DIY: Diapering

Pocket cloth diaper (insert goes in back) with...

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Okay, yes, technically all diapering is do-it-yourself since kids don’t tend to learn that trick until that one hot and sticky summer day you put them down for a nap in just their skivvies…

But some people take it the extra mile and avoid adding hundreds of pounds of extra waste to our country’s landfills by opting into cloth diapering.  This was kind of phasing out in popularity when I was a newborn…and required when my parents were born, since disposables hadn’t been invented yet, but it is super “en vogue” these days, with more and more focus shifting to Mother Earth and her ambiguous synonym, “the environment.”

Though I chose the easy route and opted to add even more unpleasant odor to the local landfill, I have many friends who are very excited about their cloth diapers.  Of course, all but one of them is a SAH mom, which gives them ever so slightly more time to do the extra laundry cloth diapers require.

Cloth diapers were not a practical option for me, for many reasons.

  1. Both I and Husband work full time.
  2. Little Miss attends daycare 40 hours a week.
  3. We currently do laundry every other week.  With cloth diapers you have to do laundry every 2-3 days (or more) and they require at least two cycles in the wash and line drying.
  4. I hate laundry.
  5. Our budget doesn’t normally have enough in it to sustain a blow equivalent to purchasing the necessary 30 or so cloth diapers plus cleaning supplies (including special laundry soap), and I have enough debt to last my lifetime (thank you, college and grad school).

So, though I opted out of  cloth diapering, I did seriously consider it for a while before choosing disposables, which fit our lifestyle better.  I can name half a dozen women off the top of my head who could rattle off a whole list of reasons they don’t mind and prefer cloth diapering, and their reasonings include:

  1. Fewer blowouts.  Cloth diapers tend to keep the nasty stuff from escaping better than disposables.
  2. Less irritated skin.  Disposables contain chemicals that can rub some bums the wrong way and cause rashes and, in extreme cases, blistering.
  3. They’re cute.  You can make your own easily and any you buy come in a variety of colours and patterns.
  4. It’s cheaper.  Sure, the initial purchase will make your stomach churn, but over time they’ll pay for themselves when those of us using disposables are spending $30+ per month on diapers for 2-3 years.
  5. Fewer emergency runs to the store.  You’re never out of diapers with cloth.
  6. Diapers for multiple kids.  Disposables must be purchased over and over again; with cloth diapers, you can reuse the same diapers over and over again for all your children, making the overall cost for cloth go way down the more kids you put them through.
  7. Less waste.  Fewer plastics and chemicals in the landfills means a happier earth.
  8. Possible easier potty training.  Disposable diapers wick the liquid away from the skin, which is what they’re made to do, but this keeps kids from realizing they’ve wet their diapers for longer.  The sooner they realize they’re wet the easier it is to potty train them.

With all of that said, here are some helpful resources from moms who have done lots of research on the subject of cloth vs. disposable diapering.  And if you think you might be interested, enter this contest to win a free cloth diapering starter kit from Eco Womb.

RESOURCES:

All About Cloth Diapers (takes some digging, but overall good information)

How Cloth Diapering Actually Works (complete with photos and step-by-step instructions)

Cost Calculator (compare disposables vs. cloth over time)

Detergents for Cloth Diapers (“free and clear” laundry soaps – no harsh chemicals)

Cloth Diapers (purchase your own!)

More Cloth Diapers (purchase your own!)

Diaper Covers (purchase your own!)

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