I didn’t use cloth diapers for my first child – although it was something that I really wanted to do.
At the time, we were living in a apartment that had coin laundry in the basement, making cloth diapering super inconvenient. Because of this, I pushed the thought away and decided on using disposable diapers instead.
When I became pregnant with our second child, our circumstances were much different. Once again, I was confronted with the desire to cloth diaper our new baby. Although my husband was a bit turned off by the idea, I was determined to give cloth a try. Confidently armed with my newly purchased lot of cloth diapers, I anxiously awaited the arrival of our second child.
Well, along he came and things were not as easy as I had originally anticipated. I very quickly learned that there is a huge learning curve when choosing to cloth diaper your child. At the present, we are coming up on our second year of using cloth diapers.
Is it always easy? No. Is it always super convenient? No.
Regardless, the pros of using cloth diapers have certainly surpassed the cons, at least for our family.
Based on my own personal experience, I have compiled a list of the pros and cons of cloth diapers. I am sure there are many mamas out there contemplating using cloth diapers, but they are hesitant to give them a try. Hopefully, this list will encourage them to take the plunge and join the many moms who have switched to cloth diapers.
WHAT ARE THE PROS OF USING CLOTH?
CLOTH SAVES MONEY
This one is a no brainer. It is pretty simple to see that when you are buying a product over and over again, you will no doubt be spending more money, as opposed to purchasing a product that can be re-used time after time. Cloth diapers DO save money.
Of course, the exact amount saved depends on each individual family – their choice of cloth diapers, washing habits, extras purchased, etc. But even when you factor in these costs, most estimations say that you can save approximately 1/3 of your diapering costs by choosing to cloth diaper your baby. That is a lot of extra money better used on other things!
Its also important to note that cloth diapers come with a great resale value. Done using your cloth diapers? Go ahead and pass along the love to another cloth-diapering mom looking to grow her lot. A win-win situation!
CLOTH SAVES TIME
Who wants to go out and buy last minute diapers? No one. By cloth diapering your baby, you negate the need to constantly run out and buy diapers. Say so long to the days of constantly adding “diapers” to your already massive grocery list.
CLOTH SAVES SPACE
A value pack of disposable diapers takes up a lot of space. Cloth diapers on the other hand, do not. Personally, our family does just fine with a lot of approximately 14 cloth diapers. For us, this means our diapers are washed every other day.
Others prefer to have much larger cloth diaper lots – some even recommending somewhere between 60 to 72 cloth diapers.
This of course is a personal choice and depends on each family’s means. Personally for me, I find it super gross to let dirty diapers pile up – so a smaller lot works great. Doing a load of diapers every other day just doesn’t seem like a big deal.
CLOTH SAVES THE ENVIRONMENT
I know this one is cliche, but it is no secret that the majority of used disposable diapers end up in landfills. Even if we are only here for a short time, shouldn’t we take the best care we can of the Earth we have been given? Enough said.
CLOTH PROTECTS BABY’S SKIN
Cloth diapers are made from a blend of natural and synthetic fibers. They are free of a host of nasty chemicals currently present in disposable diapers. Although organic diapers have eliminated a lot of the chemicals found in mass produced disposable diapers, they can be super pricey, still making cloth a more economic choice.
WHAT ARE THE CONS OF CLOTH DIAPERS?
CLOTH DIAPERING A NEWBORN IS HARD
You suddenly have your brand new baby in your arms. Even though you told yourself you would cloth diaper your baby, you quickly become overwhelmed with the new responsibilities of motherhood.
Feeding your baby. Bathing your baby. Scrambling to find just a minute for yourself.
Adding cloth diapers into the mix can make any new moms head spin. Also, newborns are just so darn tiny they don’t even fit properly into regular cloth diapers. Many people just don’t feel like investing in “special” newborn cloth diapers.
I’ll be the first to say, motherhood doesn’t always follow the plans that we make. If using cloth diapers is too overwhelming at first, put them aside and give them another go when your baby is bigger. Even if not used for the entirety of your baby’s diapering years, part-time cloth diapering is still better than nothing.
BOTH PARTNERS NEED TO BE ON BOARD
If only one partner is flying the “cloth diaper” plane, be prepared for a potential crash landing. As with anything, having both parents on board will make using cloth diapers easier. If the entire diapering situation is left up to one parent, it will be very easy to quit and give up on cloth diapering all together.
CLOTH DIAPERS CAN BE GROSS
Yes, there will be close contact with disgusting poop involved when choosing cloth diapers. Some of the things you see will be unimaginable. You will say a prayer every time you open up that diaper – begging for pee. Trust me, it will happen.
That being said, there are definitely additional “tools” you can add to your cloth diapering arsenal to make the experience a little more pleasant. These include diaper sprayers attached to your toilet or even liners that can be used for more delicate situations.
But trust me, after using cloth diapers for a time, you will no longer be fazed by a dirty diaper.
THERE’S MORE LAUNDRY – DUH.
Using cloth diapers means you will need to have a laundry system in place, ensuring you always have clean diapers on hand. This can be a bit of an inconvenience, but careful planning can help keep things on track.
CLOTH DIAPERS COST MORE UPFRONT
If you will be using cloth diapers for your baby, plan on an upfront cost of between $100 – $300 dollars for your cloth diapers – depending on how large a diaper lot you would like for your baby. Remember though, as opposed to paying for disposable diapers bit by bit, you will eliminate the majority of your diapering costs when you purchase cloth diapers up front.
For those who are on the fence about using cloth diapers, I would recommend initially purchasing a few cloth diapers. Give them a shot before you take the plunge and dive into cloth diapers completely.
SOMETIMES NECESSITY CALLS FOR DISPOSABLE DIAPERS
Because of this, I do recommend keeping a small stash of disposable diapers on hand. These are helpful when traveling, especially if you will not have access to a laundry machine. Or, for example, if you take a longer day trip and want to avoid carrying around dirty diapers.
Also, even washing machines need maintenance from time to time. To avoid being left in a rut if your washer acts up, have some disposable diapers stored away for emergencies.
Needless to say, there are clearly many pros and cons of cloth diapers. Regardless, whatever your diapering choices, remember that it is a personal decision for you and your family. What works for some, might not work for others. For us, cloth diapers were a great choice, and we have found a way to make it work.
If you are unable to use cloth diapers or do not have the means necessary, don’t become disheartened. Whatever choices you make for your baby are just that, choices. Thankfully as moms, we have each been granted the responsibility to make our own parenting choices.