This one’s not a funny post. Sorry guys! I’ve wanted to use my blog to also talk about things that are super important to me, and help other mothers in addition to just being crazy hilarious.
So I’m starting a multi post series that is about (you guessed it!) cloth diapering!!
(Don’t worry, I’ll intersperse with funny posts, too as we go along, so don’t flip out)
We started cloth diapering my oldest at about 14 or so months of age. Even with the late start, we’ve saved about $4,000 all together last I checked (this also doesn’t include the costs that I’ve saved on gas to the store, extra laundry for all the blow outs we’ve saved, diaper rash cream when cloth cleared up my daughter’s persistent rashes, costs on laundry detergent when we started making our own, etc, etc, etc…)
I’ve first decided to post about common cloth diapering myths in the hopes that you’ll keep reading if you’ve decided I’m crazy. Hopefully you’ve stuck with me thus far!
12 Cloth diapering myths:
1) You have to buy cloth diapers new.
FALSE: Previously loved cloth is an option for many families who’s resources may be more limited. Diapers washed to manufacturer’s specifications have a life much longer than that of one child in diapers.
2) You have to pay a diaper service to launder your diapers.
FALSE: Most diapers can be safely and effectively laundered at home. There are many commercially available laundry detergents for sale that are safe in all washers, even HE washers!
3) Cloth diapers require pins.
FALSE: There are several styles of diapers that have been developed over the years. Most are designed to be just like a disposable diaper and require no special skills to apply to your baby.
4) Once your diapers have a “stink” they’re ruined.
FALSE: There are many different ways to remove smells from diapers: changing detergent, a strip, an overnight soak, sunning, lemon, baking soda…the list goes on and on!
5) You have to commit to one brand or style of diaper.
FALSE: Just like every pregnancy and every baby is different, so is each child’s diapering needs! Many families have one style of diaper for overnight wear and another kind for active daytime wear. Some babies have chunky thighs while others have petite little wastes. A blended approach to cloth diapering is best for almost everyone.
6) Cloth diapers aren’t better for the environment due to the amount of water used to wash them .
FALSE: Several non-renewable resources are destroyed in droves to produce disposable diapers. Water is a renewable resource. Also keep in mind: EVERY disposable diaper ever made is still in existence.
7) If you can’t handle poop in your washing machine, you can’t cloth diaper.
FALSE: Many people have found success in cloth diapering by simply dumping the solid wastes into the toilet. A sprayer can be purchased for a reasonable price (~$55) to get those hard stuck on bits. If even this idea makes you shudder, you can even use a hybrid system like GroVia or Flips or gDiapers with a smaller, biodegradable liner that gets flushed and/or tossed like a disposable would. You can still reduce waste, spend less money, and consider yourself a cloth diapering parent! (And as an aside: everyone is supposed to dump their child’s solid wastes into the toilet: even disposables. It says so right on the box. All that waste isn’t supposed to end up in landfills where it festers and can enter the ground water. No one does it, but it’s true!)
8) Cloth diapers are almost as expensive as disposable.
FALSE: If a parent were to buy the top of the line cloth diapering system (read: brand new, expensive) with all associated accessories, they could spend anywhere from $350-600 depending on the type and quantity of diapers. It costs, on average. $3,000 to diaper one child from birth to potty training if using solely disposable diapers. Cloth can also be used on subsequent children without the start up costs, and have a high resale value when you’re finished with them. Even if you factor in the increased cost of a few extra loads of laundry and diaper safe detergent, the numbers just make sense.
9) I can’t afford to buy all this cloth at once! I’ll never be able to cloth diaper!
FALSE: Buy what you can afford. Add as you can. Even one diaper per day that you don’t throw away after using it reduces your diaper costs and wastes. You can buy one diaper per paycheck until you have enough to get through 2-3 days between washings. Also, even part time cloth diapering saves you money. Some families use a mixed system (we, for example, cloth diaper 98% of the time – but when we travel or need prescription diaper rash cream we use disposables)
10) It is harder to potty train your child if you use cloth diapers.
FALSE: On average, children that wear cloth tend to potty train faster than children who wear disposables. This is due to the fact that they can feel the wetness more without the chemicals that make disposable diapers feel drier longer. It can actually help a child identify the signals that are required to develop toileting skills sooner. Also, there are many cloth training pant options available instead of disposable “pull up” style diapers that can help with learning how to be done with diapers all together! One diaper costs about the same as a pack of pull ups–but you get unlimited use out of it.
11) Children who wear cloth diapers get more rashes.
FALSE: The opposite is typically true. Commercially available disposable diapers have endocrine disrupting gels as well as other chemicals in them that are often harsh on baby’s skin and are typically a main cause of repeated rashes. Also, disposable diapers are the equivalent of placing your child’s bum in a plastic bag: very little air gets in (this is why a common “treatment” for diaper rash is to give the baby’s butt “air time”). In cloth the baby’s butt breathes much more freely. In addition to this, babies that are diapered with cloth are often changed more frequently so that the liquid isn’t against baby’s skin as long. Sometimes children will develop rashes in cloth but it’s often caused by a laundering or fabric issue which can be more easily remedied than you think.
12) Cloth diapers leak urine and poop more than disposables do.
FALSE: The image of a “poop explosion” in babies is common, regardless of the style of diaper a baby is wearing: it happens once in awhile to all babies. (All mom’s know this!) However, cloth diapers can be more easily tailored to the size and shape of your baby (petite, chunky things, long legs–these ALL have specific diaper solutions). Disposables, however, are made from a “one size fits all” mentality–just because your baby is the right weight doesn’t mean it’s a perfect fit. Also, most cloth diapers have real elastic and snaps or aplix (velcro) to adjust to your baby as he or she grows.
Got all that? Feel free to ask questions in the comments!!
Soon to come: Cloth Diapering (Part 2): Different types