The thought of cloth diapering can be intimidating for new parents. Nightmares of "plastic pants", safety pins, putting poop in your washing machine and soaking diapers may be bouncing around in your head along with a billion other fears a new parent has to face. With all of the options today there is no need to be afraid... and if it all seem overwhelming just pause for a moment to remember that they are teenagers longer than they are in diapers... now that is something to have nightmares about!
When someone walks into our shop wanting to cloth diaper we get a little excited. Seeing all those fluff butts around town is the cutest thing ever and always make the Lorax smile (environment reference for those of you that missed that one)! New parents considering going cloth are usually motivated by some combo of financial need, environmental consideration, chemical concerns, and cuteness factor. When deciding if cloth diapers are going to be the right choice for you, you will want to consider your lifestyle and what kind(s) of cloth diaper will go along with it. Our job is to provide you with the information you need to make those decisions. Here are the most frequently asked questions we get from parents navigating the world of cloth diaper land!
How Much Money Will I save?
Since there are so many different diapers options at many different price points this can be a hard question to answer. Even a stash comprised of the more expensive brands you will likely still save significant amounts of money when compared to the cost of disposable diapers added up over the lifetime of a child in diapers. If we look at the average amount of money families spend on disposable diapers - on average $1,500 for "generics" and up to $2,500 for "earth-friendly" or "trendy" brands- to the cost of cloth diapers there is very visible savings. A cloth diaper stash can cost anywhere from $150 to $800 dollars. This big range is due to what type of diapers you choose (prefolds and covers vs. all in ones etc.), how many special prints you choose ($$ for limited editions), and/or how many diapers you want in your stash.
What are the different options?
In today's world cloth diapers come in several styles, from the traditional prefold diaper that requires a cover, to a pocket or hybrid diaper that have different absorbency layer options, to an "all-in-one" style. At the end of the day, no matter what your budget and lifestyle are, there is a diaper solution that can work for your family!!! The prefold diaper with covers is the most economical since you can reuse the same cover through multiple changes throughout the day. The pocket/hybrid system is an popular choice for for families on the go and daycare providers. Not only will the flexibility in absorbency fit into your child's needs as they grow but they are also easy to change (just like a disposable) . The all-in-one system is even more similar to wearing a disposable as the absorbency layers and cover are all one piece. Cloth diapering isn't just about the cute fluffy bunz. Flexibility and convenience is the name of the game when it comes to modern cloth diaper systems.
Why would I give up on cloth diapers?
Cloth isn't right for everyone... just like nursing and co sleeping are not for everyone. First, and most importantly to me know that you very well may find that the best solution for you is not made up of using cloth 100% of the time. For some families, myself included, using cloth part-time works better, and is still better for the environment, your budget and the little one's bums. Even if you are planning on using cloth full-time, I highly recommend you keep least a few disposable diapers on hand for those "oh $#+" moments. Here is a scenario for you....perhaps you are without power or water for a few days... This is a situation where disposables may be much easier. There are also some medical situations in which disposables are usefull, such as a yeast rash, bacterial infection or if god forbid your baby is in the hospital and you need to weigh the diapers to track baby's urine output. There are not many reasons anymore though to NOT use cloth diapers anymore though considering how many options there are to fit your needs.
How in the heck do we get them clean?
Cloth diapers do need to be cleaned thoroughly by a wash cycle that uses a normal/average amount of detergent. If your washing cycle is on point you should not need anything more in your cleaning routine. There are a few times, when adding disinfectant additives to your laundry load is recommended. These are primarily health related. One example is if a child has had a severe bacterial infection or a yeast rash, This means it has been diagnosed and treated by a doctor. If this occurs, it will be important to disinfect the diapers so that the infection doesn't rear it's ugly head again. This is one of those "OH $#+" moments where you will want to switch to a disposable diaper until the rash is fully cleared up (for at least 48 hours in most cases). This is the best time to take anything that has been exposed to the bacteria/yeast (all diapers, cloth wipes and wet bags) and disinfect them by washing with a small amount of bleach and following the instructions below. In situations like this when you must use bleach, it should be very periodic as it can void your manufacturer warranty.
To bleach your diapers add 1/8 c (for an He machine) to 1/4 cup (top loading machine) of bleach to a warm wash cycle with your regular detergent. Bleach is less effective in hot water, so warm water should be used instead. Rinse until you can no longer smell the bleach.
Am I saving the Environment?
When you stop to think about the environmental impact of manufacturing, distributing and disposing of thousands of disposable diapers the debate in favor of cloth becomes clearer for a lot of people. A child in disposable diapers goes through about 7,000 diapers in 2.5 years. Pause for a moment to think about that... SEVEN THOUSAND diapers. Now, each of these diapers take about 500 years to finally break down. Lets compare that to a cloth diaper family who will only use anywhere from 20 to 40 diapers (depending on the stash size you want), each of which can be used hundreds of times.
Are Cloth Diapers "healthier" for my baby?
The most common health related issues that families experience include recurring rashes and sensitivities to ingredients and chemicals in disposable diapers. Now very many children use disposable diapers without any issues at all. However, those who do have a reaction, the solution can be the natural fibers in Cloth Diapers. Another concern is the chemicals that are used in the production of disposables, and that no matter how honest/clean the manufacturing process may be it may leave trace chemicals. Their baby's most sensitive skin will then be exposed to those chemicals. Now with that being said there is no documented evidence of effects from the ingredients in disposables (there are also not that many studies)... So this one is more of a personal decision on what level of chemicals your child is exposed to. Cotton is one of the most common fabrics for cloth diapers, and it is the least allergenic material as well. This is promising for children who battle rashes and/or have sensitive skin.
Now these are not all of the questions that you will have I'm sure so please don't hesitate to come in or drop us a line and we will help you find the best solution for your family!