cloth is much better at containing these blow-outs than disposables and I can't wait to put them to the test. And for those who are freaked out about dealing with poop with cloth diapers, I can tell you that dealing with little baby poop in a cloth diaper will be much better than dealing with a blow-out disposable where poop gets on the baby's clothes, sheets, or worse, you! My mom will never forget the time we were Skyping and Owen's diaper failed to contain his bowel movement and I was screaming, "There's poop in my hand! Poop in my hand!"
      So there you have it. My reasons for switching to cloth diapers. I in no way mean to shame or judge anyone who uses disposables. After all, I used them for 27 months and we will probably still use them in certain circumstances like when we're traveling. Everyone has to make the best decision for their family and because I stay at home, I feel like cloth diapering isn't that big of a hassle and will save us money. I completely understand that it might not work for some people or could be too time-consuming for mothers who work outside the home. Just like the decision between breastfeeding or bottlefeeding, cosleeping or cry-it-out, and all the other choices that we mothers have to make, they are all so personal and individual. So no judgment here! Just don't judge me for being a semi-crunchy mommy. If you have any questions about cloth diapering, leave me a comment. I'd be happy to help out if you're curious about them.   


  1. I think that's so awesome that you CD and I am jealous! I haven't been able to convince my hubby yet about the savings. He thinks that by the time we do laundry and buy the diapers, wipes and/or inserts, we won't come out ahead much. Plus, he thinks rinsing out the poop from the diapers would be gross. So for now, we are still doing disposables, but if I can find someone in our area who is selling a few or will let me try theirs out, I may be able to convince him yet! LOL

  2. Love your post! I think you did a great job of explaining the pros of cloth diapering. And as someone whose going through peanut butter poop land, I have had no blowouts as of yet with cloth verses three blowouts in three days with disposables! You have to deal with poop either way. I would rather not have to cut off my baby's onsie to avoid getting poop on her face verses spraying poop into a toilet. That's just me though... And yes, I totally had to cut a onsie off my blown out-disposable-diapered child. Talk about gross!