Cloth diapering is making a comeback with modern parents due to its many benefits to the environment, the budget, and baby’s comfort. There is a common misconception that cloth diapering requires a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be that hard.
If you are prepared – both with your supplies and knowledge of what to expect – just about every parent can succeed with cloth diapering.
Types of Cloth Diapers
In order to be prepared, you will need to know that there are actually several types of cloth diapers. While they all work in a similar manner, the type you choose can make a difference in the ease of diapering and the impact on your overall budget.
There are two main components to a cloth diaper: the diaper itself and the insert. The insert is the absorbent part, making it necessary for keeping the outer diaper as clean as possible as well as your baby’s clothes.
Some diaper types – like flats that you have to fold and fasten yourself – aren’t as popular today as they were many years ago. Most parents today opt for something more modern, like the pocket diaper or sleeve diaper (both work the same way), which fits like a disposable with a small pocket to slip the absorbent insert into.
All-in-one diapers are the premium choice for parents who want a quick and easy diaper change. They just have one part with no insert to deal with. The biggest downside to these, however, is the fact that they take so long to dry since the absorbent part is very thick.
You may choose to take a step down and go with a two-in-one diaper. They are easier than other diapers with inserts that need to be folded since the insert is simply a piece that snaps into the diaper.
Cloth diapering can be a solution for common issues that affect you and your baby personally as well as issues that have a greater impact on the environment.
First, cloth diapering is eco-friendly. Yes, it may take a bit more water to wash them, but the big difference is found in the landfills. Though disposable diapers do break down with oxygen and sunlight, they don’t decompose very efficiently in a landfill. Using cloth diapers keeps our landfills cleaner.
Not only are cloth diapers easier on the landfills but they are also easier on the wallet. It may be a bit difficult to swallow the initial cost of supplies, but if you look at what it would cost to keep your child in disposable versus cloth diapers until they are ready to potty train, you would be looking at saving at least $1,000 (over a period of 2.5 years).
Finally, cloth diapering can be a solution for babies who may have sensitive skin or allergies. Disposable diapers can be scratchy and made with materials that can irritate the skin and make your baby fussy; cloth diapers are much softer. You can also wash cloth diapers with the same gentle detergents you use for your baby’s cloths to help eliminate irritants.
The Bad and The Ugly…And How to Make it Pretty
While all these things are well and good, there are still some inconveniences that come with cloth diapering. But if you know how to handle them or the tricks to make them easier, these inconveniences won’t bother you as much.
It is true that cloth diapers are a bit messier than disposable ones. They aren’t as absorbent (thanks to the absence of synthetic gels and substances that absorb liquid in disposables – a positive!) which means you may have a few more messes to clean up.
Diaper changes aren’t as easy either since you will have to scrape poop into the toilet and rinse diapers before you can put them in the laundry – not to mention how often you will have to do laundry in order to keep up with your diapering needs.
So, how do we make these things better?
First, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can ease your way into cloth diapering by just using disposables sometimes. You can also use a hybrid diaper which combines the best of both worlds – a washable cover with a flushable insert.
Flushable liners can also take the work out of scraping poop into the toilet. All you have to do is wrap up the dirty stuff and throw it in the toilet with the liner. Unless there’s a blowout, there’s no mess on the actual diaper to clean.
Is Cloth Diapering RIght for You?
The decision to cloth diaper is one only you can make. Every family is different.
There are many that still prefer the convenience of a disposable diaper. There’s no denying that they are easier to travel with and take a lot of the mess out of diaper changing. And there is nothing wrong with parents who make this decision; it is what works best for them.
Cloth diapering does take a little more commitment and discipline. But if you choose the right diaper for your lifestyle and have a good stock of them, cloth diapering can be just as easy as disposables.