Before I had my son, I did not plan to use cloth diapers. People would ask me and I would respond, “absolutely not”. Everyone expected me to though because people think I’m kinda crunchy but the truth is I thought they just weren’t for me. I vividly remember making a statement at my baby shower as to why I would not be using them and basically let everyone know that they were gross and not my thing. I feel like a total fool now because me and my husband chose to switch to cloth very shortly after our son was born. My preconceived thoughts on cloth diapers were just plain uneducated on my part.
After the birth of my son, I found myself surrounded by many other new mom’s that were using cloth diapers. I was curious and many of them taught me all about cloth and why they made the choice. I realized we were going through like a million diapers a day in the beginning, and I actually started to feel environmental guilt. Not sure if that is a term, but it’s the best way I can describe it. It just didn’t feel right throwing all these diapers into the landfills which I already knew took hundreds of years to decompose.
So we made the switch, and it was one of the best decisions we made, and here’s why:
1.Economical factor-From the research I’ve done, the average family spends close to $2000-2500 on disposable diapers over the course of 2.5 years. That is with one child. Just think if you have more kids. That is a heck of a lot of money that could be spent or saved for something much more exciting than disposable diapers.
Once you invest in cloth diapers, you don’t have to invest again unless you want to just add to your collection. Which to be honest, cloth diaper shopping can become an obsessive hobby all on it’s own…but that is a whole other post. Sure it costs money to wash and care for the cloth diapers but no where near the cost of disposable diapers still. Check out this LINK and this LINK for some monetary breakdowns and you will quickly see the payoff of using cloth diapers.
2.Environmental factor-This is the reason that I originally started using cloth diapers. All of the other stuff was an added bonus. But let me tell you, there is a whole HELL of a lot of stuff that I didn’t even know until I started to research for this post. Some things that are just downright appalling. I stumbled upon a awesome site called Small Footprint Family and I cannot say enough about how well written and researched this specific article is. PLEASE visit this page for more information. All of the facts below were derived from Small Footprint Family.
Here’s the jist of why disposable diapers are bad for our evironment.
- They take an a ton of space in landfills. It’s the third largest consumer item in landfills.
- The main ingredient in the construction of disposable diapers is oil, using 1 cup of crude oil to make enough plastic for 1 disposable diaper. That is ALOT. If you can’t visualize that, imagine using more oil than you will ever use in the cars that you drive in your lifetime, because that’s how much it is.
- The untreated human waste that goes into the landfills have an extremely high chance of seeping into the ground water.
- Disposables take hundreds of years to decompose. Even the so called environmentally friendly diapers don’t biodegrade as they claim because all diapers in the landfill can’t decompose if they have no air and no sun which is critical for the decomposition process.
If that isn’t enough to give you environmental guilt, then I don’t know what will.
3. Health factor- To be blunt, disposable diapers are POISON to our children’s bodies. But this isn’t unlike most things that western culture consumes. Sad, but true. Here’s a couple facts for you.
- Most disposable diapers contain dioxin which is a carcinogenic chemical and is the most toxic of all cancer causing chemicals. It is actually banned in most countries, but not the united states.
- And those tiny crystals mushy things that you sometimes find on your babies skin if the diapers gets ripped or is really wet, well that is sodium polyacrylate. This chemical was banned in 1985 from tampons because it can cause toxic shock syndrome. This chemical is also found in the eco friendly diapers.
- Disposable diapers also cause diaper rashes. There is less air circulation, less need for frequent diaper changes since disposable diapers are so absorbent causing higher temperatures inside diapers. All of these factors are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
- A study in 1999 according to an article on the small footprint family the chemicals from diapers are linked to respiratory illnesses such as asthma. “The results demonstrate that some types of disposable diapers emit mixtures of chemicals that are toxic to the respiratory tract. Disposable diapers should be considered as one of the factors that might cause or exacerbate asthmatic conditions.”
4. Dependency factor- My opinion is that cloth diapers are simply more dependable than disposable diapers. I have so many friends that complain about major blowouts and I can honestly say that I’ve never had a blowout with cloth diapers. The only time was when I was using disposables before we made the switch. Cloth diapers, while still made very absorbant, can only handle so much wetness so you are naturally changing them more often than one might in a disposable. I’m changing Liam about every 2-3 hours no matter what, while other people using disposables might wait up to 4-5 hours before changing a disposable. Also another example of what might cause increase in diaper rashes in disposables. In my experience, I can depend on my cloth to get my son through the night and also no major blowouts, and that is a good enough reason for me to call them more dependable!
5.Cuteness factor- If all the facts above aren’t enough to convince you that disposable diapers can be harmful to your child, then I would like to bring in the cuteness factor of cloth diapers. There is nothing cuter on your little babies bum than an adorable cloth diaper! They are cute when they are babies, and then when they start to run around in them, they are even cuter. WAY cuter than disposables if you ask me.
Yes, my son is actually wearing the same diaper in both photos. These specific diapers are bum genius 4.0 which are one size fits all. The snaps expand the diaper so that they grow as your child grows! It’s ingenious really!
If you are interested in making the switch to cloth diapers, I encourage you to search the web and talk to friends that may be using cloth to get a real sense of what it is like and if it may be for you.
Also, you can check out a cloth diaper store in your area. I have a local store that even has a program where you can try different kinds, and return the ones that you don’t like for store credit towards your purchase. They just resell these ones as used, which can be another awesome way to get cloth diapers a little cheaper.
So, these are the reasons that we chose to switch to cloth diapers, and while it may not be for everyone, we are a PROUD cloth diapering family. If this post got the wheels turning, then I encourage you to research it some more and consider what disposable diapers are really doing to your children and our world.
Do you use cloth diapers? If you are resistant to the idea, why? I love to hear comments from my readers and please share this post if you enjoyed it!
Thanks for reading!