Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The WHY?

In these modern times, why would you choose to use cloth diapers??
I got a wide array of comments before my son was born and I told people I was planning on cloth diapering.
Reaction #1: (screwed up face) "ewww!"
Reaction #2: "Why would you do that?!"
Reaction #3: "But you have DOGS! Aren't you afraid they'll get into them!?"
Along with quite a few knowing looks... you know the kind I mean...
the "yeah right, that won't last long" look.
The "oh... it's a crazy new-mom" look.
(BTW - our dogs have NEVER gotten into the dirty cloth diapers, but they HAVE gotten into the disposable ones. Ugh!)

Well, I persevered through all this criticism and I've now been cloth diapering for two years. But why did I decide to do it in the first place?

When I initially started looking into cloth, I had no idea that there were MODERN cloth diapers. I was thinking of the old plastic covers and pins (which I was NOT too excited about). Imagine my amazement when I started researching and discovered these!
Wow! I was impressed... maybe I could do this.
My primary reason for using cloth was the cost. I knew disposable diapers cost A LOT.
Did you know the average child will go through 6-10 disposible diapers a day for 2-3 years. Let's just round that to 8 over the course of about 2.5 years.
That's 7300 diapers for ONE child (and are you planning on just having one?)

Next, you think of the cost - to use disposibles for a month will probably cost you between $20 - $75 a month depending on the brand you choose. Let's just say $50 a month for 2.5 years, which I think is pretty conservative.
That's $1500 for ONE child!

With cloth diapers you have the inital cost - it can cost a couple hundred dollars to set up your inital stash. If you're like me and can make your own, you can do it cheaper. If you buy designer diapers, it may be a little more. There is definitely the inital sticker shock - $200 seems like A LOT for diapers, but in reality it's a tiny fraction of what disposibles will cost you.

It also costs a little more for the washing and drying of these diapers, but I still doubt that it eats up $1000 worth.

But in the end, $200-$300 is nothing compared to $1500-$2000!


Environmentally Friendly:
This was not really one of my primary reasons for cloth diapering, but it does make me feel good about myself that something I'm choosing to do is better for our environment. And I know that there are family's out there where this would  make a difference, so I'm including it.

This is a hot topic for those opposed to cloth diapering. Many anti-cloth users say that the extra water used in laundering negates the enviromental benefits of cloth diapering. I've also found information claiming that the production and manufacturing of cotton is more damaging to the environment than the production and manufacturing of disposable diapers. 

I find this hard to believe when you read statistics like this:
- According to a 2003 study published by Women's Environmental Network, disposable diapers are the 3rd largest consumer item in landfills (source)
-No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose - the estimates are 200-500 years.
-Human waste is being illegally dumped into our landfills by the tons!

Did you know that you're supposed to dispose of the fecal matter into the toilet before throwing your disposable diaper away? Hmm... probably not. No one does it. Think about the fact that all the fecal waste is going into our landfills to eventually leach into the ground - yuck.

More interesting info on this subject: The Diaper Drama - Environment 

It is hard to say which is better or worse - there is tons of information out there that is biased one way or the other. Personally, I feel better using cloth. I feel like the fact that the poop is going into the sewage system and I'm not filling up the landfills is pretty important. Also, in the summer it's easy to dry your diapers out on the line which eliminates using the dryer. 

I think this one is going to come down to a personal judgement call for each family.

other sources:
The Poop on Eco-Friendly Diapers (interesting article)

This was really the secondary reason I started using cloth and what's kept me going. But, as I started writing about this subject, I found WAY too much information to fit into this post. Look for it in an uncoming post!

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